Thursday, July 26, 2018

Jakarta Tapas Sliders

Let’s see, what to put in and what to leave out. “I spent a year in Jakarta last week.” At least, and it will take an entire year to forget about it. But it wasn’t all (redacted “ungood”). This trio of tiny cheeseburgers was at a very nicely designed and well-run bar/restaurant close to city-center. There was a varied menu of food and drinks, which followed the local custom of omitting pork but failed spectacularly to follow the local proscription of alcoholic drinks. There was wine everywhere, racks of it, behind the bar and in the dinning area, and it seemed to make up a good part of their business. They also had beer and spirits.

One section of the menu was called, “Tapas.” The Indonesian man accompanying us had no idea at all what Tapas were, a condition that he shared, no doubt, with almost all of his countrymen. It contained, however, eight or ten very Tapas-like items. This one, called “Cheese-Burger Sliders,” was one of them. So the owner was up on his American restaurant vocabulary as well. (I believe that he was Australian.)

I won’t keep you hanging, they were very tasty. Beef, actually. This being an Asian country, and Muslim, one is caught between the usual preference for pork and the common abhorrence for beef. Many South East Asians have a strong disliking for beef, and most Chinese think that beef is poisonous. If you order anything that is beef in Thailand, be prepared for it to be cooked to death, often cooked well beyond death. There is no “medium” in Thailand, beef is either done or well done, with both gradations being over-done. Somehow, the chef at this place had figured out a way to cook the hell out of these things without rendering them tasteless or tough.

Surely there was not a hint of the color pink or even a drop of hemoglobin in these little burgers, and their cross-section had a uniform, dark brown color, but they were somehow moist, light, and delicious. Sir, my hat is off to you!

The best thing about a trip to Jakarta is going home. Returning to Bangkok was like returning to Beverly Hills after a trip to San Bernardino. The silver lining, nay gold, is that I will never complain again about the minor annoyances of life in Bangkok. Even the Bangkok traffic, when compared with Jakarta, seems to flow like an unobstructed river.

Traveling is good; getting home is better.

No comments: