Friday, November 14, 2008

Tenda - Haymarket, Sydney

A new-ish Indonesian restaurant just a teeny tiny bit outside Chinatown (I honestly have no clear idea of the exact boundaries of Sydney's Chinatown - as far as I'm concerned the whole Sydney City CBD is in fact, Chinatown) LOL. Anyway, I really think that the term "Chinatown" should be gradually phased out and changed into "Asiantown". It's kind of unfair to call them all Chinese since there are so many Asian ethnicities in Chinatowns...LOL

Any new Indonesian restaurants in the City should be warmly welcomed, IMO. Most Indonesian restaurants in Sydney are concentrated in the Randwick-Kingsford-Kensington-Maroubra area (also known as the Indonesian Colony or Indonesiatown). Kind of make sense, really, since most Indonesians live in those 4 suburbs in Sydney. However, for us City / downtown kids (what corny and ostentatious) it's such a hassle if we have to travel 30 minutes just to grab a bite of ridiculously overpriced, somewhat fake-tasting Tempe (soybean cake). Note: Tempe in Sydney costs a whopping 15 - 20 times more expensive than in Jakarta.

Steamed vegetable salad with peanut sauce dressing

-> Words cannot describe how BAD this Gado-Gado is. I'm really sorry, but even I can make a much better Gado-Gado. Heck, even my servant in Jakarta (who's notoriously bad at cooking) makes a better Gado-Gado. To make things worse, this dish costs 9 bucks. Oh well, I guess rent in the City is expensive.
BTW, this is a Gado-Gado Siram (a type of Gado-Gado in which steamed vegetables are arranged on a plate, then splashed / covered with dressing) as opposed to the IMO superior Gado-Gado Ulek (the whole dish, including the sauce, is prepared on a large stone mortar and the sauce is made from fresh peanut & herbs / ingredients ground with a pestle)

Rating: 2/10

Mie Ayam
Indonesian Chicken Noodle

-> A quintessential Chinese-Indonesian dish. The original fusion food that preceded any fusion Indonesian food. Whatever. Served with a tiny bowl of bakso (meatball) soup. Funny thing: on the menu, this dish is described as "Indonesian Ramen". What the?? Well, even though it's TECHNICALLY correct, I don't think they should use that description. Kind of SAD, really - Indonesian food is so unpopular in Sydney they have to use that sort of description to attract customers.

Rating: 7/10

Bakso & Pangsit Goreng
Fried meatballs & fried wontons

-> Comes with the noodle set. My foreign friend was so reluctant to try the meatball thing because it resembles nothing he's ever eaten before.

Rating: 6/10

Sate Ayam, Sate Sapi, Sate Kambing
Assorted satay (chicken, beef, lamb)

-> Ah, finally a decent dish. Averaging at around $1.70 per stick, I STILL think it's a tad pricey (sizes are small-ish). But it's good nevertheless. I especially like the lamb satay - I almost NEVER eat lamb in Indonesia because for some people...Indonesian lambs can be very strong in aroma (or should I say odor). That's why some Indonesians consider lamb as 'dirty' meat.

Anyway, that's not the main point. The main point is, Australian lamb comes from those cute fluffy and not-so-odorous-depending-on-the-situation SHEEP. Indonesian lamb comes from those skinny, dirty, catastrophically-odorous GOATS. Sheep's meat tend to be more tender and less odorous than goat's meat. Also, Indonesian goats have bad image compared to Australian sheep, and let me explain why. You see, the only chance you can see a live goat in Jakarta is around the Eid-al-Adha, which is an important festival in the Muslim calendar. During this celebration, people would buy a hewan qurban, which are live animals for offering, usually goats (for the middle-class people) and cows (for the moneyed). These livestocks are displayed on various spots in the city, usually near market complexes or open fields transformed into makeshift livestock display areas. Every Eid-al-Adha, whenever I'm driving around the suburbs passing at those poor goats waiting for sembelih (to be slaughtered), I can't help but feel terribly sorry for them. I can't bear looking at those melancholic eyes, and looking at their skinny bodies, it's not like they've had a GREAT life, they should just die naturally, I reckon.
Whereas in Australia, the only chance I get to see live sheep is at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, a festival in which farmers from around Australia compete to show their fattest, greatest, cutest, plumpest, stoutest, most beautiful and prized livestocks. Looking at those cute, fat, smiling sheep makes me feel hungry. They've had a great life. It's okay to eat them.

Rating: 7.5/10

Ikan Goreng
Fried fish

-> Someone please ID this fish...this...overpriced tiny fish. It tastes okay, but look at that face! So annoying...

Rating: 6/10


Anonymous said...

in indo, that fish would be called bawal putih. dont know the english though

Erique Fat Owl said...

Yes, at first I thought it was Bawal. (English: Pomfret). However, I wasn't really sure if it is in fact a Pomfret since I've searched for Pomfret in Sydney's fish market at several occasions to no avail.

But you might be right - it might be a Pomfret after all.

Zen Ahi said...

It is a Pomfret, no doubt! It is a very expensive fish found in the coastal waters of India and much of it is exported, as the indians cannot afford it....
It is the best tasting fish in the world if you know how to cook it!