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Indonesian in L.A.?

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Just got back from Hamsterdam and chowed on some mad-delish Indonesian food, which is as ubiquitous there as Mexican food is here in L.A. (Although, try and find a burrito in Holland ;-) )

Does anyone know where I can sate my newfound Indo jones in LA? Preferably in the W.LA-Downtown axis? Also, does anyone in the know know if "rice table" like they do in Amsterdam just a Holland thing or is it legit? Not that I care, because it was delicious, a million different tiny dishes with rice on the side, but I was just wondering if it's the equivalent of a pupu platter.

Thanks!

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  1. There are two Indonesian places across the street from each other on National near Motor, Indo Cafe on the South side of the Street is the only one of the two I have been two. It is pretty good and, with advance notice, will do the ristaffel.

    1 Reply
    1. re: New Trial

      The other place, on the north side of the street, is called Simpang Asia. It is a cafe attached to an Indonesian food store. http://simpangasia.com The food at Simpang is a little cheaper and maybe a shade more "authentic"--more plate lunch combo type dishes--while Indo is a little bit nicer, slightly more refined food, and more expensive. We ate at Indo this past weekend and had a good meal, although the menu has changed since our last visit, with prices raised 10-25% since our last visit and some of our standbys seem to have dropped off the new menu or maybe we just couldn't find them. Also there were these peculiar draperies covering up all the decor on the walls, and making the place look a little weird--I presume they are in the middle of some renovation but we forgot to ask.

      Overall I probably enjoy going to Simpang a little more although it's not really a restaurant per se. Both Indo and Simpang are significantly better than Ramayani, although Ramayani has been around longer. If memory serves, you may be able to get rijstaffel at both Indo and Ramayani on certain nights but you have to call ahead.

      I also like Banana Leaf, although I believe the food there is supposed to be Singaporean/Malaysian rather than Indonesian and does seem subtly different, the flavor combinations less cacaphonous than the wild juxtapositions characteristic of Indonesian food (in my extremely limited experience).

      -----
      Singapore's Banana Leaf
      6333 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90036

      Simpang Asia
      10433 National Blvd 2, Los Angeles, CA 90034

      Indo Cafe
      10430 National Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

      Ramayani Westwood
      1777 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

    2. Well, it probably will not be that close to the stuff you had in Amsterdam, but the Banana Leaf in the Farmers Market right next to the grove serves mostly indonesian food. I like the panang curry, the gado gado, the nasi goreng, the curry puffs, and of course the buttery paratha. The guy who runs it is also very nice, and is usually there pretty often taking orders up front and talking with patrons.

      1. I like Ramayani on Westwood Blvd. just north of Santa Monica Blvd.

        1. If you ever make it out to Rowland Heights, on the SW corner of Colima and Fullerton Roads, behind Banana Bay, is a tasty Indo restaurant. You have to call in advance if you want the rijstaffel.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Das Ubergeek

            Hey Das Ubergeek (and anyone else expert in this),

            May I ask what is "rijstaffel"? :)

            Thanks!

            1. re: exilekiss

              "rijstaffel" literally translates to "rice table" in Dutch. It's the style of serving Indonesian food in an elaborate style -- basically a table set with different plates of meat, veggies, curries, etc., meant to be eaten with steamed rice. Nowadays, it just means a big feast where lots of food is served. It was popular in Indonesia (predominantly for the affluent) during the pre-revolutionary days. It is still a pretty common thing to find in the Netherlands, however.

              In Indonesia, there are restaurants that does multicourse meals like it, but they're usually called Padang Restaurants (check out Tony Bourdain eating at one in the Indonesia episode of No Reservations. Remember when his camera man knocked over the restaurant's supply of food? That was the one).

              Padang restaurants are pretty close to what rijjstafel is about (though it's not EXACTLY the same)...

              http://elmomonster.blogspot.com

              1. re: elmomonster

                Just a spelling quirk here (and I am guilty too) -- it's actually rijsttafel, pronounced "RICE-tah-full".

          2. Ramayani is OK--i think it is not as good as Amsterdam. The rice table is legit, I've been served that in Indonesia.

            1. Boy, do I understand. I was completely taken with ristaffel. But, when I returned to LA from Amsterdam, I could not find anything close. I was diappointed with Ramayani. But, that was several years ago. Hopefully, some of the suggested places will satisfy.

              1. There's only a handful of Indo places. I like Java Spice (Rowland Heights) and also Indo Kitchen (Alhambra) and also the food court at Hong Kong Plaza (West Covina), where there are two Indo stalls (the best is a place called Janty Noodle)...but I love Toko Rame (Bellflower) if only for their Nasi Bungkus. It's Padang-style cooking, so it's hotter and more intense than you've probably had.

                Here's a post on Toko Rame:
                http://elmomonster.blogspot.com/2006/...

                Also, it wouldn't be an Indonesian Food Post without mentioning my favorite of all, the Pondok Kaki Lima food festival. Happens every Saturday at the Duarte Inn.

                PHOTOS:
                http://elmomonster.blogspot.com/2006/...

                1 Reply
                1. re: elmomonster

                  These are such amazing tips! Thanks all! From West LA to the Duarte Inn, now I just have to elasicize my waistband!

                  Cheers

                2. the duarte inn street food fair is definitely the best place to get indonesian in these here parts... i think the building that houses/housed indo cafe is being renovated... i didnt notice indo cafe still being there but that is to be confirmed...

                  i like simpang asia too, but its simple fast foodish stuff. not really sophisticated cooking.

                  1. Look for the ASK MR. GOLD that deals with this. I think JG said that basically you can't find a rijstaffel in LA because the idea is basically an exploitive Dutch tradition of excess.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Hershey Bomar

                      Because we certainly have no exploitive American traditions of excess... (Claim Jumper, anyone?).

                      I suspect it's because we don't have a large community of Indonesians filtered through Holland. Rijsttafel is really a Dutch thing in the same way that gigantic Chinese buffets are an American thing.

                      1. re: Das Ubergeek

                        That's what I said -- Dutch.