Sate Bandeng is a popular dish from Serang regency, Banten province. It made of deboned milkfish (Chanos Chanos) grilled in its skin on bamboo skewers over charcoal embers.
The milkfish is separated with its skin and bones. Then the meat is mashed and mixed with shallots, garlics, coriander, palm sugar, and shrimp paste. After that the mixture is inserted back to its skin to make it looks like the real fish. The fish later is clamped between two pieces of bamboo which their ends are bind with banana stem to secure the fish. The fish is grilled by adding up the mixture little by little all over the fish. It grilled to golden brown colored over the charcoal embers. Sate Bandeng is tasteful with a rich flavor of spices that makes dirt-like taste of milkfish unrecognizable.
Sate Bandeng believed to originate around 16 century during the Sultanate of Banten. The sultan wanted to dish up his royal guests a milkfish-based dish. He commanded his cook to make a dish that can be easily eaten by his guests, without having to bother separating the bones form its meat. The cook found a way to separate the fish bones. She mashed the fish meat till it’s separated from its skin, and then she pulled the bone from the bottom of fish head at once to separate the bones with the meat. The fish meat mixed with coconut milk and spices, then the meat inserted back to its skin. The hard texture of the fish skin makes the fish looked like it’s intact again. After that the fish are grilled on bamboo skewers. Sate Bandeng considered as royalty dishes, only Sultanate family that can eat it.
The dish today is commonly found in the gift stores around Serang city, it is also served regularly during Maulid Nabi celebration for Serang people.
The people preserve the originality of the Sate Bandeng recipe because it’s one of the attractions that make the tourist interested to taste it. It’s believed that the process of the making is the part of the heritage, which changing the recipe means changing its taste and characteristic.
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Ibnuasmara. (2017). Cara Membuat Sate Bandeng Khas Banten yang Mudah, Enak dan Ngangenin. Retrieved at https://ibnuasmara.com/cara-membuat-sate-bandeng-khas-banten-yang-mudah-enak-dan-ngangenin/