I went to Upi Jaya, the place Mar recommended for authentic Indonesian food. It’s a family run restaurant on a quiet street. Maybe quiet, but has some character –as I saw a man in front of me on the sidewalk stopped to turn his head as a girl walked by. Then he gave lip smacking smooch as he stared at her behind. I wonder if that has ever worked.
I went with the Nasi Rames Ayam Gulai (Curry Chicken) $7.50. Nothing too fancy, but I feel like it’s like eating someone’s ethnic mother’s home-cooking. The decor even seemed like how someone’s mother would decorate –like what they think looks nice. And like someone’s mother, no alcohol, but you can have soda.
Upi Jaya – 76-04 Woodside Ave. Elmhurst, NY 11373
Had dinner with Mar and Marcellus after their mutual friend’s performance. And I’m just realizing now that I’m also their mutual friend, since Mar lives right above me and they know each other independently of me. She pointed out the Indonesian restaurant close by, serving perhaps Dutch-Indonesian or maybe a hybrid. I thought it was great. So much food I ate.
I think the special is the way to go. Soup or salad, a big platter of food (rice, chicken curry, beef satay, fried fish, veggies, shrimp cracker), beer or wine and a banana crepe dessert for $24. There were two other more expensive specials on the menu. I also ate Mar’s appetizers and Marcellus’ noodles. The roti canai’s curry dipping sauce isn’t as good as other places I’ve had, but good enough. The stuffed fried tofu was great with the java soya sauce.
I may have eaten Indonesian before and may have eaten at this very same place, but it was a good introduction to Indonesian cuisine while aware that I was eating Indonesian cuisine. Mar highly recommends Upi Jaya in Elmhurst, Queens for some authentic food. I gotta try that next. I had to keep emailing Marcellus to ask Mar what we ate. I forgot she lives right above me. I think I just heard her walk.
Bali Nusa Indah – 651 9th Ave (btwn 45th & 46th St) New York, NY 10036
Sanur Indonesian/Malaysian restaurant has a downstairs made to order and an upstairs pick 3 items over rice for $3.50. I went with the latter and it was creamy mild curry deliciousness. I took it to Columbus Park where there was a lot of action. Soccer, Chinese Chess and Chinese opera singing.
Then I walked around exploring the edges of Chinatown I’m not familiar with. Saw some interesting signs, checked out grocery stores and eventually got a back rub. I’ve now decided I don’t like massages. It hurts and tickles at the same time. I was hoping for a light rub or back scratch like for a cat. She was surprised how red my back was and said it was because I was tense and stressed, but I think it’s because she kneaded hard into my back for 30mins. I was on edge from the beginning if it was one of those sketchy happy ending places. At the end she asked me, “Where do you want to go now?” I didn’t understand. I said “my friend’s house in Greenpoint”. I was worried what I said could have been code for something. I really hope it was just her bad English.
The real happy ending was cooling off with a refreshing coconut juice they sell at the Canal street fruit stands for $1.50.
Sanur Restaurant – 18 Doyers St (@ Chatham Square) New York 10013