Trying Indonesian food like lalapan* is a kind of unique experience for Europeans. Going through the streets in Indonesia, we can see many vendors selling this kind of street food, usually opening their booths at night.
*Lalapan – fried chicken or catfish served with rice, cooked or raw vegetables and Indonesian sambal (chili sauce).
By the way, I’m in Bali right now and I can definitely tell you that the street food here isn’t that different from this what you can find in Malang (East Java) for example. That’s because many street food sellers in Bali mostly come from Java.
To tell you the truth, lalapan isn’t my favorite food in Indonesia. However, I often buy it due to the protein content and vegetables ingredients (even if it’s only a small slice of cucumber, tomato or cabbage – that’s how they usually serve vegetables in Indonesia. When I went to Denpasar last time, I stopped by one of these lalapan booths to grab some food there.
Well, for most Europeans, including me, lalapan is too greasy. You know…oily food isn’t very good for our health. Nowadays, more and more Europeans, especially young people, avoid eating fatty food, at the same time trying to live a healthy lifestyle. Indeed, healthy lifestyle habits grow in popularity in Europe now. On the other hand, I’ve got a feeling that still not many Indonesians are very interested in topics connected with health. They very often eat food that is too greasy, too sweet or too salty.
Anyway, whether is healthy or not, lalapan is still lalapan, right? 😉 However in my opinion, most sellers fry chicken or catfish away too long so in the end, the meat is just too dry and we don’t get so much to eat.
What sets apart lalapan Lamongan from the other is the chicken size. You’ll usually get here the whole chicken thighs and breast, so it’s definitely worth the price. For one portion, you’ll pay about 13.000 IDR – 20.000 IDR (around 1$ – 1,50 $).
There is also another difference between lalapan Lamongan and other lalapan, that you can find in Indonesia. I’m talking, of course about famous sambal (chili sauce). In lalapan Lamongan the sauce contains more tomatoes, which makes it more mild. Personally, I think it’s a big plus! Well, I’m still not strong enough to eat the real Indonesian sambal.
Honestly, till now I’m not used to eating chili sauce. Even though, for most of my Indonesian friends sambal isn’t spicy. In my case any kind of chili sauce makes me cry and I always have troubles with finishing my food. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll finally be able to eat this spicy Indonesian dishes with them. For now, I often put aside the sambal and I only eat the rice and chicken.
When it comes to vegetables, sometimes I also decide to don’t eat it, for fear of not being washed or cleaned enough (it mainly depends on where I eat). I think that it’s a better option than going back and forth to the toilet because of diarrhea. Psst! Once I ate lettuce that was washed with tap water and guess what happened. I had serious stomach problems for a few days. Indeed, for Europeans in some cases using tap water in Indonesia can be risky, but of course when I’m sure that vegetables were washed in clean water. I always eat as much of it as I can take. They’re really very tasty!
Many Indonesians consider that, it’s good to eat lalapan together with cold beverage such as ice tea or cold orange juice. Personally, I don’t follow the rule and while eating lalapan, I usually choose hot drinks, like for example warm orange juice. I don’t know why but it always gives me so much energy!
Ah, and one more very important issue. In Indonesia adding sugar to beverages is a normal thing. That’s why my first words that I’ve learnt here weren’t “good morning” or “thank you”, but tanpa gula, which means “no sugar”. And I’m pretty sure that after coming to Indonesia, you’ll also learn these words very fast.
Overall lalapan isn’t so bad but it’s not so perfect, either. I usually eat it when I don’t have time to cook or when I have some difficulties with finding different food on the way, because only lalapan booth is still open late at night. And how about you guys? Have you tried lalapan yet? How was it?