What Is Nasi Bogana?

Andy Josiah
Andy Josiah
Nasi bogana sometimes include chicken gizzards.
Nasi bogana sometimes include chicken gizzards.

Nasi bogana is a dish from the southeastern country of Indonesia that is known for its banana-leaf wrapping. One of the several rice-based meals that are popular in the region — nasi means "rice" in Indonesian — it is particularly beloved for its portability. Because of this reason, it also functions as a kind of fast food. Nasi bogana is also known as nasi begana.

Nasi bogana is often topped with fried shallots.
Nasi bogana is often topped with fried shallots.

Tegel, which is the largest city in Tegal regency at the northwestern part of the Central Java province, is credited with the origin of nasi bogana. It is most popular with the Javanese and Sundanese that inhabit the island of Java and represent Indonesia’s largest and second-largest ethnic groups, respectively. In addition to at Javanese and Sundanese restaurants and on street corners, particularly in the capital of Jakarta, nasi bogana is offered in warungs. These are small outdoor family-run restaurants or cafes that can be found in Indonesia and Malaysia.

Nasi bogana is a rice-based meal.
Nasi bogana is a rice-based meal.

To make nasi bogana, a banana leaf is laid out on a plate and steamed rice is placed on it. The rice is then topped with fried shallots, which are onions characterized by their pear or bulb shapes. Then the whole thing is covered with another banana leaf and more ingredients are added. Meat-based additions include opor ayam, or white chicken curry; dendeng, or shredded meat; or chili- and gravy-covered fried chicken gizzard and liver.

Nasi bogana can be served with side dishes such as sauteed string beans, whole boiled eggs or a traditional Indonesian soy product called tempeh. After the side dishes are placed on the banana leaf, it is closed up, tied together with strings and placed in a steamer to preserve its warmness.

Some people use slight variations of the side dishes. For instance, the eggs do not need to be served whole; they can be sliced into two. The white chicken curry, which is made from cooking chicken in coconut milk, can be made from boneless meat. This is done to make wrapping the dish easier.

Although nasi bogana is traditionally prepared with banana leaves, some people choose to forgo them altogether. It can be served as an ordinary rice meal, on a plate. The omission of the customary banana leaves can be attributed to the dish being so popular in the region that is recognizable without them.

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    • Nasi bogana sometimes include chicken gizzards.
      Nasi bogana sometimes include chicken gizzards.
    • Nasi bogana is often topped with fried shallots.
      Nasi bogana is often topped with fried shallots.
    • Nasi bogana is a rice-based meal.
      Nasi bogana is a rice-based meal.