Sunday, December 19, 2010

Thai-Trip (Pak Boong Pak Boong Pak Boong)

Yay, now i am in Thailand and yes! Food fiesta Thai style....

I always say, i have what i called as the holy trinity of Food. Indo-Thai-Indian Food. I love the food that come from these three countries. They a rich, and full of flavor. Second, the usage of different spices on the food that brings that wonderful feeling about eating.

I mean, coconut milk, lemon grass, turmeric, lime, galangal, ginger, CHILLI, coriander, nutmeg, saffron, cinnamon, candlenut, cloves, tamarind, and many other herb and spices inside one food!

Thai food also much influenced by Chinese Cuisine. Plenty of Soy Sauce and different condiments as well.

So yes, my Thai food trip just begun and this year its filled with water morning glory (Ipomoea aquatica) or pak boong in Thai or Kang Kong in Malay. Somehow everywhere we go. Pak boong Fai Deng will be one of the ordered dish on the table.

Well so the Thai trip this year will be filled with pak boong and means good fiber and good green stuff to enjoy

Nasi Pecel Bu Tinuk - Kuta Bali, Indonesia

I am an Indonesian, so i think its good for me to start with my own food! My favorite Indonesia food is called "Pecel" its like a salad with peanut sauce dressing. However not like western Salad, Pecel has a richer, deeper flavor thanks to the spices that are mixed together in the sauce itself plus palm sugar and tamarind that makes the flavor of Pecel perfect.

Having lived in Thailand for 4 years and Singapore for 3 years, pecel has become a dream that hard to be realized.
Its all fulfilled when we had an opportunity to go down to Bali for a retreat. The second day we were there, we met this taxi drive who is also a vegetarian. He brought us to a pecel shop somewhere around Kuta for a taste of Pecel once again.

Actually Pecel is not native to Balinese cuisine, but rather to the neighboring province of East Java. But as long as i can taste Pecel geographical authenticity becomes second to the flavor.

The place called Nasi Pecel Bu Tinuk (Mrs.Tinuk Pecel Rice). Dont ask me where it is exactly since i am not really keen with Kuta area and second, we are conveniently dropped there to eat =

I like the unique way for ordering your food. Basically you just need to tell the waitress what things you want to add to your pecel and they will add it for you. There are plenty of option from different kind of meat dish to noodle even satay. Now for me, i just pick fried tempe, tofu and extra spicy peanut sauce.

As the first bite of the pecel mixed with rice went into my mouth, that good old feeling just come back again. The smoky, nutty flavor of peanuts just mixed completely awesome with the boiled vegetables that serve as the main ingredients for the Pecel. Then the chilli heat just make the whole food even tastier. However, the best part for me is the existence of lemon basil or kemangi (occimum xcitriodorum) at the Pecel. The taste of that leaf put that zing feeling into your taste bud. Its all then wrapped up with a crunchy peyek, a traditional rice flour cracker with peanuts on it.

Without hesitation i ordered my second serving, and pack another one for my dinner later on.

If you have an opportunity to go down to Kuta and curious enough to taste this awesome pecel, just ask your hotel receptionist or taxi driver Pecel Bu Tinuk. I heard from the taxi driver that brought us, this shop is quite famous as a eating place. It has been featured on local tv and newspaper. Well for me i do understand why, since their food are indeed exceptional.

The Beginning of Exploration

Food had entered the life human being since as early as creation. The Bible given us the account that God not only created our food on the Third day, Adam and Eve was given the word to "eat" as part of their early "duty" in the garden. The fall of human being even started because of Food.

Food will never leave us and therefore rather than resisting the temptation to avoid them, i encounter them full frontal through exploration of my tongue in tasting different food along the way.

I love food, i love to cook, i love to taste the beauty of flavor that just slip in to your tongues as that first scoop of food entering that cavity we called mouth. That experience of tasting the food is something that i cherish so much.

Yet there is one aspect of food that i think important. Eating alone is not something that i enjoyed as well. I love eating with people and communal meal is something that i feel have been forgotten by many people. We are taken away so much by the individualistic nature of modern world that often eating with friends are considered as a waste of time and space. I am not talking about a candlelight dinner where two individual eating on a luxurious dish cooked by a famous chef who are featured on the magazine.

That is the reason i choose the title, Third World Tongue. My exploration of food will focus mostly on food that are reachable on the street where you eat while wearing your sandals and shorts, laughing loudly, cracking jokes, and throw the whole night into a big feast of celebration. I like the aroma of the street, the loudness of the vehicle, the sprinkle of dust on your food that actually put that essential flavor into the dish that being served. Some of you might think i am a cuckoo, for all that things are poison and dirt but for me that essence of reality are important to the food itself.

And yeah, i am a vegetarian; a lacto-ovo vegetarian to be exact. But i am surrounded by people who enjoys their meat. This situation brings something unique to my food exploration. Often time i have to "adapt" to the meat eating feast with having vegetables dishes on my own. Personally, i believe vegetarianism should not separate social life especially during eating time. So hopefully this blog also can help those who wants to have a good time with Carnivorous friend without having to be separated from others...

Well enough been said. As you explore the food fiesta with me, i hope that your experience will be enriched as well =)