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…


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  • lakwatsera de primera

    February 1, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    I’ve got a feeling you didn’t finish the delicious spicy dish :), it looks mouth-watering for me, love spicy food so much,(sana sa akin na lang natira 🙂 )

  • inka

    February 1, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    So, you don’t like spicy. Just as well that people’s tastes are so different. Brave you anyway to try all these unrecognisable homegrown goodies.

  • Laurel

    February 1, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    I got hungry reading this post! Great that you are so adventurous with trying new food. I need to experiment more.

  • Adam

    February 1, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    You have some great pictures and descriptions here. I’m with lakwatsera in that I would have loved to try that spicy dish. Love me some spicy food as well, and that looks delish! I would also love to try my hand at the martabak–the description sounds heavenly!!

  • chyng

    February 1, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    bebenta sakin yang spicy peanut sauce for sure! =)

  • Kelly

    February 1, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    I too am a spice-wuss. I can’t take anything other than mildly hot. I’m nervous as I head to Thailand! I hope it’s not horribly horribly spicy!

  • flip'n travels

    February 2, 2011 at 5:09 am

    hahaha! true that! i was so embarrassed sa guide because it was free… wish i could’ve brought home some for you!

  • flip'n travels

    February 2, 2011 at 5:12 am

    thanks inka! sometimes i doubt if i really grew up in the philippines… our food is characterized by overwhelming flavors. seems like my tastebuds did not fully develop!

  • flip'n travels

    February 2, 2011 at 5:13 am

    i was salivating while writing about bakso, how i wish i can go back there anytime and eat it! thanks for dropping by laurel! 😀

  • flip'n travels

    February 2, 2011 at 5:32 am

    thanks adam! i’d prefer the martabak any time of the day… IT IS HEAVENLY!

  • flip'n travels

    February 2, 2011 at 5:34 am

    it’s like reyes barbeque peanut sauce with tons of chili dumped into it… teehee!

  • flip'n travels

    February 2, 2011 at 5:37 am

    i was in thailand and i have to ask all the time if the food i ordered was spicy. they say it’s a “little spicy” but their little spicy is big big spicy for me! good luck kelly! 😀

  • Christy @ Ordinary Traveler

    February 2, 2011 at 5:53 am

    Your food photos are great! I totally feel your pain with spicy food. I try my best to eat it, but I’m such a wuss.

  • flip'n travels

    February 2, 2011 at 11:37 am

    thanks christy! i try my best but i’m not as good as ron in taking pictures. 😀 i always make sure to have water or anything to drink to “kill” the taste of spice. we are still brave wusses! thanks for dropping by!

  • Lois

    February 2, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Yay for cheap and easy street food. I gorged on these in Thailand. Hmmm.. should I try in India as well. Better bring imodium. You’re lucky monette. And very brave!

  • journeyingjames

    February 3, 2011 at 9:44 am

    konti nalng pupunta na ako ng indonesia 🙂
    their foods looks good- i like to taste gado-gado and yung bakso soup

  • flip'n travels

    February 3, 2011 at 10:36 am

    argh! careful lois! although i’d say if your stomach was raised in the philippines, you’ll be fine! will not hurt to bring some anti-acid though… haha! 😀

  • flip'n travels

    February 3, 2011 at 10:37 am

    james! you have to try bakso! the best if you’d eat them off the streets! try nasi gudeg ayam too! they are the BEST!

  • pinoy boy

    February 5, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    Hi Monette! Question, how’s drinking at night? is there a curfew? One of the very little reasons why i am shying away from the country. i drink from dusk till dawn! he he

  • flip'n travels

    February 5, 2011 at 11:02 pm

    @pinoy boy: hmmm… when i was in jogya, i remember people staying up as late as 3am, maybe even later if i wasn’t asleep, haha! in jakarta, some of my hostelmates would go home the next day. no fear!

  • Grace

    February 17, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    The Basko looks really good. I’m a sucker for fried tofu. Talagang me ajinomoto sign pa sa bowl. =)

  • Gita

    April 29, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    Nice article dude.
    Maybe could be a good recommendation for
    you to find and explore another interesting destinations in Indonesia…

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