Sunday, June 14, 2009

Indonesian Food: Ramayani

On Thursday afternoon we drove to UCLA to help Andrew move some stuff home while he is off for summer and spending some time in Europe. We had a linner (late lunch/early dinner) with his friend, Lauren, at Ramayani located at 1777 Westwood Blvd, in Los Angeles, one-half block north of Santa Monica Blvd. and just east of the I-405. I don't recall ever eating Indonesian food before, but it won't be the last time. The food was excellent.

We each selected an item and then had it served family style. The first item brought to the table was soto ayam, a soup with chicken, bean sprouts and rice noodles in a coconut-milk based broth spiced with lemongrass and tangerine leaves.

It reminded me of Thai curry, with differences. I loved the tiny rice noodles, but the soup was not particularly sweet or spicy. So I added some sambal bajak (red hot pepper chili sauce) which gave it a little kick and extra taste. I was not particularly fond of this dish, but I think it was Lauren's favorite. It was the most eye pleasing dish.

Ayam sauce Ramayani was brought to the table next, consisting of crispy fried chicken pieces smothered in a sweet and tangy barbecue sauce. The chicken was crispy, but tender, and the sauce was quite sweet. I really enjoyed it. It was my second most favorite dish.

My favorite dish was ikan bumbu tumis, a whole fresh-water Nila fish smothered in a spicy lemongrass, onion, shrimp paste and tomato sauce, with pepper and onion strips. It was incredible! The fish was very white, delicate and mild, but the sauce is what made it. It was not as sweet as the sauce on the chicken and it was spicier. In fact, after we finished the fish, I put the sauce on some rice so I could get more of it.

The fish itself was pretty ugly, but it was so smothered in sauce that you did not get a good look at it.

Our final main course dish was gule kambing, lamb stewed in a curry of 15 aromatic Indonesian spices. The picture below was taken after most of the lamb chunks had been taken out. I put this on rice and it was mild, but good. This dish was chosen by Judy and I think was her favorite. This was one of those meals where the dish chosen by each person was their favorite dish.

We were getting full, but decided we had to try dessert. So we selected two. First we got ice Shanghai, mixed fruit, mung-bean jelly, grass jelly and shaved ice with sweet and condensed milk and vanilla syrup. The first picture is from the bottom of the dish and shows the wonderful colors of the fruit and bean mixtures.

The next picture is from the top and primarily shows the shaved ice. We mixed it up and dished it out and it was very different and good. The fruit was probably taken from a can of fruit cocktail, but the jellies added a fun, different texture, as did the shaved ice. It would be a wonderful dish on a hot summer day. It was sweet, but not overly so.

Finally, we had bubur ketan hitam, sweet black rice pudding with coconut milk. The picture below is from the bottom of the dish.

The next picture is from the top. I have included it even though it is blurry. It was warm and quite a bit sweeter than the shaved ice. It also had a wonderful texture, kind of similar to soaked and cooked wheat kernals, although the kernals were quite a bit smaller. Judy and I particularly enjoyed this dessert. It was very choclaty.

We all enjoyed the meal immensely and I definately plan to go back and try some other dishes.

1 comment:

  1. Oooooh, black rice pudding is one of my all-time favorite desserts! Uh, so when are you taking us to this restaurant???