Mia Hungry Long Time!

Sate My Love: Queens’ Indonesian Food Bazaar

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I’ve been really home sick lately. Like really, really home sick. The downside to living eight billion miles away from home is just that, it’s eight billion miles away. A plane ticket home costs an arm and a leg, a phone call puts you back another set of arm and leg, and (very) lonely holiday seasons. For me personally, the biggest downside is not having the delicious oh so god damn delicious food that Indonesia is all about.

Growing up in Jakarta, food was such a significant part of my life. Not only that I was so lucky to have a mama that to this day is still the best cook I’ve ever encountered, delectable food was just everywhere. There are tons of amazing restaurants all over the city, covering all kinds of Indonesian food. Please note that Indonesia is an archipelago of umm I don’t know, nineteen THOUSAND islands, with over three hundred different original tribes and cultures. And Jakarta being the capital, the hub of the country, is where all those people from all different islands and backgrounds come to live. This my friends, means that in Jakarta, you can get so many different kinds of food. The street food industry alone is effing ridiculous! In a day’s worth, you can have dozens of different food vendors passing your house, all selling yummy dishes from a makeshift cart, for super cheap. I MISS IT SO DAMN MUCH.

I haven’t been back home in almost six years now. I miss my family, I miss Jakarta, I miss Indonesia, and yes I miss the food. Since going for a visit is not an option at the moment (can someone please pay pal me 1500 bucks for round trip airfare? I’ll love you forever), the most effective cure for homesickness is eating Indonesian food! I don’t get to do that often, since the Indonesian restaurants in Manhattan is overpriced (and not even that good to be honest) and the only decent Indo joints happen to be in bumblefuck Queens (no offense, but seriously it’s like a brutal two-hour train ride from my Brooklyn abode). So, when I heard about an Indonesian food bazaar happening in Queens, dude, I was so there!

I woke up around 1 (hungover and starving) and panicked immediately because the bazaar was only from 10 to 4 and dude Indo peeps go early for their food. Haunted by the thought of arriving to empty paper plates and apologetic smiles from ladies in head gears, I took a five minute shower and rushed my ass over to the train station.

TWO HOURS LATER (eff you F train, eff you MTA’s weekend clusterfluck schedule), I arrived.

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The bazaar was in Jackson Heights queen, behind a mosque. 46th street and 31st avenue babes, take note!

Dudes and dudettes, that shit was crazy packed, like Sundays at IKEA. WHOAH.

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There were probably about twenty tented vendors or so, selling different kinds of NOM NOM NOM goodness. Overwhelmed, I did a quick look-over of the place, and parked my ass at the least brutal line.

Well, hello babes.

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This station had curries and sate.

Behold lamb and chicken sate!

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Oh man, they looked so good. I put my friend Dave in charge of holding our spot in line so I could go up there and got all (happy)teary-eyed. I put my camera all up on those containers and got trigger happy. Wazzup bitches! You guys look delicious!

Here’s a close up of the chicken sate:

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Mmm… juicy bite-size pieces of chicken smothered in tasty peanut sauce. Oh yeah.

They also had this tempeh stir fry that was just the bomb diggity.

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They also had this sign stating the other kinds of goodness on sale:

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Sambel, es teler (a fresh syrupy summer drink of jack fruit, avocado, young coconut, condensed coconut milk topped with crushed ice), and es cendol. But alas, they were all goners. Damn you MTA!

There were also these little fried monsters (tofu, tempeh, plantains) on sale..

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The lady gave me one for free, sweet!

So we got a huge plate of rice, the two different kinds of sate, and tempeh stir fry for nine bucks. GOOD DEAL.

Then we looked for a place to sit, of course unsuccessfully.

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So we walked just outside the bazaar and sat on the sidewalk.

Here’s the food on our table (aka Dave’s skateboard):

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The red stuff was sambal, and the black sauce thing was umm, I think spicy soy sauce? I can’t remember!

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The sate were really good, especially the lamb. Very tender and tasty. But my favorite was the tempeh stir fry. It was SO yummers. Dave, being the typical inexperienced gringo, said that he never had tempeh this delicious. Dudes, American peeps only have tempeh in vegetarian restaurants and they cook it so dry and uninspired. Blergh. If I were the tempeh I’d be so pissed.

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Here’s Dave eating, closing his eyes and having a foodgasm:

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Please know that his hat was custom made and very cool. Yes, yes, it’s a cute hat. Good job, Dave. (sheeeesh)

ROUND TWO!

Noodle soup!

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Flat noodles with beef meatballs, veggies, fried dumpling, chicken and beef pieces in chicken broth. It was pretty good. Not quite the intense taste explosion (tasteplosion?) I wish it was, but nonetheless pretty good.

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Man, taking food pictures is SO best during the day and outside. No doctoring necessary!

I also got this drink:

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It was es campur, which is another mixed fruit icy summer drink, but this time with jackfruits, different kinds of flavored jelly, and sweet beans. This drink is super sweet but it hits the spot when you’re eating super spicy and tasty Indo food.

We also got some rujak (props to Dave for finding it, I didn’t even see it!), which I didn’t take a picture of. At this point I was pretty much stuffing my face and have totally forgotten this blog. Rujak is a fruit salad (usually mangos and jackfruits) with a thick sweet and spicy dressing made of water, belacan (shrimp paste), sugar, chili, and lime juice. Sounds weird, I know. But babes, TRUST. This stuff is delish.

End of round two:

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(That’s the rujak on the lower left)

I was so happy at this point of the afternoon. I didn’t care that my ass was resting on the hard concrete sidewalk and that bastard sun was making me all sweaty and my hair was frizzing up. Not a care in the world. I thought of my house in Jakarta, with the porch out front where I used to park my butt waiting for various food carts to pass by. And of my mom yelling in Indonesian, “MIAAAAA oh my lord Jesus you’re still sitting there eating?? Go do something for God’s sake!”

Oh man, I miss you mami.

ROUND THREE!

You didn’t think I was gonna stop after two measly rounds, did you?

Dave told me that he saw a yummy looking dish of “weird big steamed dumplings” somewhere in the bazaar, and I went in there to look for it. I was probably blind by then from over eating and I couldn’t find it! So Dave went it and in two seconds came back with this:

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SIOMAY!

Babes, this is not your local Japanese joint’s teeny tiny little shrimp shumai (Six bucks for six little pieces, how dare you!!).
Hmm.. let’s see if I can describe it. Siomay is kinda like this dish with giant dumpling-esque pieces, but made of steamed ground fish meat. Sometimes even prawn meat. They also serve it with cabbage, tofu, potatoes (all also steamed), and hard boiled eggs. This eclectic mix is served smothered in peanut sauce, like you see below:

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NOM NOM NOM. So delicious.
They also topped the dish with fried shallots:

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Man, all you need a big spoonful of chili sauce, and you’re set. This is one of my favorite Indonesian comfort foods. Tasty and hearty, just like how I like my men.

So that’s that!

The siomay kinda put me over the edge, so I stopped eating.

Dave went into the bazaar one last time to see if there were any snacks to take home (and brag to his ethnic-food-challenged gringo friends), and he found one:

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REMPEYEK TERI! aka anchovy crackers!

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Booboos, that thing is super yummy. Crunchy and salty, perfect with beers. (Yes, I ended up eating them HAHA) Man, people should have them at bars instead of peanuts. So much better.

So, thanks for checking out my Indonesian foodvaganza. Also, thanks to Dave for being a trooper and accompanying me to the feast in far, faraway land.
It was exactly what I needed. A temporary cure to homesickness.

Those good Indonesian people are having the bazaar again on Sunday, June 28. Please come and check it out. Again, it’s in Jackson Heights, Queens, behind the mosque on 46th street and 31st avenue. You can’t miss it.

Rating: PhotobucketPhotobucket: ten hungrymias x a million. cheap and delicious, like your mom. I’m just kidding babies, don’t get mad. See you at the bazaar!

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Filed under: Eatin' Outside (food fests & outdoor vendors), , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Responses

  1. Donnie says:

    I love this article. Good writing and feedbacks. Where can I find the schedule for the next bazaar?

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