Selendang Mayang


In the bustling streets of Jakarta, amidst the modern coffee shops and trendy cafes, a traditional Betawi beverage, Es Selendang Mayang, is making a notable resurgence. This iconic drink, known for its vibrant colors and sweet, refreshing taste, holds a special place in the heart of Betawi culture. Its revival is not just about nostalgia but also about preserving a unique culinary heritage that dates back to the 1940s.

Historical Significance

Es Selendang Mayang’s origins trace back to the Betawi people, indigenous to the Jakarta region. Historically, this drink was a popular choice during special occasions, especially during Eid Al-Fitr, when families would gather to celebrate and enjoy traditional dishes and beverages. The name “Selendang Mayang” itself evokes imagery of vibrant, colorful fabrics, which is fitting given the drink’s striking appearance.

Despite its popularity in the mid-20th century, Es Selendang Mayang experienced a period of decline. By the 1980s, it had nearly vanished from the public eye, overshadowed by the influx of modern beverages. However, the 1990s saw a resurgence in interest, driven by a cultural renaissance that emphasized the importance of traditional foods and drinks. Today, Es Selendang Mayang is celebrated not only for its taste but also as a symbol of cultural identity and heritage​​.

Ingredients and Preparation

At the heart of Es Selendang Mayang is a simple yet delightful combination of ingredients. The primary components include rice flour and palm sago flour, which are used to create the drink’s signature colorful layers. These layers are typically dyed red, white, and green, representing the vibrancy of Betawi culture.

The preparation process involves creating a pudding-like mixture from the rice flour and palm sago flour. This mixture is divided into three parts, each dyed a different color. The colored mixtures are then layered and allowed to set, creating a visually appealing dessert that is cut into small cubes. These cubes are then served in a bowl, topped with coconut milk and sweet syrup, typically made from palm sugar or red syrup. To enhance its refreshing quality, ice cubes are added, making it an ideal drink for Jakarta’s tropical climate​​.


For those interested in making Es Selendang Mayang at home, here is a detailed recipe:


For the pudding:

  • 500 ml coconut milk
  • 50 gr mung bean flour (Hunkwe flour)
  • 25 gr rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pandan paste (for green color)
  • Red food coloring

For the sauce:

  • 150 gr palm sugar
  • 50 gr white sugar
  • 100 ml water
  • 1 pandan leaf

For the coconut milk gravy:

  • 250 ml coconut milk
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 pandan leaf


  1. In a container, mix coconut milk, white sugar, mung bean flour, rice flour, vanilla, and salt. Bring to a boil while stirring continuously to avoid lumps.
  2. Divide the mixture into three parts. Add pandan paste to one part for the green color, red food coloring to another part, and leave the third part as is for the white layer.
  3. Pour the green mixture into a baking sheet lined with plastic. Let it set slightly before adding the white mixture, followed by the red mixture.
  4. Allow the layered mixture to cool and set completely before cutting it into small cubes.
  5. For the sauce, combine all the sauce ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil until the sugars dissolve completely.
  6. For the coconut milk gravy, mix coconut milk with a pinch of salt and pandan leaf. Bring to a boil, stirring continuously to prevent curdling.
  7. To serve, place the pudding cubes in a bowl, pour the coconut milk gravy over them, and add the palm sugar sauce. Top with ice cubes and enjoy​.

Cultural Revival and Modern Trends

In recent years, the revival of Es Selendang Mayang can be attributed to a growing movement to preserve and promote traditional Indonesian foods and beverages. This trend is especially strong in Jakarta, where local markets and street vendors have once again begun to offer this classic drink.

Notably, the drink’s resurgence is not limited to traditional settings. Modern cafes and restaurants are also embracing Es Selendang Mayang, often adding contemporary twists to attract younger generations. Social media has played a significant role in this revival, with food bloggers and influencers showcasing the drink’s vibrant colors and rich flavors, sparking renewed interest among urban dwellers.

Furthermore, initiatives by cultural heritage organizations have been instrumental in bringing attention to traditional foods like Es Selendang Mayang. These organizations often host festivals and events where traditional Betawi dishes and drinks are featured prominently, allowing people to experience and appreciate the rich culinary heritage of the region​.

Challenges and Opportunities

Despite its resurgence, Es Selendang Mayang faces challenges in sustaining its popularity. One of the primary challenges is the perception of traditional drinks as outdated compared to modern, trendy beverages. Additionally, the labor-intensive preparation process can be a deterrent for vendors and home cooks alike.

However, these challenges also present opportunities. For instance, culinary schools and workshops can teach the art of making Es Selendang Mayang, ensuring that the skills and knowledge are passed down to future generations. Moreover, integrating the drink into contemporary dining experiences can help bridge the gap between tradition and modernity, making it appealing to a broader audience.

The potential for innovation is also significant. By experimenting with new flavors and presentation styles, chefs and food entrepreneurs can create unique versions of Es Selendang Mayang that cater to diverse tastes while preserving its traditional essence​.


Es Selendang Mayang is more than just a drink; it is a cultural artifact that embodies the rich heritage of the Betawi people. Its vibrant colors and sweet, refreshing taste make it a delightful treat, while its historical significance adds depth and meaning to its resurgence.

As Jakarta continues to evolve, the revival of traditional foods and drinks like Es Selendang Mayang serves as a reminder of the city’s diverse cultural roots. By embracing and celebrating these traditions, Jakarta’s residents and visitors alike can ensure that such cultural treasures are preserved for generations to come.

The journey of Es Selendang Mayang from near obscurity to its current resurgence is a testament to the enduring appeal of traditional flavors and the importance of cultural preservation. Whether enjoyed in a bustling market, a modern café, or at home, this iconic Betawi drink continues to captivate and delight those who experience its unique charm​