Did you just call me a NASI PUTIH?
What did you say? -My mother bites GORENG AYAM! Why I never!
Sometimes we just need a new word for an old thing to sound so much more interesting, insulting or even mysterious.
Who knew being called white rice in Indonesian sounded like such a serious insult and so what if my mother bites fried chicken. (Can you believe that fried chicken is a staple in the Indonesian diet? For realz. How much more at home could a Southern girl be?! But I digress.)
Being armed with a few foreign “menu” words can change one’s entire stockpile of tongue launched missiles.
Today at lunch in a small town near Jakarta called Batung (Paris of Java – who knew), I certainly felt like I was attacking someone as I continuously yelled “Nasi Putih” at deafening levels to the waiter. Why was I yelling at the young, innocent faced boy standing over me in his batik “Hawaiian” shirt? Um…that would be because I had resorted to volume over sanity.
Question #1 of the day – Why do people think that saying something louder is going to make the (now insulted) recipient suddenly understand the words, in their own language, that you are slaughtering in pronunciation.
I see this over and over in my travels and today there I was yelling WHITE RICE in a quiet establishment in Bandung Java, Indonesia. I should be beaten with a PISANG SATAY (banana stick) for breaking one of my own travel rules.
H’s Travel Rule No. 4 – Do not raise your voice when trying to communicate in either your own native language or someone else’s language with the expectation that that will make them somehow suddenly understand what you are trying to say. Volume does not, nor will ever, improve pronunciation. It does, almost always, get spit strategically placed in your food.
The bigger question on your mind right now should be why was Heather ordering white rice in the first place. She is travelling in Java, exploring the culture through food and furniture and she gets “all adventurous” with a side dish of white rice. WTF?
Sambal. Sambal, aka, “tongue melting, burning two times, certain Asian flag making chili paste” comes served with a KAMPUNG NASI TIMBEL (traditional Indonesian rice, meat, veg dish) in a sweet little volcanic rock bowl. The fact that the bowl was volcanic rock should have been a hint that it’s contents would be F’N hot. That is why I was yelling for Nasi Putih.
2nd WHY? Question of the day – Why did I go back for more Sambal after I got the nasi putih?
It’s what all the white rice tourists do.