Exploring the History of Onde-Onde You Should Know

Enjoy eating onde-onde? These snacks, widely sold in markets, indeed have a delicious taste. They are round in shape, sprinkled with sesame seeds, filled with green beans, and with the passage of time, they have increasingly diverse variations. Starting from green beans, matcha, chocolate, durian, jackfruit, cheese, to mozzarella.

In Indonesia itself, Onde-Onde has existed since the Majapahit era. This cake is particularly famous in the Mojokerto region, known as the city of onde-onde since the Majapahit era. In Mojokerto, there is a store specifically selling Onde-Onde called Toko Bo Liem in Mojokerto, which has been established since 1929.

Onde-Onde Originates from China

Although Onde-Onde has existed since the Majapahit era, it is not originally an Indonesian cake. Onde-Onde originated from China, made during the Zhou Dynasty, around 1045 – 256 BC.

As quoted from istanabundavian.com (1/23), these Onde-Onde were made to be served to carpenters and masons who were building the imperial palace at that time. This cake symbolized safety and togetherness. Interestingly, this sesame seed-covered cake actually has many names and various filling variants. During the Tang Dynasty empire, a poet named Wang Fanzhi once wrote that onde-onde was one of the special foods in the Chang’an imperial palace, called ludeui. Meanwhile, some people in northern China know it as matuan. In other areas, it’s called ma yuan or jen dai.

Onde-Onde in Indonesia

PONDAN onde-onde frying premix. Its delicious taste is highly favored.

Onde-Onde was first brought by Chinese traders to the archipelago in the years 1300 – 1500 AD. It was brought by Admiral Cheng Ho from the Ming Dynasty. Initially, Onde-Onde only contained palm sugar paste and tasted sweet. However, in Indonesia, Onde-Onde was later modified with the addition of green beans, giving it a slightly savory taste that suits the Indonesian palate.

With PONDAN onde-onde premix, it’s not troublesome to make onde-onde dough and surely the result is very satisfying.

Onde-onde in Various Countries

China

Onde-onde/jin deui in northern China is called matuan (麻糰), in northeastern China it’s called ma yuan (麻圆), and in Hainan it’s called zhen dai (珍袋). Zhen dai is sometimes referred to as zhimaqiu (芝麻球) which translates to “sesame ball” in English. In Hong Kong, this food can be found in almost every pastry shop.

Malaysia

In Malaysia, onde-onde is called kuih bom. Kuih bom is usually filled with sweet grated coconut or nuts, but some are also filled with red bean paste.

Indonesia

In Indonesia, onde-onde is round in shape, brown in color, and coated with sesame seeds. Inside, there is green bean powder or black glutinous rice.

Vietnam

In Vietnam, this food is known as bánh cam in the South and bánh rán in the North. Bánh rán is scented with jasmine flowers. Its filling is usually drier than typical onde-onde and is made of sweet green bean paste. Additionally, it can also be filled with minced meat, vermicelli, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, and various other Vietnamese ingredients. This snack is commonly served with vegetables and dipping sauce.

Philippines

In the Philippines, onde-onde is called butsi.

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