Monday, August 23, 2010

Indonesian Fried Chicken

If you hired a cheap maid or babysitter back home you probably ended up with a Mexican or Central American.  In Taiwan, those roles are filled by Filipinos, Thais and, to a lesser extent, Indonesians.  Ethnic restaurants are a powerful way for displaced foreigners to stay connected to their homelands and I am always excited when I discover the janky ethnic eateries working-class laborers frequent.  Good enough for the members of the ethnic minority, good enough for me!

Anyhow, Indonesian fried chicken.  I don't know much about Indonesian food so I am going by what I saw and tasted.  A marinated chicken leg was brought out and, given its color, turmeric was clearly involved.  Also, ginger and maybe some coriander seed.  Maybe a touch of coconut milk to loosen the marinade?  At any rate, throw the chicken leg into some hot oil and fry.  This is what you end up with:

Crazy delicious stuff and it was fun watching what appeared to be a small, tight-knit Indonesian community greet each other.  I have a general rule that if you eat alongside ethnic laborers, you will generally eat very well. This meal was no exception.

Definitely on my short list of places to return given how delicious it is and how different the flavors are from my usual Taiwanese fare.


Greg said...

Good rule of thumb, pretty counter-intuitive. Why is it that the wealthy order take-out so much, while poor laborers cook fresh meals?

Mike Czyzewski said...

Hi Greg,

Thanks for reading.

As to your question, I think it can be boiled down to two reasons:

1. Fresh ingredients are almost always cheaper than processed ingredients.

2. Wealthy people probably have jobs which are more valuable (in terms of pay per hour) than unskilled laborers so it doesn't make sense for a wealthy person to spend his or her time on something (like food prep) which doesn't have much relative value.

However, you can create compelling counter-arguments based on the fetishistic culture of places such as Williams-Sonoma and Whole Foods. In addition, it has been well documented that fast food, especially in America, is a leading cause in the obesity epidemic amongst the middle to lower classes.


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