SOTO AND SATAY

Find a street cart in Indonesia and itís likely you will find some kind of soup, or some kind of satay. Indonesians love Soto Ayam, a grown-up version of chicken noodle soup redolent with garlic, turmeric, and ginger, and ratcheted up with a spoonful of the fiery red chili sambal thatís its constant sidekick. Green chili sambal, lime and melinjo chips liven up Sop Buntut, one of Indonesiaís great contributions to world cuisine. This oxtail soup showcases not only lemongrass and shallots, but also the spices that launched the Dutch sailing ships: nutmeg and clove. Both soups are on the menu at Kafe Batan Waru, and you can also find Soto Ayam at Cinta Grill.

Then there's satay, skewered meat grilled over coconut shell charcoals. Most people think satay has to come with peanut sauce, but not true. Madurese satay, typically prepared from goat (kambing) or chicken (ayam), is indeed bathed in a smooth peanut sauce before serving with a steamed rice cake known as Lontong, but once you get to Bali, you'll find the indigenous Sate Babi, or pork satay, often rubbed with chili paste, grilled, and eaten with - you guessed - rice. Along the coast, Balinese pound fish, coconut, and spices together, wrap the concoction on bamboo or sugar cane, and call it Sate Ikan Lilit.
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Upcountry, a similar pounded preparation is made with pork or duck, and is not only food for ordinary mortals, but for the gods as well. Satay sticks are included as part of elaborate religious offerings. They also appear on trays of food assembled for the express purpose of presenting to a neighbor or friend as part of a formal invitation to a ceremony, such as a wedding or a tooth filing. The more satay on your invitational tray, the higher esteem in which the inviter holds you. And the more obliged you are to make an appearance.

We have several satays on our regular menu at Kafe Batan Waru, and you can try a broader range of satays at our Satay Festival every Wednesday night in Kafe Batan Waru in Kuta, and every Sunday night at Kafe Batan Waru in Ubud. Click here to make a reservation.
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