Bhoi. It has unique name, as unique as its taste and form. Because of its dominant shape like fish, many call this cake a fish sponge.
In the past, bhoi was a special snack for the royal family of Aceh. Bhoi is also served for honourable guests of the king. Apart from fish form, there is also flower shaped cake with varying sizes. This cake is best enjoyed with tea or coffee. Snacked on while chatting with relatives or friends.
Bhoi has a dry and soft texture. Generally, bhoi natural colour is brown, but now there are some that are created with additional natural dyes from pandan leaves. Make its colour green with a fresher aroma.
The ingredients needed to make bhoi are the same as ingredients for making sponge, namely flour, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and baking soda.
After all the mixture expands, then put the dough in a brass mold or iron mold that has fish or flower shape. Next, the mixture is baked in the oven until the cake is well-down.
However, there are some bhoi makers who still maintain the classic way, the mold is put in a pot of soil and baked using firewood. This old method is entrusted to maintain bhoi distinctive aroma and its taste.
Regarding this unique form of bhoi, it is said to have influence from Indian and Chinese cultures. In the past, bhoi cake molds were made of wood. Then, the mold was replaced with brass or copper. The latest prints were imported by Indian and Chinese traders. Until now, copper or brass molds are still used with unchanging shapes.
For the people of Aceh, besides being a home-made snack, this bhoi is usually used as a gift given by the groom to the bride at the wedding. This cake also becomes a souvenir when visiting relatives or when there are celebrations such as circumcision or thanksgiving.
Bhoi cake is very easy to be found in food stores and souvenirs in Banda Aceh City. Bhoi is one of the culinary items that you need to taste and to take home while visiting this city which is rich in cuisine. Enjoying bhoi cakes with a glass of coffee or hot tea will make it taste more delicious. Especially in the rainy season.
Reporter : Munawar Hafizhi
Photographer : Mustawazir
Editor : Ayu ‘Ulya