Wednesday, July 8, 2009

In Search of a Taste of Home: IndoKitchen

Indonesian cuisine in Los Angeles is not as common as Thai or Vietnamese, but as a student living in LA indefinitely, I still have to try some good representation of my country's cuisine. I've tried out the Indonesian restaurants on the westside through downtown, and also Pondok Kaki Lima at Duarte Inn, but there are still a few restaurants in the SGV I have yet tried.

So, to celebrate my exam passing a couple months ago, I had a pre-party dinner with Wandering Chopsticks, Kung Food Panda, and an old classmate, at Indo Kitchen in Alhambra.

I like avocado smoothies with chocolate syrup which is a typical Indonesian dessert, so of course I got one here - I'm celebrating after all.
Unfortunately the one here is not so great. It tasted like the avocado was not fresh, and the shake had a bitter aftertaste. I didn't manage more than a few sips.

As a starter I ordered the Ketoprak, which is a Javanese dish typically consisting of tofu, vermicelli, bean sprouts, etc, in peanut sauce.
A pretty good rendition, albeit it doesn't have all of the usual ingredients.

We also got one of my favorite dishes from childhood - goat Tongseng.
We usually make tongseng from leftover goat curry by adding vegetables (mainly cabbage) and then eat this the next day. Tongseng is usually not as spicy. The tongseng here is pretty good. The goat is a bit gamey (which I like) and tender, the flavors and spices are right on.

We also got their special fried chicken (I don't know why I neglected to take a photo of this!) which were also pretty good and flavorful.

Of course, we also got some rendang for Kung Food Panda who was new to Indonesian food. Rendang - braised beef curry, is a safe dish that people usually recommend to the newbies.
The rendang here is not bad, but could be better. Normally you would use smaller chunks of meat such that the result is more tender, easily cut with just the tip of your fork. Since Indo Kitchen uses bigger chunks, the meat is not as tender as it could be, and the sauce doesn't seep through into the meat completely. Still a pretty good dish - the meat is not tough and the sauce is flavorful - but could be made much better with just one simple change.

Overall a pretty good Indonesian restaurant, and I think the conclusion is mostly the same as the other Indonesian restaurants in Los Angeles. Indonesian cuisine spans thousands of islands with different cultures - and food cultures. It's impossible for one kitchen to get them all right, so at each place, order wisely and you'll be satisfied.

Indo Kitchen
5 N 4th St
Alhambra, CA 91801
(626) 282-1676
www.indokitchenalhambra.com
Indo Kitchen on Urbanspoon
Indo Kitchen in Los Angeles

8 comments:

Nanciful

Wow! I love the new website layout!

I always pass by The Kitchen but have never gone. I will have to try it now!

PK

rendang looks interesting.. and I like the new layout by the say.. keep it.

Gastronomer

IndoKitchen is my Indo co worker's fave Indo resto. It's definitely on the To Eat list.

Kung Food Panda

How come you didn't talk about my tasty cup of Chandel?? =P

Wandering Chopsticks

You forgot about my dessert. Forgot what it was called but it was like VNese fermented rice wine but made out of lontong and bright pink. Mmm. I love their fried chicken.

burumun

WC: "Tape" ? Yeah I didn't have photos for those - I don't know why, I guess I didn't take them? I also don't have photos of Danny's dessert, and the chicken :(

SinoSoul

I drive by this place almost once a day. Eaten... twice?

Maybe I can bribe you next time to come with? Cuz I don't get it. Not that I remember what I ate for 3 days in Indonesia but... this is tame stuff? Where's the cow brain?

burumun

SinoSoul: I'd be happy to go there with you, but yeah IndoKitchen is tame stuff, I think liver and gizzard's as far as you can get.

You want cow brain soup? I'll take you for some cow brain soup :) Stay tuned.

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