The Story of the Fusion of Two Cultures Behind the Legit of Bakpia Typical Yogyakarta

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history of bakpia

If you visit Yogyakarta, you will definitely find many bakpia sellers. This sweet round cake is a food made from wheat flour, filled with processed green beans, then baked. Bakpia is indeed the most suitable as a souvenir when you visit Yogyakarta because it is liked by many people and of course has an interesting historical story.

It’s so famous that some people think “you haven’t been to Yogyakarta if you haven’t bought bakpia.” Bakpia is considered a typical Yogyakarta food. However, who would have thought that behind the fame, it turns out that the historical story of bakpia reveals that this cake is not from Yogyakarta. Let’s look at the history of bakpia below, because it holds a unique story and is still rarely known

According to historical records, bakpia was first brought to Yogyakarta by immigrants from China in the 1940s

Chinese immigrant | Credit photo by Kyle Lam via

The history of bakpia comes from an immigrant from China named Kwik Sun Kwok. Actually bakpia is quite well known as pia cake which comes from the Hokkien dialect with the original name Tou Luk Pia which means meat sandwich. At that time, Kwik introduced this pia cake as a cake filled with pork or called ‘bak’. So the name bakpia actually comes from ‘bak’ and ‘pia’ which means pork sandwich.

In the past, bakpia skin was made from flour that was added with pork oil as an ingredient to make the dough soft and not sticky. The dough is flattened and filled with minced pork and seasoned. However, the bakpia is not liked by the people of Yogyakarta.

Chinese bakpia is processed by the people of Yogyakarta by modifying and according to their tastes

| Credit photo by Midori via

At that time, the people of Yogyakarta who were curious about bakpia finally made their own version of bakpia without pork oil and without pork. The contents of bakpia are modified with mashed green beans and sugar, so that they have a legit taste according to the tastes of the people of Yogyakarta. This historical story makes bakpia considered the result of acculturation or a combination of two cultures, namely Chinese culture and Javanese culture.

Bakpia became increasingly popular among the people as a typical Yogyakarta food in the 1980s

history of bakpia

| Credit photo by Saeshera via

When Yogyakarta began to be crowded with immigrants, bakpia became increasingly popular with many people. So that bakpia producers began to appear on a home scale. The Pathuk area is the first area to become a bakpia center. Over time, this cottage industry is growing and more and more people are making bakpia.

In the past, people did not know the brand, so they used numbers to name bakpia. Don’t be surprised, if you visit the Pathuk area and find various shops with the Bakpia Pathuk label 25, 29, 75 and so on. So many that no one knows who made the first bakpia here. Well, apart from Pathuk, you can also find bakpia centers on Jalan Glagahsari. There are so many gift shops here that offer various brands of bakpia.

Along with the development of the times, bakpia has various innovations with increasingly diverse variants of contents

history of bakpia

| Credit photo by Pinerineks via

The bakpia industry is now hereditary and has undergone several changes. Currently you can find bakpia filled with chocolate, cheese, sweet potato, black sticky rice and even vanilla cream. The processing method is not only roasted in a furnace, but also in an oven in a machine, some even steamed. So the textures are varied, some are soft on the inside, some are crispy and some are like sponge cake. There are also many brands, ranging from local brands to contemporary brands. There are so many choices of bakpia, maybe you will also be confused to make your choice.

That’s an interesting historical Bakpia story to follow. What kind of bakpia have you tried, SoHip? Although it has undergone various changes, the name bakpia still implies its unique and legit historical story which remains the hallmark of Yogyakarta bakpia.

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