I am an Indonesian living in the Netherlands. As part of the Asian communities living abroad, I do have to admit that I still carry on some of the best (well I think it is still the best) Asian traditions while living abroad, such as the food tradition. Luckily I live in the Netherlands. Since the post colonial period there have been so many exotic, especially Indonesian, products in the Netherlands and dishes such as nasi goreng (fried rice) has become a common dish.
So when I miss home I can go to the toko (Asian grocery store). When I travel to other countries in Europe, I do tend to prepare my journey well, which includes my food survival kit. Taking something familiar from home can give me comfort me along the way. Allow me to introduce you three crucial things I must bring when travelling, Indonesian style.
Don’t judge! I do bring a rice cooker with me. This is a very important food survival kit for Indonesians, or Asians in general. What kind of rice cooker? The small one, which is enough for one person. If you ask me around seven years ago whether I would bring such things when travelling, I would say: “You’re out of your mind!” Since I have a daughter everything changed.
That rice cooker is a pretty handy food survival kit. Not only can I cook rice in it (doooh!), I can also cook noodles, porridge, vegetables or just cook water when I don’t have amenities like water cooker in the hotel. So when I worry whether my daughter has eaten enough vegetables during travelling, I can just buy some carrots or broccoli, cook it and it will be her snacks for lunch when we out walking.
It sounds crazy, right? But seriously, Indonesians cannot live with only ground peppers and salt as seasoning on a dish. It is so bland. I do not use it all the time though, but when the flavour of the dish is so tasteless, I do a dash of the sambal on top of it and it is all good.
I do this most of the time in the Netherlands where the food can sometimes be so boring (sorry to say, but it is true). We rarely open the sambal sachets when travelling in Italy or Spain. The food there has more herbs and seasonings. So for my fellow Indonesians who are going to go to Europe for vacation or business trips, bring your sambal sachets with you.
I know, it is unhealthy. But hey I am not that power / healthy food activist. I am just a thirty something chick who once in a while loves to eat some sinful dishes, just for the sake: This life only happens once, so enjoy! Most of the time when I bring some Indonesian instant noodles with me, I ended up not eating it after wall. I do bring it with me, just in case.
I guess this is the habit that I learn from my mom. She always said, a preparation is way better than not prepare at all. So when I get hungry at midnight in the hotel room or appartment, I just cook the noodles in hot water. Or I made it early in the morning before we leave the hotel, put it in the lunch box and whenever we don’t have time to sit in the restaurant for lunch we just go sit on a bench at some parks and eat whatever we have in our lunch box.