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Jun 12, 2006 02:05 PM

Indonesian-Dutch Bazaar in San Jose Report

  • b

Got up early on Sunday and drove down to San Jose to check out the Indonesian-Dutch Bazaar at Napradek Hall. Cost $3/pp to get in. Grabbed multiple krokets from the first vendor as soon as we got there. There were beef and chicken krokets, as well as a sticky rice balls (shaped like a kroket) filled with ground chicken. These were interesting and tasted refreshingly of ginger. One of the best beef krokets I had was heavily flavored with cloves.

After getting some krokets in our bellies we decided to check out all the other offerings. There were around 8-10 food vendors. Some just selling small items like krokets and eggrolls, while others with full on Indonesian combo plates. We soon noticed that two of the vendors had the longest lines. I figured these people knew something I didn't so we split up and each of us got on one long line to see what we could score. When I got to the front of the line I was on I wasn't that impressed with what I saw. They were heaping large servings of Gado Gado, a cabbage and spinach salad with peanut sauce dressing, along with some premade chicken satay skewers. I decided against the combo and just grabbed another kroket.

Met up with Dana in the longer line (for Arthur's, I think). She had made friends with an older Dutch couple who were giving her advice on what to order. Finally made it to the front of the line and ordered a combo ($8) with some braised beef, yellow rice, egg, & tofu curry. Tried to tell the chef we were just interested in the beef and rice, but he didn't understand and just dumped everything on the plate. The braised beef was delicious and shreddy. Unfortunately we were only given one small chunk. The yellow rice had some peanuts and crispy shallots on top which was a nice sweet touch.

Lastly we decided to grab some satays. I couldn't find any pork satay anywhere, which was dissapointing, so we settled for chicken. There was only one vendor making fresh satays, so their's seemed like the most logical choice. There was no line for this booth, but probably because the big line for Arthur's was obscuring it. Ordered chicken satay (4 skewers for $7) and waited 10-15 mins while they were being prepared on a charcoal grill back behind the vendor. These were pretty good satay skewers. Nice peanut sauce and the chili sauce seemed homemade. Still, though, these were just satay skewers and not mind-blowing. But was quite enjoyable to sit out on the lawn in the hot sun and nibble on these while people watching.

Overall it was an interesting experience and a good time. None of the food was insanely good, but I was happy to have an opportunity to sample all the various krokets.

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  1. My experience was quite mindblowing due to couple of vendors in particular. I got different things from your experience.

    The vendor at the end near the covered patio was really good at some of the dishes. The fried-dark-thin beef dendeng Padang style was authentic down to the chili and taste. I had the combo with that. The chicken is another excellent thing, the complex marinade penetrated deeply and was really good. The veg (beans and some other things) in slightly spicy sauce was exemplary. Also, the shrimps in sweet chili sauce were outstanding, tender even to the skin and the chili sauce is perfect. I also got the perkedel jagung (corn fritter) that was quite good also. The green chili sauce is another perfection. What a blast ! But I had to pay $13 !! Worth every penny though.

    Arthur's booth: got the beef rendang which is quite large chunk (got 1 piece). Slight resistance to bite and nicely cooked. Also got the combo here for $8. Got the jackfruit in a yellow coloured curry sauce - another great dish. The chef gave me some extra things like the teri kacang/peanuts and small anchovies which is very tasty. Another great booth for sure.

    Arthur had awesome "kue lapis" for like $7.50 that was moist, perfectly shaped and brightly coloured and most importantly balanced flavor. Scored big here.

    The pepes fish wrapped in banana leaf we got from then vendor at the end had complex seasonings/spices that was nicely balanced. Lots of needles but the pepes itself was another big hit. WOW In contrast the booth next door had no bones but the seasonings was "blah" at best.

    Another booth offered free samples of noodles. This is an authentic Chinese Indonesian version. The chicken chunks is cooked in poached style but still very tasty. It also had $4 large stuffed tofu that was decent.

    This was a very successful food event for me.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Han Lukito

      I also got the krokets and risoles from the first booth manned by a chinese lady (fair complexion). The krokets were excellent in all counts. Great tasty and moist fillings.

      The risoles was the usual good taste she always had. This is her forte I think.

      Lempers were quite good also

      I spent probably like $50 or more at the bazaar. Crazy.

      1. re: Han Lukito

        ... and what about those church services?

        Nice report from both of you. Thanks. Gotta try Holland's Best bakery next time I'm in San Jose, though. I read they were not at the event this year.

        1. re: rworange

          I was able to get there right when they opened and stayed for about 90 minutes and raced to the church with 15 minutes to spare. I thought I was not gonna make it at first but decided to go and was not disappointed by my effort.

          Many gems uncovered in that bazaar without a doubt. The trick is knowing which items and which vendors to buy from.

          But if you don't appreciate Indonesian food, then even those gems do not matter much.

          Take for example the kue lapis that I bought: it is very laborious to make because you have to layer them one at a time. The texture and flavor was just right. It was one of the best kue lapis I had and I had lots of them in Indonesia, my birth country. BTW, this is not the butter kue lapis (spechoek) but the colorful gelatinous type. It has different texture from the Vietnamese ones.

          And those dendeng beef Padang style is hard, chewy and blackened. For some people, it's probably too weird. But it is the way it's supposed to be and very delicious if one finds the appreciation of this type of cuisine.

          1. re: Han Lukito

            Thanks for describing those dishes and explaining what made these delicious to you. One of these years I'll make it over there.

            1. re: Han Lukito

              I've heard good thing about Arthur's kue lapis from past experiences; and always ordered it whenever get chance.

              1. re: Han Lukito

                Did they have kue lapis pandan?
                My current ultimate craving is for kue lapis pandan made with fresh pandan juice. Frozen leaves don't cut it, and I actually prefer the extract/essence to frozen.

                1. re: grocerytrekker

                  I'm having trouble finding fresh pandan leaves in the Peninsula groceries. Grocerytrekker, would you be kind enough to recommend a brand of pandan extract? Many years ago I bought a couple bottles of stuff that reminded me more of acetone than pandan.

                  1. re: pilinut

                    Well, I don't like it enough to recommend a brand. They all have sort of an artificial feel.

                    The new Manila Oriental Market carries several brands.
                    I didn't buy any but I took a picture. They are not expensive. Are you willing to do a taste comparison and post the results? That will be fun - I might do that myself one of these days.

                    A picture from that visit:

              2. re: rworange

                Holland's Best's participation can be spotty at the bazaar. Definitely visit the store because although they don't have a large selection of baked goods (pre-ordering is helpful), they do have a great collection of imported Dutch food products.

          2. hello! does anyone know if this bazaar is planned for this year? if so, can you post the information (or a website). thanks!

            3 Replies
            1. re: shastashark

              in case anyone wants to know... it's held at the same place on sunday,march 11.. from 10 until 3ish. have fun!

              1. re: shastashark

                Thanks for the notice. Thought I'd bump up this thread since it's this Sun. 3/11.

                1. re: Carb Lover

                  Thanks, Carb Lover! I drove by Napradek Hall a couple of weeks ago and was just wondering about the next bazaar. Maybe we'll see you there. And how about planning the next Vietnamese (or Indonesian) lunch?