Follow us as we trace return to the olden days where Bandung became the center of the whole Indonesia, known for its milk and butter produced by its foremost proponent – Bandoengsche Melk Centrale.
There is probably only one in Indonesia so far, a milk producer with a long history, decades before the independence day of the country and still exists until now.
Bandoengsche Melk Centrale (BMC) came all the way since 1928 and became the country’s first and foremost milk producer – starting since the Dutch colonial era, imperial Japanese, and now privatized by Indonesian government.
Like coffee, the existence of milk in Indonesia came from the Dutch colonialists. Only this time, it was the South African Boers who came all the way here and settled themselves on the heights of Lembang – a highly suitable terrain to start dairy farming.
The effort was supported by the colonial government, which in turn imported cows from Frisia, a province in The Netherlands known traditionally for its dairy products. Even as of today, the crossover breed between cows from Frisia and Schleswig-Holstein in Germany retains its reputation as world’s most productive dairy cattle.
Of all the dairy farms in Lembang back on those days until this very day, they distribute the dairy products freshly on regular basis to Bandoengsche Melk Centrale.
Traditionally pasteurized and sterilized, the milk has since become the initial flavor for mainly the citizens of Bandung. The company enjoyed its heyday during colonial government era and it was known to many that the current BMC director of that period boasted the importance of BMC for the whole Dutch Indies or one would prefer the name as Nusantara nowadays.
However, the turbulent times came ahead since the Japanese took over the control of Indonesia. It was even recorded that the early years of Indonesian government marked the declining era of BMC. Left as it is, BMC had to survive with old equipments and limited resources until it finally went into “coma” for around two decades.
My recent visit was of course, very nostalgic. Remembering my childhood and my college days visiting this place evokes a lot of memories. There’s always a heartwarming sensation whenever I paired a glass of iced sweetened fresh milk with toast or French fries and sausage. It’s the same ritual that my family used to do whenever we visited this place back then or any milk cafes in Lembang.
Today, the menu lineup of BMC becomes more formidable than ever. The decades spent on perfecting the milk came to realization with immense selections like this. If you are up for the sourest taste and with more health benefits, BMC also has the kefir.
If you are the traditionalists, then you should opt for the plain milk or yogurt. However, the best choice that I made last time was the grape yogurt with homemade vanilla ice cream and it was such a divine choice to accompany the nibbles.
In the end, it was ultimately the long legacy of the business that saves the day. BMC has been reorganized several times until now and it remains Bandung’s pride and joy as an establishment that encompasses more than just milk and yogurt. It is also a place to enjoy local fares, coffee, and also as a bakery.
BANDOENGSCHE MELK CENTRALE
Suitable for vegetarians
Jalan Aceh no. 30, Bandung – Indonesia
Opening hours: Daily, 10am – 10.30pm
Featured in FOODIES Mar 2016 edition