Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Culinary adventure in Indonesia

I'm sharing a glimpse of some of the foods I ate when I was back in Jakarta, Indonesia last summer.  The photos aren't that great but boy, those were the best memories I've ever tasted again.


Rambutan, a close cousin to lychee with hair surrounding the outer skin. My most loved tropical fruits, I miss them the most, especially the local variety which is called rambutan rapiah. When I was in Jakarta, it was not the season for rambutan rapiah yet, so I had not had a chance to eat them. I think the rambutan ini this photo is actually from Thailand.

Steamed bananas

Bananas are abundant in Indonesia and the varieties we eat there are different from what we can get here in the US. This one I think is called pisang kepok and the plants were grown in my late grandparents timber company. My aunt steamed this for us to eat for snack.


My brother's wife is an accomplished baker and cook. She made her fruitbread, which was brown bread studded with dried fruits, for us while we were there. My mom likes this so much that she asked for the recipe and tried to recreate here, but to no avail!

Mini ice cream

My son got a treat of four mini ice cream while we were visiting a mall in Jakarta. They're kinda cute!

Pisang goreng

Ah, pisang goreng, aka deep-fried bananas. A typical snack sold by a night street vendor. The batter for the bananas are special and it's a trade secret. They also sell deep-fried mashed sweetened mung beans, which is called gandasturi. I've the pleasure to eat it too.

Kerak telor

An old-fashioned food sold by a night street vendor. The main ingredients are cooked rice, eggs, some spices, fried shallots. Kerak means the crusty part of the rice cooked in a special cast-iron wok, and telor means egg. I can still remember a vendor who sold this food in the Chinatown area back when I was very young.

Nasi campur

When in Asia, go the food courts. You will not be disappointed with the variety of foods they sell. One of the foods I was hunting for was nasi campur, or mixed-rice Chinese style. The rice is Haninanese style rice, often adorned with various meat, and Kenanga nasi campur is pretty good.

Soto mie

A meat-based noodle soup, served hot with slice celery and tomato with vegetable egg rolls.


Boiled fish paste balls served with spicy vinegared sauce, eaten with egg noodles and chopped cucumber.

Tahu gejrot

Tofu salad served with spicy-sweet sauce. It's called tahu gejrot, tahu means tofu, while gejrot means the state of the tofu after being squashed.

Rujak bebeg

Chopped fruit salad Indonesian style. The spicier it is the better.

Es air tebu

Simply iced sweetened sugar cane juice. I'd rather have this than beer, honestly.

Es kacang hijau

Iced sweetened mung bean juice, it may sound yucky, but it is much juicier than you think.

Usus goreng

When I was young, my parents would bring me and my brother around trying out restaurants in Jakarta. One of them was Rico restaurant. It was located in Palmerah area then, but they have branch near where my brother and my aunt live now. Tracing the food memory lane, we were there and ordering everything that was what make the restaurant famous. It ain't kosher, I could tell you frankly, but oh, what a joy to devour the food again. This was deep-fried pork intestines, served with sweet soy sauce.

Kodok goreng mentega

And, this dish is my all-time favorite. Deep-fried frog legs drenched with sweet-sour sauce only in Indonesia you would find this. The sauce was made with local Worchestershire sauce, mixed with sweet soy sauce and soy sauce. The legs were first deep-fried which would then be sauteed in butter with the sauce.

Remember, food is very subjective; what I share here was what I deem delicious, you don't have to agree with me :)

1 comment:

  1. Liz, I really miss eating fresh rambutan...I have tasted most of the dishes you shown above but not mung bean did it taste?

    the mung bean juice is pretty good, it's like drinking bubur kacang ijo but more liquidy :D pretty smooth and not too sweet.