It’s afternoon. The sky is blindingly bright and the weather is hot, but I’m pretty sure rain is going to fall in the next two hours. I’ve had my lunch but still feel like eating something. This can only mean one thing: ice cream time.
A short walk from home takes me to the corner of Jalan Cikini 4, the road that houses Gado Gado Bon Bin and my destination, Es Krim Tjanang. While its popularity is second to other vintage ice creams such as Ragusa and Baltic, Es Krim Tjanang is nevertheless a favorite to grandpas, grandmas, uncles, and aunties who lived through its glorious days back in the 70s.
“Which flavor would you like? There are kopyor, chocolate, strawberry, green beans, mocha, jackfruit, nougat, vanilla, and avocado,” the older lady wearing ‘daster’ greets me. After deciding on kopyor and mocha, she then proceeds to open an ancient-looking freezer—the type that would cause your electricity bill to explode—hidden behind a standing fan, plastic chairs, and other random stuffs.
The place is a chaos.
There’s a lady selling fried banana. There’s this big wok where some pempek are being fried. There’s a cart selling gado-gado. There are dozens of people having lunch. Es Krim Tjanang shares space with so many other vendors and only occupies a small corner. The small white sign in front is not enough to invite passerby.
The texture of Es Krim Tjanang is more on the rough side, unlike modern creamy ones. Usually it takes a while until it becomes not-rock hard, but the weather speeds up the process. The kopyor ice cream tastes especially light and refreshing.
Sitting there with my IDR 13,000 ice cream in a plastic cup, I try to imagine how Es Krim Tjanang was in the year of its inception, 1951. They used to have their own parlor, and the ice cream must have been served in a metal bowl. Business must have been better. I would have been accompanied by many other patrons, unlike this afternoon when I’m the only one eating ice cream.
Time has changed, and I can only hope Es Krim Tjanang will survive. I’ve heard talks of them trying to open an ice cream parlor across the road since last year, but so far nothing has happened yet. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!
Es Krim Tjanang
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