Sunday, May 24, 2009

Weird Stuff, part 3 (Rijsttafel)



Rijsttafel meaning "rice table" in Dutch, ends up meaning a kind of lunch smorgasbord.  Or that's what it meant for us, anyway, as we sweated it out in the courtyard of the Hotel Mertua, gorging ourselves on a series of small Javanese plates.

Sitting atop our beautiful Jogja batik table cloth, they included the local salad teran chan--fresh grated coconut, ginger, sliced long beans, bean sprouts, and something else or two; homemade tempeh, which we were having for the second time, and is on a level that industrial tempeh just can't touch; serunding--another grated coconut dish, this one spiced and toasted I think; various satays; fried rice, noodles, etc.  

It is worth mentioning the distinctive taste of Javanese food.  Before we left Singapore we were warned by one person that the food's no good, assured by another that it is good, but very simple. I agree with the second person, though truth be told we ate only at our lovely hotel, the Bale Raos royal restaurant at the Kraton, and here.  And it's true--no sauces, nothing fancy, just simple ingredients, most of which we saw growing at some point, whether it be in the rice paddy fields in the local villages or up in the terraced mountains near Mt. Merapi. 

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