Saturday, finally! I do not know who is happier to see Friday, the students or me? Sure, I still have plenty to do, but at least it is my time. On Saturday and Sunday I get to mix in a few new threads into the stories of my week. For example, wet marketing! We live within five minutes of a fantastic local market where they have everything! I find people either love it or hate it. You go regularly or you do not? So, each Saturday morning, Bubba and I get out the door to Pasar Modern. If we get lucky, we are out by 6:30 am and the parking is good. If we are unlucky, then we’re schlepping the bags a lot farther. We employ a one hour strategy. We get in, get what we need, and get out. Alex would like me to point out the market does carry a distintive smell. You can read his account here.
Stop #1, flowers! Got to get the flowers for Mom. She loves seeing them every day. Alex asked me once why we buy flowers each week. I started explaining to him the concept that if you do things that mom likes, she’s usually in a better mood. And a better mood means she’s usually more agreeable to doing things he wants to do, e.g., more computer game time. He looked at my skeptically not convinced. His comment, “seems like a lot of work.” As this is our first stop, we usually just pick out four or five bunches, tell them where we want the stems cut, we pay, and then we come back later when we are retrieving our take away noodles to pick them up.
Stop #2, fruit guys! We love these guys. Their stand is always so symetrical. Notice how all their fruit is
lined up or stacked up neatly. They take great care and effort to make their stand look neat. Alex usually picks out two papayas and one water melon for a little fruit salad at breakie. These guys only deal in a few fruits. They don’t do bananas, apples, or mango, it’s all about the melon family & papayas for them. As our three purchases are usually pretty heavy, we come back to retrieve our fruit after the Noodle Stop.
Stop #3, veggies! We can’t get enough leafy vegetables at our table. Not only a
great source of iron, they just taste great. One our favorite weekend recipes would be Ginger Bak Choy Tofu over Whole Wheat Pasta. At this stand we stock up on Bak Choy, Spinach, Cabbage, Gai Lan, Kang Kong and Brocoli. The market has so many of these type of vegetable stands, but I like this one because three young guys run it and they seem energetic. Usually you buy in bunches of three, e.g., three small bunches of baby bak choy for 5,000 Rupiah (55 cents). And yes, I am probably paying too much, but it’s way too much fun talking to them in Bahasa.
Stop #4, Tofu! My personal favorite stop of the morning. These three guys are very popular with the market customers. They sell blocks of tofu, small blocks of tofu, tempeh, preserved eggs, noodles, and bean sprouts. The tofu is so fresh sometimes it is actually warm. The two guys that run this stand are always happy to see me. They go out of their way to try and talk to me and even shake my hand. I think it’s a bit like, “hey, this bole (foreigner) is shopping at our stand, check us out.” I usually buy three blocks of tofu for 7,500 Rupiah. That’s less an 1 USD. And that’s the price, I confirmed it with other customers. The tofu market is competitive here in Indonesia. Those I spoke with endorse this stand’s tofu as the tastest in the market and that’s why there is always people in front of the stand. We take it home and cut it into slabs and pan fry it in a bit of olive oil. The idea is you try to get the outer layer a little crispy for a good mouth feel when you bite into the tofu.
Stop #5, Chinese Family! I stumbled across this family over a year ago. They would be the only Mandarin speakers at the market. The mother stays behind the counter
and runs the operation while her two boys work with customers out front. The Dad is usually out and about bringing new fruit to the stand. The boys love Alex and usually give him a Mangosteen or an Orange to snack on. They always ask about my wife and family. Turns out, they really love Hong Kong. We talked noodles and dim sum and how the flour is better in Hong Kong and the Char Sui Buns are softer. It’s always great fun as it’s the only time I get to speak Mandarin at the market. Everyone usually stops and stares at us all conversing away in Chinese. I love it.
Stop #6, Noodles! Near the end of the market run, we stop for breakie. Somedays we dine at the
noodle stand, most of the days we pack them back for everyone, Mom, Suki and Wati (our sous chefs). We get Chicken Noodles for Suki and Wati. We order, pay and then come back and pick them up later. Noodle assembly is a three man operation. There’s a guy on the noodles, one guy on adding meat and vegetables, and the third guy gets it off to the delivery staff or package for take away. Scroll to the bottom to see the Noodle Prep video.
Stop #7, Baking Center! Before we hit the baking center we schlep the bags to the car. The baking
center is a bit of a Godsend for us here in BSD City. You can get most everything you need for baking, whole wheat flour, vanilla, various varieties of chocolate, parchment paper for cookies and cakes, assorted tins for cookies, cakes, cupcakes and whatever else you want to bake, filio dough, jiaozi (dumpling) wrappers. No, you might not get the brand you know and love, but I try to model risk taking and experiment when I can. Essentially, if it relates to baking, they have it. And they sell kitchenware too. This is where I bought my K-5 Kitchenaid Mixer and my Cuisineart Ice Cream Maker. Best of all, they sell actual gas ovens that run on an external gas canister. It’s fab!
Stop #8, Noodle Pick Up! OK, so we head back through the market and grap the melons, the papayas and the flowers. Then, we snag our five packets of noodles, 70,000 Rupiah BTW and legit home. They are usually swamped, sometimes we have a cup of tea (included in the price of the noodles) or a bowl of soup broth. Yes, they sever soup broth as a side dish if you want more. I usually stop Alex at one bowl.