Archives for December 2013

Japanese Concentration Camp

Indie There were 2 Japanese concentration camps in Bangkinang, one for men and one camp for women with children up to 12 years. The close by village is about 250 km north-east from Padang and the camps were located in the middle of a jungle of rubber trees. Men and women camps were about 2 km apart from each other.

The women camp was newly build specially to keep people as prisoners and consist of 4 large sheds 60 x 10 meter and one small one 30 x 10 meter en the living places were located in 4 rows of two levels. Then there was also a small building serving as a hospital and two small sheds for storage. De camp was enclosed with wood and barbed wire and on the corners were guard towers.

On December 15, 1943 my mother, her 4 children, a grandmother and a niece, other family members all together about 2300 adults and their children were transported from the Padang prison camp by train and later by open trucks to these new Japanese prison.

And this lasted until Japan got hit with the atomic bombs and were freed on Augustus 15 in the year of 1945. All those years we had suffered of hunger and lively punishment from the Japanese.

Bangkinang, west Sumatra


Spicy Randang Padang

      Randang, a Ceremonial Food of the Minangkabau. 

One of the most famous food dishes of Indonesia is Randang, which is a ceremonial food from the Minagkabau people of west Sumatra. And because the capital of west Sumatra is Padang this dish became famous in the world as Randang Padang.

Minang House

Minang House

Today Randang Padang is made all over Indonesia and even in other countries in the world, especially in the Netherlands and the United States of America where many Dutch-Indo’s and Indonesians are living.
But the taste differs in many ways, because of the different uses of spices, the way it has been prepared and the way it is cooked.

In the book “Walk in Splendor” is written:

Randang 360x240

Aside from believing that food cooked at home simply fits a person’s constitution better than food from anywhere else, many Minangkabau fear that food from elsewhere may adulterated with substances that do not agree with them. In extreme cases, strange food is feared to have been deliberately poisoned or contaminated with Filth by witches or demons who only appear to be human beings.
It is likely that many Minangkabau would prefer to take their whole kitchen with them when traveling, but barring that in mind, they pack their preferred travel food, a dry and sometimes very spicy meat dish known as Randang. Because the dish Randang is taken abroad by Minangkabau people and it is served today in Minangkabau restaurants abroad, it became famous as the spicy  Randang Padang.
Randang is cooked by simmering red meat, originally meat from the water buffalo, in coconut milk and many curry spices mixed with hot peppers over low heat  for many hours of stirring, until the saus is completely gone and has crumbled and covered by the spices.
Red meat can be replaced by goat or chicken meat, jack fruit or fish and even shrimp.
As a result of the long and slow cooking process, the coconut milk, spices and meat becomes dark brown to black and it is said to keep for weeks without refrigeration.
The original Randang from the Minangkabau has a spicy, rich, slightly sweet (but sugar is not used!) and smoky taste.
All the basic food preparation, including squeezing the fresh coconut milk, is done by women. Men are doing the heavy lifting of the wadjan, pouring and especially the many hours of stirring.