Sunday, July 26, 2009

Adventures in Queens:The Indonesian Food Bazaar

Rujak (Indonesian) = assorted fruits and vegetables served with a tamarind dipping sauce. Pictured here: sliced pineapples, yams, cucumbers, and mango.

May 31, 2009 - Indonesian Food Bazaar, NYC

When I first moved to New York, I "hated" on Queens. It's common knowledge that to most Manhattanites, a trip to Queens sounds about as appealing as a trip to Kazakhstan. However, I soon found much love for this meting pot of a borough.

When I learned about the great ethnic food emerging from these yet-to-be-discovered kitchens, it spiked my interest. Fortunately for my stomach, about a year ago, my super frugal foodie friend introduced me to dim sum in Flushing. Then, another Queens' native tempted my palate with Colombian pastries and handmade empanadas. From then on, I had a new respect for Queens. Now, Me and Queens. We cool. So, once a month, I take the 7 train -- or, on my more adventurous days, I pay $5 for the Chinatown van -- for my Queens fix.

In May 2009, The New York Times ran a blurb about an Indonesian Food Bazaar. Since the bf is originally from Indo. Plus, I visited the beautiful archipelagos just last year. And, we were both dying for something a bit more authentic than Bali Nusa Indah in Hell's Kitchen (talk about Thai food trying -- and failing miserably -- to masquerade as Indonesian food). A Queens trek was in order.

Since the predominant faith in Indo is Islam, it wasn't surprising that the bazaar's location was a mosque. This glimpse into another culture was amazing. And, for brief intervals during that May afternoon, I definitely felt transported back to Indonesia.

Various Indo packaged goods. Spice packets for Kare (curry), ginger tea, etc.

Lotek = assorted steamed vegetables with fresh ground garlic-peanut sauce

Fried chicken wings

Ikan = fish (Indonesian)

Grilling seasoned fish over a charcoal fire

Beef satay with padang spicy gravy and fried shaved onions... unfortunately, it wasn't spicy.

clockwise from center: sweet plantain baked in pastry; corn and seafood fritters

Indonesian-style noodle soup with beef balls.
Food tidbit: these beef meat balls also contain tapioca, which gives them an extra chewy texture.

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