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Local wisdom behind Tumpeng as an icon of Indonesian traditional cuisine

Ignasius Radix A.P. Jati (Department of Food Technology, Widya Mandala Surabaya Catholic University, Surabaya, Indonesia )

Nutrition & Food Science

ISSN: 0034-6659

Article publication date: 8 July 2014




The aim of this paper is to explore Tumpeng, a Javanese traditional food that recently became an Indonesian icon for traditional cuisine with an emphasis on the philosophical meaning and wisdom behind the food and the tradition.


The paper describes and explores the history of Tumpeng, explains the meaning of all aspects of Tumpeng, from the shape, colour and the items available. Tumpeng as the symbol of relation of mankind with God, society and environment is also analysed along with its position in the nutrition education progress in Indonesia. Future perspectives of Tumpeng are also given in the paper.


Tumpeng is an integral part of traditional ceremony in Java in every stage of human life. The shape, colour and items themselves are a symbol of the relation to God, prosperity and guidance for Javanese people in their daily lives. Tumpeng has been used for nutritional educational purposes in Indonesia due to its popularity. Moreover, the utilisation of Tumpeng has been spread to all over Indonesia and the popularity is increasing. Nevertheless, the existence is shifting to a merely economic purpose. The meaning and wisdom behind Tumpeng are slowly being eroded.


This paper gives a description and explanation about a traditional Javanese food – Tumpeng – regarding the history, meaning and its future perspective.



Radix A.P. Jati, I. (2014), "Local wisdom behind Tumpeng as an icon of Indonesian traditional cuisine", Nutrition & Food Science, Vol. 44 No. 4, pp. 324-334.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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