Lawar Saladwith Kusamba Salt Bali, Indonesia
Kusamba salt not only enhances the taste of a dish, but adds its own flavour profile to Balinese dishes that are typically spicy and salty.Mangku Rna Leader of the Merta Segara Cooperative
Mr. Mangku Rna and his wife have been producing salt everyday, since 1970, on Kusamba beach. They are amongst the last 14 families that produce salt using this traditional technique.
Salt, is not just salt. Too often we overlook certain items in our pantry, putting more importance on star ingredients; such as the protein element of a dish or seasonal produce, however the condiments and spices that we use can transform a dish to another level and can contain many minerals beneficial to our health. Due to the traditional production process of Kusamba salt, it is high in iodine and gives dishes a different flavour complex.
The production of Kusamba salt is very labour intensive. The process starts by leveling the volcanic black sand with rakes. Sea water is carried, across the shoulders, in large pails and sprayed over the leveled sand. A series of sun drying and filtering processes are then used to create Kusamba salt, which is so pure that it shines brilliant white.
5 years ago an alternative salt producer set up in Kusamba and is able to sell their product at a lower price due to the industrialized production. It is an inferior product to the traditional Kusamba salt, however the same name is able to be used as it is produced in the same region. This has dramatically affected the market of the traditional Kusamba salt, which was once Bali’s number one prized salt. Unable to sell at a premium price, Kusamba salt now has an uncertain future. Young people are not attracted to the traditional work, which now does not provide an attractive income and requires high level of manual labour.
Mr Mangku is the leader of the Merta Segara Cooperative, which was developed to assist with marketing of the Kusamba salt. Although he is now too old to carry the 50 pails of water required daily, Mr Magnku loves his work and hopes that Kusamba salt will continue to give dishes a touch of Bali for many years to come.
Typically served during Balinese celebrations, Lawar literally means “thinly sliced”. It accompanies other celebratory meat dishes such as babi guling (suckling pig).
The human body needs a very small amount of sodium to conduct nerve impulses, contract and relax muscles, and maintain the proper balance of water and minerals.Dr. Marta Guasch-Ferré Dietician and PhD in Nutritional Epidemiology