317 – On Mom’s Indonesian Foodtrip, Circa 2011

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.


15 thoughts on “317 – On Mom’s Indonesian Foodtrip, Circa 2011

  1. My parents fed us everything and anything and encouraged us to try them all! There’s nothing I don’t eat except for chili! I never overcame the burning “sensations”! But everything else, I’d eat or try! So I owe my international palate to them!!

  2. It’s very nice to read about all these Indonesian dishes and knowing how they all taste. 🤩
    Although I have to admit that I haven‘t eaten Rujak with shrimps yet. I only tried the one with fruits.
    I was also surprised that they served Hati Sapi (Beef liver). We usually only encountered chicken liver here in Bali.
    Didn’t your mom have Ketupat in her Gado-Gado? I love Gado-Gado especially for the Ketupat (Rice cooked in a Palm leaf pouch). 🤩
    Have you already had the opportunity to try all those dishes, too?
    If so, do you have a favorite among them?

    • I can’t give a definite answer — but zooming in on the picture of the gado-gado, it looks like it doesn’t contain neither ketupat nor lontong. I can spot sweet potato, mung bean sprouts, swamp cabbage (kangkung), hard-boiled egg, fried tofu and kerupuk.

      Interestingly, there’s also two versions of ketupat here! In the northern province of Pampanga, a sweet version called patupat (pronounced pat-two-pat) is made from glutinous rice and brown sugar cooked in a square package made of woven coconute leaves.

      Meanwhile, the southern province of Cebu has the puso (pronounced poo-saw) — which is nearer to how the ketupat looks like. It’s often paired with the local lechon (pronounced letch-on) or roast pork.

      Hmm…I haven’t really tried any of these dishes myself, but I hope to do so when we get to travel to Indonesia! 😀

  3. It looks like your mom did try quite a lot of Indonesian dishes, which was nice. And she got to try the mini version of nasi tumpeng too! (The full-scale version is shaped like a volcano with tons of side dishes meant to be shared with a lot of people.)

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