Monday, 9 March 2009

Lady and the Serpent in the Garden of Eden - Indonesian Food

As Melbourne Food Bloggers were living it up at the rescheduled version of their latest get together, I was stuck in a 5-hour layover at the main terminal building of KL International enroute home from Jakarta with only the bowl of curry noodles pictured above and the How to Pay Off Your Mortgage in 5 Years paperback to break up the boredom. As terminal purchases go, the noodle curry was way better than the book, which was merely yet another not-that-insightful version telling folks like me and you what we should really already know. On the other hand while not exactly brimming with treasures, the noodle curry had a requisite rich and deeply flavourful stockbase expected from a bowl of the stuff almost everywhere in SE Asia but still not an easy find back here, yes even in Melbourne. The soup was pretty spicy and not just with chilli, although it also had more chilli kick than I really needed for spending a further eight hours trapped in an aircraft. It made me sweat. In the broth were fried tofu (taupok), fishcake, mungbean shoots, baby corn and miscellaneous vege condiments, spinach, a couple of smallish prawns, fried shallots, dark dots of small canned blood cockles and an egg. Slurpable indeed. Has anybody out there recently refreshed their directory of Melbourne spots for decent curry noodles, more commonly known as curry laksa?

Folks reading the official Australian travel advisory for Indonesia nowadays would be put off travelling there for a good while. And that would be a shame because politics aside, large parts of the country remain a verdant paradise (yes it may really have been the model for Eden) and filled with a friendly easy-going people that would make any laidback Aussie feel inadequate. What's more, greetings accompanied by those lovely Javanese smiles are something else to remember. And Indonesian food! Oh my. I'll leave ranting more about that, accumulated over several recent trips there, for later posts.

For now I'll finish with a couple of crops for a "Do you know what this is?" game. I'm sure anyone who has ever spent time in the archipelago or stayed at a Balinese resort would recognise at least one of the below, though the best are apparently from Java. Care to share your knowledge or take a guess in the Comments section?

Hint: Yes of course they are for eating.

Crackling scales (left) and blushing red (right)


Ali-K said...

Hey there, I've been slowly getting back into blogger-land after a year or so off and this is my first visit to your blog. I couldn't resist commenting because surely not many people could make such an enjoyable, well written post about an airport stopover!

And don't feel too let out, I also missed the bloggers get-together, prioritising a much needed weekend at home instead.

Phyllis said...

I cannot remember the name for the first fruit, but the second one, also one of my favourite (dip it with dark soya sauce with sugar, or plum powder - yum) is called Syzygium samarangense, since it's a mouthful, I've always called it Jambu, or wax apple. YUMM....

Towser said...

Ali - Welcome and thanks for the kind comments! Congrats on starting back on your own blog and will look out for updates.

Phyllis - Thanks for visiting and you are absolutely right of course, pic.2 depicts the red variety of the jambu. I will reveal more about this and the other item in a post shortly.

thanh7580 said...

I don't know what the first item is either, but I was going to say the second one was a Jambu, but then read the answer hahaha.

We used to soak them in sugar syrup back in Vietnam, as they have a very lite flavour. I used to love the sugar syruped ones as a kid.

Mochachocolata Rita said...

...and you read "how to pay back mortgage in 5 yrs"?!!! WOW! now i feel that my bobo, donal bebek, miss modern and shopaholic novels are so...*speechless*

hehehe ^_^ please teach me how to pay off my mortgage in 5 yrs too

Towser said...

Hey Rita,
Hahaha at least with your choice of reading materials, you get to become an up to date and cluey fashionista. Alas with my mortgage read, maybe the "5 years" really meant "How to pay off your mortgage at least 5 years before you die!"

3 hungry tummies said...

Here there Salak also known as Salacca Zalacca, I've seen them in Footscray from time to time.
Try to make the curry mee youself, check out my recipe.:)