'Indonesian' on Serious Eats

Slurped: The Penang-Style Fried Cubes at Sanur

We all agreed that the restaurant being in a basement was not off-putting. This could not be said of the steep and grimy stairs which lead to 18B Doyers, the restaurant portion of Sanur. Still, I would happily take those stairs again for another serving of the ineptly named "fried-cubes," certainly the most cubically shaped noodles I have ever eaten. More

Tastes of Serious Indonesian Cuisine at the Indonesian Bazaar

I kept hearing whispers from Indonesians, well-fed travelers, and fellow New York food explorers that the city's best Indonesian food can be found at an Indonesian mosque in Astoria, where a bazaar sets up in the warmer months. I haven't eaten broadly enough to know if that's true, but after this weekend's bazaar I can easily say this was the best Indonesian food I've ever had. I ate plenty of "Best X's of My Life," and even more dishes I've never seen or heard of before, all of which ranged from excellent to outstanding. More

The Vegetarian Option: Upi Jaya

I've long heard that for authentic Indonesian I should head up to Elmhurst and check out Upi Jaya, so on a recent January night I headed up to Queens, with Carey's exhortations to beware of shrimp paste and other hidden non-vegetarian ingredients ringing in my ears. More

Date Night: Bali Nusa Indah

As you can guess from the name, Dutch plantation owners in Indonesia invented rijsttafel ("rice table"), in order to try a wide sampling of indigenous dishes. At Bali Nusa Indah, rijsttafel ($27) comes with 11 in all. It's a great date option because (1) everyone's bound to like something and (2) tiny tastes of a lot of things provides an introduction without commitment, like speed dating for the palate. More

Spice Hunting: Long Pepper

We're fortunate to live in a time with more readily available spices than ever before. Imperially-controlled trade routes have been toppled; oceans can be crossed in an afternoon. But a number of flavors have been lost in the transition to a free spice trade. Long pepper is one of them, and its general absence from the modern culinary world is something of a culinary injustice we all owe to ourselves to right. More

Spice Hunting: Turmeric

Done right, turmeric an ingredient that can change the way you cook ethnic food. The aroma is intense: earthy, pungent, redolent of dried citrus peel and dusty streets soaked in sunlight. The flavor, though subtler, warms the tongue, the missing link between black pepper and chile. After tasting the real deal, one automatically understands why the food of over a billion people is stained with it. More

Grocery Ninja: Sambal Goreng Udang, Indonesian 'Furikake'

The Grocery Ninja leaves no aisle unexplored, no jar unopened, no produce untasted. Creep along with her below, and read all her mission reports here. These are one of the most addictive snacks I've come across since Calbee Shrimp Chips—which is saying a lot, given that in my household, we go through maybe three jumbo bags of Calbee a week (and then go and run a 10K after, but that's another story). Sambal goreng udang roughly translates to "fried chile prawns" and is a traditional Indonesian dish. In the original, you bring together a rempah—a pounded, wet spice mix of shallots, garlic, fresh turmeric, galangal, lemon grass, belacan (fermented shrimp paste), shredded makrud lime leaves, lime juice, and coconut cream.... More

Bay Area Eats: Golden Mar, Seriously Good Indonesian Food

Stuffed baby squid with a green pepper relish. Folks, I believe I've found the Bay Area's best kept food secret. I'm not proud, but neither am I ashamed to admit: As I shoveled forkfuls of some of the most incredible food I've had since leaving Asia, I cried. All around me, my dining companions had a sheen of perspiration on their brows, and even a couple of freely running noses. But me, the wimpy one, I was dripping hot, salty tears into the terong bumbu balado pedas (spicy, sambal eggplant dish). "What's the point?" you ask. "What's the point of a dish that's so fiery that your mouth is aflame and you can't taste a thing?" Spicy sambal eggplant.... More

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