A Taste of Indonesia: 'Emping' Finds a Home in Merriam-Webster's Culinary Vocabulary

A Taste of Indonesia: 'Emping' Finds a Home in Merriam-Webster's Culinary Vocabulary

Do you know emping? 

Emping is one of Indonesia's traditional snacks made from thinly sliced, dried, and fried melinjo seeds. 

Interestingly, the word "emping" is currently listed in the Merriam-Webster dictionary in the culinary category. To quote Merriam-Webster, the word emping refers to a slightly bitter cracker or chip popular in Indonesia made from the dried, flattened seeds of the melinjo tree (Gnetum gnemon). In addition, emping is mentioned as having a crunchy, slightly bitter taste.

In September 2023, Merriam-Webster, a leading American dictionary company, announced the addition of 690 new words to its dictionary list. In the category "Food and how it is made," the word "emping," an Indonesian specialty, was added to the list.

In Indonesia itself, emping is commonly served as an accompaniment to Indonesian dishes such as fried rice, nasi uduk, and soto. It is also often eaten as a snack at any time of the day. 

Emping is made by soaking peeled melinjo seeds in salt water. After it expands, it is cut into thin slices and dried in the sun or in a drying machine. These thin slices are then fried until crispy and golden. 

In addition to its delicious taste, emping has good nutritional value. The seeds are rich in fiber, protein, and healthy fats, making it a healthier snack than many of the more common flour-based snacks. However, they are high in purines, which can increase uric acid levels in the blood. Therefore, the consumption of emping needs to be limited, especially for people with a history of gout.

At present, the popularity of Emping has gone global, penetrating many international markets. The export of emping also ultimately contributes to Indonesia's economic growth and promotes Indonesia's culinary heritage. Some of the countries that import emping from Indonesia are Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, China and India.

Interested in trying it?

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