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)