Written by Natasha Gan, Ryerson Student.
When I tell people I was born and raised in Indonesia, it surprises me that the mention of the country still sounds foreign to some. Yet, it pleases me because I get to answer questions like, “Hmm, I’ve never tried Indonesian food, what’s it like?” that no one seems to know the answer to.
I think of Rendang, an Indonesian dish named the best food in the world by CNN Travel. I also think of running back home and cooking myself a plate of Indomie, the instant noodle Indonesians take pride of.
I came to Toronto to study journalism because of all the good reviews I heard of Ryerson. It makes me wonder why I didn’t hear reviews of how good food in Toronto is. Since my arrival in 2011, I’ve had numerous unforgettable meals, even some we don’t have in Indonesia: Chipotle, Korean pork belly table cooking, shawarma, all-you-can-eat sushi, but at the end of the day, I still need my weekly dose of home.
While it has been hard to find authentic Indonesian food in Toronto, being able to make an online order of Indomie that are not altered to suit the Western taste is one of the only consolations. As much as I want my Canadian friends to try this instant fried noodle, I’m almost reluctant to give them a package. Not because I want everything to myself (maybe that too) but because I’m afraid they won’t cook it right, put the spices in the pot instead of the plate, and just ruin the art of eating Indomie.
Take for example, the Nigerian rapper J2O, who sang about Indomie as he put the spices in the pot.
What bothers me is that, here, instant noodles are usually seen as something you only eat when you don’t have anything else. To me, when my taste buds encounter the supple, flavorful noodles, it’s a real meal and not a substitute. I thought I was biased because I grew up accustomed to the taste, but it wasn’t until seeing my Swiss, Polish and American friends appalled by how good it is that I knew I wasn’t biased.
When I’m hungry, homesick, and craving for Indonesian food, I imagine myself going home and having Rendang as my first meal. But then again, I remember the day my beautiful country came up with the genius invention of Rendang-flavored Indomie, which can be ordered online. Bliss.
Natasha is a third-year Journalism student at Ryerson University. She is studying the Winter 2014 semester on exchange in the United Kingdom.