Monday, May 30, 2011

Gerai Bumbu Desa @ Banquet Parkway

For the longest time, I've seen this stall at the corner of Banquet, located at the 4th level of Parkway Parade Shopping Centre but I've simply assumed it to be a typical 'Ayam Penyet' stall.

One day, I decide to venture to that end after I've had my meal and discovered that they serve Sundanese food. I miss having real Sundanese cuisine. Especially back in those days when 'Pondok Gurame' restaurant was still around. My family love dining there.

I was excited to see that they serve 'Iga' (spare beef ribs) here. Made a mental note to have that when I dine here the next time.

'Iga Bakar' (grilled beef spare ribs) set

Well, 'next time' comes and goes and I never really got down to trying until recently.

I tried going through their menu but they crammed so many things onto the menu board that it got pretty confusing. I tried ordering the 'Sup Sayur Asem' (sour veggie soup) but was told that it's not available. Seems to me that those that available are those being displayed out front and there sure seem to be a lot of stuff.

There are chicken, both fried and grilled. The 'iga' can supposedly be served 2 different ways- fried or grilled (as seen on the menu). But I only mentioned,"'Iga' set" when ordering and they already proceed to prepare. Hmm...

And then I saw the fish. A whole tray of them. Blackened with spices and soy sauce. Must be grilled fish. Looks a lot like the freshwater kind. I can't really determine what type. Could be tilapia or the one called 'Gurame'. Or another one that they call, 'ikan Nila'. Most likely the latter.

It looked so good, I almost regret ordering the ribs. My mom already had her meal so she'd be full. I saw later on, other patrons ordering it and it had looked really enticing!

'Iga Bakar' (grilled beef spare ribs) set

Upon my order, the lady took several pieces of spare ribs (meat only, no bones) and some fried tofu + 'tempe' (fermented soybean patty) from the tray at the display and went into the kitchen to heat it up.

When she re-appeared, the ribs had been cut into smaller bite-sized pieces and she placed them on top of some shredded lettuce. Then she poured more soy sauce on it.Those meat pieces had looked pretty sad, all limp and dark. Shen they put the re-fried/heated tofu and 'tempe' alongside that. The rice followed and lastly, some generous spoonfuls of crumbs. Whoa!

And not forgetting the chili on the side. That 'sambal belachan' was pretty fiery and complement the dish very well. And then there's a small bowl of either vegetable or chicken soup. It was pretty forgettable.

You can almost say that I don't keep my hopes too high. But then again, I'm very well-acquainted with Sundanese cuisine; being Javanese myself. I love a hint of sweetness in my food and the sweet soy gave me that much-needed taste.

The spare ribs meat still remain very tender despite sitting out for too long and re-heated later. It was marinated well and the soy sauce that was poured onto it prior to serving, was full of 'umami' goodness. Those reddish-orange chunks were actually pickled carrots! Yum.

The fried tofu was very crispy, having been re-fried prior to serving. The 'tempe' was slightly dark and seemed to be marinated like the 'iga'. I gave that away to my mum, knowing how much she'll like it. She told me that it taste a lot like 'tempe bacem', a Javanese specialty where the 'tempe' (or even tofu) is boiled in coconut water & spices and then fried.

This set taste sooo good tat I'm definitely ordering it again!

'Ikan Goreng' set

I somehow made my way back here the very next day and visions of the grilled fish remained fresh on my mind.

Then again, I went there during lunch hour the day before and there were still many items in the display. When I came back again during dinner the next day, most items were already sold out. Both the 'Iga' and grilled fish were nowhere to be seen.

Then I saw the fried fish, which seem to be of similar variety to the grilled one, just that it's, well, fried. So I ordered that. They took the fish in to be re-fried and it sure took long!

Only at the table do I realise that when I order a fried item, they'll serve the fried 'tempe' instead of the one that reminds my mum of 'tempe bacem'. Dang!

I really wish I had the grilled fish instead because its marinade would have helped to mask the muddy accent that's usually present in freshwater fish like this. And despite re-frying it for so long, it still wasn't as crispy as I had anticipated it to be.

well... Now I know what to avoid ordering. Maybe next time, I'll try the grilled chicken.

I can say that I like the food enough to consider a visit to their restaurant at Novena Square 2 - #B1-01 to 05. Saw a pic of the interior on other food blogger's site. Seems like it had a pretty nice ambiance.

Here's their WEBSITE.

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