Indonesia – Tapa Kolo

by Fauzan Anandika

Talking about local cuisine always be gratifying. Every region in different countries has many kinds of unique and tasteful dishes. They have a different way to cook with unique techniques even we have to visit the country to enjoy the meal but, it still satisfies enough just to read the story behind the dish. One of the traditional cooking techniques is using bamboo. In Flores island of Indonesia, there is a dish cooked in a burning bamboo, named Tapa Kolo.

Tapa Kolo comes from Tapa and Kolo word, Tapa means to burn, and Kolo means bamboo rice. Tapa Kolo is a traditional dish from the Manggarai regency, which was already known for a long time ago. Using brown rice as the main ingredient, Tapa Kolo cooked inside a burning bamboo.

People in Manggarai regency usually make Tapa Kolo for a traditional ceremony. Rice that use to make Tapa Kolo need to trough a series of rituals leads by the elders of the village. What amazing is, they only cook Tapa Kola only once a year before the growing season. So if tourists want to taste this dish with all the tradition behind it, they should arrange their schedule in October.

Brown rice, or in the local language called Dea Laka is the main ingredient. The first step of cooking Tapa Kolo is to wash brown rice with some animal fat. Usually, the locals use cow, goat, or pig fat, then entered with young enau leaf (palm tree) and meat into bamboo that is already cut and coated with banana leaf and added water.

After preparing all ingredients, we need to start a fire to burn the bamboo. It needs at least one hour to burn the bamboo, and they keep medium heat from the fire. As a tradition on every cooked bamboo, there is always one bamboo dedicated to their ancestor. Tapa Kolo is delicious for a lunch dish.

Tapa Kolo and all of its tradition become a popular tourist attraction in Flores island, but if you only want to eat the Tapa Kolo, this is the recipe need to follow.


  • 200 grams of brown rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 100 ml of coconut milk
  • 3 clove garlic powder
  • Banana leaf
  • Bamboo with 7 cm diameter and 30 cm long, wash clean
  • 200 ml of cow fat

How to cook

  1. Wash brown rice with water two times, add cow fat and stir up to 3 minutes
  2. Remove the water from brown rice.
  3. Add coconut milk and garlic powder and stir slowly for 1 minute.
  4. Coat the inside bamboo surface with banana leaf.
  5. Fill in the bamboo with seasoned brown rice 
  6. Cover both the bamboo tip with banana leaf.
  7. Burn it in a medium fire for at least 1 hour. 
  8. Crack open the bamboo, and Tapa Kolo is ready to eat.

Add a side of fried chicken or curry to make a complete meal.

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