I wasn’t 100% sure what to expect when it came to Indonesian food. I did some very last-minute research on the matter and knew I’d have rice, tofu, and plenty of hot spices: that was enough for me!
When I travel, food is not my foremost concern. Yes, I want to be able to fuel myself for the activities ahead, but I’m not overly concerned about where or what we’ll eat. As long as there is a grain and vegetable offering, I’m in business! My main concerns are weather, diving, and alcohol in no particular order.
When we booked the trip, I was able to give the crew of the MV Pindito my dietary needs: No beef, chicken, seafood, but I do eat eggs and dairy. While I don’t eat a ton of eggs regularly, they are the easiest and most available source of protein when abroad, so I usually eat them for breakfast daily on vacation. The last dive live-aboard boat I was on did a great job of catering to my dietary needs so I had no doubt this trip would be the same.
I was pleasantly surprised to find I had a few fellow vegetarians of varying levels on board so I didn’t feel like I was the only person requiring the chef to go out of her way. I never once had to remind the stewards that I required a special meal it simply appeared in front of me daily. I later noticed a cheat sheet on the refrigerator in the common area that noted the varying dietary needs of the guests. I can always appreciate an efficient and organized operation!
By far breakfast was my favorite meal of the day, in fact it was my favorite two meals of the day! You heard me, we had first AND second breakfast every day! For a hungry girl like me, this was awesome! Depending on our dive times, first breakfast was a lighter, continental style offering and I always had peanut butter toast and a banana (peanut butter has always been a staple for me and it was a welcome touch of home) AND it wasn’t the sugary shit-peanut butter I would have expected: BONUS! Second breakfast was more of a proper warm breakfast and as soon as I discovered the noodle soup option, I was set! It was similar to ramen, but not the foul packaged salty swill, IT WAS HOMEMADE AND FUCKING AWESOME!
After the second dive of the day, lunch magically appeared. I always happy to have rice and the hot sauce of the day along with a curry offering containing eggs or tofu or a veggie filled soup. Was I burned out on curry and eggs by the end of the trip: hell yes! Was I about to complain when there was a woman working hard in the hot belly of our ship to provide me with the fuel I needed: hell no! At least I can say I tried quail eggs too. You never know if you’ll love something unless you try it!
After the last dive of the day, it was time for a Bintang beer and dinner. Again I had plenty of rice and spice, and a substantial portion of protein in the form of eggs, tofu, or tempeh. I had no idea that Indonesia is the home of tempeh either! I have to admit that I got abnormally excited when I’d peek in the dining room and see chopsticks because that meant a noodle offering for dinner, YUM! Fried noodles and fried rice were by far my favorite dinner options.
My waistline was pleasantly thankful that there were not a ton of dessert offerings after each meal. Dessert was typically fruit, which was perfect considering I was drinking my body weight in Coca Cola daily. Yes, sugary coke is my dark mistress!! We were always offered fresh cake that was usually still warm after the 3rd dive every day, so dessert after each meal was really unnecessary.
In true vacation form, by about day 6 we were all longing for our “at home” favorites. The one thing that I really missed daily was legumes. I didn’t realize how many beans I ate until I had none to eat! Dairy was practically non-existent except for milk in coffee which was just fine by me. Although I won’t lie, I was moderately obsessed with the idea of a pizza at this point too. I was ready for a big salad and my favorite vegetables as well when I got home.
As usual, when I return from a travel adventure I’m reminded of how truly fortunate we are in the US. We don’t have to eat seasonally or locally, or ever truly want for something. In fact we treat local and seasonal eating as a trend, go figure! More than a few times we discussed how a local Indonesian would react if they walked into any of our mega grocery or wholesale stores and if they would even recognize our foods that have been so processed and far removed from what they once originally were.