Thursday, February 01, 2007

Eating Ethnic in Los Angeles Part III

I woke up on day three feeling like a stuffed pig....but still managed to polish off yesterday's leftover cookies from Spago with my morning coffee. Another run did nothing to alleviate a certain tightness in my jeans. Aiai's Indonesian research had managed to turn up an Indonesian store which supposedly had really good takeout. At Sam's Healthfood in Monterey Park, My mother and Aiai oohed and aahed over all the Indonesian ingredients while I was given the task of keeping the children out of trouble.

A couple of boxes of supplies safely stored in our car trunk, we were all sufficiently hungry to want lunch at Simpang Asia (10433 National Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90034. 310-815 9075). The table next to ours was crowded with Indonesian teenagers eating Nasi Bungkus which is a banana leaf containing rice, chicken curry, beef and vegetables. It looked great but as it was one of the provisions purchased at the store earlier, we decided to order all of the small plates and share. We started first with a kroket, a deep fried roll filled with bechamel and mixed vegetables and slightly sweet, an Indonesian style egg roll, and a sticky rice dough ball filled with grated coconut and palm sugar. All yummy. The rendang, a beef dish, slow cooked in coconut milk and spices, was tasty but somewhat bland. Aiai's version tastes much better. I made a mental note to get her to invite me to dinner next time she made it. The Ayam Goreng Kuning which is chicken marinated in tumeric and spices was flavorful and good. Ayam Kalasan, fried chicken in sort of a sweet sticky marinade was also very tasty. The Chicken satay, marinated chicken pieces grilled on a skewer were disappointing, with the chicken flabby and insipid. But the satay peanut sauce was good. Udang Balado, shrimp cooked in spicy chili paste was a bit too hot for me, but Aiai ate the whole dish, so it must have been OK. Ikan Goreng, fried whole tilapia was satisfyingly crispy with a very tasty spicy sambal to eat it with. I broke my no beverage rule again in order to have Es Teler, a sort of beverage dessert made with jackfruit, young coconut meat, avocado, topped with icy coconutty condensed milk slush. Most places serve this in a tall glass, so you can at least pretend it is a drink, but here it came in a big bowl, destroying the drink illusion. Delicious and fresh tasting. Aiai and my mother rated the restaurant only a 7 out of 10. Still, we all managed to stuff ourselves.
After lunch, we all fell into a food induced coma. My stomach hurt so much i thought it might split open. Blissfuly, Oscar happily watched TV while I stretched out on my back and let my food digest. A few hours later, I was desperately drinking some coffee, trying to wake up, and munching on some Indonesian snacks, including crispy fried chippy stuff with dried fish, which sounds and looks quite awful but tastes delicious....although none of us were hungry, we managed to polish off the lunch leftovers, while making deep inroads into the Indonesian provisions. We debated dinner. Our intended destination was a great Japanese place, not too far away by L.A. standards, which we all loved (Kappo, I didn't want to be the one to say no to a food opportunity but my stomach was so distended that I wasn't sure if another meal might send me to the hospital. My mother stopped munching on snacks long enough to admonish Aiai and me: You know, what we are doing is really not so healthy. iIam pretty happy you are leaving tomorrow! I sighed and gave my mother an evil look. I blame her for all my food troubles. Hell, she is my mother, she is responsible for all my troubles...but I digress. Finally Aiai said, OK I am deciding. We will skip dinner. Great, my mother said, we can heat up the Nasi Bungkus we bought today! An hour later, we were all sitting at the table eating hot rice with more Beef rendang and chicken curry, but this time garnished with lots of crispy fried stuff that we hadn't polished off in the afternoon. Shoving spoonfuls of spicy rice into my mouth, I mumbled, I sure am glad we skipped dinner. Aiai said, what's for dessert?


Aiai said...

What a trip! We didn't get to eat any desserts that nite. But the next day, my sister and I were chowing down most of the food and goodies that I bought at that Indonesian store. We were so stuffed and happy. My sister, Meiling, asked, "So when are you going back to LA again?"

Elisha said...

Your food adventures in L.A. sound absolutely fantastic! Now, I dare you to send Steve and Maya to visit your blog and see what you're up when you are away!

I just crack up when I read the comments your mother makes, especially her assurances that you'll "eat lightly", ha!