The sexiness of this crispy fried pork hock, tamarind caramel, peanuts, cucumber, chili and a poached egg made me feel a little inappropriate eating it in front of strangers
We spent last week in Indonesia, our last regional trip before the Big Move back home next month. I wanted to go back to Bali, which was our first trip after we moved here. We went there as a belated honeymoon, and I thought it would be poetic to make our last trip a return to the first place we ever visited together.
This time, we stayed in Seminyak, a relatively upscale part of the island known for its boutiques, nightlife and upscale dining scene. Seeing as we were pretty much excluded from being able to enjoy shopping due to the narrow, uneven sidewalks in Seminyak that precluded us from pushing the Gravy Baby’s stroller very far and no nightlife starts in Seminyak at 6:00 pm and ends by 7:00pm, which is the Gravy Baby’s bedtime, we decided we’d focus this trip on the upscale dining part.
Thai red curry of beef with perfectly braised tenderloin, smoked tofu, eggplant, basil, and pumpkin (two ways, shredded as a topping and braised in the curry)
We started our culinary adventure at a beach club called Ku De Ta, which came highly recommended by several of our friends who are frequent visitors to the island. As soon as we arrived, just around lunchtime, the hubby and I rubbed our hands together in eager anticipation. We could see how Ku De Ta would be a happening night spot and a place to be seen once the sun sets, but since we were there in the middle of the day, we could get our eat on relatively uninterrupted.
Above: the scene at Ku De Ta is tame enough for us lame-os during the day
Scene or no scene, Ku De Ta didn’t disappoint. I sank my chompers into a crispy fried pork hock with tamarind caramel, peanuts, cucumber and chili, topped with a perfectly oozy poached egg. The pork hock was appropriately balanced between spicy and tender, and the skin was perfectly caramelized. When I broke into my poached egg, yolk ran seductively into the crevices of the pork hock. It was a sexy dish, for sure.
Chili peanuts and the remnants of the Gravy Baby’s lunch, a local banana with orange flesh
The other dish we tried was a red beef curry, which intrigued us because it included smoked tofu, which we’d never had before. Well, it turns out that I’ve figured out a justifiable reason for that handheld smoker I’ve been jonesing for. The smoked pumpkin brought a delicious added dimension to the curry sauce, which was already very velvety and decadent.
We also ordered some chili roasted peanuts to tide us over while we waited for our dishes, and it turned out that we were right to do so. The peanuts were rolled in honey, then smoked paprika and chili powder, which made it a delightful sticky-sweet snack. We couldn’t finish them all before our entrees arrived, so we did what every good, tacky tourist would do: we took out one of the Gravy Baby’s spare Ziploc baggies and dumped those suckers right in.
(By the way, we always travel with Ziplocs and Kleenex these days, because goodness knows we need them to isolate and contain certain, um, messes, he tends to get himself into. I am becoming my mother.)