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A food festival in Delhi brings Indonesian flavours to the city

The festival offers delicious fare from night markets with dishes like nasi goreng and gado gado

Left to Right: chef Hendra Cipta, Mee Goreng (Photo Courtesy: JW Marriott, Aerocity)
Left to Right: chef Hendra Cipta, Mee Goreng (Photo Courtesy: JW Marriott, Aerocity)

Night markets are famous across Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. These open-air markets usually have a variety of stalls that sell clothes, shoes, toys, and of course street food. The bustling bazaars, called pasar malam in Indonesian, cater to locals and foreigners alike who came here to unwind after a long day, and enjoy the lively atmosphere.

K3, the kitchen at JW Marriott, New Delhi has reimagined the Indonesian night market with their food festival, Bali Pasar Malam. The festival is spearheaded by chef Hendra Cipta, the restaurant’s head chef for Asian cuisine.

Originally from Tanggul, a small town located on the border of Indonesia and Bali, Cipta often tries to incorporate the flavours and techniques of these countries into his food, he said in an email interview. He also tries to borrow from ancient Chinese techniques while cooking, with the festival featuring an assortment of aromatic stir-fries and curries.

The Indonesian cuisine showcased in this festival represents Cipta’s cultural roots and offers a wide range of flavours and unique tastes. Lontong mie sayur, a hearty soup, is the perfect start to the meal. The dish, with broth made from coconut milk and sambal, a paste of crushed red chillies, ginger, garlic, sugar and lime juice, also features rice cakes and noodles.

There is an array of appetizers like satay which constitutes meat or seafood skewers served with a peanut sauce, and sate lilit, a popular dish from Bali. For these skewers, minced meat is usually wrapped around lemongrass stalks making them fragrant and flavourful.

The menu includes nasi goreng, a fried rice dish that is proclaimed to be one of the country’s national dishes; and gado-gado, a hearty salad with blanched vegetables like cucumbers, green beans, and carrots topped with a peanut dressing. Mee goreng, a spicy noodle dish, also features on the menu.

Creamy chicken pastel, a classic Indonesian comfort food, is also being offered at the food festival. The hot pot includes vegetables and chorizo and is served with colo colo, a fresh condiment made with chopped red chillies, onions, and red tomatoes, similar to Mexican salsa.

Vegetarian options include urap sayur, which are sprouts, spinach and green beans with a spicy coconut topping, and sambal goreng, made with tempeh (fermented bean curd) in a tangy tamarind sauce. Both dishes can be enjoyed over a serving of jasmine rice.

Cipta especially recommends the rendang curry where the meat is slowly cooked until its tender. It’s enriched with coconut milk and tamarind adds an appetising sourness. Alongside the food, diners can also enjoy the ambience of a typical night market with the restaurant’s vibrant décor.

The festival will take place from 19 June to 2 July.

Where: JW Marriott, New Delhi Aerocity

Price: 5199 with alcohol per person

4199 without alcohol per person

Contact: +91 9211631901

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