Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Jakarta - cuisine: Spicy cow brain and stinky beans.

While most of the food in Jakarta seemed to be spicy, the little choice I had left was somewhat of a comfort - it was not chock full of garlic like it is often the case in much of southeast Asia. Garlic does not agree with my stomach.

Our new friend Amele took us to a Padang restaurant, where dishes are literally piled up in front of customers. Once we sat down, the food came so shockingly fast it was almost like a performance. Pile pile pile pile pile. Clang clang clang clang clang. Table not big enough? Servers immediately pulled the next table over and kept piling until practically an order of each offering they had was served. We eat what we want, and they only charge for what is eaten, even if it is one fried chicken wing and the order came with two. I don't know what they do with the other half of the order when that happens. Amele assured me they don't sell it to other customers, and she guessed that it becomes lunch or dinner for restaurant staff. While menu items include the common grilled chicken, it also has some delicacies an adventurous eater would love to challenge - stewed cow brain and spicy sator beans (petai), which makes your urine smell really strange (they say it has detoxification effects).

This is what a website says about sator beans:
Packed with protein, potassium, iron and fibre, the beans are widely believed to offer a number of health benefits and effectively conquer a range of ailments including high blood pressure, PMS and constipation.

Unfortunately, there are some less appealing side effects. Similar to other beans, their complex carbohydrate content can cause strong-smelling flatulence. And similar to asparagus, certain amino acids found in sator add a green tinge to urine, as well as intensifying the smell.

While the health benefits sound good enough to make me eat more of those stinky beans, I just could not get used to the taste.

Mr Chen of Taiwan's trade office in Jakarta took us to a Peranakan/Nyonya (a mix of Chinese, Malay and other cuisines) restaurant one night, and while the food was interesting, the decor was what really caught my eye. I have something for lanterns, and this restaurant was full of them.

Kedai Tiga Nyonya
Jl. KH. Wahid Hasyim No. 73
Menteng, Jakarta
+62 21 316 0971



Anonymous said...

Pateng is for Padang actually ^^ sorry for the correction

翁郁容 Michella Jade Weng ミシェラ・オング said...

Thank you for pointing that out!