Dinner offered the chance to eat ‘family style’ as is part of the tradition here in Lombok, with huge platters of food shared beween guests. Indonesian food is exceptionally adaptable for vegans due to ingredients like tofu and tempe and tons of fresh vegetables being widely used in every kitchen. The simple omission of shrimp paste, meat, fish and other animal ingredients makes many traditonal dishes suitable for vegans and with the help of a passionate chef like Susilo we were totally spoiled for choice.
We were treated to ‘Nasi Puyung’ where the meat was replaced with fried tofu cubes and matchsticks of tempe and the fragrant spice paste of chilli and lemongrass and slices of fresh galangal was heavenly. We tried two varieities of ‘Berebok’, eggplant specialities of Lombok where one was cooked soft and succulent and the other was a raw crunchy salad with sliced green beans, shallots, chilli and lime.
Unlike other parts of Indonesia, food in Lombok is spicy and so a cooling salad of cucumber tossed in a light coconut milk with shallots, salt, sugar and tomato was a good balance to the fiery chillies in the deliciously spiced tofu. One plate turned easily into three as we found ourselves going in for more helpings as we chatted to Mashudi, our lovely Indonesian host.