These beloved Indonesian chips are actually flattened, fried seeds.

Fried emping ready to nosh.Fried emping ready to nosh.A curry with emping cakes as crunchy topping.Flattened, dried, emping sold for frying.
Fried emping ready to nosh.

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…

Sasha Harriet

Sasha Harriet

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Sasha Harriet

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