Klungkung cuisine from a Wayang Kamasan painter

Wearing just his shorts and an undershirt, I Wayan Suparta sells sate lilit ikan (Balinese fish satay) and pepes ikan (spicy steamed fish, grilled wrapped in banana leaves) in front of his house. He is alone. His son works on a cruise ship, just like most of the other Klungkung boys. I Wayan Suparta is one the many painters of Wayang Kamasan in Klungkung. Known as the signature painting style of the area, Kamasan is mostly inspired by stories from the Hindu epics Mahabharata and Ramayana.

He still paints in his village in Gelgel, but his many works are now displayed in his house. However, he said he was now focusing more on selling Klungkung’s unique dish, sate lilit ikan and pepes ikan. “Well, it’s difficult to only rely on painting, I have had to open this stall to live,” said Suparta. Suparta still opens his small shop, which sells souvenirs, although the display window looked abandoned with unused things piled up in it.

It used to be the family’s main source of income. It has classic Wayang Kamasan paintings, wooden cups, brass housewares and many other things. However, since 2004, Suparta has been selling fish satay as his income from painting dropped significantly after the Bali bombings. His expertise in cooking Klungkung’s unique fish dishes saved him and his family. Every day, Suparta buys the tuna from the nearby Kusamba fish market.

He then mixes it with various ingredients, including terasi (shrimp paste), which is the main taste-maker in Klungkung fish satay and pepes. These fresh and delicious dishes are grilled right before they are served. The fish is very tender and has a modest level of spiciness. The taste is completely different from that sold in Karangasem regency, which is spicier and uses a much thicker sauce. Most of Suparta’s customers are locals, who now can enjoy his paintings in the restaurant too. Other than the satay, the pepes and the Kamasan paintings, visitors can see the historic Dasar Bhuana Temple just across from Suparta’a house.

source : bali daily

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