For centuries, people all over the world have consumed sweet potatoes, or ubi in Indonesian, as their staple food. Rich in nutrients and fiber, sweet potatoes are popular in Asia, Africa, Europe, North America and the Pacific islands. Indonesia has its own special species of sweet potato known as ubi Cilembu after the name of a village in Sumedang, West Java. In fact, ubi Cilembu is only grown in the village of Cilembu. Its popularity has spread across Indonesia with its bright orange flesh, which has a very distinctive creamy texture and a sweet flavor, almost like the taste of honey.
A few years ago, people had to go to Sumedang or to Bandung, the capital of West Java, if they wanted to taste this delicious, roasted ubi Cilembu. A number of food stalls selling this special sweet potato have now appeared in some places in Denpasar and other towns across Bali, such as in Singaraja in Buleleng regency. Thanks to Aca Zakaria, Denpasar residents can now enjoy the ubi Cilembu. The price of a kilogram of roasted ubi Cilembu is fairly expensive at Rp 25,000 (US$2), when compared to other types of sweet potato, which generally cost only Rp 5,000 per kg.
“But, it is worth the price as it is so mouth-watering and, more importantly, it contains vitamins A, C and B6, as well as betacarotene and it is an antioxidant and excellent source of carbohydrates,” said Kadek Surya, a loyal buyer in Sempidi. Zakaria has opened three kiosks in Denpasar and in Sempidi in Badung. “At first, people didn’t know anything about ubi Cilembu. They were also surprised at the price of a roasted ubi Cilembu. But, after they tasted it, they couldn’t deny that the ubi Cilembu was the best sweet potato they had ever eaten,” Zakaria said.
Zakaria and his staff are kept pretty busy. Every day, they roast around 50 kg of ubi Cilembu in oven at one of their food stalls. To keep up with demand, Zakaria procures at least 5 tons a time of ubi Cilembu from Sumedang. The sweet potato, ubi Cilembu, has certainly become a very sweet business for Zakaria.
source : bali daily