You might have heard that recently I got published in print for the first time – a story of my culinary adventure in Surabaya, in South China Morning Post’s Spring 2013 edition of Encounters. Well, technically it is not the first time my writing is published; however this piece is written entirely in my style – instead of a structured review form – and hence is something very dear to my heart. Posted below is the full, unedited and uncondensed version of my original submission to the editor. Click here to read the published version online.
When you had your fill of volcanoes and waterfalls, refuel your body with some truly local and delicious Indonesian fare
It was five in the morning. White, fluffy clouds appeared to roll away from my feet, stretching across the plains towards the distant volcano. Even as the sun rose in the east, I can look skyward and still see thousands of sparkling stars.
It was the closest to heaven I have ever been, and yet all I could think of was, “God, that was a decent amount of calories I burned climbing up here”.
Welcome to Seruni Point, one of the few viewing points in Probolinggo in Jawa, Indonesia, where you hike up the mountain in the dead of the night armed with little more than a jacket and an energy bar. I was told that during peak seasons, from June to August each year, the view point is packed with hundreds of visitors hoping to catch the stunning sunrise, as well as the iconic postcard-view of active volcanoes Mount Bromo and Mount Semeru.
Even as I took in the incredible sight of the fogged up savanna and smoking craters, part of me was dreading the eventual (second) hike up Mount Bromo to look at the volcano in the eye. That would be another thousand calories, I told myself, and soon I will be able to enjoy a proper breakfast.
Already the thoughts of famous Indonesian food like gado-gado (vegetable salad served with a peanut sauce dressing), ayam penyet (lightly mashed fried chicken) and rujak cingur (a mix of cow snouts, young raw mango, pineapple, cucumber, rice cake and tofu, all served in a black sauce made from fermented shrimp paste) spurred me on to complete the nature itinerary of the day.
And I did.