Cilembu Sweet Potato

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Cilembu Sweet Potato

Cilembu sweet potatoes are a specialty from Cilembu village and nearby areas (Pamulihan, Tanjungsari, Rancakalong and Sukasari) in Western Java, Indonesia. It grows best between 800 and 1000 m above sea level in areas with moderate rainfall. It is a native variety officially recognized by the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture in 2001. The sweet potatoes are long and round and weigh between 0.5 and 2 kg each. Potatoes are harvested five to seven month after planting. The color of its raw tuber’s flesh is reddish or light brown, and will change into a reddish-yellow color when baked. When baked, Cilembu sweet potatoes have a very distinct aroma and delicious sweet taste with a sugary, honey like glaze.   The Cilembu sweet potato has been documented since 1914, when Indonesia was still colonialized by the Dutch Empire. It was formerly known as nirkum. Legend has it that this term was connected to the fact that Dutch people in Indonesia favored this type of sweet potato. At that time, Indonesians called the Dutch people menir kumpeni, with nirkum becoming a shortened version of these two words. In other towns it had different names; in Rancakalong, it was called menes and in Genteng it was called tanjung kait.   Promotion of the unique qualities of this variety in Indonesia began in the early 2000s. Today, there are hundreds of stands that sell the baked Cilembu sweet potatoes, both in west Java and in other parts of Indonesia. It has also been exported to neighboring Southeastern Asian countries. However, the high demand for Cilembu sweet potatoes means that needs cannot always be fulfilled due to the limited growing area and the long growing cycle. Similar varieties with a shorter production cycle are being mislabeled and sold as Cilembu to unaware customers. Consequently, more farmers are growing these false varieties that lack the natural, sweet glaze that Cilembu potatoes produce when baked. If further attention is not given to differentiating between true Cilembu sweet potatoes and the intentionally mislabeled false varieties, this culinary treasure may be lost for good. 

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Territory

StateIndonesia
Region

West Java