The Jakarta Post
Sundanese cuisine has been a favorite of many, renowned for its fresh veggies, steamed food and recipes with rich traditional ingredients.
This month, the Intercontinental Jakarta MidPlaza’s Java restaurant offers an extensive buffet of Sundanese courses to choose from in its “Sundanese Culinary Safari”.
The food festival is a continuation of the hotel’s Pasar Senggol culinary concept, which explores the diversity of food across the country.
The restaurant has had a little “facelift”, decorating its interior in a traditional Sundanese style by setting up some gubuk (huts made of cut bamboo and straw), putting several wayang golek (Sundanese wooden puppets) and placing a number of traditional utensils like bamboo rice containers, winnows and clay plates and bowls.
The sound of bamboo flutes drifts around the dining area and creates a soothing ambiance for diners. Take your time to explore the West Java cuisine, from its starters and main courses to desserts.
To stimulate your appetite, have a look at the appetizer section to sample tumis jamur (stir fried mushrooms), the famous tahu gejrot (chunks of tofu in spicy sauce) and karedok (vegetables salad topped with peanut sauce).
If you want something soupy before having your main dish, go for mi kocok Bandung (Bandung style noodle soup) or soto Bandung, sliced beef and radish soup served with fried soy, sliced tomatoes, fried shallots and spring onions.
Bubur Cianjur is also worth a try. It is a congee served with a choice of side dishes – of which you can take as much as you like from the stall – such as spring onions, fried shallots, sate jeroan (intestines satay) and sate telur puyuh (quail egg satay).
Sundanese cuisine is also popular for its fish dishes cooked in various ways, from frying, grilling, and steaming to oven baking.
Go for ikan baramundi panggang or oven baked local baramundi with herbs and lemon, which can be served plain or with a dab of sambal (spicy sauce).
Pepes ikan mas (steamed gold fish stuffed in banana leaves) is also on the menu, alongside other kinds of pepes such as pepes tahu (steamed tofu), pepes jamur (steamed mushroom) and pepes oncom (steamed fermented beans).
Sundanese cuisine recognizes two types of pepes: the regular or “plain” variety and yellow pepes, which is cooked with turmeric.
You can also have some special delicacies that you might not easily find in random food stalls such as Sate Maranggi (roasted skewered veal), a dish from Purwakarta; udang goreng tauco (fried prawn with fermented soy bean) and ulukutek leunca (sautéed fermented bean cake with leunca or small green eggplant).
The food festival is also heaven for spicy food lovers since you can find an array of sambal for your meal.
At the sambal section, the chef will make a different kind of sambal in his huge earthenware bowls, including sambal kencur, a sauce with kencur (greater galingale); sambal tomat, which uses tomato as main ingredient; sambal terasi, shrimp paste sauce; sambal rebon, which is made of rebon or small shrimps; as well as the super hot sambal rawit, made of small fresh green chilies.
Many Indonesians say that a meal would not be complete without eating krupuk (traditional crackers usually made of rice, fish or shrimp). No need to worry because next to the sambal booth, there are several jars of krupuk to complete your dinner.
After having the starters and main dishes, make sure you still have room for tasting the traditional deserts or snacks which are hard to get in the city nowadays.
Those who have a sweet tooth will love colenak (fermented cassava covered with liquid palm sugar and shredded coconut) and nagasari (cake made of rice flour, coconut milk and bananas steamed in banana leaves).
As for the refreshment, es goyobot is a must-try. The iced traditional drink comprises sliced avocado, jackfruit, kolang kaling (sugar palm fruit), sago pearls, sliced white toast, and shredded young coconut poured with coconut milk and topped with liquid palm sugar and ice cubes.
Even though Java restaurant mainly serves Sundanese food during this month, the eatery also has international dishes for those who are not into spicy things.
Familiar dishes like mi goreng (fried noodles), nasi goreng (fried rice) and tempe goreng (fried tempeh) are also available.
Sundanese Culinary Safari
Intercontinental Jakarta Midplaza
Jl. Jenderal Sudirman Kav. 10-11
Phone : + 62 21 2510888 ext. 6605