In Queens, a Food Bazaar With the Vastness and Variety of Indonesia

In Queens, a Food Bazaar With the Vastness and Variety of Indonesia


For more than 10 years, another Indonesian bazaar has also operated in Astoria, Queens, in the parking lot of Masjid Al-Hikmah, the first Indonesian mosque in the United States. There, the food must be strictly halal, and the irregular schedule is subject to the weather. Ms. Anggono, who is Christian, wanted a location available year-round where halal and nonhalal vendors could, for a modest fee of $150, cook side by side.

Ms. Anggono would like to open an Indonesian restaurant of her own someday, and dreams of a permanent food hall devoted to regional Indonesian cuisine. Her new project for now is a nonprofit group called Indonesian Culinary Enthusiasts, whose members meet in the church on bazaar days. Programming is still in development, but will include classes in English, yoga, aerobics and computer programming.

Ms. Anggono also coordinates an annual food festival at the Indonesian Consulate in Manhattan, and in April she will help host Tempeh Day, an event celebrating Indonesia’s signature fermented soybean cake.

She buys her unpasteurized tempeh from a small Indonesian producer in Philadelphia that supplies several bazaar vendors. At her Taste of Surabaya stall, she begins her oseng tempeh by stir-frying the dense cake with garlic, ginger, makrut lime leaves and lemongrass, then adds a glaze of molasses-like sweet soy sauce.

“People are scared of tempeh,” Ms. Anggono said. “It looks strange and is made from fungus. We want to show people that it’s not scary, that it’s a healthy, special food from Indonesia.”

New York Indonesian Food Bazaar, monthly at St. James Episcopal Church, 84-07 Broadway, Elmhurst, Queens. Future events are announced on Facebook; the next bazaar is March 7.



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