Date: October 4, 2017
Venue: SHANGRI-LA AT THE FORT, BGC
Rijsttafel, a Dutch word that literally translates to "rice table", is an elaborate meal adopted by the Dutch from their colonial days and originated from an elaborate banquet called Nasi Padang from West Sumatra. Despite its Indonesian roots, the concept of the Rijstaffel is not authentically Indonesian and is now rarely served there. It has however, become widely popular in the Netherlands and South Africa.
During their presence in Indonesia, the Dutch introduced the rice table not only so they could enjoy a wide array of dishes coming from Java, Bali, Sumatra and other islands at a single setting but, also to impress visitors with the exotic abundance of their colony. It typically consists of many side dishes served in small portions, accompanied by rice prepared in several different ways. Popular side dishes include egg rolls, sambals, satay, fish, fruit, vegetables, and nuts.
Chef Joris Rycken, Executive Chef of Shangri-La at the Fort, himself a Dutchman who has spent time in Indonesia, and his team of Southeast Asian chefs have come up with an impressive menu that will show off the culinary wealth of the old Dutch East Indies.
MENU SERVED FAMILY STYLE
Krupuk Udang – Crispy shrimp crackers
Gado Gado – Cooked vegetables w/ peanut sauce
Ayam Pelalah – Shredded chicken, chili & Tomato
Lumpa Sayur – Vegetable loempia
Sate Babi – Pork satay
Sate Lilit – Minced seafood satay
Sup Buntut – Clear oxtail soup
Telor Asem Pedas – Boiled egg in spice sauce
Daging rendang – Spicy beef stew with coconut milk
Bebek Betutu – Roasted duck in banana leaves
Sambal Udang – Prawns, chili, lime in coconut sauce
Ayam Kecap – Simmered chicken in sweet soya sauce
Kambing Mekuah – lamb stew with cardamom
Hasil laut bumbu kuning – assorted seafood in yellow turmeric sauce
Sayur Lodeh - Vegetable stew in coconut milk
Sambal Kacang hijao – Green beans w/ chili sauce
Nasi Kuning – Indonesian yellow rice
Nasi Goreng – Fried rice
Pisang Goreng – Banana fritters
Es campur – Shaved ice, candied fruit & coconut milk
Buah Buahan – Mixed seasonal fruits
Serundeng – Peanuts & sautéed shredded coconut
Sambal Ulek – spicy chili sauce
Ketjap manis – sweet soya sauce
Sambal blacan –Chili sauce with shrimp paste
Ajar – Pickled vegetables in sweet sour sauce
Prior to the dinner, cocktails were served where guests could choose between a Belgian beer and a gin and tonic enhanced with various herbs, dried fruit and spices.
The dishes came in three salvos and it was a struggle to restrain oneself from eating too much of one dish so that one could try the other dishes. Despite the prevalence of coconut milk based stews, all the dishes had quite distinct flavors. The spice and chili heat also contributed to an increase in appetite.
At our table, particular favorites were the sup buntut, rendang, and sambal udang. The dessert of es campur was also much appreciated.
As this was a BYOB, everyone brought wines and beers to share. It did seem, however, that the best wines to match were rieslings. Beer also went particularly well, especially the lighter styles. Our table also had some digestif in the form of plum jenever.
This was definitely one of our more unique dining experiences and the efforts of the Shangri-la kitchen brigade and service staff were greatly appreciated by all.
You can get in touch with chef Joris Rycken at firstname.lastname@example.org 09178303248
- Jay Labrador