I just got back from Indonesia and am looking for a place to get REAL indonesian food in New York City, like soto ayam or lodeh, not some kind of western food with peanut sauce. Also, any info on stores that sell good indonesian snacks or imported clove cigarettes would be appreciated.
You want to head straight to Queens on the 7 train and get out at 52nd Street. Right downstairs you will find a hole in the wall ( really ) call Warteg Fortuna,. This place serves food so authentic that if my grandmother were Indonesian thats how she would make it. $3.75 will get you a plate of rice and fish and other stewed meats along side some veggies in a peanutty, cocontty sauce. Plus you get this very yummy veggie fritter with the deal.
This is a belated reply to the query on Indonesian food. There is an Indonesian restaurant called Bali Musa Indah on 651 Ninth Ave. north of 45th St. which is not at all bad. I've only been a couple of times on my own, so I haven't had a chance to sample a lot of dishes. A couple of years ago, Empire of India restaurant on Queens Boulevard in Sunnyside had several Indonesian dishes on its menu, and I got por ayam, which was delicious. I know that there's an Indonesian church on Skillman Ave. in Sunnyside, so there's clearly a community there.
There really aren't any decent and cheap places in Manhattan. The Indo. consulate does a good $5 lunch on most week days. Call before you go. There's a hole in the wall under the 7 track - in Queens. Will post the name and address as soon as I can find it. There's another joint in the East Village - recently opened. I have walked by but never gone in. Looks fairly expensive. Will post the name and address shortly.
If I were you, I'd eat everything BUT Indonesian food for awhile. You're just setting yourself up for disappointment. I damned sure don't come back from Italy and right away go to Italian restaurants!
As for Indonesian snacks, try the Thai-Indonesian store on Bayard St. between Mott and Mulberry.
Indonesian food has been covered on the New York area boards; do a search. From what I recall, some people like the place across from the U.N., but Jim Leff has yet to find anything in Manhattan that really satisfies him.