Traditional Indonesian dishes gado-gado (vegetable salad with peanut sauce) and soto Betawi (coconut milk soup with diced beef and rice noodles) have been recognized as the country′s Intangible Cultural Heritage 2016, said an official from the Culture and Education Ministry on Monday.
“We have 150 cultural works acknowledged as Intangible Cultural Heritage this year, including gado-gado, soto Betawi and bakpia [mung-bean pastries],” the ministry′s cultural heritage and diplomacy director Nadjamuddin Ramly told a press conference in Jakarta as quoted by Antara news agency. Prior to selecting the 150 cultural works, the ministry reportedly assessed over 400 cultural works.
The dishes’ long history is said to be the reason behind their recognition, especially since Betawi tribe members consist of various ethnicities, including Portuguese, Chinese, Javanese, Sundanese and the Betawi itself, said Intangible Cultural Heritages team head Prudentia MPSS.
Prudentia said 15 criteria were used as references prior to acknowledging a cultural work as heritage, such as whether the work is a cultural identity from one or many cultural communities, and whether it has cultural value that can improve the realization of selfhood as well as national unity.
Meanwhile, Nadjamuddin said the reason why one cultural work did not pass the selection process is lack of documents.
In addition to the traditional dishes, other cultural works named Intangible Cultural Heritage are traditional performances like Debus Indragiri from Riau, Gambang Kromong-Rancag from Jakarta and Piring dance from West Sumatra.
“This acknowledgement aims to protect our intangible culture,” Nadjamuddin said. “Following the recognition, the local administration must preserve and maintain it.”
The ministry previously listed 77 cultural works as Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2013. The number later increased to more than 90 in 2014 and 121 cultural works in 2015.