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Braving the summer heat and crossing borough lines for the sake of some home cooked Indonesian food at the Masjid Al Hikmah bazaar, rx Talisa explores Queens cuisine and recaps our epic Indonesian eating adventure. – Veronica
Being a Greenpointer, I’m only a Pulaski bridge away from Queens: that mythical, magical place of delicious food that has somehow managed to evade my ever-growling stomach since I moved to New York almost five years go. Aside from a few bites here and there and some lovely home-cooked feasts courtesy of the Chan’s themselves in Long Island City, I’ve been without a proper introduction to Queens Cuisine—a source of distress for a grub-lover like myself.
Last Sunday all was made right. Veronica invited me to go with her to the Indonesian Food Bazaar at the Masjid Al Hikmah, where I think I might have eaten all five-years worth of repression in one long, hot, delicious sitting.
I don’t know Indonesian food very well, so everything at the Bazaar was a pleasant surprise to me, not the least being the amazing home cooks who were extremely friendly and eager to share their food with us:
But the real treat was the food! So, so much food. Our group went for a divide and conquer strategy—hitting up almost every table and sharing our dishes back under a very-necessary tarp. We had a mix of salty, sweet, furry, fried, and extremely colorful bites. I loved the different textures—from the kelly-green, play-dough-like pandan leaf deserts, to the hard-boiled egg deep fried in a tapioca and fish paste batter, the doughy meatballs, sticky rice, and creamy satay sauce.
In the end, we could barely finish half of all the delicious food, but we really, really tried! I’m pretty sure we were all done-in by the same last bite: a taste of an innocuous looking triangle tempeh treat that turned out to be a dense, chewy, flavor-packed, gut-busting morsel of unidentifiable savory and sweet. I felt like the glutton in Monty Python’s Meaning of Life who has one last grape and explodes all over the restaurant.
Ok, no projectile food explosions. Just Indonesian food-bliss. Thanks, Queens! You’ll be seeing me soon.
More assorted goodies: taro in a fried sesame batter, fried cake things, sticky, red dough filled with yellow bean paste, sticky rice filled with tuna, and the day-ending tempeh culprit is the brown triangle in the center.