LONDON, KOMPAS.com – Indonesians overseas, especially those celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holidays, would not let homesickness and lockdowns from the coronavirus outbreak dampen their cheer by tucking in to some iconic dishes from home.
In Covid-19 ravaged Great Britain, Indonesians hankering for favorite foods from home like Padang Rice, siomay or dim sum and grilled chicken can get their fix from places like Dapur Teh Ina [Ina’s Tea Kitchen].
“Demand for Indonesian food is higher than ever because of Covid-19" said Dapur Teh Ina owner Ina Sukatma to the Antara news agency of her business, which also offered other foods like ayam bekakak or Javanese grilled chicken with coconut milk sauce, shrimp paste chili and vegetable dip. "Promotion on [social media] like Facebook also helped”
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Fellow Indonesian expatriate and culinary businessman Zukni Legowo has taken advantage of Facebook to promote his specialty of bakso bola or extra-large meatballs. “I usually sell [bakso bola] during Independence Day bazaars on August 17 or get-togethers following Eid-al Fitr” he said. “But that has not been possible this year as Indonesian embassies throughout Europe cannot hold gatherings because of the coronavirus.”
“Eid al-Fitr overseas could evoke a sense of longing and even nostalgia that are only relieved by Putu ayu and other foods” said Zukni, who also sells rendang beef stew, iced cendol and putu ayu cakes.
On its part, the Indonesian Consulate in San Francisco has taken to cyberspace to highlight Indonesian food with a Virtual Culinary Bazaar. “[We held the] Virtual Culinary Bazaar on Zoom, then broadcasted it live on Youtube” said Indonesian Consul-General in San Francisco Simon D.I. Soekarno. “285 Indonesian citizens living in Northern California, Washington State, Oregon, Alaska and other states, as well as cities such as Los Angeles and New York have taken part.”
He added that the Virtual Bazaar is also aimed at promoting Indonesian food in the United States.
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16 Indonesian eateries have taken part in the Virtual Bazaar, among them the Indonesia ChiliCali pop-up restaurant and the SFrasa-rasa and Bumbu Truck food truck. The vendors offered foods ranging from nastar filled with pineapple, savory cheese kaasstengel, and iconic Indonesian staples such as sweet martabak.