BANDOENGSCHE MELK CENTRALE
Follow us as we turn back time to the olden days when Bandung became the center of the whole country, known for its milk and butter produced by the Bandoengsche Melk Centrale.
THE ONLY ONE of its kind in Indonesia, Bandoengsche Melk Centrale (BMC) is a milk producer with a long history, even decades before the country’s independence, and is still existing up to now.
BMC was opend in 1928 and became the country’s first and foremost milk producer – surviving the Dutch colonial era, Imperial Japanese occupation, and now privatized by the Indonesian government.
Like coffee, the production of milk in the country was started by the Dutch colonialists. But it was the South African Boers who settled in the heights of Lembang whowere the key proponents of dairy production, motivated by the highly suitable terrain in the area.
This effort was supported by the colonial government, which in turn imported cows from Frisia, a province in The Netherlands known for its dairy products. Even today, the crossover breed between cows from Frisia and Schleswig-Holstein in Germany retain its reputation as the world’s most productive dairy cattle.
To this day, all the milk produced at the dairy farms in Lembang are still delivered fresh to Bandoengsche Melk Centrale. The milk is pasteurized and sterilized, and has become the favorite of the citizens of Bandung. The company enjoyed its heyday during the colonial era and it was boasted to be an important gem for the whole Dutch Indies.
However, the turbulent times came during the Japanese occupation. It was even recorded that the early years of the Indonesian government marked the decline of BMC. Left as it is, BMC had to survive with old equipment and limited resources until it finally went into a “coma” for around two decades.
My recent visit was of course, very nostalgic. Remembering my childhood and my college days visiting this place evokes a lot of memories. There’s always a heartwarming sensation whenever I paired a glass of iced sweetened fresh milk with toast or French fries and sausage. It’s the same ritual that my family used to do whenever we visited this place back then or any milk café in Lembang.
Today, the menu at BMC is more formidable. The decades spent perfecting the milk are reflected in the immense selection. If you are the traditionalists, then you should opt for the plain milk or yogurt. If you are up for the sourest taste with more health benefits, try the kefir. However, the best choice that I made was the grape yogurt with homemade vanilla ice cream which was divine to accompany the nibbles.
In the end, it was ultimately the long legacy of the business that saved the day. BMC has been reorganized several times and now remains Bandung’s pride and joy as an establishment that encompasses more than just milk and yogurt. It is also a place to enjoy local fare, coffee and also freshly baked goods.
BANDOENGSCHE MELK CENTRALE (BMC)
Jalan Aceh no. 30, Bandung
T: +6222 420 4595
OPENING HOURS: Daily, 10am – 10.30pm
SPEND: IDR 15,000 – IDR 30,000 / person