Monday July 23, 2018

Revisiting Indonesia

YOU would probably think that it is funny for someone to say that she has revisited Indonesia when in fact, she has never been to the country -- not even once in her life, but I was there again last Wednesday by experiencing the place through authentic Indonesian Cuisine.

I was with my fellow journalists to attend the Indonesian Cooking lessons at the House of Indonesia in Ecoland, Davao City. It was my second glimpse into the Indonesian Cuisine as the event was the second of the five cooking demo series that Indonesian Consul General, Berlian Napitupulu, intends to do with their partner hotel, the Marco Polo Davao.

Just like the last time, Marco Polo chefs were invited to learn to prepare and cook Indonesian food through the demonstration made by Consul General Napitupulu’s experienced personal chefs. Marco Polo chefs also returned the favor by bringing Beef Rendang and Kue Kacamata, Indonesian food which they learned to prepare and cook during the first cooking demo, for the guests and the Indonesian consuls to see and try.

This time, guests had the pleasure to learn about Gado-Gado, an Indonesian vegetable salad dressed with peanut sauce. Gado-Gado, which means “mix-mix” when translated to English, is so named because it is prepared by mixing the ingredients with the grounded peanut using mortar and pestle.

By looking at how the salad was prepared, I had the impression that it would taste weird to a Filipino like me who is used to salty and sour salad dressing. Who wouldn’t?

Just imagine its ingredients: Snake Beans, Kangkong, Bean Sprouts, Carrots, Potatoes, Chayote, Eggplants, Tofu and peeled hardboiled eggs poured with a dressing mainly made from grounded roasted peanut, Chili, Tamarind Juice, palm sugar and salt.

But I was wrong, I actually enjoyed it – it’s like a healthy sweet treat where you could enjoy the dominant taste of the sweet peanut sauce that wrapped the other ingredients. If it was not for my other work assignments that were needed to be done that day, I would probably have a second helping of the salad.

Another food that is closer to my heart is their Sop Buntut or Oxtail soup in English. It’s like the Filipino dish, Bulalo – the saltiness of the soup and its vegetable ingredients are just almost similar to the dish except it is using cut oxtail.

Guests indeed had the chance to know more about Indonesia and are even becoming more associated now than before through the Indonesian culinary experience. As Consul General Napitupulu puts it during the event, “Diplomacy starts in the stomach.”