Thursday, 9 July 2009

Indo blog 3: Rizqy's Great Surabayan Food Tour: Fri 26th

Right, no messing about, serious business this. Pretty much one of the main reasons I go on holiday at all is to try new noms. And to have a fellow nom-lover as a free guide around the delights of Indonesian cuisine is pretty darn cool. I'd made the mistake already of telling Riz I'd eat just about anything. Which, naturally, he takes as a challenge. Ahem. So here goes...

Stop one: Breakfast - Pecel

We kick off the tour with breakfast at a roadside Warung. A Warung is a street cafe and they vary quite radically in quality from an open air BBQ on a plastic crate to pretty nice sit-in restaurants, however they are always very, very cheap, and yummy. We had Pecel, which is kinda like Padang food: a big buffet from which you choose a selection of meats and sides to go with your standard rice, satay sauce, sambal (chilli sauce), tempe (soya bread) and steamed spicy veg. I didn't have a clue what anything was so just pointed. I had Usus (chicken intestine satay - tasted like chicken), Otak Otak (fish brain cake - like a wee omlette), Ayam Goreng (fried chicken leg), Peyek (peanut rice crackers) and Dadar Jagung (sweetcorn fritters). Was mountains of food, and didn't want to fill up on brekkie so I tried everything and then fed the leftovers to Riz, who, it turns out, is never, ever full up.

To aid breakfast's digestion, we went for a bit of a shop in Mirota, a crafts shop that Carls had been raving about. Bought a couple of gorgeous batik house dresses (for slobbing about the house in when you can't be arsed getting dressed - that's most days then), notebooks, chopsticks and a Nemo mobile for the nephews.

Stop two: Lunch - Car picnic

We headed to Pasar Atum, which is a vast indoor market selling knock off goods and tacky merchandise, but also has a big food section. I bought a bunch of classic Indonesian sweeties for the office, smelled Durian fruit for the first time, and we bought a bunch of tasty treats to take away and eat in the car.

They were:
  • Sate Babi - Pork Satay. Tasted just like chinese spare ribs, sweet n spicy sauce.
  • Pastel - looks for all the world like a cornish pastie, but filled with sweet glass noodles, carrots and beansprouts and egg, you eat it with a lombok chilli, a wee radioactive green thing that you nibble before taking a bit of the pastel. HOT AS F***.
  • Pisang Goreng - deep fried banana in batter. Not so keen on this, was a bit heavy for me.
  • Serabi - a pancake/crepe cup, filled with cooked coconut milk, and topped with either cheese or chocolate sprinkles. This was pretty awesome. The cooked coconut milk goes like custard, and with salty cheese on top its pretty yummy. My fave I think.

More shopping next. Went to one of the HUGE malls in Surabaya: Tungungan Plaza (TP to the locals), very western and mostly patronised by Surabaya's rich chinese population. Lots of western stores - Zara, M&S, Gap, French Connection, Starbucks. Got a frappucino and then Carls and I went nuts in the Zara sale. When in Rome...

Back to the house to have a lie down in a dark room, drink Bintang and decide what to do for DINNER.

Stop three: Dinner - Dim Sum

Off to Galaxy Mall for dinner. Eating in shopping malls is a quite different experience in Indo compared to the UK. Instead of dodgy food courts and shabby branches of McDonalds, they have whole floors dedicated to pretty swish restaurants with international themes, and since Surabaya has a massive chinese population, dim sum restaurants are in abundance. I also confessed to Riz that I'd never had dim sum and had missed out on the op to have some in NYC, so that pretty much settled that.

This Galaxy Mall Dim Sum place had a selection of ready made steamed and deep fried dumplings, with free Jasmine tea thrown in. You basically make a selection of dishes and they're brought to your table. The empty dishes are then counted at the end of the meal and you're billed accordingly. Simples.

Most of the dumplings are just variations on a theme and contain a delicious pork/prawn combo, but we also had yummy chunks of pork ribs, stuffed bread balls aaaaand... chicken's feet. Now there's not much meat on chicken's feet so I'm not sure why they're considered such a delicacy. I thought after squid babies and fish brains that chicken's feet would be a cake walk but its actually pretty disconcerting to put what feels like a small bony hand in your mouth and bite the fingers off. I don't care how much sauce you put on it.

We ended the meal with a teetering pile of empty plates, and so full up I needed to be rolled to the car a la Violet Beauregarde. * burp *

Here endeth Rizqy's Great Surabayan Food Tour. Sir, we salute you.

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