Sunday, 15 November 2009

Gorengan (Deep Fried Snacks)

Favourite snack among semi-hungry passerby, gorengan peddlers sell all kind of fried snacks such as fried tofu, fried casava, thinly-sliced fried tempe (fermented soy bean), fried banana, fried bakwan (sliced mixed vegetables), and so on.

The most common type of mean to carry their goods is a two wheeled cart with one large glass window box. Half of the space is used by a large stove and pan used to fry the snacks. The other half is used to store their fried foods. A metal tray placed just above the pan is used to drip oils on freshly fried snacks. A wooden panel is also common as a table to help cut the food into smaller chunks, and as a base to shape dough for molen skin (a special kind of fried banana with smooth surface). A drawer is also used to place paper bags and change money. Under the window box, contain the actual stove, gas unit, bucket of dough, and all kind of uncooked food stock.

A characteristic of all gorengan peddler is their large quantity of cooking oil of questionable health. It's so frequently reused that the color turns to dark brown. Check before you buy, make sure the oil is still clear. Another characteristic is they always carry a small bucket that contains a mixture of dough, to dip the raw food before deep frying.

This particular gorengan peddler, found near Jalan Limau 2, cost me 600 rupiah a piece or about a nickel piece. You can have 20 pieces and it only cost you a dollar.

Tahu Gejrot (Cirebon Stinky Tofu)

Tahu gejrot, a traditional stinky tofu snack from Cirebon, can be easily found in Jakarta peddled using various type of means such as a three-wheeled bike-cart as illustrated above, over-the-shoulder bamboo beam carry on, a simple bamboo basket that contains everything, or even a motor-bike style.

However, the main characteristic of tahu gejrot peddlers are they always carry a mortar and pestle. This mortar perform the duty of preparing the special gejrot sauce, which combine water, chilly, shallot, garlic, gula jawa (a block of palm sugar), into a distinctive fresh and smell of decomposing vegetable combined. The sauce is prepared each time a person order a portion of tahu gejrot. The pestle grind them all together into a mesh of watery juice. The stingy tofu then finally dipped into the concoction, making sure they absorb the sauce, and ready to serve, either using the same mortar used previously, or inside a small bowl.

This particular peddler, Pak Baharuddin, hovers around a school at Jalan Limau 2, and sells a bowl of tahu gejrot for 5000 rupiah, or around half US$.

Arum Manis (Cotton Candy Sandwich)

Arum manis in this case is a variant of cotton candy (which is confusingly also called arum manis here) that sandwich a lump of hairy fibrous sugar thread inside thin crackers. Customers never confuse the two regardless of name because of the characteristic of the paddler.

A small beam made of bamboo is used to carry a couple of wooden cabinet, which then act as a base for a pair of aluminum cans. One can is filled with stock of pre-made fibrous sugar thread, usually artificially colored red. While the other can is either used as additional stock of sugar thread or a nice dry place to stock the crackers. Another strange characteristic, arum manis peddler is almost always an old person. My guess is the weight of arum manis has something to do with it.

With this particular peddler, a piece of arum manis sandwich cost me only 2000 rupiah, or about a quarter of US$. Other arum manis peddlers sell by a plastic of five pieces.

Sate Ayam (Chicken Satay)

Found in residential area through out Jakarta, Sate Ayam peddlers usually push a standard two-wheels wooden cart with glass cupboard on the tail side, and a small charcoal stove on the front side.

Raw chicken or sometimes with goat meats are prepared with skewered inside the cupboard, and every time a customer order a dish, a bunch of skewers are barbecued with a help of a large bamboo fan.

One portion of sate ayam usually consists of ten skewers, placed on a small platter mixed with peanut sauce and sweet soy sauce, then served with a dish of cooked rice or lontong.

This particular Sate Ayam peddler is of Madura variant and called him self "Sate Ayam Madura Pertamina", as a reminder that this is the branch of a popular satay restaurant across the street of Pertamina Hospital. The owner of the cart is probably Pak Haji Romli, but the peddler is actually Pak Muhammad. One portion of this satay peddler is 15 thousand rupiah (around US$1.5), which is about upper-level price as others normally sell around 10 thousand rupiah (around a dollar). However Pak Muhammad's satay is juicier and the meat is larger than his competitors. You can find his cart usually around Jalan Gandaria Tengah 1.