The crispy, fried snack chips known as emping often win over visitors to Indonesia. On a trip to Jakarta in 2010, former U.S. president Barack Obama declared them enak (“delicious”). Every batch of these savory snacks begins as a humble cluster of fruit hanging from the melinjo tree. Looking a little like a miniaturized mango, the fruit’s juicy appearance belies the slightly bitter seeds inside. But a little heat and a lot of handiwork transforms these nutty-looking seeds into Javanese gems.
Crafting emping is a lengthy labor of love. Makers begin by removing the seed’s bright outer coating, revealing…
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