Thursday, March 16, 2006

First meals

Some readers have asked for food adventure details, so here goes…

Pictured above: A fruit that seems to be in season, sold on every corner. They look like potatoes, feel like figs, and taste like very sweet grapfruit. I'll find out the name and post it soon.

We’ve had two very good meals so far, and the remainder were unremarkable.

Last night, we walked down the street from our hotel to Jalan Jaksa, an infamous backpacker area. There we found a restaurant from the guidebook - Pappa’s. We each ordered an Indonesian curry and chased it with a sips of Binteng beer. I had a yellow curry with hunks of chicken on the bone. The coconut and lemongrass stew wore potatoes, green beans, and small, sweet onions. Served over a cake of white rice. The most notable flavor was the lemongrass, which has high, complex notes when it’s really fresh.

The restaurant was more like a large covered patio in front of a bar with colorful blue and red walls. Two huge speakers blared out four of the same Indo pop techno songs during our ninety minute visit.

This morning we wandered around looking for breakfast and obsessed in our search for kopi su su. After getting lost and passing through some fascinating but unappetizing alleys, we discovered a boxy little place on a corner advertising the milky nectar. We shared a small glass of the stuff, which swam with grounds and condensed milk. Geckos crawled along the walls surreptitiously. A plastic bowl of greens and yellow broth steamed in front of Trish, and she ordered a portion over rice, adding fingers of tempeh on top. I ordered a boiled egg stewed in red sauce and sautéed eggplant over rice, with a smear of the best chili paste I think I’ve ever had. The whole effect was intoxicating, spicy and flavorful. We watched the owners make tofu stew, egg rolls, and other tempting treats. I think we’ll be going back.

It’s the best meal we’ve had since our arrival.