Bebek Goreng Madura/Half Duck
Awarded by Pras Haryanto
We all know that Auckland is a food paradise, a multicultural city where everyone can celebrate so many of the world’s incredible cuisines. Despite so, when it comes to Indonesian cuisine, the options were criminally lacking. Indonesian cuisine rarely, if ever, took the spotlight amongst the voracious Kiwis. Enter It’s Java: A cosy little cafe in the heart of Ponsonby, where you can find the most amazing and authentic Indonesian (street) food. In many ways, they have taken the Indonesian food scene in Tāmaki Makaurau to the next level. People were raving about it; so, being an Indonesian, I’m obliged to give it a try. When I judge an Indonesian dish, I judge harshly. The dish must be as authentic as possible. It must be nourishing, symbolic, and nostalgic. It must be able to transport my soul back to the place where I had that dish for the first time. But above all, it must be naturally delicious. For me, the ‘Bebek Goreng Madura’ at It’s Java ticks all the boxes. ‘Bebek Goreng Madura’ is a delicious deep-fried duck dish, served with shredded toast coconut, deep-fried tofu/tempeh, along with hot sambal and a bed of jasmine rice. If you’re in for a treat, go for the half duck — the same dish but with added portion. The duck, which is the hero of the dish, is marinated with a beautiful combination of delicious spices before being deep-fried to perfection. The meat is beautifully tender, it almost melts in your mouth. The skin is packed with flavours from the spices and the duck fat.