I’m not promising anything, but there might be a shrimp chip-eating contest at the Kedzie Inn this Monday.
That’s what frequently happens on Tujuhbelasan, aka Indonesian Independence Day, the anniversary of the popular revolution that eventually kicked the Dutch out of the archipelago.
What I do promise is a party fueled by the combined culinary powers of seven seasoned chefs whose celebrated dishes only appear publicly on weekends at the midwest’s sole Indonesian grocery store in faraway Schaumburg.
That’s right, we’re getting a one-week jump on Tujuhbelasan, when Waroeng and Friends take over the kitchen in Irving Park on August 8 at the next Monday Night Foodball, the Reader’s weekly chef pop-up at the Kedzie.
I guarantee, you’ve never had buntil like the coconut-braised spiced tempeh kale pouches that Sunny Bohlander is known for. Nobody in the midwest composes a bowl of pempek kapal selam the way Sirly Hikmawan does, nestling fishcake-swaddled eggs among curly egg noodles in a sweet and sour vinaigrette. All on its own the rijsttafel-style rice platter Kartika Widjanta assembles—nasi surabaya, with Balinese beef stew, tea eggs, fried tofu, and sambal-slicked, stir-fried bean noodles—could provision a throwdown of this magnitude.
But there’s more.
Rita Sinulingga will be on the patio, charcoal-grilling sate ayam: chicken skewers basted in sweet soy and lime juice. Tilda S. will be stationed at the deep fryer, dunking her buttery empanada-like pasteles into the oil and serving them with peanut sauce, while Theresia Puaha will be steaming nasi bakar ayam, banana leaf-wrapped lemon basil chicken and rice-stuffed pouches. Waroeng/Minahasa chef-partner John Avila will be in the kitchen expediting this parade of deliciousness, including a prodigious output of cendol, the icy pandan jelly and sweet coconut dessert by Ollyvia Putri of Lapis 312. Please scroll through the menu of time-honored family recipes:
Who organized this family recipe blowout? That would be Avila’s business partner and powerhouse Waroeng proprietor Tasya Hardono, who also called in the Indonesian Consulate to bring in dancers and a live bamboo angklung ensemble. There will be more vendors up front selling jewelry and holiday cookie platters by Putri, along with Hardono herself with a selection of Waroeng inventory.
As usual Jon Pokorny is working on a cocktail special. Preorders are on sale now via Waroeng’s Tock page, and there are only a limited number of walk-in orders available for this heroic dine-in celebration. It all starts at 5 PM, this Monday, August 8 at the Kedzie Inn, 4100 N. Kedzie.
Meanwhile, “Dirgahayu Indonesia” to you in advance, and scrool (scroll + drool) down to check out the summer’s ongoing Monday Night Foodball schedule, with an updated chef for August 15: Welcome back Tasting India. Fall dates coming soon.
8/22: Vargo Brother Ferments
8/29: The triumphant return of Funeral Potatoes
9/5: Labor Day break
9/19: Global Asian barbecue with Umamicue and friends