JMP Update: Everything is going swimmingly in Tangerang. JMP is having a great time with her students, teaching pianists and violinists how to play the recorder and teaching her three flute students how to become better flutists. She reports that her students are friendly and quite musically talented–much better than she even expected. She is the envy of all other faculty at JISMF because she understands Indonesian and can identify unusual foods (e.g., "that’s not a potato, it’s a fish ball" or "this savory pancake is called martabak").
Food Mistake: Every once in awhile I will order something I’ve never had before at a restaurant so that I can have something new to taste. Usually it goes well, sometimes not at all. Yesterday was a "not at all" moment. I ordered something called sop kikil, which I guess you might translate as ox shank soup. Ox shanks sound good, I figured it would be a fatty shank bone with some meat on it, sort of like oxtail soup. What arrived at my table was a bowl full of very spicy and meaty, very delicious broth with fried potatoes and chopped tomatoes and herbs floating on top. Yum. When I put my spoon in it, though, I learned that I had the main ingredient was bite-sized pieces of knee joint cartilage, accompanied by some soft fat and marrow. The fat and marrow were good, but the knee joint cartilage (which you were clearly supposed to eat) not so much. Fortunately, with all that great broth and a plate of rice, I was happy.
Found in Translation: I was at a Chinese restaurant the other day called The Grand Duck King. It’s specialty was fresh fish (of course). The restaurant was my very favorite kind of Chinese fish restaurant, with a a good fish tank full of living things. I found some colorful translations of non-native creatures.
Kepiting laba-laba ("spider crab") = King crab
Kepiting telur ("Egg crab") = blue crab
Kepiting banci ("Shemale crab") = I’m not sure what this is, looked like a plain old crab to me
Kerang gajah ("Elephant clam") = geoduck
Kerang bambu ("Bamboo clam") = razor clam (this makes sense when you look at one)
Ikan malas ("Lazy fish") = freshwater bass