The only international travel I am doing this year is with my tastebuds and this week they are journeying to the sprawling island nation of Indonesia.
My expert guide is Indonesian-born avid traveller and photographer Erna Glassford. Her love of Indonesian food is matched only by her love of discovering and sharing the best the Canberra region has to offer on her popular Instagram page Simply Cheecky.
“What I love about Indonesian food is it is rich in variety and taste. Every meal is flavourful and exciting to eat!” said Erna.
“Known for its unique combinations of various kinds of spices and influences from Arab, Indian, Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch and Chinese cuisines, Indonesian food is not always pretty or Instagrammable, but it’s always tasty and every meal is accompanied by rice and chilli sambal.”
According to Erna, the barometer for a good Indonesian eatery is their nasi goreng. When done right, the humble fried rice dish delivers her the sweet caramel flavours of home. After living in Canberra for 11 years, she has found all the best spots to satisfy her cravings for authentic Indonesian food.
Hyatt Hotel Canberra
Past the beautiful tea lounge at the Promenade Café, the lunch menu features a deluxe nasi goreng with jasmine rice, prawns, chicken satay sticks, fried egg and chilli sambal which Erna says tastes just like it does in Indonesia.
“The nasi goreng at the Hyatt tastes exactly like real nasi goreng that you normally find at the best street vendors in Jakarta. I can taste the chilli, dried shrimp paste, kecap manis (sweet soy sauce), just like in Indonesia.”
Hyatt Hotel Canberra is located at 120 Commonwealth Avenue, Canberra and is open 7 days a week.
Mamma’s Takeaway Kitchen
Among the hamburgers, sandwiches, gyros and roasts available at Mamma’s Takeaway Kitchen in Mitchell is a selection of Indonesian food. But you will not find it on their menu, you have to ask for the Indonesian specials of the day or keep an eye on their Facebook page.
“I highly recommended their mie goreng (fried noodle). It is so delicious, and the portion is quite generous but just be aware it is popular and normally sold out before lunch.”
Mamma’s Takeaway Kitchen is located at 55 Heffernan St, Mitchell and is open Monday to Saturday from 7:30 am to 2:30 pm.
Open since 1977, Asian Provisions in Phillip is the oldest Asian supermarket in Canberra. Specialising in Indonesian, Malaysian, Singaporean and south-east Asian grocery products, they also have a range of takeaway food.
“While Asian Provisions itself is a supermarket, it quite often sells takeaway Indonesian food from Indonesian home catering companies. You can find almost every Indonesian food you can think of here,” said Erna.
The takeaway options change daily, so pop in to see what is available or stay up to date via their Facebook page.
Asian Provisions is located at 54 Colbee Court, Phillip and is open 7 days a week.
A home bakery offering nostalgic treats from Indonesia made by Canberra mum and illustrator Wita Puspita is Erna’s go-to for Indonesian snacks and bread.
“I highly recommend Wita’s risoles. Indonesian risoles are like spring rolls in terms of concept, but it uses crepes as the wrapper. The filling is normally chicken, vegetable and spices. The wrapper is then dipped into panko bread crumb and deep-fried. I hold no responsibility if you get addicted!”
Follow Wita Makes on Facebook to see what’s on her weekly menu.