October 16th, 2019, coincides with World Bread Day, CNN.com released the list of the 50 best breads in the world. The best breads are curated by pastry chef who is also a travel and culinary writer, Jen Rose Smith. These 50 best breads were chosen because of their unique ingredients, iconic status, and simplicity in eating bread. One of chosen breads included in the list is Roti Gambang or Gambang bread. Roti Gambang is a typical snack of Betawi which is also known in Semarang, Central Java. People of Semarang know it as roti ganjel rel (rail block bread), because of its hard texture. Roti Gambang has existed from the Dutch colonial era and was popular until the 1990s. At that time, Roti Gambang was liked by all people, children and the elderly.
Roti Gambang has hard and compact texture mixed with chocolate aroma and cinnamon. The color is brownish with a sprinkling of sesame on it. The bread is made of spices from Indonesia, such as cardamom, cinnamon, mixed with flour, palm sugar, and eggs. Due to its hard texture, just eating 2 pieces of bread, it can make us full. At the tradition before Ramadhan or Dugderan celebration, this bread also being scramble for people in Semarang. The local people believe that by eating Roti Gambang can give more energy to do fasting.
Besides for daily consumption, Betawinese people in Jakarta usually bring Roti Gambang when visiting sick people. It is usually sold in the morning and evening, because it is an appropriate time to eat Roti Gambang. The bread is usually enjoyed with a cup of coffee or warm tea. Now, it's quite difficult to find the legendary bread, because some of factories that produced Roti Gambang have gone out of business. But there are still a few vendors who sell Roti Gambang. The price of Roti Gambang is relatively cheap about Rp. 4,000 to Rp. 5000 per piece.