Last week, my little language class strolled down the block to the market to practice our survival skills. Step one: buy yourself some groceries. Bargain if you’re feeling bold. Step two: carry it all home to make some food.
On the menu: bakwan jagung and rujak buah.
The first is a fried corn cake. The second is a slightly spicy sambal sauce that’s used as a dip for a whole bunch of buah—fresh fruit. Bakwan jagung is first. We’ll need some garlic, a little bit of red onion, green onion, wheat flour, rice flour, egg, and black pepper, which is called merica. Yes, actually merica. If this isn’t a cross-cultural recipe then I don’t know what is.
On second thought, I can’t call this a recipe. We didn’t use measurements, and I’m not confident that I could recreate it. But that doesn’t seem to matter. The key to food here is to fry it, eat a whole lot, smile, ask what things are called, promptly forget all of the new words you tried to learn, and say enak sekali. (That means very delish.)
If there’s one preferred cooking method here, it’s the deep fryer. On the daily, we’re frying it all: tofu, tempeh, chicken (called KFC), fish, and egg. Sometimes we hard-boil the eggs, peel them, and then fry them. Sometimes we fry the rice, too. Noodles? Definitely fried up in a pan. Potatoes? Nope, those are boiled. Are we frying the bakwan jagung? Ummmm PASTI. (That’s most def in Bahasa Indonesia.)
As for the rujak buah, we’re gonna mash a bunch of chiles with tamarind, watermelon, brown sugar (more like panela), and salt. We’ll let Kelly mash up this sauce because she’s the sauce master. Then it’s time to sit out on the porch and enjoy.
At the end of this week, we’ll all go off to our separate sites to hang out with the people there for a few days, visit our assigned schools, and then come back to town to learn a secondary language.
In the meantime I’m hanging out with these cuties. We actually celebrated my little sister’s birthday last week, and she fed me cake. Straight into my mouth. Still unclear if this is a traditional birthday practice, or just something my host family wanted to do together. All in all, the frosting tasted like bubble gum and everyone stared.
Have a yummy rest of your week ❤