The Chimney Village
Kampung Kobong’s smokehouses have been producing Semarang’s popular smoked fish for the last two decades.
Text and Photos By Ahmad Zamroni
A thick blanket of smoke often covers Kampung Kobong—literally the village of chimneys- that belch out from the dozens of chimneys sticking up from the smokehouses along the banks of the Kali Asin river in north Semarang. There are about fifty smokehouses here—each has at least four chimneys.
The method of producing smoked fish in Kampung Kobong has changed little over the years.
The smokehouses produce smoked fishes popular in Semarang dishes. A variety of fishes are smoked, mostly cob, cat fish and tuna. Before smoking, the fish are cut into small pieces, washed, dried in the sun and then smoked for about ten minutes. Women do most of the work, starting around sunrise and working until 5 p.m. For a day’s work they’ll get Rp 40,000 on average, while the owners can net a profit of about Rp 300,000 a day depending on market demand.