Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Day 2 (16/3/2008) - Lesehan

"Lesehan" s the place they picked to eat breakfast. In the previous entry I mentioned that I was"kaget" with their choice of place to eat. Mainly because as similar as "pasar kaget" with "pasar minggu" in Malaysia, I've never seen similar concept as "lesehan" in any of Malaysian "pasar". Among the stalls at the "pasar kaget" were stalls selling cooked food. What so different about the foodstall when compared to the ones found in Malaysia?

The first thing that caught my attention was the size of the stall. It was very small. It was more of a pushcart. Most probably half the size of a standard "gerai burger" in Malaysia. I would say, even stalls selling drinks in Malaysia is bigger than the foodstall in the "pasar kaget". Each stall sell one type of dish.

Mutiara picked a stall selling "somai". Behind the stall was a young lady. She order three plates of "somai" for herself, MP and me. Kakak and KP were to join us later. I didn't see any table or chairs for us to sit. With Mutiara leading the way, we walked passed the pushcart. There, behind the pushcart, on the side walk, beneath a big shady tree, was a mat. On the mat were a few cups of mineral water, neatly arranged. We sat crossed leg, circling the mineral water.

While waiting for our food, I told Mutiara that there's foodstalls in Malaysian "pasar minggu" too. However, we don't eat on mats. Food stalls in Malaysia have at least plastic foldable tables and chairs for the customers. If there's not enough tables, patrons would have to shares table with stangers. Soon we were joined by Kakak and KP who bough two bowls of rice porridge from a stall nearby.

Thanks to Indonesian Sinetron airing in Malaysian television, I've heard the word "somai" a few times prior coming to Jakarta. I've always curious to know what it was. When a plate finally arrived, I looked at it curiously. It was totally covered with peanut sauce. I poked it to examine what underneath the sauce.

There were rice cakes (Indonesian called "ketupat" while I would call it "nasi impit"), white noodles, and bean sprout. As I was on non-spicy vegetarian diet, I think Mutiara's plate would have some meat and chili paste. The peanut was grinded till it was really smooth. Unlike Malaysian "kuah kacang" that still need some chewing, the peanut sauce in the "somai" was very smooth that you could just drink it. Accustomed to 'soft' noodle, I couldn't stomach the hard white noodle. I didn't eat much of the bean sprout either. Perhaps beacause both (white noodle and bean sprout) appeared to be a little uncooked to me. Normally at home, I would eat the bean sprout. But not wanting to get sick while travelling, I avoid eating dubious food. I finished off the "ketupat". And washed everything down with a cup of mineral water.

How much did three plates of "somai" and three cups of mineral water at a "lesehan" cost?: IDR 14 000.

While that might be a fair price to pay for locals but for someone who has been living in Malaysia, that was very cheap! IDR 14 000 is roughly less than MYR 5. The same amount of money would probably buy a breakfast for me, alone, at the office cafeteria.

After breakfast, we continued walking and window shopping at the market. The "pasar kaget" must have been the most happening place in the area. With families bringing their children. House wives shopping. Everyone was in their relax and casual attire. When some one smartly dressed passed by (we only saw two groups), they immediately stood out of the crowd. With my simple clothes, I blended in well - except when I started to talk. Try as hard as I did, I couldn't hide the fact that I was not a local.

Before we knew it, by the time we return 'home' we had spent more than 2 hours at the market. Mutiara's mom was already busy at the kitchen preparing lunch. I saw a wok of boiling coconut milk. In it was some peanuts. I enquired what she was cooking. She did mention the name, unfortunately what I can't pronounce, I can't remember. I also asked if she needed any help. She told me that she was okay and insisted that I hang out in the living room.

Initially Mutiara had wanted to take me out to somewhere after lunch before sending me back to the hotel. Unfortunately it rained. So we chilled out and unwind at 'home'. Actually it was more of MP and I who were chilling out and did nothing. Mutiara, on the other hand, sort out her laundry (ironing, folding) while at the same time chatting. Kakak and KP went out (on a date). And Mutiara's mom went for her evening Sunday mass.

The rest of the day was spent chatting and watching television. And of course Mutiara trying to entice me into eating some local dishes which included "pisang coklat" (spring roll filled with banana). I spent another night at Mutiara's house.

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