Taste of Tual
The market in Tual consists of a maze of alleyways, crowded with individual stalls. Sure, we could find what we needed eventually, but when we took a local bus (4,000 IDR per person or 30 US cents) to the neighboring island just over the bridge, the vast fresh market wowed us. I felt like I’d died and gone to whole foods heaven!
While we were out and about, we decided to enjoy a local meal. Our friends on SV Adamastor highly recommended one alley that was lined with food carts. Jess specifically encouraged me to try the Soto Ayam. One older woman was the only one brave enough to call us over to her cart, so that made our decision for us. We ordered a few dishes - one bakso (meatball soup) and one soto ayam (essentially an asian chicken noodle soup). On the table, a basket of assorted puffy fried snacks were available as appetizers, so we opened a bag of shrimp crisps to try as we waited for lunch. It was amazing how her entire restaurant kitchen fit onto the six foot by two foot cart!
The next day we were supposed to set sail for Triton Bay, but no wind. Secretly, I was thrilled to get one more day of culinary exploration! We hit the same food alley but this time tried a new cart for some Mie Ayam (noodles with chicken) and Gado-Gado, a cold dish of boiled root vegetables like potato and cassava with raw cabbage, boiled egg, fermented tofu, and greens all covered with a thick peanut sauce. I decided to stick with the Soto Ayam, because I enjoyed it so much yesterday. The kids gulped down a bowl of cereal before we left the boat ‘just in case we don’t like what we order in town’. Fair enough. But they both ended up liking the noodle dish that they shared, so all were full and happy for the second day in a row. This meal, however, without the dessert was $63,000 IDR, a mere $4.74 USD for all four of us to eat!!
I was just worrying about how I was going to eat this gooey goodness when she pulled a wooden skewer from the top shelf of her cart and stuck it deep into a dough ball. Honestly, at first, I wasn’t sure what was inside these fried delights, and I wondered whether I should first translate the name of this fast food in my Google Translate app. Did I want to know what I was eating or not? I think I’d do better not knowing.
|Colorful building on shore|