Let me begin this post with a short story.
Months after Mom died, Dad and I started putting away most of her clothes and other things. In the course of this cleanup, we discovered two USB flash drives among her things. I scrutinized one of the drives and found pictures of her 2011 trip to Jakarta, Indonesia as part of the 18th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit held that year.
I previously published an entry about her and her colleagues’ trip to Singapore after the summit. This trove of pictures from the flash drive featured the summit itself – alongside pictures from the event’s welcoming dinner for the delegates. It also featured some images of Mom and her colleagues having dinner at one of the street-side joints at the Indonesian capital.
Here are the photos of what she ate during that time. To those following my blog from Indonesia, I might be wrong on what these dishes are called – so your feedback on the exact names of these dishes is very much appreciated.
The first two images were taken during the summit’s welcome dinner for the delegates. She and the other guests were served soto daging Betawi (Jakarta-style beef soup) and what appears to be kerupuk (crispy cracker) sticks. She also got this salmon cooked in assam pedas sauce. Tamarind is the main ingredient of assam pedas sauce, which gives the dish its signature sour taste.
Mom also tried out what appears to be seafood rojak served in a hollowed-out pineapple. I initially thought this was pineapple fried rice until I scrutinized it closely. Rojak is a salad usually made from fruits and vegetables with a spicy-sweet glaze. This version made use of shrimp, squid and cherry tomato slices. The dressing for rojak is often made using palm sugar, peanuts, chilies, and prawn paste – but I wonder what they used for this one.
This nasi tumpeng apparently stole the show out of all the dishes she tried out during the dinner. Rice cooked with turmeric served in the shape of the cone towered over the different proteins on the plate. Sambal shrimp, bakso (meatball), ayam goreng (fried chicken), ati daging (beef liver), and a side salad surrounded the yellow rice.
On their last night in Jakarta, Mom and her colleagues tried out some Indonesian street food – courtesy of their Indonesian counterparts. They tried out what appeared to be chicken liver and quail egg satay sticks, carrot perkedel (fritters) with sweet and sour sauce, and a plate of gado-gado. The latter is made of vegetables, egg, and fried tofu topped with peanut sauce. Fried kerupuk is often added in for some texture, as seen in this plate.
Looking at Mom’s pictures from this period, I realized that I did inherit her love for food. Back when she was still alive, she often tried to replicate some of the dishes she either tried out during her work-related trips or saw being prepared on television. While I didn’t end up as a chef, I carried over that love for food I got from her – and kept it alive through this blog.
With things getting normal here in Manila – the Philippine government has already loosened restrictions to Alert Level 1 – I hope to get back to writing new food entries soon.
Until the next post, bon appetit.