Fri, Jul 23, 2004 - Page 19 News List

Restaurant: Indojaya Cafe and Mini-market

Address: 72, Xinsheng S Rd, Sec 2, Taipei (台北市新生南路二段72號)
Telephone: 2393 5992
Open: Daily 11am to 9pm
Average meal: NT$80
Details: Menu in English and Chinese.Credit cards not accepted

By Diana Freundl  /  STAFF REPORTER

Hot and spicy nasi goring sayur (vegetable fried rice) at Dede's Indonesian cafe.

PHOTO, DIANA FREUNDL, TAIPEI TIMES

Considering the popularity of Southeast Asian foods and the number of Indonesian workers in Taiwan one might expect to see a lot of Indonesian restaurants. In fact there are just a handful and few of these offer authentic Indonesian cuisine. Dede's mini-mart and restaurant fills the void with a small, but tasty selection of Indonesian fare.

An Indonesian-born Chinese, Dede moved to Taiwan four years ago to study Chinese. After having parcels of his favorite snack foods sent from home, he decided to open his own import shop on the second floor of Taipei Railway Station that would cater to the Indonesian community living in Taipei.

After a successful year he seized the opportunity to open a second mini-mart a few doors down from the Taipei Grand Mosque, catering to Taipei's wider Muslim community. This time he included a few tables and a short menu of strict Halal dishes (using only meat butchered by a Muslim).

The menu, like the surroundings, is simple, with only 11 items to choose from, but the spices used are imported and the cooking is all done by an Indonesian chef. The food can be made spicy or mild depending on individual taste, and if it's not quite spicy enough, there are bottles of sambal hot sauce on every table.

The nasi rendang sapi (beef coconut with rice) and nasi kari ayam (chicken curry with rice) are the most recommended and popular choices among regulars. The remaining options include a few seafood choices and mie (noodle) dishes. There is no vegetarian alternative listed on the menu, but the cook will prepare a enjoyable hot and spicy nasi goring sayur (vegetable fried rice) on request.

Beverages can be brought inside or purchased from the limited selection of tetra-pack juices in the cooler. In addition to all the imported Indonesian nonperishable goods and toiletries there is also an assortment of sweet and savory snack foods available at the front of the shop. The rempeyek (deep fried peanut and bean crackers) and krupuk (shrimp crackers) are great for scooping up your food or for snacking on afterward.

Indojaya Cafe and Mini-market is a no-frills environment and the food is simple, but it's clean, cheap, spicy and tastes great. There's also a KTV in the basement with possibly the largest selection of Indonesian pop songs in Taiwan.

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