Just got back from 2 weeks voyage across Ternate – Raja Ampat – Banda Neira – Ambon, where I went crazy for Kue Pisang Kenari, Guraka, Terong Saus Kenari, Cinnamon Tea and Nutmeg Jam!
Adventure-wise, I had an unforgettable journey of a lifetime. Food-wise, I’m deeply in love.
Do you see the flaming red peeking from inside the nutmeg? It’s mace. Banda produces premium quality of mace for the whole world. The whole islands are covered in Nutmeg and Kenari trees. The Kenari trees are often very big and old, as old as decades, even hundreds of years.
Pak Rizal Bahalwan and his wife, who own Mutiara Guesthouse in Banda Neira, served us with Cinnamon Tea and Nutmeg Jam every morning. I often make my own cinnamon tea, but this cinnamon tea tasted and smelled way much better. I’m not sure whether it was the brewing composition or the cinnamon itself. Unlike in Java, cinnamon peel in Banda is gigantic in size, more somky and sutble in aroma, yet a little goes along the way.
Nutmeg jam is another story of beauty. It is sour, sweet, smoky, spicy. A burst of nutmeg joy in your mouth!
They also have the best collection of books we gulped like a bunch of hyenas everyday. Breakfast time was always something we look forward to. You know, after a morning walk around Benteng Belgica.
Almost everyday we took a walk to Benteng Belgica. Spent one afternoon having our tea and speculaas biscuits among its stoned walls while admiring the majestic Gunung Api and looking down at the stunning view of charming sea of Banda. Couldn’t get any more romantic!
Every morning we passed by the wet market of Banda Neira on our way to the dock. Every time I indulged my culinary sense and curiosity. You see the cone shaped white plastic bag tied on top? It is Suami. No, it’s not “husband” in Bahasa :). It was made from cassava that was shredded and steamed and served as a replacement of rice. It is the same thing as Kasuami of Wakatobi.
Aside from the already-popular Halua Kenari, Bangket Kenari, Bagea Kenari and Roti Kenari, I brought home a bag of flaming maroon mace, a bag of gigantic cinnamon peel, and a jar of nutmeg jam. What can I say, I’m just a girl in love.