Indonesian Meat and Fish

Indonesian Meat and Fish

With more miles of coastline than any other country, you would expect Indonesians to eat a lot of fresh seafood, but even more common than the saltwater varieties are the freshwater fish and shrimp grown by rice farmers in their flooded padi. Lele (catfish) is a favorite that is cheap, easy to bone and, like most of the fish served in warungs, it's usually deep fried. The second most popular cooking method for fish is bakar (barbeque). When cooking a fish bakar, a hinged, cage-like frill is often used to keep the fish from falling apart. Look for something similar in your local Asian market.

Indonesian Meat

Other delicacies from the padi include belut (eel), snookie (snake), and kodok (frogs). Where there is water there are also bebek (ducks), which are highly regarded for their rich greasy flesh and extra-large eggs. Nearby ayam kampung (literally village chicken) run themselves ragged avoiding motorcycles, trucks and small children. Consequently they tend to be a bit leaner and chewier, not to mention tastier than their hormone-fed relatives in the West. Like many traditional dishes, ayam goreng (fried chicken) is best eaten with rice, hot sambal, with your fingers.

Indonesian Fish

Indonesians traditionally see larger animals as vessels of semangat, the sentient force that permeates all life. Sacrificial ceremonies are still practiced, especially in more remote areas where meat is thought to be an agent of fertility and strength. During Idul Adha holiday, Moslems will often slaughter kambing (lamb), and give the meat to the poor.

When ordering kambing dishes you're more likely to get goat than lamb, but it is quite tasty nontheless. Kambing is favorite meat for sate (barbecued kebab skewers) as well.

Many restaurants inform patrons that no pork or pork by-product are used by placing the word hallal in their windows. However Babi (pork) can be found in Chinese restaurants as well as in non Moslem areas such as Bali, Flores and parts of Sumatra. The Balinese are especially fond of pork and even use the pig's blood to flavor many otherwise vegetarian dishes.

Sapi (cow) is enjoyed all accross the archipelago including on Bali where the local Hindus have no taboos against eating beef. Apart from the usual cuts, the beef's skin is quite popular most notably with nasi gudeg.

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