Anyone who knows a thing or two about Indonesian food should know that kobokan water is for dipping one’s hand into, and not for slurpin’.
Bless the soul of a Korean food vlogger Hoontamin, then, who clearly did not know any better, leading to a hilarious culinary mishap when he recently visited Jakarta.
In his YouTube video, Hoontamin visited a street food stall on Jalan Sabang, a famous culinary spot in the capital city. He ordered nasi uduk (coconut rice) with grilled fish, which was recommended by one of his subscribers.
As is customary at street stalls that do not feature running water for handwashing, Hoontamin received a small bowl of kobokan water with his order. Customers ordinarily dip their hands in the kobokan before and after eating their meals with their right hand.
However, Hoontamin mistook the kobokan water for soup and lifted up the bowl for a little sip. He was stopped by the stall owner who shouted at him that it was not for drinking, but for washing hands.
Hoontamin was shocked and embarrassed and spat out the water. He apologized and laughed at his mistake. He then continued to enjoy his meal and praised the taste of the nasi uduk and the grilled fish.
His video went viral on social media and received many comments from netizens who found his blunder funny and cute. Some netizens explained that in Korean culture, soup is often served in small bowls with meals.
Some netizens also shared their own stories of drinking kobokan water by accident or seeing other foreigners doing the same. They advised Hoontamin and other visitors to be careful and ask before drinking anything in Indonesia.