There's a YouTube documentary for everything. Proof: One day last week, I was nostalgic for the street foods of Indonesia and thought, “Surely, by now, someone's gone around and videotaped a few and put the vids up to share.” I was right.
If you think the best part of No Reservations and Bizarre Foods is the food porn, consider these videos as YouPorn instead of Tube8. The editing is sparse, the camera work is kind of sloppy, and the dialogue leaves something to be desired . . . but, oh, the things you'll see!
The videographer seems to be on a mission from God, documenting and sort of interviewing (in Bahasa Indonesia, of course) the vendors and makers of these dishes, which are prepared in shacks, street carts and ramshackle dwellings. The one constant is the ever-present hum and beeping of mopeds.
If you're an Indo ex-pat, watch a few, and it will make you homesick. On some of the videos, there are some head-scratching moments of what-the-hell-is-that. I had such a revelation while watching the “telor gulung” (egg roll) vendor link above. I had never seen the dish before, and the way the guy makes it is kind of, well, awesome and weirdly mesmerizing.
Before becoming an award-winning restaurant critic for OC Weekly in 2007, Edwin Goei went by the alias “elmomonster” on his blog Monster Munching, in which he once wrote a whole review in haiku.