Indonesian food is rare in New York, rijsttafel especially. But the Dutch colonial feast is alive in South Slope at Java, and even if the food isn't perfect, it's a good deal for an uncommon dining experience.
'indonesian' on Serious Eats
Taking place several times throughout the warm-weather season, the Indonesian Bazaar brings home cooks ;together for a community event that serves up New York's best Indonesian food.
Sanur isn't the best Malaysian restaurant in New York, or even in Chinatown, but it's an exceptionally cheap one with a funky basement dining room that encourages lingering. This crispy tofu salad is a regular on my ordering rotation.
We all agreed that the restaurant being in a basement was not off-putting. This could not be said of the steep and grimy stairs which lead to 18B Doyers, the restaurant portion of Sanur. Still, I would happily take those stairs again for another serving of the ineptly named "fried-cubes," certainly the most cubically shaped noodles I have ever eaten.
I kept hearing whispers from Indonesians, well-fed travelers, and fellow New York food explorers that the city's best Indonesian food can be found at an Indonesian mosque in Astoria, where a bazaar sets up in the warmer months. I haven't eaten broadly enough to know if that's true, but after this weekend's bazaar I can easily say this was the best Indonesian food I've ever had. I ate plenty of "Best X's of My Life," and even more dishes I've never seen or heard of before, all of which ranged from excellent to outstanding.
I've long heard that for authentic Indonesian I should head up to Elmhurst and check out Upi Jaya, so on a recent January night I headed up to Queens, with Carey's exhortations to beware of shrimp paste and other hidden non-vegetarian ingredients ringing in my ears.
As you can guess from the name, Dutch plantation owners in Indonesia invented rijsttafel ("rice table"), in order to try a wide sampling of indigenous dishes. At Bali Nusa Indah, rijsttafel ($27) comes with 11 in all. It's a great date option because (1) everyone's bound to like something and (2) tiny tastes of a lot of things provides an introduction without commitment, like speed dating for the palate.
Masjid al Hikmah’s Indonesian Food Bazaar and Ping Pong Tournament on Sunday was the most culturally immersive food event I’ve been to this summer. Think of it as a Church potluck fundraiser—but with everybody from Indonesian grannies to young...
"I might wind up eligible for honorary Indonesian citizenship by virtue of eating here so often." Java Village, the latest addition to Elmhurst's vibrant Indonesian restaurant scene in Queens, was once a Chinese take-out. Not much has been done to...
Bak-kut teh from Malaysian restaurant Sanur. Major Asian countries like China, India, and Japan are well represented in New York City, but what about the ones without large immigrant populations? Their food is available too; it's just a little...