Friday, August 27, 2010

Five-Star Warung for Ramadan

During Ramadan, most restaurants in Jakarta are fond of offering Middle Eastern fare, like baba ghanoush, falafel, pita bread, tabouleh and baklava.

While this may be a welcome change, there are others who continually long for local dishes such as gado-gado (steamed vegetables with peanut sauce), nasi uduk (rice cooked with coconut milk) and pecel lele (deep-fried catfish) with the requisite heaping of sambal.

For a taste of Indonesian street food, JW Marriott Hotel in Mega Kuningan, South Jakarta, is providing a convenient, busker-free setting for breaking the fast. The five-star hotel has set up an all-you-can-eat, market-style buka puasa (breaking the fast) through Sept. 5.

But forget about waiters in black uniforms and bow ties. The atmosphere here is lively and casual. Some diners were even spotted eating nasi uduk and fried chicken with their hands in the traditional Indonesian fashion.

The hotel has recreated the market scene at its Meeting Center Terrace. There, one can find stalls with individual specialties that change on a daily basis.

There is also the option of al fresco dining, which is proving to be popular. To break my fast, I started with kolak, usually made of boiled bananas or sweet potatoes in palm sugar syrup, mixed with coconut milk and pandan leaves.

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