Sunday, March 22, 2009

Indonesian Food Fair: My Kind of Outdoor Activity

Cheap ethnic food has always had an important place in my heart. Nothing spells love like a giant bowl of pho, or a side of warm out-of-the-oven naan bread, or an eight dollar meal of soon tofu and banchans. Or even better? Nothing spells love like a food fair dedicated to feeding hungry souls said ethnic fare.

B and I headed out to the newly reopened Indonesian Food Fair at the Duarte Inn parking lot on Saturday. The deep, woody smell of grilling satay greeted us with open arms the minute we stepped into the parking lot. Good sign. Very good sign. And although the “fair” was made up only of five or six stalls, B and I still had a hard time figuring out where to order from and, more importantly, WHAT to order.

(This stall fed me)

(A closer look at what's on offer)

After taking a look at what all the stalls had to offer, I settled on the first stand which offered a rice and three item combo for $6.50. We got to the fair pretty late so a lot of the stuff was gone already – including the coconut rice. Oh well, I settled for the nasi kuning/yellow rice instead. And although the beef rendang and the satay looked (and smelled) amazing, I was still on my fish-egetarian diet. With these dietary “restrictions” dictating my combo choice, I ended up with a sambal telur/hard boiled egg in chili sauce, a generous scoop of kacang goreng and Ikan bilis/fried peanuts and fried salted anchovies and, to top things off, a piece of perkedel jagung/corn fritter. I carried my box of Indo goods three stalls down and grabbed me a cup of es cendol ($2.50).

(Where I got the es cendol)

(Tempted to get some coconut sweet. But was way too full)

My spicy tolerance has definitely gone up. I’ve grown from my pathetic experience at Kyochon and was able to eat the chili egg like a champion. The sambal was so spicy…and so good. But the strong flavor masked the taste of the egg itself and I found myself caring more about lapping up the bits of chili paste than eating the egg. The little fried fishies was another favorite of mine. Salty and crunchy – perfect "drinking" food. The texture was perfect when paired with the fluffy yellow rice and I had no problem finishing all the anchovies. But the corn fritter turned out to be the surprise winner of my lunch. The texture was great – a little like the Korean pajun/potato pancakes. It was chewy with a nice crisp exterior. It was awesome!

(Annotated Lunch)

The es cendol was only just ok. All I could taste was pure sweetness; I couldn’t make out any coconut taste at all. But maybe my tongue had been numbed by the sambal and my tastebuds for sweet foods had been put on a temporary hold.

(Only alright: Es cendol)

I LOVE the Indonesian food fair. The food is great and the atmosphere is so friendly. It’s a fantastic feeling to be sitting on a rickety fold-up chair, eating $6 food from a plastic take-out box. Plus, all the stall-keepers are all smiles and they do not hesitate to help and explain the dishes. I would go back every week if it weren’t so far!

(Another Close-up)

This was definitely a kickass way to celebrate my graduation!

FOOD: 4.75/5
SERVICE: 4.75/5

At the Duarte Inn Parking Lot (Saturdays, 10am – 2pm)
1200 Huntington Dr
Duarte, CA 91010

No comments: