Why Isn't Indonesian Cuisine More Popular?

In the Boston, MA area, anyway?
Thai food is ubiquitous-and also Szehuwan Chinese. In my area, there used to be a good one (Newton, MA)-but it went under years ago.
I don’t get it-Indonesian combines hot, sweet/sour, and spicey. I love risstafell, and satays.
Is it because there aren’t enough indonesian immigrants?
There seem to be plent of these places in NYC.

For one thing, ethnic food is generally brought to America by immigrants, and there isn’t a very large body of Indonesian immigrants. For another thing, food choices depend on fads and fashions as much as anything else does. Some types of food remain obscure for a while and then suddenly take the country by storm. It happened with Japanese food a generation ago. In the 70’s and early 80’s, you’s have been hard pressed to find good Japanese restaurants, except perhaps in a few urban areas. Then suddenly they were popping up everywhere.

I’ve never seen one. I’d venture to guess that’s the answer.

Why SHOULD Indonesian cuisine sweep the land? You need, you know, Indonesians living in the area to start up a restaurant of their cuisine. We here just, in the last few years, got our first Indian (from India) restaurant and there was a lot of confusion over what that stuff in the pan WAS, and where’s the venison stew and corn soup…

I wish it were more popular, I love a good rijsttafel too! I learned to enjoy it in Amsterdam, and fortunately am only 100 miles away from an indonesian place in Madison.

But the US apparently lacks many indonesian immigrants. They tend to emigrate to former Dutch colonies, or so I’m told.

We’re a bit better placed here. There’s a stronger Indonesian presence and thus about forty or so Indonesian restaurants in the Sydney suburbs.

In September, my SO and I were walking down a market street in Leiden, NL and there was a lumpia stand selling them at 1 euro each. I started literally crying as my mom used to make 'em in huge batches and freeze them in ice cream buckets. They were so delicious and the recipe was very similar. I was soooo tempted to buy 100 and bring them back to the states with me.

Now I’m wondering if there’s one in the cities…

I used to live in Indonesia and crave authentic, spicy peanut sauce. Thai comes close, but not quite. I think it has to do with the concentration of immigrants thing. I’ve had Indonesian food in Los Angeles and New York, and I think I may have had it once in Fresno, CA.

There are no Indonesian restaurants in the Kansas City area. Once, right after we had moved to the KC area, I saw a van with 6 Indonesians in it. I think they had an Indonesian flag or seal as a bumper sticker. I pulled up next to them and motioned for them to roll down their window.

I asked them (in Indonesian) if there were any Indonesian restaurants here. They were taken by surprise that a Caucasian was speaking their language. They laughed, and in English, told me that, no, there were none anywhere.

But, darn, I wish we had some.

Even in the Netherlands, where Indonesian food is by far the most popular ethnic cuisine in the country, it is not usually a very budget friendly option for a meal.

At even the least expensive rijsttafel places I have tried, (both in Amsterdam and in smaller towns) it is pretty hard to get a reasonably portioned meal for under 15-20 euro, which always seemed to me a bit of a splurge for the amount of food I was served.

That said, it can be really, really tasty, depending on what you order!!!

Come to think of it, there aren’t really many Dutch restaurants here either.


We had one for many years a few miles from my home, featuring such treats as worstebroodjes, snert, oliebollen, kroketten, and haring.

I loved their snert. I miss that place. It’s a sub shop now.

mmmm, nasi goreng from street vendors in Jakarta; yay.

I keep Sriracha in the house and use it almost daily - does that count?

Back in the 80’s one of the Malaysian students at the University opened a Malaysian Restaurant in the Food Court/Student Union/Cafeteria. She was muslim, so I guess it was halal Malaysian food. Only Malay/Indonesian Restaurant I have ever seen. I don’t remember much about it, but the food was very good, if not exotic, for Midwestern palates.

Now you’re just making up nonsense words, thinking that I won’t know any better.

Um, which university?

It was at the University of Toledo. I am not positive, but I don’t believe it is there today… I could be wrong, of course.

I do remember eating some very good lumpia there, now that I think about it. What college student doesn’t like portable meat in a wheat cylinder? As a matter of fact, I think that formula is probably a sure bet in the culinary world… should start a restaurant called “Cylinders” where everything is a wrapped cylinder.

Not really. Sri Racha is a place in Thailand*, and the sauce that most of us have is produced by a Vietnamese immigrant in the United States.

*Google maps lists this as “Si Racha”, but they’ve misspelled it. In the Thai alphabet there is an R in the first part of the name, although it’s not really pronounced in Thai. I think the name came from Indian/Sanskrit.

I hear you - but I am telling you that as I walked around Indonesia, the stuff was everywhere - so i don’t think they care where it comes from…:wink:

Is “ketchup” of indonesian origin? I have noticed that the soy/sugar based sauce (ketjap) is similar in spelling to ketchup (which of course is a tomato-based sauce).