An Obama Bump for Indonesian?
Our new president’s passion for chili and Chicago pizza notwithstanding, I predict that a lesser-known cuisine will experience an Obama bump. That would be the food of Indonesia, where Obama lived for four years of his childhood, until he turned 10.
Obama has reportedly told his Indonesian counterpart that he would like to visit the country and enjoy some of his favorite foods: meatball soup; nasi goring, a traditional fried rice dish; and rambutan, a spiny indigenous fruit.
Bali, a relatively new Eat Street restaurant, is the place to go if you want to get in front of this trend. In addition to a nicely spicy and representative nasi goreng, there are other standards of Indonesian cuisine to be tasted here.
One of my favorites is the daging rending, a stew of beef braised in coconut milk and spices—ginger, turmeric, lemon grass, chilies—until the liquid has largely cooked off. It’s wonderfully sweet, spicy, and tangy. Another Indonesian staple is gado gado—a salad of tofu, cabbage, carrots, and other vegetables dressed with peanut sauce.
In all likelihood, when the commander in chief was a youngster, he snacked on the addictive shrimp-flavored chips called kerupuk. These crunchy treats, often a colorful garnish at Asian restaurants, are also a side dish at Bali.
They’re easy to make at home as well. Boxes of dime-size kerupuk wafers are sold at most Asian grocery stores. Simply drop a handful at a time into a pan of hot oil and in a few seconds, they literally explode into puffy shapes. Drain them for a few minutes on paper towels and you’re ready to serve your guests an appetizer of presidential stature.
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