I could proudly say that Indonesia is the most incredible food haven. Imagine from the outstretched islands of our great archipelago there are thousands of thousands food from every tribe, every local county, every single ethnicity and the mixture between those as the result of centuries of acculturation?
The western part of our country has the Malayan food (we are more familiar with the Padang food), and peranakan food (the marriage between the malayan food and the chinese tradition such as pempek and nnya food). Then we have sundanese, and javanese food (east and central java have different kind of food too). Then we have hot and spicy balinese food. Don’t forget about the food in Kalimantan (or most of you might be more familiar with Borneo). And the super hot Minahasa food from our beloved Sulawesi island (some knows this as Manado food). And the eastern part of Indonesia, Papua food that I haven’t got the chance to taste myself. And of course the kind of food I eat on daily basis: chinese indonesian food.
The difference between the mainland Chinese food and the Indonesian Chinese food, is in the mixture of the Indonesian spices in it. Most of the Chinese food in Indonesia came from the southern part of mainland China I don’t know where the exact place it came from, but in Indonesia we do have the specialised Chinese food such as Tiociu food, or Hokkian food. We also eat Dim Sum, which I realised later that it is not so much popular in the Northern part of China.
Anyway, this kind of food diversity did shocked Mr. Fix-It when he came to Indonesia. He was so surprised that many main ingredients he usually get in the UK, was cook in a totally different way. His palate exploded not because of the hot and spiciness of the food but because of the richness of the taste in the food. He was so amazed by how the Indonesian used the ingredients he could never imagine was edible such as the chicken intestine or the cow guts. I should have brought him to eat sop kaki kambing or soto betawi to see how he would manage those animal inside.
The first thing that amused him was the fried gurami fish. The fact that it was fried with its head intact made him so glad he came to Indonesia. So was when he saw the chicken head in the chicken soup we’ve got. He also told us that the freshness of the food in Indonesia stunned him, also how cheap the food was. In one chance he said to one of my aunties that he would gladly leave his stomach in Indonesia because apparently his stomach was so happy with these Indonesian food.
It quite surprised me too when he came to Indonesia with a new skill. We went once to a Dim Sum and he used a pair of chopsticks. The last time I saw him, he could not use those sticks. I am so impressed when he suddenly took a pair and started eating with those and looked at me with a smug in his face. Of course he hoped to see me surprised and yes I did. But mostly I am proud of his determination to impressed both of my parents with his willingness to learn something which is not important for some people.
But, what impressed me more is his willingness to try to new things. Of course he is not well exposed with world food in Norwich. It would be different if he is a well travelled businessman living in London, he would have tasted a little bit of Asia in the restaurant. But for Mr. Fix-It, Asian food is the take away Chinese food 10 minutes away from where he lived and the meal I cooked for him.
I wanted to list the food he already tried, but it would make an incredibly long list and it could take the whole new entry, so I will skip it. But he loves noodle a lot (which is weird because even I don’t eat noodle as much as he does), and he loves gurami fish and wish he could breed them in England just for him to eat, and he loves pork (who doesn’t?). The best moment was when we were in Bali and he accidentally took plecing kangkung (a very spicy balinese morning glory stir fry) by mistake. His reaction was priceless.
Our worries that he might end up in the hospital because of food poisoning didn’t happen at all. However on his last day, he got very sick and it worried me a lot. He got up with a massive headache and started to throw up. Gave him an aspirin and also antacid and he threw those up as well. And gave him minyak kayu putih, and although he said he did not know how it helped him, I know it helped him a little. But, don’t worry, it was masuk angin, and apparently he has been eating too much his stomach could not handle so much food. So yes, he got sick because of the food… too much food.