Monday, January 7, 2013

Bir Pletok: Beer for your health

Bir Pletok Babe Mahmud

Bir Pletok Babe Mahmud

Bir pletok, a unique traditional Betawi (Jakarta - Indonesian) drink that won’t get you drunk.

Although the name contains the word “beer,” it’s actually an alcohol-free drink made from herbs and spices. And it’s good for your health.

It first appeared during the colonial period, back when Jakarta was called Batavia. The local people often saw the Dutch drinking this strange brew that tasted bitter and felt hot in their stomach. They learned the drink was called beer, and soon enough, everyone wanted a taste but few could afford to buy it from the Dutch. Eventually, someone decided to make their own version of beer, using local spices and herbs, but no alcohol. That’s how bir pletok was invented. 

Well, the word “bir” obviously came from the Western word “beer.” The word “pletok” came from the sound the drink makes when shaking all the ingredients together in a bamboo shoot: “pletok, pletok, pletok.” 
You can always buy it in Setu Babakan inside the Betawi cultural village, South Jakarta. 

Nyiman Noeke Noerhanny - TheJakartaGlobe

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