Finding Indonesian food in the Netherlands is the easiest thing. But it often happens that the so-called Indonesian menu does not quite resemble an actual Indonesian dish.
It had been a week since I had cooked a proper lunch, since I was too busy. So I had only prepared boiled vegetables for lunch. I felt bored with that menu, so I decided to buy a cup of soup as a side dish. To my surprise, one of the WUR canteens offered gado-gado soup. ‘Wait, what?’ I thought, ‘Gado-gado soup? That is weird.’ But I gave it a go. I poured two tablespoons of the soup over my cooked vegetables, because that is how you are supposed to eat gado-gado; as a sauce. It tasted.... fantastically horrible. I cannot find a better word to describe how bad the taste was.
Apparently, the lady in front of me thought the same, as she said loudly to her friends: ‘I am not going to take the gado-gado soup because it tastes disgusting.’ Deep in my heart I wanted to tell that lady that there is a reason why it tasted so awful: there is no such thing as gado-gado soup in Indonesian cuisine!
Indonesian food improvisation by the Dutch has really gone too far. It needs to be stopped as soon as possible. The chefs should ask an Indonesian person to taste their wannabe Indonesian dishes before they actually sell them. No more misleading Indonesian food, please! Anyway, I have learned my lesson: I will never ever try another ‘Indonesian’ dish that does not exist in Indonesia.
Christina Dian Kurniawati, an MSc student of Plant Sciences, from Indonesia
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