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Slawi is the administrative centre of the Tegal Regency of the province of Central Java, Indonesia. Slawi is known for the production of a particularly fragrant black tea and the tea drinking culture known as Moci.
Unusual for a tea producing area, Slawi has a warm climate with a gentle sloping geography.
Slawi is located about 20 km south of Tegal at the central north coast of Java in Central Java province. It is bordered by Adiwerna (Banjaran) district to the north, the Pangkah district to the east, the Balapulang district to the south and the Jatibarang district (located in the administrative area of Brebes Regency) to the west.
Society and culture
The majority of citizens work as farmers, in the metal industry, the public service, or in a variety of home industries, including teak furniture-making and weaving sarongs.
As generally the case with 'urbanisation', many young people leave the area after high school, heading for larger urban centres such as Jakarta, Bandung, Semarang and some timber processing towns such as Banjarmasin and Balikpapan. In the last three decades, some are working overseas in places such as Middle East, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Their financial remittances are an important source of income for the area. The out of town family members would generally return to Slawi for the Moslem holidays of Idul Fitri as a tradition.
The local language of the area is Javanese, spoken with a distinctive regional accent.
The local cuisine lists among others, Tahu Aci, fried tofu triangle with one side filled with cassava flour - represent the best vegetarian fried tofu among Asian cuisine. Sega Lengko, made of boiled and steamed rice adorned with fermented soybean cake pieces tempeh, tofu, soy-bean sprout tauge, sand fried peanuts and some hand crushed krupuk aci cassava flour cracker and/or krupuk udangprawn crackers, fried shallots with mild chilli peanut sauce over the top prior to serving. There are also variety of chicken turmeric soup, Soto Tegal and Sate Tegal. There are many local food stalls, called Warteg (Warung Tegal), which offer daily meals at affordable price for all walks of life.
Tea drinking at the small or large eatery has a famous local term called Moci - literally tea drinking from one small clay teapot with one teacup for each person. It is the way to drink the locally produced fragrant jasmine black tea. The teapot is filled with a small paper bag the size of matchbox full of jasmine tea and poured with slightly scalding hot water. The brewed tea is then poured into a clay teacup with rock sugar. The way the locals do is not to stir avoiding average sweetness, drink while it is hot preferably with some slurping noise as well. Some will pour it on the saucer and slurp it with abandon pleasure. The idea is to get to the last slurp or sip when it is sweetest and in this way encouraging refill. It somewhat reflects the Malay pantun proverb, 'berakit-rakit ke hulu/berenang-renang ke tepian/ bersakit-sakit dahulu/bersenang-senang kemudian', meaning there is a satisfying end to a difficult beginning. Not to be mistaken with the way the Russian drink their tea, by holding the rock sugar between the teeth and sip the tea.
Moci is frequently accompanied by Mendoan, a moist fermented soybean cake (tempe or tempeh) fried in wheat fluor batter, often eaten with sambal ulek (oelek) or plain chilli paste or simply bite into one bird's eye chilli then bite a piece off the tempe. This is a favourite drink while enjoying the famous Sate Tegal, sate of local goat meat.
Local areas of interest
There are several beaches within easy reach of Slawi, as well as Guci, an area of waterfalls, gardens, and public hot springs at the foot of Slamet Mountain, approximately 27 km south of Slawi. In addition, nearby Alun Alun Kabupaten Slawi is a garden with a large fountain that is popular on Sundays.
In the town itself, there are the old and new markets, the Singa and Rama theatres, as well as the historical Pankah Sugar Factory, and the 4th Slawi Primary School, both of which are part of the Dutch colonial legacy in the city.