By Ada Castle (Semester 27/Aug 2008)
Monash University

In the spirit of my room being right next to the kitchen in my kos(student dorm), I thought it was time for an update on Jogja – through food – before i leave in just over 3 weeks! I will seriously be getting my kangen (missing) for Indonesian food as well as the awesome times and friends I have over food…

After kicking myself awake in the mornings, it’s the prospect of eating my favourite foods that get me out the door!

Breakfast is usually rice with tempe and veggies and chillies (I love chillies and am fast becoming addicted – although my stomach does not always agree with being kepedasan{overwhelmed by spiciness}), all mixed into a delicious spicy mix… mmmm….with a jus (juice) it’s around Rp.4000/$AU50 cents. That much would probably buy you half a bruised apple for breakfast back in Melbourne!

Other breakfast favourites include a visit to rumah masakan padang (Padang food stall) where you are given a bowl of rice to which you then add what you like from the numerous steaming bowls in front of you (this would often involve fighting off other ACICIS students who have similar addictions to fried tempe, tofu and weird steamed leaf things). After I have get my veggie versions, I then give way to the other customers who are after devilled eggs, beef rendang, fried chicken and so on.

Sometimes I’ll just give way to cravings and make my own toast (cooked creatively in a wok as I don’t have a toaster) or pancakes (with mango, banana or chocolate chips) and weird out my kos mates with ‘traditional Australian food’. I made damper once…. funnily enough no one was game to try much of the unshaped, half-burnt delicious blob of ‘bread’…

Lunch is often a nasi bungkus from a kaki lima – it is basically rice and tempe (often with lemon grass) wrapped in newspaper and a banana leaf from a street seller. They’re called ‘5-footed sellers’ as the three legs of the cart plus the energetic ones of the seller make 5! Often I’ll have es jeruk – iced orange drink (which i still say with a bit of an Aussie accent, so I will often end up with tea instead! haha) or es teh (iced tea).

Dinner is the best though – I dance between my favourite warungs (roadside food stalls) with friends. Here are some of the best for your reading pleasure… Awas! (Be Careful!) May induce ngelir (drooling)!

**Nasi Bakar, walking distance. Rice grilled in a banana leaf with mint, served with teman nasi (‘rice friend’ or food that goes with rice)  – in this case tempe bakar– this amazing dish is tempe grilled over hot flames cooked in sweet kecap manis (sweet soy sauce), and eaten over candlelit tables or lesehan (mats) with your hands. Hand! that is – eating with your left hand is considered really bad manners in Indonesia.

**Omah Sambel – similar to the above but with coconut milk rice, tofu, as well as grilled tempe.

**Suka-suka – This place does amazing fried eggplant and excellent avocado juice – hold the sugar (literally 4 heaped spoons is the norm). It’s like drinking guacamole, but without requiring the superfluous exercise of chewing… hahaha

**Sky Garden – When I went here with Erin, Tom and Ele we were glared at by a tokek (weird huge lizards that go on and onnnn with the sound of their name) and Tom was eaten alive by mozzies… but we ate dinner sitting around a small table watching the sun set over rice paddies – red, blue and orange (the sky, not the paddies or food!)

**Lotek place – aghhhh has closed down! Why!? My friends and I went there so often we were sure it would stay open! Aduh! It used to (past tense makes me cry) sell lovely vegetable mix cap cay with rice, or fried flat rice noodles with veggies if you so desired.

**Milas – is kind of like a Jogja whole foods. It sells all vego food, mostly organic, and sells lovely goods made by street kids. They have amazing soup and tempe burgers.

**Somo Yoga – is another vego haven – the most vegan in Jogja – sells amazing protein sate – which I think is divine but someone else believes they are made of old tires. Hey, at least it’s recycling! And it doesn’t use MSG… .hooray!

But seriously, sometimes you just need an Indo mie (instant noodles) hit (although maybe only once every two months!) I try to avoid eating it too often because they use palm oil.

For desert, often I will have fresh fruit (rambutan, weird lychee things, dragon fruit, mango, papaya or watermelon. Back in the day I’d have kueh lapis (layered cake made of coconut milk and sugar in pretty, enticing, tantalising colours) sampe puas (until satisfied) – but then I got too puas and developed an addiction!

Drinks that go down well is Rubbish Tea(!) (forgotton the name in Javanese) – ginger, cloves, cinnamon etc in tea, or off to Coklat cafe – where hot chocolate is served with a chocolate spoon! Then there are the juices which are of course very tasty and healthy!

Actually, you may have noticed from my photos that I’m a little too happy with the food here – my Indo friends are overly honest in telling me that I’m fatter – great. Maybe I’m just saving up for winter (yeah… in Indonesia?) But really it’s because I’m enjoying being able to afford eating out all the time, unlike in Melbourne… Youth allowance ahoy!

I think that when I get back to Melbourne all this is going to change heaps how I cook – though I might just turn down the salt, sugar and oil (which is like the main ingredient in most Indo foods). However, I’ll be starting my own cheap tempeh import business and eating with my hands on mats on the floor – I swear it makes food taste better!

Okay! Off you go to your own culinary adventure…!