Good Weekend

Our weekend was fairly uneventful as far as things go, but we have some interesting things to note.  Our first funny encounter happened on Saturday night, when we went out for dinner with two friends.  We decided to try out a Sundanese restaurant in one of the fancy restaurant parks in South Jakarta.  (Note–  In a number of places around the city, there are these things like amusement parks, but instead of rides, they just have restaurants.  It’s weird, but convenient.)  Sundanese food, by the way, is the food of the Sunda ethnic group, which is found in West Java.  To keep things confusing, people from East Java and Central Java are called Javanese, but people from West Java are called Sundanese, except for the native people of Jakarta, who are called Betawi (from which the word "Batavia" comes).

OK, so we went to this restaurant, and were told that the restaurant was full, even though there was a giant empty table in the middle of the restaurant.  We were told that we could sit outside if we liked, but we didn’t really want to because it looked like it was going to rain.  We asked if we could sit upstairs, and they claimed that was full too.  So, we sat down outside, and then once they realized that we were actually going to stay, they decided to let us go upstairs, which was, of course, nearly empty–there was a birthday party upstairs, and maybe they wanted to keep it private, except for the four other non-birthday families there.  This is another example of us just not having any idea what’s going on half the time.  It was almost as if they didn’t want our business, or maybe that they wanted to test our resolve for eating there by threatening us with a wet meal.  Oh well, good food though–four courses and two soups along with four specialty drinks for a total of twenty bucks.  Our favorite dish was the "steamed gold fish in a banana leaf."  Really really good…and they mean "carp," not feeder fish or anything like that.  It was so tender that you could eat the whole fish, including the bones, and even the bones in the head.  We hear rumors about an alleged way of cooking duck Balinese style where you can eat the bones of the duck too.

Yesterday we had a power outage, at our apartment this time.  It looked, though, like the whole apartment lost power, not just our rooms, so we are pretty confident it wasn’t directed specifically at us.  We were a bit worried because no one had any clue what was going on (of course), and also because Indonesians aren’t known for hurrying, but everything got worked out on about an hour, thus saving our newly purchased groceries.

On a final note, we have finally figured out how to make Indonesian peanut sauce.  The real deal.  In the past, we’ve seen recipes calling for peanut butter or whatnot, and have been suspicious when they didn’t taste quite right.  Well, the trick is–surprise!–deep frying the peanuts first.