Last night (Thursday), I decided to take Putrie and her father and daughter to dinner, as they family is headed back to Medan on Saturday. So off to one of the local food courts (pujaseras).
The food at these places is excellent, and inexpensive. I’ve reported on them before, but here’s a brief review:
The pujaseras are open air. A concrete court is surrounded by warungs (food stalls) owned by a veriety of vendors. Different warungs might sell different foods, or different styles of cooking. The Windsor also features a beer bar in the middle of the court and a stage on one side for karoake.
When you enter, you are immediately “attacked” by the beer girls, whose first job it is to sell you Bintang, Tiger, Heineken, Carlsberg or other beers. Different girls represent different beers. I usually order beer from the prettiest girl, since that person will often hang around your table or even sit with you to chat, but since I had a date I didn’t think that was a good idea (duh!).
While you wait for your drinks, one of the girls will take your food order. All the food for all the warungs is included on one menu at the Windsor, with pictures of the most popular dishes. Your food might come from several vendors.
There were four of us so we ordered a lot – prawns, butter prawns (small mussels in a brown sauce), steamed crabs, calamari (maybe the best I’ve ever had), baby keylan with mushrooms, steamed vegetables and rice. Tiger beer and juices, also. Everyone shares the different foods.
The food comes at different times, so first we were eating the butter prawns and keylan, and then the calamari and vegetables showed up. The crabs came last. Boy, did my guests chow down, until nearly every bite was consumed. We even ordered a fruit plate for dessert. The total came to about $65 with tip.
These food courts are so popular in Asia, I’ve wondered why they can’t be relicated in the States. I don’t mean like those mall food courts in the U.S., with the chain fast food restaurants. This is made-to-order locally sourced food, mostly very fresh seafood and vegetables. I can envision a U.S. food court with barbeque warungs side-by-side with people offering fried catfish, or corn on the cobb, or homemade lasagna. About the only reason I can fathom why this would not be possible in the U.S. would be health department regulations. They do not exist here.
Anyway, it was an excellent meal and a fun time. It’s always good to get some local food.