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Yesterday, over talks on the eruption, we got hungry. A colleague asked me if I would like to try traditional Batak dishes. Batak is one of the many tribes in Indonesia and is one of the most popular in Sumatra. I actually have no preference at that particular time but at the mention of Batak, I immediately thought of Babi Panggang Karo (BPK) or grilled pork. Though Indonesia is the biggest Muslim country in the world, many Bataknese are Christian due to the missionary work of Catholics and Protestants from a long time. Proof is you can find a church here every 10 km or so. No kidding.

After getting stuck in traffic for almost an hour just to get to that place which the colleague argues is serving very good Batak dishes, we arrived. The place has zero ambience. It’s like a hole-in-the-wall kind of place. No air condition. No table cloth. No fancy whatever. Just authentic food.

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And these are what we got.

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Saksang, according to the colleague, is a typical Batak dish cooked every time there are festivities like weddings and birthdays. This is mainly composed of chopped meat cooked in (animal’s) blood, coconut milk and spices. Saksang comes in two variations, pork meat or dog meat. Pork meat for now for me. I still cannot imagine eating dogs.

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The colleague called this Kecap. Kecap actually means sauce here in Indonesia. I reckon Kecap manis with asin (sweet and salty soy sauce) with tomato sauce was used here. It tastes like adobo to me without the sour taste.

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And this is my lovely Babi Panggang Karo or grilled pork. The pork doesn’t really taste anything special but this comes with a bloody sauce which gives this dish an interesting flavor. The bloody sauce tastes like Saksang actually, just spicier.

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And these are the happy eaters.

As they say when in Rome, do what the Romans do. I have stopped asking for spoon and fork every time we eat out in places like this. Instead, you get a bowl of water to wash your hands with. I am no longer complaining, just embracing each and every moment of this wonderful culture that I was blessed to experience.

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Looking like an authentic Indonesian here.

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And that bulging stomach tells the whole story of how the lunch ended.

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