A Peanut Lover’s Fantasy: Gado Gado

I’ve been sitting on a crapload of posts lately. And every time I think about it, my brain starts flickering wildly to the point where it short-circuits and I immediately retreat…back to Facebook.

This morning I finally got my act together and wrote this post on Sari Nusa that should have been written up two weeks ago before I got hit by Hurricane Work. 

What shoved Sari Nusa high up on my must-eats list was that (a) it’s an Indonesian joint, and I’ve barely explored any Indonesian fare, save two visits to Betawi in Karama (which I will write about someday. somewhere. over the rainbow.), and (b) it had two very strong recommendations gunning for it. The shop owner at the Indonesian Corner Foodstore in Karama had first suggested it to me, and then I’d also read this online, waymoreextensivethanmine review by Malaysia-born Syigim.  I walked in with high expectations…and I walked out with a self-satisfied, I’ve-eaten-an-elephantine-quantity-of-peanuts, look on my face. Gado Gado does that to you.

 ~ Gado Gado ~

It’s the kind of thing that people allergic to nuts would shriek and run away from, but in my nut-crunching books, I’m never going to say no to crispy deep-fried tofu triangles crusted in toasty peanuts and veiled with a thick sweetish peanut sauce. Peanut gloop on its own can sometimes be the overpowering matriarch of a dish, but in Sari Nusa’s Gado Gado, the bed of leafy kankong (swamp cabbage), boiled eggs, and onion crackers made it a happy harmonious family that I’d be happy to dine with again.

The Oxtail Soup was rightly timed after the Gado Gado. I’d like to think of it as a clear, wholesome mouth cleanser after the peanutty storm in my mouth…a mouth cleanser with tender gelatinous nuggets of meaty oxtail bobbing about. Comfort food, flu food, winter food, all-time food.

~ Oxtail Soup ~

The milky tea I ordered [and whose name I’ve forgotten. I know, the ultimate foodblogging crime, I’m Guilty.] was sweet, strong, potent enough…but with a disturbing amount of unstrained powdery particles floating about from the tea mix they had used. Maybe I’ll attempt the coffee next time.

~ Milky tea whose name I’ve forgotten ~ 

And that’s all the damage I did. I’ll admit I just went there to scope out the place during a quick lunchtime grab, so I’ve not done any justice to their massive buffet and the à la carte menu that I interrogated the uber patient restaurant hostess on. But more importantly, the next time around, I need to be chaperoned by my two Malaysian-expert foodies, Didi (upon whose brilliant suggestion I ordered the gado gado and oxtail soup) and Elaine, who actually posted up about Sari Nusa ages ago and had me craving Sari Nusa’s banana fritters with cheese at the time of her post. I stupidly forgot about the post altogether when I went there. And I am now, once again, forlorn and fritterless.

Elaine, Didi…can I tempt you girls with some gado gado?

Sari Nusa
Dune Centre on Al Diyafah Road, Satwa (if you come from Jumeirah, take a right onto Diyafah and Dune Centre will be on your right)
Phone: +971 (4) 345 3390 / 345 3384

Author: InaFryingPan

With a family legacy of ingenious cooks, a nutritionist and chef-extraordinaire mother, and a father who introduced me to steak and caviar when I could barely reach the table, I had no choice but to acquire a keen awareness of food during my childhood years in Dubai. But it was only after I found myself on a college campus in Philadelphia – far away from home, too cheap as a student to spend on anything other than pizza, and with dorm rooms that had little rat-holes of kitchens if they even had them at all – when I developed a heightened appreciation of food. An appreciation of food that I once ate every night at the dinner table in Dubai, but that was now an entire ocean away. I lusted for the culinary treasures that lay outside the stale walls of my college dining hall, hijacked friends’ kitchens to try my hand at something, anything , remotely edible, and greedily raided different websites in search of highly-rated restaurants. With my move to New York to work for a consulting firm that secretly harbored self-professed foodies, my appreciation transformed into a passion, an addicition. I felt like everyone around me in New York was talking about food: where to get the best cupcakes, pizza slices, banh mi, kati rolls, pho, fried chicken, and every other food item out there that is just a plain old dish in some part of the world, but that’s become hyped to unforeseen proportions in New York. What fuelled my addiction over time was travel to different cities, both for work and play, which gave me unfettered access to the culinary havens of not only New York, but also of DC, Virginia, Chicago, Houston, Vegas, Austin, Seattle and even a little city called Bentonville (Arkansas!). After 9 years away from home, I’ve finally taken the leap to come back to Dubai – with not just an awareness, but genuine appreciation and passionate addiction for what I’d taken for granted as a child. Mom, I’m back to reclaim my seat at your dinner table, and to rediscover this city with its ever-expanding menu of international flavors.

15 thoughts on “A Peanut Lover’s Fantasy: Gado Gado

  1. Didi says:

    I think I want some of the Rendang and gado gado. do they have iced cendol or the ruby red (red – dyed? – water chestnuts) desserts?

  2. Sarah says:

    This is a good one… I’m surprised that this is the result of being overwhelmed by "Hurricane Work"! Or maybe it’s just a 4am epiphany. In any case I want to see the 2×2!!

  3. Kiran says:

    Being a Malaysian, I am so drooling over that gado-gado!! There’s not a single Malaysian restaurant here in Orlando :(

  4. Devina (FooDee) says:

    (sorry don’t think my comment went through the first time, so trying again! Hopefully I remember most of it.)

    Peanuts are yummy!

    I totally agree with suddenly finding you have waaayy too many posts and wondering when to put them up. I recently wrote down a list of posts that need to see the light of the interwebs and I’m pretty sure I was looking at about 15 of them. Must. Find. Time.

    Anyway, about the tea. I remember having tea at Malaysian restaurants and they’re normally called "Teh Tarik" on the menu, so I’m guessing this is what you had? Milky and not as strong as the Indian karak.

  5. FooDiva says:

    Pretty please can I join when you next visit? Do they do Nasi Goreng? I must admit I didn’t rate Betawi at all. Apart from Wok In Chow Down (at Movenpick Deira) I have yet to find a good Nasi in this town.

    1. InaFryingPan says:

      @Didi – see. THIS is why I need you there WITH me. We’re just going to have to go back and hunt out rendang and iced cendol on the menu, I don’t remember seeing them. Maybe cause I was so fascinated by the sound of the beef innards dish. Lunch date soon? :)

      @Sarah – Really?! I’m so relieved you think so, I always get worried about the gibberish that flows from my brain to my fingers when I’m numb with work-anxiety. It’s like Russian Roulette, most of the time a 4am post from me is a load of empty rambling, and then once, a very rare once, it’ll actually hit the mark!
      […and 2×2 coming soon, to a workstation near you. ;) at least if you’re caught reading it at work, you can point to a very legit graph and make it seem like you’re truly working!]

      @Kiran – Woo-hooo! Hola to you from Orlando! Thanks for hopping on over to my blog. A few places to try Malaysian food at in Orlando:
      1) Durian Durian – I read in the comments that it has a few Malaysian dishes ;) http://www.yelp.com/biz/durian-durian-orlando
      2) Hawkers Asian Street Fare – http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/26/1584456/restaurant
      3) Malaysian Asian cuisine in titusville (wherever that is!) – http://www.allmenus.com/fl/titusville/171539-mala

      Have you tried any of these…? I hope one of them works out for you! :)

      @Anita – Oxtail is downright awesome, even though when you think about eating an ox’s tail, it makes your brain want to mentally wretch and faint out of disgust. But shut the brain and FEED THE TUMMY. Fyi, the Jamaicans do killer oxtail too. Reminds me of paya (goat’s trotters)…same gelatinous, milky tender texture of the meat.

      @Devina – Rescued your comment ! (…that strangely landed up in the spam folder?!) I have had tea tarik at Singapore Deli, but that was frothy up top. No froth here…and the name was something else. Gives me an excuse to go back and check now, doesn’t it? ;)

      @FooDiva – need you even ask?! YESYESYES. Btw, I’m sure Singapore Deli does Nasi Goreng…how did we not order it when we went there? Regardless, you’re on for a trip to Sari Nusa.

    2. Didi says:

      Hahaha! Then put it on the list :) we shall visit one of these days. and so the list grows longer and longer

  6. I.R. says:

    Congrats on The National article! Well done!

    But do tell how do you manage to stay so slender and slim with all your gastronomical indulgences?

    1. InaFryingPan says:

      @Radhina – hahaha…I feel like someone needs to make that line into a very catchy song. ;)

      @Tasmeea – Thank you!

      @I.R. – Aw thank you!
      Let me tell you a nasty secret of digital photography – you can photoshop fatness >> slimness ;)
      No but jokes aside, try going through half a year of wedding prep for someone in your family – the pounds will fall off like no other! Now that the wedding is over, watch me…BURST :(

    1. InaFryingPan says:

      @Sally – you must try it! It’s actually not too far from your place…15-20 mins max (unless you get caught in hairy traffic)

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