Friday, May 15, 2009

more stories about food

on my last night at the maharani i decided to eat at the hotel restaurant. i don't really think i'm ready for full-on street food yet. it's kinda scary out there at night, too.
maharani was fancy! fancy! nothing under $3! i pick something with peanut sauce - i've ordered peanut or coconut sauce every time we go out, but it always ends up just being some sort of broth with neither ingredient. so i order this skewer thing with rice and the waiter goes, with chicken, yes? and i say no, i'll try lamb.
"really? you want lamb? no, you want chicken."
why wouldn't i want lamb? (oh, i'll just skip to the punchline - why the hell am i ignoring the advice of the waiter anyway - because it's more like goat tendon).
so, i end up ordering the goat tendon, but not after he recommends everything else on the menu.
does this come with vegetables? i haven't eaten any vegetables in days.
he points to the salads - raw vegetables is generally the last thing you want to eat for hygeine...
he shows me something with vegetables and peanut dipping sauce.
yum, the elusive peanut sauce.
are the vegetables cooked?
"they are cold"
but are they cooked?
"they are cold"
they are probably not cooked, so i stick with my first choice.
well it wasn't peanut sauce, but it was a delicious tangy sweet and savory mixture, in a gravy boat. lots of little red onions! i poured it all over my rice. the meat was barely edible, for reasons stated above. i am surviving on rice and tasty mystery sauce. so it's the truth: my brother's rice diet is really the way to go.
for lunch the next day, i head back to the street with all the vendors. i can't tell what is appetizing so i go for something safe - the fruit guy. i pick some grapefruit, watermelon, 2 mystery fruits and i ask for manga - mango.
so i'm chatting up his friends, taking some pictures and he's cutting everything up and putting it in a bundle. i know i got ripped off when it was 3 times what i was expecting, but can you really haggle over 50 cents?* that is what i ended up paying. as i walk away i hear them all laugh. jerks
so i get back to my desk and open up the bag and there's a little dimebag of brownish salt and a little package of super spicy sauce that burns my eyes. weird. i munch through all the tasty fruit until i get to the mango. it's totally green, completely inedible. my dutch colleague comes in and i'm all can you believe these guys? first they rip me off then they give me a totally unripe mango. and he's all no, that's manga. did they give you the spicy sauce?
"well that's how you eat it, duh"
ummm, i don't think it will help.

so what happens when it rains? the cart people are nowhere to be found, yet the office is empty so people are eating somewhere...ha, i found them! in the basement, well actually, the parking garage. you take the elevator down to B1 and walk between all the scooters and cars and at the end, a teeny tiny shop. it's a million degrees, their air conditioner has been broken forever, only one measly fan. about 12 dishes are so are displayed inside a glass case (yes, keep telling yourself this stuff was made less than 20 minutes ago) and there's no line, you either creep around the back of the case and grab a lady directly, or wave your money in someone's face to get their attention. if it's to-go they'll fold up a brown paper bag into an amazingly leak-proof container, wrapped in a rubber band.

they start by give you a whopping volume of rice and then you point and choose. the things that i thought were dumplings were actually hard boiled, then fried eggs. yum! i had some tempeh with peanuty sauce and some super spicey vegetables (i'll be more vigilant about inspecting for peppers). i don't know how they come up with the price, but for over a pound of food, 6,000 rupiah (60 cents). i'm so full.

*i gave my 10 year old scooter taxi guy a 25 cent tip the other day for driving extra slow after he was driving like a madman and chit chatting away blah blah blah! i like obama! i eat fish! my mom has long hair! and i told him i would pay him to shut up and hug the curb. when i gave it to him he bowed and tried to kiss my feet. then he asked me for my phone number - ew, feet breath!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Food pictures please