Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Travel Food, Indonesia Edition

In December, I went to Indonesia for work.

Monday through Friday, for the work day, I really could have been anywhere on the planet. Hotel conference rooms pretty much look the same the world over (exception, the stone wall, thatched roof conference space I was in last year in Ethiopia, but exceptions sometimes prove the rule.)

I stayed through Sunday evening, and that made all the difference. I couldn't get back to the states until the planes went (duh), so I had a day and a half pretty much free. There should be another post about adventures on islands, but that's for another time.

Food is the focus here.

So, Indonesia is, (duh) a series of islands. Not surprisingly then, fish is on the menu. All the time. All the time, for every meal. Some of the preparation, however, tended to be a little more... uhh, all natural, than others.

Like the fish soup with scales and fins still attached. Yummy, but crunchy.

Or this lunch:

Here's looking at you, lunch.
 Or this dinner:
Prawns with their heads
Manado, where I was, is also apparently known throughout Indonesia for being one of the few places in the country where they serve their food really, really spicy. Fortunately, I like spicy, although this trip tested the limits of my tolerance. They serve tiny red and/or green chilies of HIGH potency in almost everything they cook. Like this chicken curry dish, one of the few times I had something other than fish:

 Ayum Woku
 
Sunday, before my flight, I went with some Compassion staff out into the country, up a volcano and back down again. We ate from roadside stands, and from a bakery in some small village. The travel nurse from work would have had a FIT.
 
 My co-workers negotiating for fruit at a roadside stand 

Durian, the stinkiest fruit on the planet. Grows from really tall trees
and I swear they could be like a mace if you got hit with one.
They are banned in public transportation in many SE Asian countries
due to the smell.
 
          Tastes vaguely like sulfur and meat, and is a little salty.            

                   
    Bun baked with hard boiled egg and sweet ground pork.                            Langsat.  A fruit much better than durian.

Once I got the airport that evening (four hours early, then a two hour delay, all the while wearing dirty, sweaty hiking clothes, but again, story for another day), this is what cheese toast was in the café:
Cheese toast, complete with chocolate syrup.
Syrup not described on the menu.
Guess I should have expected it?
 
This concludes another episode of travel food.

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