When it comes to talks about culinary in West Papua, sago is the first that comes to mind. Just like rice on Java Island, sago is the main source of carbohydrates for everyone living in the region. Many cuisines are made from this staple food, like sago snacks and ice cream.
Then what about the drinks? Are there any special drinks that you can only find in West Papua? If you are curious, here are the top five drinks you can only find in this region. Try each of them to find what you like best.
Matoa Fruit Mocktail
Who is not interested in a glass of pink liquid with red fruit in it? The red fruit might remind you of strawberries, but the fruit is actually called ‘matoa’. Matoa is grown in lowland areas in West Papua, Papua New Guinea, and even Maluku. The lowland area where matoa is grown is 1,200 meters above sea level.
There are two types of matoa fruit: coconut matoa and papeda matoa. You can tell the difference from the texture of the flesh. The papeda one is much softer.
There are also plenty of options for enjoying Matoa Fruit Mocktail. Made with water and ice, you can mix it with matoa (definitely), kolang kaling, green jelly, other types of jelly, basil seeds, and nutmeg seeds. Do not forget to add local spices—garnished with lime and frangipani leaves.
How does it taste? Under a scorching sun, Matoa Fruit Mocktail leaves a combination of sweet and sour tastes. You can find them at local cafes and roadside counters. Prepare Rp10,000 for a glass of Matoa Fruit Mocktail.
Papua’s Sunset Drink
Whether you would like to call this Sunset Drink Papua or Papua’s Sunset Drink does not matter. The name itself comes from the shade of the drink, which resembles sunshine. It is a mixture of carrot juice and orange juice. That also means you get a double dose of vitamin A and C in a glass.
The top layer of the drink is always for the carrot juice, while the bottom one is for the orange juice.
Yes, you can make this drink yourself without having to go to West Papua as you please. The best thing about this drink is that you get to control your sugar consumption. You can actually get enough sugar from the carrot and orange juices. If you want more, add at least a teaspoon of white sugar.
What if you happen to be a sweet tooth? You can add liquid brown sugar or regular syrup. Since Papua’s Sunset Drink consists of vitamin A and C, you get double benefits – healthy eyes and immunity. Check out the local restaurants, cafes, and shops for this. A glass of Sunset Drink costs you only Rp10,000.
Swansrai may not be a drink for everybody, especially if your religion forbids you from drinking alcohol. However, drinking alcohol has been part of the culture in West Papua – starting from the pre-historic era. Around 3,000 years ago, some Austronesian-speaking Asians visited Papua and introduced the drink to its indigenous people there.
Then, they also taught the Papuans how to produce their own alcoholic drinks. They started using local ingredients, such as palm trees and coconut trees. That is why Papuans now produce a lot of different alcoholic drinks. One of them is called ‘Swansrai’.
Swansrai is produced from old coconut water that is fermented. It contains 30% alcohol, which is pretty high. There is a slight bitterness when you taste it. The locals serve this drink in a coconut shell to welcome their guests. Check out local taverns and food stalls. Swansrai has been served for traditional events and works as a bond among the Papuans.
Teh Sari Sarang Semut (Ants’ Nest Extract Tea)
Ant’s Nest is actually a local medicinal plant that you can find in Wamena, West Papua. It has flavonoids, polyphenols, and also many more good chemicals. Since this plant is healthy, you can consume that in dried form, coke, and capsule. Besides all of them, you can also create The Sari Sarang Semut (Ants’ Nest Extract Tea).
Tea also contains flavonoids. Besides that, tea has antioxidants. With the Ants’ Nest juice boiled, the mixture gives you more health benefits. It helps to reduce blood sugar levels, relieve hemorrhoids and migraines, prevent high blood pressure, maintain a healthy heart, and is good to treat cancer patients.
Taverns, online shops, and any gifts stores sell them for Rp35,000 per glass.
If Aceh has Gayo Coffee, then West Papua has Amungme Coffee. Originated from Timika, you can find this coffee at local supermarkets for Rp80,000 per package or order it from the factory for Rp45,000 per package. It is dark and has a distinct taste, with Arabica coffee in it.
If you ever stop by in West Papua, try these drinks for your culinary experience.