A video of a rujak cingur (Javanese cow muzzle salad) seller in the East Java capital of Surabaya recently went viral on social media. In the 59-second video, the seller, a middle-aged woman, told the man behind the camera that she sold the East Javanese delicacy for IDR 60,000 (US$4.21) per portion — an amount far higher than the dish’s average price.
“Pardon me, Ma’am. Is it true that the rujak cost IDR 300 thousand? So that means each portion is IDR 60 thousand and the iced drink IDR 15 thousand. So four portions were IDR 315 thousand,” the man asked the seller in the Surabayan dialect of Javanese.
The video’s caption reads: “Surabaya is tough, bro! This rujak location is on Wiguna [street]. Rujak Cingur @ IDR 60,000, iced [drinks] @ Rp 15,000… [I] forwarded [the video] from the source, who’s from Bulak Banteng area in Surabaya.”
The man said he was extremely surprised because it was the first time he had eaten rujak cingur at such an extraordinary price. Later in the video, the seller tells him that there are several places that sell the dish at an even higher price.
Based on information gathered by netizens, the seller in question is a 43-year-old woman named Marmila, better known as Bu Milla, who usually sells her rujak cingur on Jalan Raya Wiguna Timur in the Rungkut sub-district of Surabaya.
Bu Milla told Detik on Monday that she’s been selling the delicacy for 20 years. Sadly, after the video went viral, she said that she has received a number of anonymous threats from people calling her number.
“The video was taken on Saturday. After [that video], I constantly got terrorized by phone calls and SMS messages that told me messed up things such as ‘pricey rujak’ or ‘your rujak is bad’. If you don’t want to buy my rujak, it’s not a problem. I still have a lot of customers,” Milla told Detik on Monday.
In addition to the threatening calls, Milla told Detik that there were some people who damaged her stall, but she didn’t think that the perpetrators were the same people who recorded the video that made her viral. She said the damage was caused by four men who were riding a Toyota Avanza car with a B license plate, indicating that it came from Jakarta.
“This morning when I was about to open my stall, all my things had been dumped into the river, including my table, all my glasses were broken. I don’t know what they intended. If you’re brave enough, come face me directly, no need to dump all my things. I’m not afraid even if I’m by myself and there are four of you because I don’t steal anything. I’m just selling my food,” Milla continued.
“If you don’t have any money, you don’t have to buy [my rujak]. I didn’t call them anyway. The four men who recorded me woke me up from my nap to buy the rujak,” she added.
Milla said she’s already sold her dish for IDR 60,000 for quite a long time, not just recently because she wanted to take advantage of increased demand during the Eid holiday. As for the price, Milla said her rujak comes in a jumbo portion size and this is the first time she’s heard such complaints about its price.
Additionally, there are numerous reports that Milla is her family’s breadwinner, as her husband has been suffering from kidney failure and has required dialysis twice a week for the last six years.
Milla told the news outlet that she didn’t sell her rujak on Tuesday because she had been so stressed out by the threats. She also said that authorities, including members of the Civil Service Police (Satpol PP), sub-district officials, and the police, had visited her stall to ask about the price of her rujak, with some telling her she should move her stall to a better place.
Starting today, Milla moved her stall, but only 5 meters from her original location on the same street. As reported by Detik and Kompas, Milla’s loyal customers flocked her stall, as well as new ones, who came out of curiosity after seeing the video.
Curious about what Milla’s rujak cingur tastes like? You can watch the video by Surabaya food vlogger @kokobuncit below: