If you happen to be in Lasem and chance upon savory, crispy tempehs (fermented soybean cakes), you might wonder where they are originated. Some well-known food stalls in Lasem indeed sell these distinctly flavored tempehs. But guess what? These tempehs are Lasem’s products!
A tempe production house has been around for well over 30 years, supplying tempehs to a wide number of food stalls. These hexagon-shaped tempehs remain a favorite food for many people to this day. Even people from neighboring towns usually head over to Lasem only to get some tempehs from this one and only tempe production house—Rumah Tempe Mbah Masripah!
Rumah Tempe Mbah Masripah is located within Lasem Old Town complex, in the village of Sumbergirang, somewhere along Sumbergirang Market lane, to be precise. You will stumble across a house with a mixture of Chinese and Dutch East Indies architecture that has been inhabited by the late Mbak Masripah’s son, Adi Sampurno, and his wife, Yanti.
Adi and Yanti have continued on the hexagon-shaped-tempe production business that was established by Mbah Masripah. Back in 2003 Yanti herself got hands-on experiences in tempe production from her mother-in-law, which she continues to do until now. She says that an employee helps her wrap the Tempehs in teak leaves. The tempehs are put in two wrapping designs; one is hexagon shape, which would go for IDR6.000, while the other is square shape, which is sold at IDR 2,000. Meanwhile, a package of common tempehs is priced at IDR3.500.
It takes quite a long while to produce tempehs, beginning with the boiling, grinding, rinsing, up until the re-boiling of the soybeans on the following day. Much of what makes the tempehs produced there unique is that they use organic yeast! After the wrapping of soybeans is finished, the fungi formed on the teak leaves are spreading into the boiled soybeans.
“The fungi necessary for fermentation are derived from natural yeast that adheres to the used teak leaves,” Yanti declares while demonstrating how to wrap the hexagon-shaped tempehs.
Apparently, mbak Yanti is successfully implementing the recycle and reuse principles! After the tempehs are wrapped, they will be stored for four days straight and will be ready for consumption afterwards.
Curious about the production process? Drop by Rumah Tempe Mbak Masripah after 8am okay! Mbak Yanti begins wrapping the tempehs right after she gets home from the market. Make sure you don’t miss out on seeing the initial steps! ☺