Here in Flores, the land is rocky and dry, making it really difficult for crops and plants like rice and corn to grow. Most of the year, the island experiences extremely hot and dry weather with very little rainfall, so to meet their daily dietary needs and food requirements, the people of Flores consume the Sorghum plant which is a great alternative to corn and rice. The plant is loaded with carbohydrates, tastes delicious and can easily adapt to changing climates. The Sorghum plant can be turned into a great many things – from raw flour to sweet porridge and various cakes. In the gift shop you can find Sorghum cakes or flour-shaped cakes with prices starting from Rp. 35,000 per kilo.
2. Wild Jungle Honey
Flores is a rich producer of wild jungle honey. The island comprises 8 large districts with vast jungles, forests and untouched nature – a haven for honey hunters. Flores’s wild honey is 100% pure, without any additives, sweeteners or colouring. It tastes great and is good for your overall health. You can purchase a few bottles in the villages direct from the honey gatherers themselves or find some in a variety of sizes and bottles in the gift shops and warungs that you might come across while you’re in any of the towns in Flores. Prices may start from Rp. 75,000 per 350 milliliters – it’s pricey but remember that this is pure and untouched wild jungle honey that is loaded with vitamins!
3. Jagung Titie
Jagung Titie or Titie Corn is corn chips made from corn pudding and is a very popular snack for the people of Flores. Unlike corn grown in other parts of Indonesia, the corn here in Flores tastes slightly different with a slightly crispy texture and richer flavours. The corn chips are available in yellow and white – yellow being slightly sweeter and the white version contains more flour. To enjoy the Jagung Titie, you can eat it as it is or have it fried to a crisp. You don’t have to add anything else to the snack as the Jagung Titie is already quite salty on its own.
4. Flores Coffee
If you didn’t already know, the Flores coffee, especially coffee from the district of Bajawa is renowned throughout the world. Serious coffee connoisseurs truly treasure the flavours of the Bajawa coffee, making it one of the most sought-after coffee beans in the world. While you’re here in Flores, you can easily find pure and fresh Bajawa beans from the local plantations and coffee cooperatives to purchase and to take home as souvenirs for friends and family.
Photo by Tommy Schultz
5. Tenun Ikat
Ikat, the traditional hand-woven cloth of Flores is a very important part of the local communities here in Flores and even more so for the Lio Ende community. Weaving is usually done by the womenfolk and is a tradition handed down from generation to generation. If you’re looking to purchase an Ikat or two, you can visit the Ikat Market at Jalan Pasar in Ende and find different variations of this beautiful and valuable keepsake. They are made in many different forms, colours and styles, which reflect their district of origin with different colours and patterns used. The Florenese Ikat is usually made of all natural ingredients including the dye and takes up to three years to make. When purchasing a piece, feel free to bargain, but be tactful to not make the other party feel cheated or humiliated. Bring a local along with you to help. Don’t forget to visit Tenun Ikat Museum on Jalan Soekarno and discover the varied patterns of Ende’s traditional weaved fabrics.