Nasi Goreng And Bill Clinton
I will stand in line
for only two things – to interview Myanmar’s Nobel Peace Prize winner
Aung San Suu Kyi. And for my paycheck.
why I just didn’t get the long lines at Burger King upon its recent
reentry into the Jakarta market. Opening-month customers at its
high-end mall location waited up to an hour or more to get their hands
on a Whopper Junior with cheese.
like Americans lining up for goat satay at a Sate Khas Senayan
franchise in Michigan. It doesn’t make sense.
like to show off that they know about the trendy things, so they want
to be the first to try it,” explained final-year college student
wasn't really about the food in this case. But it should be.
Indonesia has a lot more to celebrate on the culinary front than onion
rings. Its indigenous cuisine is as good as it is diverse. And to
break out internationally, all industry leaders need to do is focus.
recent business trip to
One of the featured items in my hotel restaurant was “Indonesia’s Nasi
Goreng.” For 20,000 won. That’s Rp 200,000, or more than US$20!
that says is that we have at least one dish that people outside of
this country feel is worth it to pay more than 10 times what it costs
travelers from Tokyo to Tasmania can tell you, the fried rice
specialty is found on many major city menus.
there are other items that could join nasi goreng as an exportable
culinary product. As restaurateur Amalia Wirjono sees it, it's just a
matter of choosing.
(Indonesian food) because of the diversity. I drive to
and the style of food is already very different (from Jakarta). I go
the other way, say to Bogor, and it's different there," she says.
terms of quality, it's expanded."
38-year-old owner of the trendsetting Koi Restaurant & Galeria in
South Jakarta says she gets bored easily and needs new flavors to keep
her juices flowing.
sambal (chili sauce)," she cites as an example of a possible breakout
food product. "There are so many kinds, every place has its own
special recipe. Bali has its own sambal, Yogya has its own sambal.
That's what makes food here unique."
agrees that for Indonesia to become the next Thailand as a source of
popular cuisine globally, marketing is essential.
goreng is what government and industry leaders decide should be our
“national dish” – and that’s the most logical choice – then a
promotional campaign should be built around it.
nationwide competition for the “Best Nasi Goreng” from each province.
That’s sure to generate tons of positive coverage from media outlets
weary of corruption scandals and mudflow stories. Then use embassies
and consulates to expand the competition overseas in selected
high-profile markets like Los Angeles, London and Hong Kong.
picture the CNN feature story on the U.S. finals in Atlanta (that’s
where CNN’s headquarters are). The judges are Bill Clinton and Agnes
winner of the Best Nasi Goreng in America is… DeShon Miller of
Chicago! She will now go on to the White House to serve it up for
President Hillary Clinton!”
to domestic food choices. To say there is a wide range of options
here is like saying TV presenters like mirrors. Yuh! But how wide a
should be lines outside Amalia’s fine dinery, not a burger joint,
customers with forks in hand ready to plunge into her signature tofu
salad or cradle her oven-hot three-flavored chocolate melt dessert.
don't need to measure the meter-long sausage at Kembang Goela to find
out how special it is. The atmosphere and quality at the upscale
Javanese restaurant in Central Jakarta are superb.
other end, there are the countless ayam goreng (fried chicken) stands
and gado-gado street vendors. I just wish they'd clean up their acts
- and dishwater - so hygiene isn't such a question mark.
simple concept takes the cake in my recipe book. I know I'm a
newcomer and don't quite understand all the subtleties of this culture
someone tell me what is the appeal of "Corn in a Cup?"
Hawaii native Dalton Tanonaka is the co-anchor of Metro TV’s
“Indonesia Now” program, seen on Friday nights at 7:30 p.m. He can be
reached at email@example.com