The famous Pantollo Pamarrasan is one of the culinary delights of Torajan. Pantollo Pamarrasan is a stew. The main part of the dish is the meat. It can be made with buffalo, pork, chicken, freshwater fish or eel. Though Pantollo Pamarrasan is originally made with pork you can find modern variations of the dish. For example some chefs use shrimp or jerked meat.
Pantollo Pamarrasan is cooked in a special combination of herbs and spices that gives the dish a distinct black color. Visitors to Toraja who are familiar with Indonesian food often compare Pantollo Pamarrasan with Rawon beef stew. Both dishes are indeed similar, though the sauce used for Pantollo Pamarrasan is a lot thicker than Rawon.
Kluwak, a native plant/tree of Southeast Asia, is the one of the main ingredients of the soup. It is this ingredient that gives Pantollo Pamarrasan its distinct black colour. The other ingredients used in the dish are shallots, chilies, ginger, galangal, and a pinch of salt.
This tasty Pantollo Pamarrasan is sprinkled with chives and usually served with steamed rice or sago and vegetables. This is a dish that is not to be missed when you visit Tana Toraja.
Pa’piong is one of the highlights of Torajan cuisine. To prepare the food the meat (pork = babi, chicken = manuk, fish = ikan mas or buffalo = kerbau) is mixed with spices and other ingredients such as grated coconut, scallions, lemon grass, pepper, garlic, and leaves of Miana.
All the ingredients are then wrapped in Miana leaves and inserted into a piece of bamboo, which is sealed shut. The bamboo rod is then cooked barbecue style on an open fire for an hour and a half until the surface of the bamboo blackens or charred. A bamboo rod up to 10cm in length is enough for 8 – 10 packs of Pa’piong.
The Palm Wine / Ballo'
Ballo’ is a local beverage known as palm wine, which is usually served in a bamboo tube. The wine is produced from tapping palm trees (Nira in the local language). The sap is extracted and collected from the cut flower of the palm tree. It is collected in a container is fastened to the trunk. The white liquid that initially collects tends to be very sweet and non-alcoholic before it is fermented.
The homemade wine contains a small amount of alcohol when the fermentation process has finished. Traditional Ballo’ has two flavors; sweet and sour. The flavor of the drink is the result of the fermentation process and the quality of the Nira tree.
Ballo’ is usually served at ceremonial events (Rambu Tuka’ & Rambu Solo’) where all the family members are gathered. It is believed this typical drink will keep the heat of the body and give the person who drinks it energy, thereby prolonging their life.
Although this traditional drink is natural and contains a small amount of alcohol, the strength will change depending on how it is prepared. Make sure to have a small taste before deciding on how much you want to drink. It is best not to over consume.