November 4, 2021

SusanSez Explores Indonesia in NYC!

SusanSez Explores Indonesia in NYC!

A portrait of Susan Birnbaum with her trademark red hair.
Written by Susan Birnbaum
November 4, 2021

SusanSez Explores Indonesia in NYC!

NYC is the food capital of the world, Trip Advisor lists over 11,000 restaurants in NYC! As you can imagine, the diversity is amazing. Soooo I have decided that I will regularly feature ethnic restaurants, historic places and cultural influences throughout the 5 boros. Without even leaving NYC, we can go Around The World.

SusanSez Goes to Indonesia

As we walk along 9th Avenue, can you believe we have just landed in Indonesia? We enter Bali Nusa Indah to see a small space with a small bar and a narrow dining room, but the most impressive site is a colorful  Balinese tribal mask which greets us. Although a bit scary at first, the staff is incredibly reassuring and friendly. Inside, the décor reflects the crafts of Indonesia-Balinese tribal masks, batiks and more while the food is incredible good and reflects the many influences of Indonesia food.

If you are not familiar, you may be wondering, what is Indonesian cuisine? Coconut milk is liberally used and the food’s enlivening flavorings include chilis, coriander, garlic, pepper, lemongrass, tamarind, and ginger. The best way to experience the varied flavors is check out the rijsttafel (rice table) at Bali Nusa Indah.

Rijsttafel is a little bit of everything within many small plates (starting back way before the current fad). The banquet should be shared among multiple people and it really was more than sufficient for two.

Dishes included:

  • Silky chicken broth with bits of chicken, rice noodles, slices of hard boiled eggs and lemons
  • Mixed salad with a light peanut dressing
  • Tender barbecued chicken satay
  • Six assorted meat, fish and vegetables as “main courses” which were served with rice
  • Lamb curry, which was well spiced and tender
  • Beef simmered with coconut milk and chilies which was yummy
  • Red snapper filet in a spicy soy bean sauce which was tangy
  • The sautéed eggplant was doused with chili sauce and delish
  • The stir fried spicy hot shrimp and string beans was tasty
  • Krupuk Udang shrimp crackers had a lot of crunch
  • Finally, dessert was steamed coconut cream custard and palm sugar

In addition to the Rijsttafel, there is an extensive menu that is very descriptive and includes broiled, barbecued, or stir-fried chicken & beef complete with chili, peanut, curry, or rich soy sauces. Harmoniously paired with seafood are lemongrass, black bean, and chili sauces.  They really have all of the flavors, textures and tastes of Indonesia right in NYC.

Not sure what country we may land in next week, but stay tuned to SusanSez; and keep on eating & exploring!

SusanSez was founded by Susan Birnbaum. Susan has had a lifelong interest in history. Susan is a twenty year member of the Guides Association of NYC, and a member of The Bronx, Brooklyn, and New York Historical Societies. In addition to all of this; she is also a docent at at the Museum of the City of New York. She is also the recipient of The Bronx Tourism Award from The Bronx Tourism Council for her unparalleled commitment to sharing the rich history of The Bronx.
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