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Home » Pangkalpinang: Capital of once thriving Tin-Mining Industry, steeped in Chinese Peranakan Tradition » A Culinary Tour of the Flavors of Bangka

A Culinary Tour of the Flavors of Bangka

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  1. Warung Kopi Legendaris Tung Tau/ The Legendary Tung Tau Coffee Shop

  2. Warung Kopi - Manggar, Belitung/ Manggar Coffee Shop

  3. Warung Kopi Legendaris Tung Tau/ The Legendary Tung Tau Coffee Shop

  4. Es Jeruk Kunci, Minuman Khas Bangka Belitung

  5. Lempah Kuning, Kuliner Khas Bangka

  6. Kopi O, Warung Kopi Legendaris Tung Tau

  7. Mie Koba, Kuliner Khas Bangka

  8. Otak-otak Kuliner Khas Bangka/ Otak-otak (Culinary of Bangka)

  9. Anak-anak Bermain Gambus/A Group of Children Playing Gambus

    Photo Courtesy : Ari Ekot (KOMFOS)
  10. Martabak Telur Bangka

    Photo courtesy : Elka Lesmono (Komunitas Fotografer Sungailiat, Bangka Belitung)
  11. Martabak Manis Bangka

    Photo courtesy : Elka Lesmono (Komunitas Fotografer Sungailiat, Bangka Belitung)



When visiting Bangka Island, other than exploring the historical attractions or relaxing amidst nature, take a culinary tour of the island and sample the variety of the region’s traditional dishes. Dishes from Malaysia, the Minangkabau and Guangdong are served in colonial Dutch buildings that have been transformed into restaurants, adding to the adventure of the search for the local food and coffee.

 Mie Koba - Indonesia Travel

A few of the tasty dishes that should definitely be tried include Lempah Kuning, an everyday dish in Bangka Island which is a sort of fish soup, flavored with ginger, shallots, tumeric and tamarind; Mie Koba, a noodle dish named after a small town in Bangka. The handmade noodles are cooked with fresh mackerel from the day’s catch and flavored with nutmeg, cloves, sugar and cinnamon; Kemplang Bangka, a light fish cracker, usually served on the side with your meal; Pempek Bakar, fish mixed with flour and then fried and served with either a sweet or spicy sauce.

 Martabak Telur - Indonesia Travel

Martabak Acau and Martabak Pink Kong are two of the popular martabak stalls on the island. Martabak is a sort of pancake, cooked with a sweet filling of cheese, chocolate, peanuts or coconut, or a savory martabak which is made with eggs. Tung Tau’s Coffee and Toast Shop serves a good cup of the local brew together with a choice of sweet pastries or toast. Other coffee houses also serve traditional snacks of otak-otak, fish, grilled in banana leaves and served with a tasty chili sauce; kue wajik, a sweet snack made of glutinous rice and brown sugar; sengkulun, a sweet cake made of rice flour; and an assortment of kue asin, various types of savory pastries.

 Otak-otak Indonesia Travel

Bangka is an island steeped in history. Even the origin of the name Bangka is accompanied by several theories ranging from the island’s history in tin, to a disposal for corpses, to a story of giants. Actually, Bangka first got its name from the Sanskrit word, Vanka, which means tin, as the island is a top producer in the tin industry. The word was first seen in an inscription that was found in the Menduk River in West Bangka which dates back to the year 686 A.D.


For many centuries, the people of Bangka have made a living on the production of tin.Before the arrival of the Chinese or the Dutch to the islands, both of which have left a lasting impact on the island’s culture, Bangka was inhabited mostly by sailors from Java, Palembang, the Minangkabau from West Sumatra and the Bugis from Sulawesi. The Sultanate of Johor-Riau also had a strong influence in West Bangka, which till now adopts a strong Malay accent, while South Bangka was highly influenced by the Minangkabau Sultanate of West Sumatra and still uses the Minang dialect.


In times past, the islands of Bangka and Belitung were ruled by Sultan Abdurrahman, the Sultan of Palembang, (South Sumatra) who ran a monopoly on the tin mining industry.The Dutch first entered the archipelago in 1596 under the command of Cornelis de Houtman. In 1722, the Dutch company, VOC, took over the management of the mining monopoly.


When the demand for the metal rose, a large number of foreign miners migrated to the island. The majority were Chinese from Guangdong who were known to be experts in the field. By the 18th century, the Hakka from Guangdong were the largest immigrant majority and today are the most dominant culture on the island of Bangka.


Aside from being proficient tin miners, the Hakka migrants also shared their culture in the preparation of food and drink which can still be felt in every bite of Bangka cuisine. In later years, many of the Hakka culture continued down the culinary path rather than remaining in the tin mining industry.


With such an intricate history connecting a complex mix of cultures, Bangka is home to a diverse society. This in turn has resulted in the fusion of a vast variety of diverse and delicious cuisines from various parts of the world ready for visitors to the island to try and enjoy.

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A Culinary Tour of the Flavors of Bangka

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