If you go to Semarang, of course it’s incomplete if you don’t eat lumpia Semarang. The most famous lumpia vendor in the city is called “Lunpia Semarang Gang Lombok”. It is also the pioneer of lumpia in Semarang.
What is lumpia Semarang?
Lumpia Semarang is a type of spring roll which is originated from Semarang City in Central java. Typically, it is filled with rebung (bamboo shoots), egg, ebi (dried shrimp), and meat (normally prawn or chicken). The wrapper or skin is made with flour and it looks similar to crepes. There are two versions of lumpia Semarang: basah (steamed) and goreng (deep fried). The basah version is similar with popiah. In Semarang itself lumpia is sometimes spelled and called “lunpia” or “loenpia”.
Lumpia Semarang Gang Lombok began about 100 years ago with the love story of a Chinese man called Tjoa Thay Joe and a Javanese woman called Warsih. At that time, Tjoa Thay Joe was selling food with pork and bamboo shoots, while Warsih was selling food with prawn and potato. They fell in love and co-created a new dish combining the ingredients that they sold before: prawn and bamboo shoots, and have them wrapped in flour skin.
Little did they know, a legendary food item in Indonesia’s culinary heritage history was born.
When we arrived at Lunpia Gang Lombok, the queue was crazy. A lot of people elbowed each other inside. The more “peaceful” people stayed outside LOL. The cook was super busy. He told us that we needed to wait 1 hour…huk! That’s how busy it was. A guy was even buying 10 boxes of lunpias – one box can fit 6. But well ok, for the most famous lunpia in Semarang, let’s give it a try.
While waiting, we just headed next door to another old school player in the field, Es Campur Gang Lombok. We ordered the normal es campur and it came in a plate full of crushed ice, pink sugar syrup, candied mango, papaya, cincau hitam (black grass jelly), and manisan kolang – kaling (candied palm fruit). The price is quite high because they made everything by themselves from scratch. I like the candied mango and palm fruit! You can also buy a jar of their candied mango – I think it was about IDR 50k or so.
After refreshing ourselves with the ice as well as chatting with a random uncle, we checked on our order. Yayy it was done!
We ate them all in the car before even taking picture of how they look, SORRY! The filling was bamboo shoots and dried shrimps (ebi). The lunpias were cooked with charcoal, not a gas stove, so they taste smoky – yum!
With that being said, I think the flavor is not that phenomenal. Something was missing, like not really enough umami flavor. Also, the deep fried lumpia skin or wrapper is not as crispy as I expected. So, if I can sum up all the pros and cons of this place, here are what I can come up:
- It is the oldest and original lumpia (or lunpia) maker in the city
- Old school atmosphere and authentic experience
- The lumpia has nice smoky aroma
- The queue is inhumane – it might not be ideal to include in your itinerary if you have limited time
- The lunpia goreng (deep fried spring roll) is not very crispy
- Expensive for what you get (IDR 17.5k per piece)
- Average taste
Of course, this is all just my own opinion. If you have never tasted lumpia before and if you visit Semarang for the first time, you might still want to check it out for the authentic experience. In a way you can help preserving one of the oldest culinary tradition in Java.
Lunpia Gang Lombok
Gang Lombok no. 11a
Opening hours: 08.00-17.00 everyday
Es Campur Gang Lombok
Gang Lombok no. 9
Opening hours: 08.00-17.00 everyday