Moslem Chinese Food, where have you gone?
Kaliurang Street, good food but too much ‘ ambiance’
As my husband and I weaved through the copious and unruly vehicles driving down Kaliurang Street, we could feel ourselves salivating. Although Kaliurang Street has many delicious restaurants and good-quality coffee shops, the downside is having to be on Kaliurang Street to enjoy these things. It’s the kind of loud, dusty, crowded, uncomfortable street you have to be in the right mood to go to.
The first time I tried Moslem Chinese, I knew I’d be back. My husband and I love trying new places, and we happened upon the stall a few years ago. It was a simple place with a bright yellow banner and red lettering, which usually signifies Chinese food here in Indonesia. We decided to try it out and were impressed by the friendly service before even trying the food. The stall was run by a husband and wife team. The wife made drinks and served the food, and the husband cooked up the meals. Occasionally, their teen boy served us, as well.
And the food? It’s tasty and very thoughtful food. We noticed a small fridge in the rudimentary kitchen and everything always has a very fresh taste. We’ve tried many of the items on the menu, and have never been disappointed. Some of my favorites were sapo tahu–which is a tofu stew with lots of veggies and tree fungus and ca kangkung, water spinach stir-fried on a very high heat. Many of the dishes are available with a choice of meat, chicken, fish, or beef.
What does the name Moslem Chinese connote?
Now, why is the stall called Moslem Chinese Food anyway? It’s to let people know that they don’t serve pork yet they have all the delicious Chinese dishes that people enjoy.
The fun of documenting small restaurants
After coming regularly to eat at Moslem Chinese Food, I got a hankering to photograph the place. This is nothing new, I really enjoy documenting small restaurants. Moslem Chinese Food’s stall was photo-worthy. The tiger poster, the bright-colored plastic tablecloths, the mirror with the fishbone above it, and the lighter hanging on a string. Not to mention the cook’s theatrics, which I had to document. Sometimes I felt like the flames of the wok reached the roof! He’s skilled though; he knows how to avoid that gross burnt oil taste that sometimes results when less talented cooks attempt high-flame cooking but retain the flavor of the dish.
Back to our drive down Kaliurang Street. As we neared the stall, we noticed their banner wrapped around more tightly than usual. There were no lights on. The stall was closed. We had to take our hungry bellies elsewhere. So sad. But we still had hope for the future.
Unfortunately, when we came back a few days later the whole stall had been dismantled. There was no information about where they had moved. When we asked surrounding businesses what had happened, they didn’t know. That is very unusual here in Indonesia. Usually, it’s easy to do intel in a neighborhood, people know what’s going on.
Where is Moslem Chinese Food? How will we go on?
Have you ever had a favorite restaurant which disappeared without a trace?
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