Saturday, December 27, 2008

we wanted snack, we ended up with dinner instead

Menu for Dessert Porridge (even though I said 'porridge' its not the usual porridge... you just have to try to know)

After a brief parting on the same day, a mere few hours, A and I met up again. Different mall, different mission. Or so it was. We were going to check out some shopping goodies, but by the time I picked her up at Plaza Indonesia, it was 6pm. I was stuck for an hour in Jakarta's traffic. Jakartanians, you know how that feels. By that time, I started getting hungry. So after we checked out our goodies in Grand Indonesia's ground floor A and I headed to the food floor. Since she hasn't been home for a while, I suggested we go to Warung Kopi in Alun Alun so that she can get some Indonesian snack. But of course! How could I dream that A and I would just cross over Alun Alun to the other side where Warung Kopi is?! How naive! We ended up having a detour looking at some handicrafts, batik and Indonesian made bags. Yup, we were feeling nationalistic, patriotic, whatever.

By the time we got to the Warung Kopi, we were hungry for real. Though we had separate dinner plans at our homes, as we looked at the menu, full frontal Indonesian food that we rarely come across having been living abroad for so long! Rawon (Beef in Black Soup), Pempek (Fried fish cake in vinegar sauce), Ice Chendol (I have no idea how to describe this), and Bubur Sumsum (sweet porridge made from rice flour with coconut milk sauce)!

Rice Dishes Menu

Our eyes met, and we dialed home telling our mothers that we were not going home for dinner. She ordered fried duck rice, the specialty. I ordered Rawon. We both were careful to leave room for dessert. For drinks we had the ice tea. Old school style. When it came, the tea was black tea. Strong aroma, reminded me of the tea from Java. By Java I meant places outside Jakarta especially East Java and Central Java, where tea is the staple drink, brewed fresh everyday. Even the sugar tasted different. I could smell the sweetness of the sugar.

Javanese style iced tea

The worms in my stomach had started their demonstration when the Rawon came. Traffic does that to you... Unlike the rawon that I would get at hawker shop off the streets in East Java, this one came in a gleaming white plate. The rice was put on top of banana leave to gives it fragrant and beauty. Salted duck eggs by it's side, fried shallots on top and prawn crackers on the other side. A little platter containing the mini bean sprouts, raw chilli and lime accompanied the Rawon bowl. The Rawon was fragrant, the soup was dark, though not as dark as the ones in Malang area which is what I'm accustomed to. As I dipped my spoon to scoop up the scoop, I could see the cubed beef swirling around in spices. I pour it over my rice and salted egg and it was home at first bite.

Rawon (black soup with beef) and Rice

A's fried duck rice was one of the Warung's specials. The duck was fried till golden crisp, what a savory smell. It came with long beans, grated coconut mix and crackers. She enjoyed her duck. It reminded me of the fried duck from Bebek Bengil in Ubud Bali. I love their fried duck, but if you are in Jakarta then you can come to Warung Kopi and have it there just till you go to Bali.

Deep fried duck rice (Balinese style)

Then, the most awaited moment of the whole dinner, DESSERT! A ordered ice chendol, and me, Bubur Sumsum, my childhood favorite. The ice chendol came first. It's definitely an Indonesian favorite, one that is famous in the neighboring countries though they have their own version. I only like ice chendol when they put tape (fermented cassava, don't judge it till you try it!) in it.

My bubur sumsum took a while since they have to boil it I suppose. When it came, I thought I got the wrong order because it was different than what I remember. In my memory, the bubur was green like pudding, with small pink rubies smothered in palm sugared coconut milk. This was white mush smothered with palm sugared coconut milk. It was definitely a comfort food, not just from the taste and warmth, but since it reminded me of the good times of being a kid.

Bubur Sumsum

Warung Kopi
Alun Alun Indonesia
3rd Floor West Mall
Grand Indonesia
+62 21 2358 0875

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