A culinary festival for a food blogger..
|Egg martabak (martabak telur)|
..is like a candy store for a kid. That's exactly what happened to me.
So I heard there's a food festival at Summarecon Mall Serpong (SMS). Since the family love SMS (we go there often), when I suggested to check out the festival, they agree easily.
For your information, the Serpong Culinary Festival is held on 23 Sept 2011 until 16 Oct 2011 at the parking lot of SMS. It is actually supposed to end on 9 Oct, but due to public enthusiasm, they extend it one week more.
|Top-bottom: the festival booths, the dining area|
With the theme of 'Aneka Nasi Nusantara' or Indonesian various rice dishes, this festival involves more than 70 stalls/carts offering traditional rice dishes, snacks, and street food. It is obvious that they want to create Balinese atmosphere, judging from the traditional Balinese decorations such as the statues, Balinese ornaments, sesajen, pura (temple), and Balinese frangipani flowers. I love it. I think they've done a really well job bringing out the Balinese theme.
|Balinese decor on the festival|
I think they use all of the parking area because it's so big. I arrived there early at 11 a.m., when the festival is supposed to start, but some stalls hadn't even opened yet. The good thing was there aren't many people around yet so it's easy to take pictures.
|Top-bottom: the map, the crowd|
O yeah, all purchases are made with coupons, so we have to buy some coupons first from the lockets. They're refundable so don't worry.
Waiting for the stalls to open, I decided to get some appetizers. I was extremely excited to find out that there are many street food carts around. The first appetizer was kue lekker. It's been ages since I ate this stuff.
Kue lekker is one of traditional Indonesian snacks, originally from Solo (a city in Jogjakarta). It's like crepes, but much thinner so it's crispy like wafers. The shape is semicircle, as the paper-thin crepe is folded to hide almost-melted chocolate sprinkles and some sugar innards. The filling is not always chocolate sprinkles, sometimes it's substituted with grated cheese, sliced banana, or jams. But from this cart, chocolate sprinkles is all they offer.
|Top-bottom: kue lekker merchant display; the condiments (chocolate sprinkles and sugar)|
Kue lekker is made using spinning mini pans. The merchant has a pedal on the bottom of the cart which is used to spin the pans. By using the spinning pans, the crepes can be quickly made. There were two types of crepes offered; the original one or the pandan-flavoured one. I got both.
|Making kue lekker; (clockwise L-R) pouring the liquid dough onto a spinning pan, wait for it to harden a bit, pour some chocolate sprinkles, fold it semicircle|
The price from the cart here is double the normal. Normally, I can get 1 lekker for IDR 1,000, yet it was IDR 10,000 for 5 or IDR 2,000 each here.Tsk.
The taste is normal. Crispy, and not too overly sweet despite the use of the sprinkles and sugar. However, the pandan-flavoured one doesn't have pandan smell nor pandan taste. Nonetheless, these brittle crepes still make a great appetizer for me.
|Pandan and original kue lekker - IDR 10,000 for 5 ($1 for 5)|
|Original kue lekker|
Not feeling like eating rice yet, I went around and found this delicious looking display. I'm a sucker of fried things like this.
|Fried things stall|
Gorengan Pak Slamet sells various fried things (obviously) such as tahu isi (fried tofu with veggie filling), tempe mendoan (half-fried fermented soybean cake), and fried bananas. They're uber crunchy, still hot from the deep frying. A tad bit oily for my liking, but I'm not complaining. Tasty fried things can really make my day.
|Top-bottom: tahu isi (fried tofu with veggie filling), tempe mendoan (half-fried tempe) - IDR 3,000 ea ($0.3 ea)|
Feeling ready for heavier food, I joined the queue at Nasi Kucing Sambel Gledek stall. Mostly because I love nasi kucing, and also I saw that the longest queue formed here so the food must be good.
Nasi kucing or literally 'cat rice' in English is a type of traditional rice dish, where the rice is wrapped with banana leaves and eaten with various side dishes. The amount of the rice is so little, similar to the amount of cat food, so it is called nasi kucing or 'cat rice'.
The words 'sambel gledek' refer to the crazy spiciness of the chilli sauce eaten with the rice.
|At Nasi Kucing Sambel Geledek stall; grilling the quail eggs satays|
There were a lot of things on skewers, from small clams to beef tripe. There were also tahu and tempe bacem (tofu and fermented soybean cake cooked in various traditional spices). We choose which ones we want, and the man will grill them on small charcoal griller, brushing them frequently with some kind of sauce.
|Condiments; (clockwise L-R) quail egg satays, chicken intestines and heart, beef tripe, tahu and tempe bacem|
I chose nasi kucing first set, one nasi kucing with one clams satay and one tahu bacem. How can you not love mini conical rice?
|Nasi kucing set (nasi kucing, one satay, and one tofu/tempe) - IDR 13,000 ($1.4)|
This nasi kucing isn't wrapped with banana leaves but brown paper instead. They only use a small cut of banana leaf to put the sambal (chilli sauce). Accompanying the conical rice, there are fried noodles, some shredded chicken, and orek tempe (fermented soybean cake cooked in sweet soy sauce).
You see that chopped green chilli with sweet soy sauce? I took that for guaranteed spiciness, because I didn't believe the sambal given is spicy enough for me. Turned out that I didn't touch that as the sambal is indeed very spicy! It's spicy enough to make me sweat at least. Anyway the nasi kucing and the accompaniments work excessively well together, the flavour explodes in my mouth nicely. I love the clams as they're also delicious. The tofu, however, is a wee bit too firm for me, although it's tasty and rather fragrant.
For me the size isn't that small, as I was quite full eating this one portion.
|Nasi kucing inside|
My mom had this nasi gudeg or gudeg rice, a traditional dish made of young jackfruit from Jogjakarta. It is normally eaten with rice, a piece of chicken, egg, tofu/tempe and spicy fried cow skin (krecek).
This nasi gudeg tastes quite nice, particularly the krecek. It's spicy yet very tasty, chewy and perfect eaten with the gudeg and rice. The chicken I like too, it's tender and the gravy is flavoursome. However my mom doesn't like it. She said it'll be much better if the chicken used is ayam kampung (or village chicken, chicken with firmer flesh) instead of broiler chicken (chickens grown using artificial hormone injection). I agree.
|Nasi gudeg - IDR 23,000 ($2.5)|
Feeling really full (I ended up eating my mom's nasi gudeg), I went around the place although I know I couldn't eat anything else. By the time I finished my meal, the crowd had grown bigger, so it was kinda hard taking photos. Queues were everywhere. Anyways I found Cemal Cemil stall, selling old school snacks.
|Top-bottom: Cemal Cemil stall, nasi goreng kambing (goat fried rice) banner|
Lured by the smell, I stopped by the Nasi Goreng Kambing Kebon Sirih (Kebon Sirih goat fried rice) stall, where a man is making the fried rice on a huge wok. I bet it's a hard work. The wok must be really heavy.
|Making goat fried rice on a huge wok|
And then I saw him putting a whole tub of butter on the rice. Wow. It must be tasty then no?
|One tub of butter on top|
The street food carts are the ones that got me very excited actually. Although I didn't try all of them, it's amusing watching the merchants making the food.
Check out this ronde jahe cart. It's a dessert, consists of rice balls with ground peanuts filling, enjoyed with warm ginger soup. It's not really my fav, but I reckon it's a great comfort food for rainy days.
|Ronde jahe cart|
Also this es podeng (podeng ice) cart. It's also a traditional dessert, involving sago pearls, cubed white bread, black glutinous rice, creamy avocado, drizzles of chocolate milk, shaved ice and rose syrup. Sweet, hearty, fresh. Perfect dessert for sunny days.
|Es podeng cart|
As I've never tried this before, I was considering to try taoge goreng, but then I thought nasi kucing will satisfy me better. Taoge goreng (literally 'fried beansprouts' in English) is a traditional dish, where blanched beansprouts are mixed with sliced tofu, egg noodles, and leek (kucai), and then doused with sauce made from garlic, chilli, kaffir lime, oncom (the other kind of fermented soy bean cake), and tauco (fermented soy bean).
|Taoge goreng merchant|
I couldn't help but to take picture of these fruits at the rujak (Indonesian fruit salad) stall. Does anyone know what rujak is? It's Indonesian fruit salad, made from sliced fruits (rose apples, young papayas and mangoes, jicama, cucumber, etc.) and then smothered with sweet-spicy sauce made from ground peanuts, tamarind, chilli and brown sugar. It's one of my fav snacks. Refreshing and healthy.
|Rojak/fruit salad (rujak) stall|
Here's one I haven't seen for ages. The gulali (candy) cart. The candy is handmade on the spot, you can see the merchant twisting the almost-liquid candy dough into cute shapes such as flower and baby pacifier. The candy has a bit bitter lingering taste so I don't like it.
|Gulali (sweets) cart|
There's also cotton candy cart. Who doesn't like watching the making of those soft, fluffy sweets?
|Cotton candy cart|
Here's another street dessert for you. The grass jelly drink (cincau). It's very refreshing, with the smooth, cold grass jelly, accompanied by creamy coconut milk and palm sugar.
|Es cincau (grass jelly drink) cart|
I wanted to try this, but the hygienic food-freak dad won't let me. But like the other merchants, this rujak juhi dan asinan (squid jerky salad and pickled veggies salad) merchant kindly let me take pictures.
|Rujak juhi and asinan cart|
I was just in time when a woman ordered a portion of rujak juhi (squid jerky salad). The salad consists of sliced potato, cucumber, and egg noodles drenched by savoury peanut sauce and sweet soy sauce, and finally topped with aci (flour) crackers, emping (melinjo crackers), and juhi (squid jerky).
|Making rujak juhi; (clockwise L-R) slicing the potato and cucumber, putting some egg noodles, drizzling peanut sauce and sweet soy sauce, taking the squid jerky|
I have tried this dish before, so I know how it tastes. The texture combination from this dish is awesome, and the squid jerky's saltiness and sweetness paired really well with the plain noodles and creamy peanut sauce. Yum. I'm kinda confused about the price though. For IDR 15,000, I think there should be more salad on the plate.
|Rujak juhi (squid jerky salad) - IDR 15,000 ($1.6)|
I tried to find the robust smell from this pile of durians, but I couldn't smell much. And having read that the es duren (durian ice) isn't the usual one (durians and coconut milk instead of durian ice cream with more durian), I don't feel like trying some. The other reason is that I somehow lost my second stomach for desserts.
|Pile of durians|
More street food carts there, even jagung bakar (grilled corn), es cendol, and tahu gejrot (stinky tofu) carts are taking parts.
|Grilled corn cart|
|Clockwise L-R: es cendol cart, fruits display, making sauce of tahu gejrot (stinky tofu)|
This is another kind of rujak (fruit salad). This one uses the same ingredients as the normal rujak, but rujak beubeuk means crushed rujak. So the ingredients are pounded by a large traditional mortar and pestle. I actually love this more than the normal rujak as this one's easier to eat. Sour, sweet, a bit spicy. Bliss.
|Rujak beubeuk (crushed rojak/fruit salad)|
Another traditional snack is offered, the kerak telor or Betawi style omelet. It is made of duck eggs, glutinous rice, serundeng (spicy shredded coconut), ebi (grounded dried shrimps), and fried shallots.
The omelet is tasty, but sometimes it's too dry for my liking so I don't really enjoy eating it.
|Kerak telor (Betawi style omelet) cart|
|Clockwise L-R: the ingredients (duck eggs, serundeng (shredded coconut), ebi (dried shrimps), and fried shallots), making kerak telor|
Then my eyes caught the vibrant orange from the big prawns display. Beauty!
|Top-bottom: soto udang galah stall, big prawns display|
And here comes my biggest regret of the day. I didn't get to try this one as this martabak Medan stall hadn't opened when I arrived.
|Top-bottom: martabak Medan banner, the ingredients display|
This stall sells martabak telur Medan style (savoury egg pancake) and roti cane. They also sell some curry to be eaten with roti cane and the egg pancakes. Look at that sizzling! I really wanted that. But it was getting really hot and humid, and the queue turned me off. Grrr!
|Making martabak (savoury egg pancake)|
If any of you guys visit the festival and try this, will you let me know if the martabak is good? It does look good for me. And smells good too.
|Frying roti cane|
I love the festival. Although it was really hot there and that made the dining area not comfy. Here are some tips: if you come for taking pictures, come early. It gets more crowded in the afternoon and night so it's harder to get good pictures. But if you come to enjoy the food, come when the sun isn't fierce.
I must say, I think the food prices are quite expensive. Much higher than the normal prices. Having said that, I reckon the festival is worth visiting, especially if you love street food and rice dishes.
SERPONG CULINARY FESTIVAL (23 Sept 2011-16 Oct 2011)
Open at 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday
4 p.m. - 10 p.m. on weekdays
Parking lot of Summarecon Mall Serpong
Jl. Boulevard Gading Serpong
Sentra Gading Serpong
Site: Summarecon Mall Serpong