Tuesday, June 06, 2006

It's what's for dinner. And breakfast. And lunch.

Things still feel a little weird here. Chad just got back from Yogya this morning with a mountain of tape and a list of deadlines. In preparation for his arrival, absolutely everything stopped working: his computer, our new internet connection, the phone line. I mean, the lights are still on, and the refrigerator's running, but I wouldn't have been surprised if those died too.

Now it's a few hours later and most of it is working again. I feel unsettled, though. I'm still in sort of a half-earthquake mentality, and so is Jakarta: there are donation posts on almost every corner, and all sorts of other charity drives. But there's also a sense of disillusionment. The papers are full of news about aid not reaching the right people, and everybody's getting cranky about the teenagers who walk around at traffic lights collecting donations (further messing up the already nightmarish traffic).

But for those of us who aren't in the earthquake zone, life goes on as usual, and so must blogging I suppose. In times like these we turn to the things we know. In my case, that's food. So here's a nice little picture of nasi goreng.

Nasi goreng, or fried rice, is the quintessential Jakarta dish. I believe it's traditionally a breakfast food, but you can get everywhere, all the time. I often get it for dinner at one of the street stalls near the Post. There's a guy with on little gas burner and a large, beat-up aluminum wok, and on busy nights like last night, he just keeps cooking up one scoop of rice after another as people perch on the little plastic stools, waiting.

If it's a good version, like this one from our favorite local restaurant, it has spices and little bits of meat and vegetables in it. It also often has a fried egg on top -- fried till till the yolk is hard all the way through, the way my brother-in-law does his. I have given him grief about this in the past, but for health reasons I'm just as happy to have the eggs cooked to death here. Large amounts of local fresh chili sauce go well with nasi goreng.

Luckily for us, most nasi goreng is quite good, even from a cheap cart in the street. Sometimes, especially from a cheap cart in the street!


Cazzie!!! said...

Nasi Goreng looks loevly I have to say. At this minute I am cooking a roast of Turkey and some nice vegetables to go with it. I think the food you get where the sidewalk carts are would be ok, that's because you are watching them cook the stuff before your eyes and you know it has not been sitting there for ages fermenting salmonella all the while.

Jose said...

When I was working in a hospital in Peru there was a particular restaurant that had the best fried rice with an egg on top. It was the dirtiest and most fly infested place in the block (and probably the whole district), but the flavor was, for lack of other words, fantastic. The one in the picture looks pretty good too.

kopisusu2 said...

Yes, it is nice to be able to see the food being cooked and know that it's hot off the pan. A lot of people here say they've gotten sick eating at fancy hotels, where the kitchen is shrouded in mystery, rather than at street places.

Plus, I just love street food. Most places I've been to, the street food is the tastiest.

It's funny how much the food here reminds me of Peru, Jose. Meat and rice. Meat and rice. Not so many french fries, though. And I think it's easier to get vegetables here, though I miss the cooked corn-on-the-cob they sell in Peru - the corn I've had here isn't as good.

IndCoup said...

Welcome to the Indonesian blogosphere.

I think you are the first female expat blogger in Indonesia so a lot rests on your shoulders!!!


kopisusu2 said...

Hmm, I hadn't thought about that! But I'm getting used to sticking out in a crowd, so I guess I can handle it. Thanks for dropping in!

shay said...

that looks so good. have you thought about taking up food porn...i mean photography?

kopisusu2 said...

It's the beauty of nasi goreng shining through. I can't take credit for that. I have to say, though, Shay, that while I really like the food here, I haven't yet found a breakfast to equal the Shanghai street crepe. My mouth still suffers from bouts of nostalgia.

the brother-in-law said...

I'm glad to see I finally converted you to the safe way to eat fried eggs.

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