Gustavo told me recently he heard news that Carl's Jr. opened its first franchise in Indonesia this month. And then on the same day, in a sort of bizarre cosmic coincidence, I got word a new Indonesian grocery store opened in Fullerton. In a bit of food quid pro quo, OC exports a little of itself there; we get a little bit of Indonesia here.
Although it's not the first or only Indonesian grocer in the county, ABC Indomart seems to stock all the essentials for any homesick Indonesian ex-pat–stuff they would normally drive up to Monterey Park or beyond to procure. These are things like krupuk, ABC kecap manis (sweetened soy sauce), bottled sambal (chili paste), bumbu (spice blends), and of course Teh Botol and Teh Kotak (the preferred brand of sweetened tea, sold in bottles or juice boxes). If my rusty Bahasa Indonesia is not mistaken, they're also planning to sell homemade snacks like risoles, a sort of deep-fried and breaded meat filled croquette made from folded up crepes–a food adopted from Dutch colonialists.
As far as the new Carl's Jr in Jakarta, Indonesia, my initial reaction was surprise it wasn't there already. This means The Colonel and Ronald McDonald beat it by decades. Kentucky Fried Chicken has long been a staple in the 4th most populous country in the world since before they went by the shortened acronym. As a kid, I remember what a big deal it was to eat there. Of course, the chicken was always served with rice and sambal.
I'm not so sure Carl's Jr is going to make much of an impression with the locals now as KFC did back then (I hear Planet Hollywood and Hard Rock is as passé there as it is here). But then again, a Southern California ex-pat living in Jakarta might just rejoice at the chance to mack on a Western Bacon Cheeseburger there the same way a Jakarta transplant at CSUF might regard the new ABC Indomart here. Both will remind them of home.
ABC IndoMart, 345 N.State College Blvd., Fullerton, Ca 92831, (714)927-9400.
Carl's Jr., 1 Jl. Mohammad Husni Thamrin, Jakarta 10310, Indonesia.