Wednesday, November 4, 2009

An extensive photoblog of Indonesian cuisine

*Note - this is reposted from my old blog becuase I love it so much. :)*
*Note #2 - I have shamelessly pulled half these photos from whatever website google images pulled them from... but the other half are mine!*
I have been craving food from home (in other words, the food I grew up eating as a kid in Indonesia). Because of this, you get to enjoy a photo tour of some Indonesian delicacies. In the process I found enough interesting photos that I'll probably do another non-food Indonesia blog tomorrow, but lets do one thing at a time here.

Growing up, this stuff was the cheap stuff... the stuff we could buy on most street corners or hole-in-the-wall restaurants. What I craved was pizza, lasagna, and macaroni and cheese. Now I can get those delicacies for a coupla bucks in the frozen food section, and I'm craving Asian street food. *sigh*. What I wouldn't do to be here:


Yuumm... These stands sell all sorts of delicacies, but the ones we used to go to held fried goodness of all sorts, like these. They fry sweet potato, tofu with fermented soybeans (seriously you'd never guess how awesome this stuff is), fried spring rolls, fried dough with meat or veges in the middle, fried bananas... I mean geez, you can hit up almost all food groups by just buying from one "street food" stand!


Our other favorite roadside stand was the one selling martabak and terang bulan. I got a play by play when we were there last summer. Incidentally, I had talked up terang bulan to Isaac (since it literally was my family's favorite dessert), but when he had his first bite his eyes lit up and we went back every other day to get more. This is me, at our terang bulan stand last summer.


Step one: pour the batter into the cast iron skillet - the one on the left is newly poured (that's ours), the one on the right is almost ready for step two.


Step two: slather the thick-pancake-thingy with ... uhh... butter. Do ya'll know what Blue Band is? Under no other circumstances will I ever eat blue band, which is the most disgusting butter substitute you'll ever see. However, in this case, we make an exception.


Step three: pour chocolate sprinkles and sweetened condensed milk all over the pancake


Step four: Flip it over, slather again. The more calories and fat, the better.


And the final product: the best dessert you've ever had, best warm and gooey. (*salivating*)


Ok, moving quickly along before I swoon, this is probably the only gooey sweet dessert in Indonesia. They prefer their desserts not near as sweet as we do. In most cases, the best Indonesian food is the main meal. Note the below photos, a tiny bit of veges to go with your fried rice and fried egg, sate with peanut sauce, and krupuk. The krupuk is on the lower left - it's a big chip that is incredibly fun to cook. It's basically shrimp, pounded together and dried out. When you fry it it grows exponentially to the delight of the children watching, and when you bite into it it crackles like rice krispies. Super fun.


And a close up: Indonesian Sate is the best ever....


Once I hit highschool, we were so over the "bring your lunch from home" phase, and began ordering "nasi bungkus", which literally means packaged rice. It came looking somewhat like this. They delivered them in bags to our school, and we'd all gather and pick out our particular order (fish, chicken, beef, veges, super-extra-spicey :))


Last summer I introduced Isaac to the joys of nasi bungkus, which is really a full meal for about a dollar. It's rice, meat, sauce, and a few veges.... of course to be proper you eat it with your fingers. That's my high school lunch memory, sitting on the steps with friends and eating our nasi bunkus's with our fingers (like how I just inflicted and English plural on an Indonesian word?). Also on his ..uhhh... plate? .. is another from of krupuk, fried taro root chips, and an awesome Indonesian fruit.


Here's something else I introduced to Isaac, soto ayam. Soto is a kind of noodles, I think maybe we call them glass noodles here in the US? In any case they are tiny and clear, and they cook them with chicken and eggs and cucumbers and random veges and squeeze in some lime juice and the best broth ever.... and it's the best chicken soup I've ever tasted. YUM. (this photo is also truly mine)


Of course, we do have some western privileges over there. Although Papua (the island I call home) has yet to enjoy the privilege of having a Mcdonalds, most of Indonesia DOES. However, over there you order your burger with a side of rice. :) And... you can get your Mcdonalds delivered. :


Isaac and I went to get some snacks at the store.... he wasn't sure which to buy.... :


Of course, the snacks that I actually grew up on were these, except I preferred chocolate ultra milk, not strawberry. Beng-bengs are still an awesome candybar. :)


Needless to say, not all Indonesian food is amazing. I recently talked to a blogging friend about the still-lingering practice of eating dog.

And then there's Papeda, or Sago. I know ya'll have probably heard of it. It's the staple food for tribes in the low-lands of Papua (most of Indonesia had nothing to do with this practice - it's pretty purely Papuan). Papeda takes an incredible amount of effort for being a basically nutrition-less food. The women spend all day harvesting sago palms, splitting them open, and harvesting the care of the tree, which is a pulpy, spongy ...wood? I suppose it's wood, since it's from a tree. In any case, they filter it and clean it and cook it up and eventually it becomes.... well... essentially it looks like snot and people tell me it tastes like glue. I do not know how people survive on this stuff:


Even with the delicious food, you have to get past where your food came from, which is the local market... which is less then appetizing (actual photo taken by an incredulous and brave Isaac last summer at the meat market). I know several expatriate families who went vegetarian after visiting the market. :):


Having grown up with it, though, I'll eat just about whatever they give me in Indonesia, so long as it's not insanely spicy. Man, I miss Asian food.

To view other Featured Flikr Photos, see previous posts about the Most Romantic Spots in Chicago, drinks from around the world,  Papuan village life, Sentani, and Jayapura.


Rach said...

mmmmmmmmmmmmm martabak - i LOVE it - so much grease yet so little obesity...interesting!

thanks for all the comments too, it makes me want to keep writing :)

wish you could come over for wine and cheese and all night chat

(or all day chat, as i don't seem to be able to tahan all night chats anymore! doh, old before my time)

Anonymous said...

That's mangosteen on Isaac's plate! That was my favourite in the Philippines! I was so excited to find it once in a while in Scotland.

(I couldn't post with wordpress so I had to go anonymous)

thegypsymama said...

Ah yes, nothing like the open air markets! They had a lot of those in Ukraine where stray dogs were constantly walking around inbetween the rows of hanging meat. Suffice to say, we ate a lot of vegetables while we lived there.

Oh, and the "snot" stuff. Ouch. Just looking at it is sufficient - tasting it, that would really hurt!

Bethany said...

Wow, it's so neat to read about this! I saw McD's delivered a lot when I was in Europe, so weird. McD's was different over there though. Wow...I just love reading about other cultures :)

Daniel Peckham said...

This post makes me very hungry, and also reminds me of these photos I took in a market in Sulawesi (Tomohon, near Manado) Unusual Foods

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Indonesia Eats said...

I'm an Indonesian native who have been landed in Canada for 6 years. There are so many distinct foods between region to region in Indonesia. Off course as a person who grew up in Java, I've never had papeda. I'd love to have it one day.

I preferred mocha and chocolate ultra milk. Miss them so much!