Tuban – The Earth-Eating Village of Indonesia

In Tuban, a village in the East Java  province of Indonesia, earth is used to make “ampo” a creamy snack believed to have medicinal properties.

According to Rasima, the ampo cook of Tuban, there is no real recipe to making this bizarre snack. All she does is look for clean, gravel-free soil, in the village’s rice paddies, pound it into a solid block, using a stick, and scrape rolls out of it,with a bamboo dagger. The rolls of soils are then baked and smoked for an hour. Rasima then takes the earthy snacks to the village market, where she earns about $2, to supplement her family’s income.

Tuban is the only earth-eating village on the planet. There are people, around the world, who enjoy eating sand, or kaolin, but not baked soil. Villagers believe ampo is a natural pain-killer, and that it makes babies’ skin softer, if eaten by their pregnant mothers.

As for the taste of ampo, “it’s nothing special, it feels cold in my stomach” says one of the Tuban locals, who has been eating ampo, ever since she was a child.


Photos by REUTERS via Daylife

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Feedback (4 Comments)

  • Vira Posted on April 1, 2010

    Tuban, Thats My Country..

  • galm Posted on May 6, 2010

    Not only tuban, but many javanese villages still eat ampo, especially in the central java and east java. Quite popular for pregnant woman.

  • charles Posted on September 28, 2010

    not very strange even ladies in uganda primarily the pregnant ones eat processed clay localy known as boomba its a common craving for this delicacy for women in the middle of the nine months i mean clay as in real clay for pottery

  • Soliloquy Posted on August 17, 2011

    I believe that the snack has a lot of minerals which are needed by pregnant woman.