The plane to Surabaya had finally arrived and we were boarded, the shortest plane ride in my life thus far; already starting its descent as soon as it reached cruising a comfy altitude.
In Surabaya, we were greeted with the damp, warm, motor oil infused smell of the densely populated city. We were unsure whether our friend, guide and hostess Fiona Chandra was going to be there because of our delay, but, we were quick to spot her amongst the mass of burqa cloaked Muslim women.
On the way over, I couldn't help but utter out the magic word: "Durian", the anticipation had just been too much. Luckily for us, it was ten minutes before the local market closed. I followed my nose and there she was...
Durian in all its spiky, stinky glory. We picked one up and were on our way.
By the time we arrived at Fiona's family's living quarters, I was let known of yet a second welcoming party; sweet, foreign blood inclined mosquitoes who were at feast on my foodblogger select blood.
Fortunately, they were not the only ones about to feast:
Little did we know, mamma Chandra had prepared for us an ultra-traditional supper in the most warmest of Indonesian hospitality.
Sate Ayam: Chicken Sate in sweet and salty chunky peanut sauce.
Homemade Sambal: Spicy, salty, sweet, textured sauce!
Coto Makasar: Oxtail and Tripe Soup
Paru: prepared Ox Lung ("[one] must boil all the air out of them", Mamma Chandra told me)
Buras: Coconut milk cooked rice cakes
Yes, everything was as good as it looks, even better I would say with the addition of the utmost vital ingredient: love.
"With great savories...comes great sweets"...I like to think.
Behold, the tropical bounty of the Java island:
Before the King of Fruits, we were acquainted with the rest of the tropical royalty.
Jambu: Water-fleshed, crisp Tomatillo like textured fruit with an herbaceous sweetness.
Mangosteens: Known as the queen fruits with its delicate, soft opaque white flesh with a flavor reminiscent of bright cherries and sweet Cherimoya.
Durian....The King of Fruits:
Meek human language can not possibly ascertain the experience of eating Durian, but here I go.
With a pronounced aroma that is detectable from at least a 30 ft radius, the texture of this wondrous fruit when fully ripe comes close to the most decadent of custards and the most sweet of butter creams. Eating its scarce yellow meat from one of the multiple chambers is nearly a meditative experience. The flavor is loosely like the marriage of the the usual tropical flavors: banana, coconut, papaya. But like I said, this is a fruit that has to be personally tried to really comprehend, since, it is considered a "love it or hate it" relationship for the majority of people, you'll know when you approach it...
Now, it was time to rest, tomorrow we were due for Bali in the wee hours of the morning and I hadn't caught a wink since my departure from L.A.