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Tumpeng, the cone shaped rice surrounded by assorted Indonesian dishes.
Type main course
Place of origin Indonesia
Region or state Java
Creator(s) Javanese cuisine
Serving temperature hot or room temperature
Main ingredient(s) Cone shaped rice, urab (vegetables in shreded coconut), fried chicken, fried tempeh, boiled marble egg, shredded omelette, salted anchovy and peanuts
Variations tumpeng robyong, tumpeng putih, tumpeng nasi uduk, tumpeng slametan (nasi kuning)

Tumpeng is a cone-shaped rice dish like mountain with its side dishes (vegetables and meat).[1] Traditionally featured in the slamatan ceremony, the cone shape of rice is made by using cone-shaped weaved bamboo container. The rice itself could be plain steam rice, uduk rice (cooked with coconut milk), or yellow rice (uduk rice colored with kunyit (turmeric)).

The cone shaped rice erected on tampah (rounded woven bamboo container) covered with banana leaf, and surrounded by assorted of Indonesian dishes.

History and tradition[edit]

People in Java, Bali and Madura usually make Tumpeng to celebrate important event. However, all Indonesians are familiar with Tumpeng. The philosophy of Tumpeng is related to the geographical condition of Indonesia, especially Java as fertile island with numerous mountains and volcanos. Tumpeng dated back to ancient Indonesian tradition that revered mountains as the abode of ancestors and gods. The cone-shaped rice meant to mimics the holy mountain. The feast served as somekind of thanks giving for the abundance of harvest or any other blessings.

In gratitude ceremony (syukuran or slametan), after the people pray, the top of tumpeng is cut and delivered to the most important person. He or she may be the group leader, the oldest person, or the beloved one. Then, all people in the ceremony enjoy the tumpeng together. With tumpeng, people express the gratitude to God and appreciate togetherness and harmony.[2] An annual ceremony involving tumpeng is commonly called 'tumpengan'.

In modern time, the top of the tumpeng is given to an honored guest in social events, ceremonies or awards. Many Indonesian cities, such as Yogyakarta, a tradition has been developed, the tumpengan ceremony a night before 17 August, the Indonesian independence day. The event is meant to pray for safety and welfare of the nation.

Surrounding dishes[edit]

The cone shaped rice surrounded by assorted of Indonesian dishes, such as urap vegetables, fried chicken, empal gepuk (sweet and spicy fried beef), abon sapi (beef floss), semur (beef stew in sweet soy sauce), teri kacang (anchovy with peanuts), fried prawn, telur pindang (boiled marble egg), shredded omelette, tempe orek (sweet and dry fried tempeh), perkedel kentang (mashed potato fritters), perkedel jagung (corn fritters), sambal goreng ati (liver in chilli sauce), and many other things.

Today the dishes which accompany tumpeng can be of the host discretion, it can be vegetarian, to barbecued seafood. Traditionally there should be a balance between vegetables, meat, seafood. The composition of a traditional Javanese tumpeng is more complex because the elements must balance one another according to the Javanese belief.


Several nasi kuning tumpengs served during a feast.
  • Tumpeng Robyong - This kind of tumpeng usually served in traditional Javanese siraman (bridal shower) ceremony in Javanese wedding ceremony. Tumpeng is placed on bakul bamboo rice container, on top of tumpeng placed egg, shrimp paste, shallots and red chilli.
  • Tumpeng Nujuh Bulan - This kind of tumpeng is served in the seventh month of pregnancy prenatal ceremony. Tumpeng is made of plain white rice. A main tumpeng is surrounded by six smaller tumpeng, create total seven tumpengs all erected on tampah covered with banana leaf.
  • Tumpeng Pungkur - Used in the ceremony for the death of a virgin or unmarried male or female. It is made from white rice surrounded only with vegetables dishes. The tumpeng later must be cut vertical in to two parts evenly and placed one against another.
  • Tumpeng Putih - White tumpeng, uses white rice since white color symbolize holiness in Javanese culture. This kind of tumpeng employed in sacred ceremonies.
  • Tumpeng Nasi Kuning - Yellow tumpeng, the color yellow represents heapful of gold, wealth, abundance and high moral. This kind of tumpeng is employed in cheerful and happy festivities and celebrations, such as celebration of birth, engagement, marriage, Eid, Christmas etc.
  • Tumpeng Nasi Uduk - Also called tumpeng tasyakuran. The uduk rice (rice cooked in coconut milk) employed in Maulud Nabi ceremony, a ceremony celebrating the birthday of prophet Muhammad.
  • Tumpeng Seremonial/Modifikasi - This contemporary tumpeng is relatively more open for modifications and adaptations, it depends on the taste and request of the host.

Contemporary tradition[edit]

Because of its festivities and celebrative value, up until now tumpeng sometimes used as Indonesian counterpart of birthday cake.[citation needed]

In 2009 Garuda Indonesia started offering Mini Nasi Tumpeng Nusantara as part of its new concept to highlight Indonesia's hospitality.[3]

The building of Suharto's Purna Bhakti Pertiwi Museum in Taman Mini Indonesia Indah Jakarta, took shape of tumpeng.[4]

External links[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1], trifter.com, Tumpeng: Mountain-Like Dish to Express Gratitude, Retrieved 2009-11-30
  2. ^ [2], trifter.com, Tumpeng: Mountain-Like Dish to Express Gratitude, Retrieved 2009-11-30
  3. ^ [3], garudamagazine.com, Retrieved 2009-11-30
  4. ^ [4], travel.yahoo.com, Retrieved 2009-11-30