because i like them cheap and dirty

“If you are what you eat, then we are FAST, CHEAP AND DIRTY!!!” ~Ron Cruz

Somehow, I don’t think that is what Brillat-Savarin wanted to say… But I have to admit liking fast and cheap food, though the concept of eating sometimes escapes me. The dirty part is just an added bonus, like the fly on top of the cherry that is on top of the cake. Yummy!

My gastronomic trip led me to sit down Bladok restaurant on my first night in Jogjakarta. Since the food was a bit expensive, I decided not to include it here, although I would say I paid 35,000 IDR for it. But the highlight of my meal was not that. It was Indonesia’s local beer… Bintang. I’m no beer connoisseur, but I really liked the taste. It’s stronger that SanMig Light but not as malty as Red Horse (I will remind myself to write the local beers I’ve tasted in the countries I’ve visited). I finished an equivalent of a mucho faster than I finished my meal, which was between 5-10minutes, 3-5 if it”s SanMig.

Moving out of the city, my guide and I passed by a small stall leading to Imogiri Temple where we saw an old lady preparing ingredients for the vegetable tower you see above, they call this gado gado(20,000 IDR). I cannot explain my hesitation when my guide bought me a plateful of veggies topped with something I thought I shan’t tell in this writing. Look closely, then imagine… It was such a comfort as I swallowed the lump on my throat when the lady said it was peanut sauce. I took my plate in silence and sat down the bench, scooped a heapful of serving and shoved it in my mouth. “Holy Sh*t! This IS spicy (hot)! Why didn’t you tell me it’s spicy? Did you know this is spicy? Why didn’t you tell me it’s freaking spicy!!!” Ladies and gents, I do not eat spicy food. So there goes my review…

It was a good thing that I ordered this bottle of Tehbotol, which literally means “tea in a bottle.” I was able to live to make another trip in Indonesia a month after that fateful day. Now why they don’t refrigirate this is totally incomprehensible to me. I had to drink it at room temperature, though I’d say it is a fine drink.

Back at the city, the streets of Malioboro were, and I would assume still are, lined with stalls selling homegrown goodness. I never really researched on food before I left, and the banners that flew along with food carts were like Chinese characters to me. So I mustered all the courage I had and walked up to one cart, pointed at the chicken, because that was all that made sense to me. There was the egg, but I didn’t want to eat egg at that time. And, before my world crumbled in front of me, I asked the most important question for my survival, “Is this spicy?” It was not, but their version of laingwas, so there goes the review again. Though I’d be really callous not to say it was the second to my most enjoyed meal in Jogja.

For dessert, I had martabak and picked up a sandobag-ful of nusa lembongan while walking around the city. Martabak is sin personified, or thingified, as it is a pancake slathered with butter, sprinkled with generous amounts of chocolate and cheese. I died instantly… Nusa lembongan is blatantly called armadillo fruit because well, it looks like an armadillo. It’s a smaller version of langka but less less sweeter…

Ahhh bakso! My most loved dish in Indonesia. It’s cheap at 7,000 IDR; it’s fast because the vendor just dumped the fried tofu, boiled meatballs, some greens, and vermicelli; and dirty as the broth came from a pail sitting on the sidewalk. How I ate it was beyond comprehension, I just had to trust my tastebuds. I think it’s what you call blind faith. If something like that tasted so good, would you really ask how on earth they came up with it? Maybe yes but I’m done eating it and I did not suffer any tummy discomfort…