Looking at history, lapo tuak is familiar with the crowd. The Batak people don’t just make it a place to eat, but a space for interaction to blow their hearts out. There, they chat, hum, and even sing until morning. Thus, lapo tuak actually cannot be separated from the social life of the Batak people.

Get to know the Lapo Tradition

In the Big Indonesian Dictionary (KBBI), lapo comes from the word lepau. In the past, this term referred to the veranda behind the house which was used as a kitchen. In Sumatra, this place is always synonymous with restaurants.

In accordance with the Batak accent, lepau is pronounced lapo. The Batak lapo tradition was born from the concept of traditional Batak settlements (huta) in Tanah Batak, around Lake Toba, North Tapanuli.

According to Lolita Susan Ginzel, Batak men in the past, after being tired of working in the fields or fields, often gathered to unwind while marnonang (chatting). At that time, usually someone from the family came to serve tuak – a typical Batak drink with low alcohol content – to warm the body. However, as agricultural land shrinks, it is inversely proportional to the increase in population. Free tuak treats are no longer possible. The gathering places that existed before were converted into commercial activities.

“So the term lapo came from the word lepau, which means a shop for selling,” wrote Lolita in her anthropology thesis entitled “Lapo Tuak Arena for Social Interaction for the Toba Batak Community” at the University of Indonesia.

Tuak itself is believed to have many benefits. This fermented drink comes from the taps of the enau tree which in Batak is called bagot. Sweet tuak or what is commonly called sap is usually used as a thirst quencher and inexpensive energy booster. The taste varies from sweet to slightly bitter like beer. Like fermented drinks, tuak is considered able to warm the body especially when the weather is cold. In addition, according to the belief of the parents, tuak is good for mothers who have just given birth.

“In addition to increasing energy, it is also to expedite and increase the water of mother’s milk (ASI) which is very nutritious for newborns. This has been practiced a lot, ”wrote Walter Sirait and O. Sihotang in“ Various Functions of Kedai Tuak ”contained in a collection of writings on Thoughts on Batak edited by Bungaran Antonius Sim Continak.

In the 1950s, lapo was transformed. What is served is not only tuak, but also tambul (meat) – generally processed pork, typical of Batak cuisine – and gold fish. In subsequent developments, Lapo has become a restaurant serving typical Batak culinary delights.

“Lapo, the Toba Batak style bar plays an important role in the social life of the Toba Batak people,” wrote Basyral Hamidy Harahap and Hotman Siahaan in the Orientation of Batak Cultural Values.

The purpose of visiting lapo is not just filling your stomach. Lapo is an arena for social interaction, a gathering place to offer entertainment and even inspiration for its visitors. The habits of the Batak people who like to sing are often shed in the lapo. So it is not surprising that many well-known Batak pop musicians have stepped up from the “lapo class”.

The famous artist and composer Nahum Situmorang is one of them. Many of his songs were created while spending time hanging out at lapos. His song, entitled Lisoi, describes how lapo is a place to unwind.

Lapo’s image

Over time, lapo has become the main means of supporting the Batak family’s economy in the culinary industry. From Tapanuli, the Batak people took the lapo overseas. In Medan, it is not difficult to find a report. Almost every corner of the city has a Batak restaurant or lapo. One of the most famous lapo in Medan is Lapo Siagian / br. Tobing is usually abbreviated as “Lapsito”.

Lapo Siagian / br Tobing was founded in 1959 and is said to be the oldest lapo in Medan that still exists today. In the 1970s, Lapo Siagian / br Tobing continued to grow and changed its concept from lapo tuak to a restaurant. In Jakarta, two branches have been established in the Senayan and Rawamangun areas.

In the 1990s, lapo began to spread in the capital. “In Jabotabek, tens or maybe even hundreds of lapos are present as a place for food stalls and perhaps as a place for the chatter of fellow Batak workers,” wrote Kompas, August 8, 1996.

Now lapo tends to have a narrow meaning: a place to drink tuak and non-halal food. A negative impression also arises because many lapos provide liquor with high alcohol content. Some lapos have even become a den of gambling.

In 1994, tuak reports became the target of Clean Operations (Opsih ’94) which was instructed directly by the Pangdam of Kodam V Jaya, Major General TNI AM. Hendropriyono, as reported in Kompas, May 30, 1994.

During its development, lapo became attached to a slanted stigma. As a cultural product that presents the culinary richness of the archipelago, the image of lapo is reduced to profit and business interests.

Because many people are drunk, singing until midnight makes a lot of noise. That is why in this report, since the 1990s, we have stopped making tuak, “said Huslan br. Panjaitan (65), owner of Lapo Siagian br. Tobing the second generation to Historia.

It is undeniable that the present Batak image of lapo is always viewed in two ways: good and bad. Besides being a place to relieve fatigue, on the other hand, the existence of lapok often worries others. Polemics and sensitive issues regarding lapo tuak might not have occurred if its current presence could be placed on its original mandate: as a place to fill the stomach while chatting.

Source : historia