Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Miscellaneous Food: Jakarta Part One

Gosh, where to start? My lovely college friend J, was headed to South East Asia for a rare work trip so W. and I headed out to the wild town to visit her over the weekend. Given that we're both voracious planners and eaters, this would always have been a terrific weekend of bonding and experiences and yes, it was a short but lovely time for indulgent lulur massages at the spa and fantastic Indonesian food.

We shunned the expat-y places (of which there are many) and instead trusted in the local magazines and our concierge. The first night that we were there, we were so very tired but we still went out to this beautiful colonial house, called Lara Djonggrang for a wonderfully large, spicy dinner in a mystical and romantic setting.

The second day, we went to another restaurant-in-a-house, called Dapur Babah, for Peranakan food. This restaurant had three seperate menus of Chinese Baba, Dutch Baba and Indonesian Baba dishes, which was incredibly extensive.

The strongest feature of the place though, had to be the gorgeous surroundings. The place was a treasure trove of old musuem pieces and restored furniture and artifacts of stone, fabric and wood.

One felt like a movie star in a world gone by and the drama and history of the place definitely added to the cultural experience of the Peranakan cooking.

The food was also just beautifully presented, the first course was an appetizer of wan ton but encased in a crispy batter shell.

The second was a chicken soup and the third were some lemongrass fish sticks.

Even the rice was beautifully presented at each meal, one meal, they were shaped in elephant-shaped patties, another, they came sitting in a warm basket woven from banana leaves. We ate our rice with the main accompaniments, which were a goreng ayam (roast or fried chicken) which was beautifully presented on a bright red plate, with red chilli sauce...

And an interesting curried vegetable. We made it a point to order all the unique vegetables that we'd never heard of before, so we had quite a variety over the few days that we were there. Overall, the food was fantastic and much more authentic than what we get in Singapore.

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