Global Bites without the Flights | Indonesian Cuisine at Bali Nusa Indah

Before I lived in this penthouse apartment in Gramercy (okay, well, it’s a 5th floor walkup in Kips Bay – but same thing, right?), I lived for two years in Hell’s Kitchen with my college bud, Nicole. Last month, we reunited in Hell’s Kitch for a Global Bites without the Flights to Indonesia, to Bali Nusa Indah (9th btw 45th & 46th). It wasn’t until we sat down that I realized we hadn’t had a one-on-one since maybe this time last year. We see each other frequently, but usually with many (and in some cases 200) other people involved. Because of this time apart, we focused a little more on each other than on the food, but I still have some thoughts.

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Indonesian cuisine is very diverse, as you could imagine it would be, since Indonesia is made of up of 6,000 islands. There’s no way they’re all eating the same flavor of Pop-Tart each morning.

I’ve been obsessed with avocados like the rest of America for quite some time. When I saw there was Juice Alpukat (an avocado milkshake!) on the menu, I was curious. Would it mix well with the red wine we’d already ordered? We took the chance and ordered one to split and it was pretty good. It tasted exactly like what it was, blended avocado and milk, though I’d never have thought to mix them myself. Is there an avocado cereal out there on the market? You can have this one for free, General Mills.

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To start, we ordered shrimp chips, which are basically small, thin rice cakes flavored with shrimp. The serving was quite large and these were a little more shrimpy than the chips I love at our local Vietnamese place by work, but still hit the spot. We also ordered a chicken satay with peanut sauce, one of the main flavors in many Indonesian dishes. The Spanish and Portuguese merchants brought peanuts from Mexico to Indonesia in the 1500s and peanuts do well in the temperature and environment of Southeast Asia. You have probably had peanut sauce in Thailand or from Thai restaurants in the states, but Indonesian peanut sauces are a little less sweet¹. Our last starter, because I am a constant overappetizer, was Terong Belado, {sauteed eggplant in hot chili sauce}, which was Nicole’s pick. I did like it a lot more than I realized I would but, man, was it spicy! I was thankful for the avocado milkshake to neutralize it a little bit.

For an entree, we split one of the most traditional Indonesian dishes, Nasi Goreng {Indonesian fried rice with chicken satay, chicken, shrimp, veggies, and eggs}. It was delicious, but I didn’t realize when we ordered that it was pretty unadventurous as it was reminiscent of traditional Chinese chicken fried rice, which I’ve been eating for almost 30 years. At least we had an adventure with the avocado milkshake and the spicy eggplant.

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xx

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