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Indonesian Food Bazaar next Sun!

Spring is in the air and with the warm weather comes this month's food bazaar at the Mosque Al-Hikmah. Next Sunday. April 21. It starts at 11; I try to get there before roughly 12:00 or 12:30 since it tends to get crowded after that.

48-01 31st Ave
Astoria, NY 11103

Nearest subway: 46 St (R)

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  1. Great news - thank you for giving us the heads-up!

      1. By the way, geckoFeet, where did you get this information?

        1. Super!
          Thanks for the early post - in the past we usually heard about this after the event.

          1. FABULOUS! Thought I missed "opening day" - I'll be there!!

            1. Sampled the gado gado, bakso, and mie ayam pangsit. Good stuff, but they definitely get stingy with gringos. She tried to give me gringo style pangsit before I intervened.

              6 Replies
              1. re: AubWah

                I didn't notice any stinginess w/gringos (at the tables where I didn't know the cooks, I mean), but they were definitely not prepared for the crush of people. It was much more crowded much earlier than it used to be which is good for them, I suppose but, as an Indonesian friend remarked when we were standing in line, "Speed and efficiency are not hallmarks of the culture." I also thought that the food was good but not always as stellar as last year (another friend - a gringo - confirmed this). I dunno.

                1. re: geckoFeet

                  Might as well say "bule" (boo-lay) instead of gringo, considering which country we're talking about.

                  I shared the ikan balado (not enough of a kick, though it was a decent taste) and gado-gado with my mate. Grabbing a bika ambon was a bonus, as was getting to try a bit of gudeg, simply because I was practicing Indonesian.

                  Hoping for more variety next time, and may pay a bit more to try the empal.

                  1. re: BuildingMyBento

                    Bule is a kind of dangerous word (means literally "ghost"), can be mildly derogatory or even amusing but, in other contexts, can be as bad as the "n" word. I wouldn't fool around with it.

                    Today seemed to be empek day - never seen them there before (large fish cake with hard-boiled egg in the middle, fried, served in a thin brown sauce usually made with vinegar and palm sugar, but the one I had had some tamarind also, and not enough vinegar). They do seem to have themes - one month the theme will be rendeng, the next month, fried chicken, etc.

                    1. re: geckoFeet

                      I'm a bule, I hear it all the time in Jakarta (I don't hang around swish shopping centers/restaurants though). What's your point?

                      Also, pempek are from Palembang. Got sick off of eating too many of those by the Ampera Bridge.

                      Since you seem more familiar with this festival than me, perhaps one of the times this year they'll offer something from Manado...

                      1. re: BuildingMyBento

                        Oh, I don't know nuthin' 'bout Jakarta talk; have been in Jakarta maybe 3 or 4 days total. It seems like a very unpleasant place (kind of like LA - there are some interesting things, but the traffic and the air are horrible. and you need a car to get anywhere). I've been mostly in central Java. All the cooks I know at the Food Bazaar are Javanese, so I'm not going to ask them about food from Manado. Actually, I might; but they'll probably just laugh. Don't know anything about food from there - is that where you get those things like lemper but with tuna instead of chicken?

                    2. re: BuildingMyBento

                      Longtime Chowhounders will recognize gringo as a Jim Leffian term. You can't say he coined it, exactly, since it's an existing word, but he put it into general usage as a word referring to people eating cuisines foreign to them. If you search Chowhound or even just on Google, you'll find hundreds of similar references.

                2. The vendors were game, but they did seem overwhelmed at times by the crush of customers. A mention in Fork in the Road as one of the upcoming weekend's top five food events didn't help.

                  I got the bare leavings of one very tasty pot of Javanese "black soup," a beef-and-rice dish called nasi rawon. At least two vendors prepared it. For the best chance to compare the various versions at the next bazaar (whenever that may be), I plan to ratchet back my arrival even earlier. Nothing wrong with a little small talk till soup's on.

                  Advance word: An unaffiliated Indonesian food event will take place inside a Queens church on May 18. More on this shortly; I'll add further details in a new thread.

                  Dave Cook

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: DaveCook

                    Nasi Rawon is a specialty of Surabaya, in East Java

                    1. re: BuildingMyBento

                      According to an Indonesian friend who turned me on to the dish on Sunday, Nasi Rawon is an East Java specialty in general and not particular to Surabaya. She says that Central Java has a similar dish but they add sugar to make it sweet, and that West Java has a version that's also sweet, with tofu in addition to the beef.

                  2. What a fantastic event. The people could not have been nicer, the food was authentic and delicious, and it was a perfect blue sky day. We covered the outing in our latest post.

                    We'll be sure to check back for upcoming event details. Please keep updating this board geckoFeet, this was great insider information, and it led us straight to Astoria.


                    6 Replies
                    1. re: tastecation

                      Basically just a blog link post...with some nice photos. You need to share your coverage here.

                      1. re: Silverjay

                        It was more a thank you to geckoFeet for turning us onto the event. This was one of the only boards that was promoting it early in the week.

                        We'll put more pics and a writeup of some of the better things we tried on this post.

                        More info on future events would be great.

                        1. re: tastecation

                          If you read and contribute to Chowhound regularly, you'll find out about all of these "insider" events.

                          1. re: Peter Cuce

                            Here are some pics from last Sunday.

                            Loved the Somay, the steamed fish dumplings in bitter melon. The bitter melon was a bit intense, it kind of overpowered the dish, but I think it's just something you need to get to used to. The dumplings on their own were great.

                            The beef jerky was pretty solid, would've liked a bit more of the chile sauce over top, but all the flavors came together nicely.

                            We didn't find beef rendang anywhere, but maybe we just walked past it. Did anyone who attended see beef rendang? I was pretty excited to try the version I had read about at the bazaar.

                            Again, the food vendors could not have been nicer. They were all gracious, smiled the whole time, and were happy to get into all the ingredients that made up every dish.

                            Anyone know when the next event is slated for?

                            1. re: tastecation

                              To me, that's the beauty of bitter melon, but yeah, you need to learn to love it. I think it's more generally written Siomay than Somay. You can get Siomay at Mi Jakarta, although theirs doesn't have the bitter melon.

                              I loved the jerky too. I brought some home and ate it with rice, as my friend recommended. I'm pretty sure that stall or the one to right of it had rendang, and the one all the way in the back on the left as well. Usually there's more of that around, but there were a few less stalls than usual this time around.

                              Generally it happens once a month or less in the warm season, approximately April to September. I think I made it to four of them last year.

                              1. re: Peter Cuce

                                Thanks Peter, great tips man.

                                Yeah, I've seen it as Siomay or Somay, they were spelling it out as the latter at the stand, so I went with it. I loved the dish, just not attuned to the bitter melon yet. I'll get there.

                                Thanks for the other tips man. Looking forward to the next one.