Savor a spicy, succulent Indonesian spread with the Queens Dinner Club

It’s time to gather around a communal table for a liwetan, a traditional, rice-heavy Indonesian feast served on top of banana leaves and eaten with bare hands.

Photo/ Joe DiStefano

Indonesian cuisine is vibrant, colorful, and exploding with flavor. The southeast Asian nation is the world’s largest archipelago, consisting of about 6,000 tropical volcanic islands, including Java and Sumatra. As to be expected, seafood is a main staple, and popular dishes display many Chinese, Middle Eastern, and Indian influences. Coconut milk, lemongrass, turmeric, ginger, and chilies are almost always in the mix.

One specialty is Bandeng presto, whose preparation begins with marinating milk-fish in yeast. The chef then adds shallots and garlic before letting the meal luxuriate in a pressure cooker before a deep fry. This entree is best with a chili pepper hot sauce called “sambal.”


Photo/ Joe DiStefano

The Queens Dinner Club enjoyed dishes from Awang Kitchen at its “meeting” on Thursday, July 20. Bandeng presto was on the menu on July 20 as well as the following:

Sayur asem: Tamarind soup with vegetables;

Bebek Goreng Sambel Ijo: Succulent fried duck with roasted green chili sambal;

Bandeng presto: Deep-fried, pressure-cooked milkfish (see above paragraph);

Ikan teri petai: Anchovies with sator beans;

Krupuk: Crunchy shrimp and rice crackers;

Rujak juhi: Fried shredded dried squid, tofu, potato, cucumber, noodles, lettuce, peanut sauce, and shrimp paste;

Tahu goring: Fried tofu; and Tempe goring: Fried fermented soy bean.

Save some room, though. Peter Zaharatos, a chef at Long Island City’s Sugar Cube, provides bespoke desserts, possibly created with help from a 3D printer. The Bamboo Lounge offer drink specials.

Please note that Awang Kitchen is in Elmhurst, but this multi-course meal will unfold at the Bamboo Lounge, which is located inside The Astor Room at 35-11 35th Ave. in Astoria’s Kaufman Arts District.

Photo/ Waroeng Orang Indonesia

The Queens Dinner Club, which recently celebrated its one-year anniversary, is an open, informal group that explores the borough’s restaurants via monthly banquets. In the past, members have gathered to enjoy Chinese, Filipino, Georgian, Indian, Mexican, and other cuisines.

Source: It’s in Queens

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