Sunday, August 5, 2012

toko madjoe cookies

At jalan pasar besar, the pecinan (english: china town) in Malang, you don't have to look too hard for restaurants and all sorts of shops owned by the same family for generations. It's particularly encouraging to see, considering the rapid rate of commercialisation in Indonesia. It's also comforting for someone who is deeply homesick to come back to after a number of years away.

Opposite my favourite noodle place is this unassuming kue kering (english: cookie) shop called Toko Madjoe. Madjoe is actually an old indonesian spelling for the word "maju" meaning forward, progressive, or advance. It is both an adjective and a verb. It was an aspiration for the owners when they opened the shop in the 1930s, but is somewhat sadly ironic for a shop that now seems to be stuck in a certain time period.

Nonetheless, stepping into the store is like stepping back into time. Everything in the shop is genuinely old, not faux old, not new-things-that-has-been-made-to-look-old old.

This may both be its downfall and its redemption.

These days, people would prefer to go into a bakery that feels brand new, with staff in gleaming uniforms, serving you with a smile, with cookies already separated in small plastic bags. People are comforted by pristinely preserved food, a clearly stamped expiry date, food that is all sanitised and clinical.

Bunny shaped cookies - Rp 11,000/ounce

Instead, you've got an owner (daughter of the first owner) who is in her 60s with stories to tell, cookies that has been made with a recipe that has survived the ages, cookies with no preservatives. You've got a lesson in history.

This relic of a past is a soothing comfort for my homesickness, I sincerely hope for its survival in this bigger-better-newer world we live in.

Toko Madjoe
Jalan Pasar Besar 30B
Open Mon-Sat 8am-7pm, Sun 8am-11am


  1. Thanks for telling this story as I too really wish this shop would survive. It's one of my earliest and memorable memory of all the toko's in Malang. And I miss it quite terribly.
    And I really like all the pictures and the rest of the entries too, as they tell the stories of the places I went and would go to when I come home. Soothing my home sickness. :)

    1. Thank you Ina for your kind words. I write the posts about Malang primarily for myself so that I have them to go back to when I'm homesick, but I'm glad someone else is also appreciative of them. I've still got a few more posts about Malang left to go, though these days it seems a bit of an ask finding the time to write them.


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