java spice - indonesian cuisine
located in YES Plaza
1743 Fullerton Road
Rowland Heights, CA 91748
i pass this restaurant everytime i go to YES plaza, and on tuesday, i felt like something different. i've never had indonesian food before or at least have never gone to an indonesian restaurant, and thought i'd give it a try. outside on the window there was an article reviewing the restaurant and i read about the rice cake soup which sounded good. so i walked in, sat down, opened the menu and had absolutely no clue what i should order, besides what i read in the paper. the waiter came over and i flat out asked...what's your most popular item? and how is the rice cake soup? he said the fried chicken was THE most popular item and that the rice cake soup was also pretty good, of course i had to ask why...and what made it good. its the spicy soup that made it...i ordered that, and i ended up getting the combination plate also. yes i know! it's two entrees!! i can't just eat one thing!! its too boring for me...i need the variety.
rice cake with vegetables, coconut soup, spicy beef and egg with chili dressing (topped with crispy onions)
the spicy coconut soup was definitely what made this dish! i couldn't stop eating it! it was really light and the flavor reminded me of a thai coconut curry, but in broth form. and even though it was a soup, it didn't lack in flavor at all. the rice cakes were large circles that reminded me of scallops, they were ok for me. i actually wanted to eat my broth with plain old white rice. the vegetables were cabbage, bits of corn and some type of squash, but the waiter didn't know what it was called. the hard boiled egg was deep fried and cut in half topped with chili (alison told me its called sambal) because again, my waiter (jerry, who's name i didn't find out till the next day) didn't know what it was called either. the spicy beef, was not super tender, but i think that sitting in the soup helped soften it a bit. the egg was ok, the flavor of the chili reminded me slightly of pimento...but wasn't overly spicy. i liked that crunch of the shrimp chips, but there was an inconsistency in the chips, some crispy some chewy.
i would get this soup again, but i want to find out if i can have it without the rice cakes. yes yes, i know, the rice cake is the highlight of the dish, but i didn't care for the consistency. i think that i'm used to the smooth texture of chinese rice cakes. this spicy soup had me sweatin', but i loved it.
nasi campur/combination rice...
steamed rice, fried chicken (ayam kalasan - marinated fried chicken), spicy beef, egg and coconut soup.
the fried chicken was of course the best part of this dish. there were parts of the leg that were moist, but some parts were a bit dry and over cooked. what really made this chicken dish even better was dipping it in the sweet and spicy chili dip (sitting on top of the rice), it also tasted like they added a hint of fish sauce in there. this dip just added that extra punch of flavor and moisture it needed. the egg was the same like in my soup, and the beef was a little tougher than the one in my soup, the texture in my mouth reminded me of eating beef jerky. haha...that is not a good thing...well at least not to me. the rice seemed a bit over steamed so it was a little on the drier side...but it went so well with that coconut soup. again, i believe its the same soup, but without the spices added to it.
one of my friends said this place used to be owned by the john juanda, the professional poker player, and under his ownership it wasn't that great. honestly, i have nothing to compare it to, but the flavors of the soup were delicious to me and i thoroughly enjoyed it. it's something i would want to drink/eat on a cold winter day, with some steamed rice. simple, spicy and flavorful. i would try the chicken again but by itself versus getting the combination plate.
please note, the flavors are good when you eat it initially, but OMG! the after taste that it leaves in your mouth is something serious! i had to brush my teeth and tongue like twice during the day after i ate!! it was pretty intense, but that won't stop me from going back. if you know of a great indonesian restaurant you'd like me to try...please tell me where its at so i can compare.
thank you for reading the blog!! i hope you are all doing great and wishing each of you a terrific long weekend! (seriously, i didn't even know it was a holiday on monday, columbus day to be exact, until a friend told me the other day) haha ...so for those of you who get the extra day off...eat something good.