Indonesian Cuisine

A Nation of Islands
Rijsttafel, Sate, and Sambals

“Indonesia isn’t a country, it’s a happening.” — Christopher Lucas [1]

Garjda, Indonesia 14th cent.

Garuda, Indonesia, 14th cent.

Indonesia stretches from the Asian mainland towards Australia, like a jade necklace across the southern ocean.  The nation contains more than 17,000 islands, and its people represent several hundred ethnic groups, speaking many different languages.

Indonesia is an ancient country and its Continue reading

Edward Schafer and Spice Route Travelers — III

The Manila Galleon and the Third Route
Tomatoes, Chili Peppers and Beche de Mer

“Tang cookery sounds like modern Japanese cookery — plain food, sometimes raw, with few savory mixtures or interesting sauces.” — Edward Schafer

 

“The best of modern Chinese cooking developed in relatively modern times under the influence of foreign taste and customs, in particular those of India and the lands of the Desert and the Isles.” — Edward Schafer

Malayan on the Silk Road

Curly Haired Man, Malayan
Silk Road, Tang Dynasty

We sometimes forget how many of the foods we associate with Pacific Rim cuisines today were not native to much of the region in the oldest times and have migrated back and forth along the ancient trade routes. Continue reading

Edward Schafer and Spice Route Travelers – II

The Southern Sea Routes
Before Marco Polo

Jackfruit

Jackfruit

“The Po-Lo-Mi (jackfruit) is the size of a pumpkin, its outer skin covered with nodules like the hair on a Buddha’s head.  Its color is green while growing, and turns yellow when ripe.  The pulp is of extreme sweetness.” — Zhao Rugua“Even in Dunhuang, further out on the camel road, grape wine was an expensive addition to an important celebration, like champagne for our festivals.” — Edward Schafer

 

Edward Schafer researched the movement of men, goods and ideas along the Silk Continue reading

Edward Schafer and Berthold Laufer

The Golden Peaches of Samarkand
Chronicles of the Silk Road — Tang Dynasty

Crystallized Ginger

“Without coriander, saffron, mint, ginger and oregano, the foods of the Middle East and China wold be bland indeed.” — Kathie Webber [1]

Kathie Webber is right.  Who could imagine Sichuan cooking without hot red peppers?  And yet they are a fairly recent addition to the Sichuan kitchen. Continue reading