This year's fall break took us to the Indonesian island of Sulawesi to a city called Manado. A town known for eating anything and everything, Mandado was a culinary adventure from the start! We were able to stay with a friend's family. They were kind enough to take us around to the best warungs in the city. We arrived late at night and before heading to their house, we were wisked to a warung serving...dog.
You might remember my previous encounter with dog in a warung last year. Despite that unpleasant experience, I was somehow convinced to give this version a go. Although tasting substantially better thanks to the insane hell-fire sambal of Manado, I was still unable to swallow in the end due to a rogue chip of bone hiding in my bite. Having tried two vastly different dog recipes, I feel that I am now qualified to say that it is undoubtedly unpleasant!
We began the next day with an excursion to a warung famous for bubur Manado. Bubur is an Indonesian poridge, commonly served with chicken in Java. Bubur from Manado is different in that it is vegetarian. It contains water spinach as well as pumpkin. With an extra dash of salt, I overcame my fear of abnormal textures and actually enjoyed the dish! I paired it with es champur. Inevitably different each time you order it, es champur is an icy cold beverage with some form of jellies, sweetened with condensed milk. We topped the meal off with some pisang goreng (fried bananas) which were served with fishy sambal instead of the typical sweet accompaniment.
After our late brunch, we took a break from eating to see what is apparently the second-largest statue of Jesus, after the one in Rio. From there, we began to wind through the mountains where our driver Joel took us to an absolutely gorgeous outlook. I'm pretty sure we were photographed as much as the mountains.
We started our descent on the mountain, where we stopped for meal number two. At this particular warung on the mountainside, we ordered snails, pork and bat! I don't know about you but I have trouble ingesting things that still look the same as when they were alive. That is how our bat came out. All the spices in the world could not cover up the rubbery texture and taste of eating a bat wing!
From this restaurant, we were picked up by the family of one of my students to go back up the mountain towards our dinner destination. On the way, we stopped for a quick "snack" of one of my personal favorites, jagung bakar (roasted corn). Little did we know that we were also being treated to the largest shrimp known to man!