The arrival upon the dairy industry from foreign culture has undoubtedly brought many influences and effects towards Indonesian culture and not necessarily for the better, some of them are beginning to worsen the impact it gives regarding many aspects ranging from health, environment, local economy, and also the loss of our culture's authenticity. Several vegan members in Indonesia might have questioned our culinary heritage for being accidentally vegan-friendly. Varying from Gado - Gado, Ketoprak, Asinan Jakarta, to the traditional sweets like Kue Lapis, Klepon, and many more (not to mention tempeh and Jajanan Pasar).
These dishes all share one thing in common: being 100% authentic or the absence of acculturation. Especially for Jajanan Pasar (Indonesian traditional sweet snacks), many of those that are considered 'traditional' aren't actually true. For example ; kue sus, dadar gulung, martabak, and even kue lumpur. These dishes are all byproducts of acculturation (the presence of foreign culture). Thus, any dishes containing either lactose or gluten are not 100% authentic Indonesian culinary heritage.
To support this statement, our team has managed an interview with culinary expert Kevindra Soemantri. He stated, "Jajanan Pasar was first born/invented by the 7th - 8th century, and indeed the ingredients for all these Jajanan Pasar were both vegan and gluten-free. Also, the majority of our ancient culinary culture was plant-based (in Indonesia; Nabati) because geographically we are an Agrarian Country (Negara Agraris) which supports many diverse plant-based ingredients to grow robustly".
Despite the mass commercial explaining that a good start of the day includes a full glass of dairy milk in the morning, the irony comes to the realization that 70% to 95% of Asian descents are lactose intolerant (information differs from many sources). Clearly, dairy milk doesn't support the Asian population biologically, which leads to the question; Is it truly necessary to consume dairy milk for us Asians considering the harmful impacts it produces? How did this Industry come to mess with our digestive system in the first place? And why is dairy milk still mistaken to be a primary source of nutrients among the society in Indonesia?
On another topic, Soemantri also stated, "Dairy was used to be an essential beverage among the society in Indonesia, it used to be consumed by itself, and not in any foods containing dairies (e.g., Pastries, Ice cream, or cakes). But nowadays Dairy has altered their market the other way around, and I'd prefer it that way". "I earlier read a journal which explained the importance of maintaining the similar diet our ancestors developed in the first place. Dairy milk is a new thing for us that approached us in a somewhat forceful way, and physiologically we don't truly fit consuming dairy milk (let alone drinking it daily)". So now that we know how society responds to the Industry nowadays, this adds up to another question; From the past, where did we get the influence of Dairy in the first place?
To answer the question, we have an archeologist and an epigraph Ina Juriati Rahmawati with her research result regarding Dairy and its historical evidence in Indonesia. She found that numerous ancient inscriptions described how the past civilizations depend on their dietary menu for mostly plant-based, such evidence can be found in an old Javanese manuscript titled Serat Centhini (1814), Ancient Balinese Inscription of Babetin AI (911 C) where it stated that rice and mung beans were essential for day-to-day consumptions, and several other historical pieces of evidence. So when exactly did Dairy arrive? Rahmawati stated that it's clear to say that Dairy came along with Dutch Colonialism.
Though cattle were present before the arrival of the dutch, they weren't bred for milk production but their meat consumption and labor to help with rice fields irrigation setting instead. The earliest evidence to support this is from the historical book 'History of Java' (1817) by Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles (British statesman, Lieutenant-Governor of the Dutch East Indies). In it, he explained comprehensively about his confusion towards the Javanese not producing milk from their cattle, and that was how the Dutch began to white-wash and acculturate our culinary culture.
Another thing that's clear to note, it's true that our body is capable of harnessing some new and foreign ingredients into our diet, but consuming it daily and continuously purchasing it in a large quantity is up for another irony corresponding with capitalism and politics. Realizing the harmful impacts it brings both public health/welfare and the environment, Is it really worth maintaining 4 Sehat 5 Sempurna? Historical evidence shows that the Ancient Kingdom of Majapahit or Sriwijaya didn't incorporate dairy into their public diet. Yet, they still soar to become the greatest empire in Southeast Asia in their regnal years.