Giant Indonesian 'tumpeng' breaks world record

A 2.28 meter high tumpeng (an Indonesian cone-shaped rice dish served with various side dishes) prepared by the organizers of the Indonesian pavilion at Expo Milano 2015 has officially broken a new world record as the tallest tumpeng in the world.

The achievement took place at the pavilion's compound on Monday afternoon, in conjunction with the celebration of the 70th anniversary of Indonesian independence, with acknowledgement from Guinness World Records and Indonesian Museum of Records (MURI), representatives of which were present at the venue.

"To break the world record, the tumpeng had to be taller than 1.5 meters. The final measurement was 2.28 meters. So, this is the new Guinness World Record," Guinness adjudicator Lorenzo Veltri said before handing over the certificate to Trade Ministry director general for national export development and Indonesia's commissioner general for the expo, Nus Nuzulia Ishak.

At the same stage, MURI deputy director Osmar Semesta Susilo also handed over a certificate that recognised the giant tumpeng in Milan as the tallest tumpeng ever made outside Indonesia to Nus.

Both Guinness and MURI certificates mention the names of the Archipelago Cultural Conservation Cooperative (KPBN) and Jakarta-based non-profit organisation Artha Graha Peduli, which co-organised the pavilion, as joint holders of their respective record.

Chef I Made Sandy, who worked with a dozen cooks and kitchen helpers to prepare the giant tumpeng, said he was happy with the result, as the team had initially planned to make a tumpeng with a height of 2.08 meters.

In an earlier press conference, Sandy said the tumpeng, once completed, could weigh more than 1,200 kilograms.

"We need 350 kilograms of glutinous rice and another 250 kilograms of rice only to prepare the yellow rice for the tumpeng," said Sandy, a head chef at Hotel Borobudur in Jakarta.

The giant tumpeng consisted of eight layers of yellow rice and was surrounded by 17 side dishes and 45 smaller tumpeng, all representing the date when Indonesia gained its independence on Aug. 17, 1945.

Among the side dishes prepared for the tumpeng were fried chicken, sambal goreng ati (liver in sambal), urap sayur (vegetable salad with grated coconut) and pepes ikan (steamed spicy fish wrapped in banana leaves).

Universal Exposition, or World Expo, dubbed the world's third biggest event after the World Cup and the Olympics, is organised by the Paris-based Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) and held once every five years for up to six months.

This year's expo is held in Milan from May 1 to Oct. 31, with 70 independent pavilions, including the Indonesian pavilion, participating.

The Indonesian pavilion was built on a 1,175 square meter plot of land located at the end of the 1.5 kilometer long Decumanus, the main thoroughfare at the 110 hectare expo site where participating countries built their pavilions. However, unlike previous World Expos, this year's Indonesian pavilion has been funded by the private sector.

Indonesian pavilion director Budiman Muhammad said the venue, as of last week, had attracted almost 800,000 visitors. Budiman said he was keen to see the pavilion attract at least 2 million visitors by the end of the expo.

Monday's attempt to break the world record for the tallest tumpeng successfully helped the pavilion attract thousands of visitors, who were allowed to sample the tumpeng after the official record measurement.

Many Indonesians residing in Italy who visited the expo on Monday said they were also proud with the record-breaking success.

"It made me shiver when I was looking at the giant tumpeng. It reminds me of my beloved country," said Khadijah Hasbi, who has been living in Milan for 15 years.