Saturday, March 8, 2008

Makassar, Sulawessi Part 5!

Just so you know, this week has been a headache for me. After spending lots of time and effort in preparing the shipment, we were unable to ship the corals. The last hurdle in exporting the corals is the airlines. We can book space very early in advance but nothing is guaranteed. We had our airway bill and everything ready to go, but in the end, we couldn't get space. Now the shipment is postponed. We are at the mercy of the airlines!

Now let's get back to the chicken fish story.

We went back to our table and the waitress brought us these things. These are called "otak otak", meaning brain brain. But don't worry, they are not made from brains, but from fish. It is fish paste with flour and wrapped in banana leaf. For your information, fish paste is basically mushed up fish meat. It is grilled and is served as an appetizer. This snack is popular all over Indonesia.

Here it is opened up. It is quite good and it is dipped in special sauce.

We ordered some fried chicken too. These are free range chicken, not farmed. The meat is really tasty but the size is small. They also have farmed chicken, which are the size of KFC pieces. These are not as popular as the free range ones. It is a little more expensive but well worth it. One time I ate 8 pieces with rice and vegetables!

One thing that is interesting is that Indonesians are not afraid of the bird flu. I've been to Thailand and Vietnam, where the bird flu is not as bad, and most restaurants don't even offer chicken. In Vietnam especially, chicken is avoided. This is probably because they have an alternative, pork and beef. If you take the chicken out of the food chain in Indo, people would have no protein to eat. This is because Indonesia is a primary a Muslim country, and Muslims are not allowed to eat pork. Beef is an option, but too expensive, as most are imported in. There is fish, but only the coastal people have access to it. In other areas, it can get pricey where local people can't afford it. Goat and lamb is also available, but not enough to feed the zillion people. So fast food chains like KFC make a killing here. Even my favorite place, McDonald's, serves fried chicken. Out of 10 people, 8 are eating some sort of chicken. It's the same story at other fast food chains. These include A&W, Popeye's, and a few others. Too bad no Taco Bell! Time to open up "Eddie's Fried Chicken" in Indonesia ha! ha!

So besides the chicken fish, we ordered this rabbit fish. Again it was grilled and full of flavor.

And, here it is, the famous chicken fish! Kind of scary looking with nasty teeth!

They sliced the fish in half and inside was this sweet brown sauce. I got to tell you, triggers are all meat. Besides the backbone, there were really no other bones. Big chunks of meat were coming off the skin.

Ok, can you tell the difference? Chicken is on the right, and the chicken fish is on the left! No wonder they call this the chicken fish, it taste like chicken!

Some hot sauce to go with the chicken fish! Note the small bowl of water with lemon inside. Indonesians like to eat with their hands. The water is provided to clean the fingers as they eat. Me, if there are utensils around, I use it.

Kind of like eating ribs, back at home!

Reminds me of a saying back at home, you know the one! :)

So this was pretty interesting. A tower of floating chocolate! I'm going to try the dessert next time.

Check out this crazy looking bong! It was on display at the restaurant. I can think of a few friends who would go nuts over this!

And this sign was next to the bong display.

I hope you enjoyed my adventures at a restaurant in Makassar. Sometimes I finish work so late that the only choices to eat are street food. But this is another topic!

Now for coral pictures. Again all of these are from this particular trip.

Another beautiful acanthastrea echinata - metallic orange with shades of turquoise blue.

A very unusual metallic green encrusting chalice! Nice and different from the typical chalice corals.

This one, I'm still trying to figure out. It's got lobo features, but acan colors. Very strange, but again I have some experts working on it!

Sorry for the blurred picture. Some nice marbled metallic cynarina desheysianas. This coral is commonly known as "donuts". Here it is called a scolymia.

This blasto had just come in from the islands. Very nice, sporting unusual purple colors!

Acanthastrea bowerbanki! This one has twin large heads with small heads surrounding it. Again an unusual large piece. Don't let the dull colors fool you, I'm sure it will look awesome under halides. Plus we don't know what color it will morph into. The acanthastrea rotundoflora has similar colors but under artificial lighting, it turns into bright orange with metallic green edges. I only found a small piece of this coral, and I will post it tomorrow.

Nice green wall hammer with pink tips!

Nice metallic green frogspawns! These are tricky, as they are poor shippers. The trick is to pack them in very cool water.

Another beautiful Makassar trachyphyllia. This one is purple and pink!

Nice acanthastrea lordhowensis. I was blown away the first time I came to Makassar. I had no idea that they were so abundant here!

Oh dude, what is this? I took this picture right out of the bag from the islands. It was very stressed but it really caught my eye. It is a chalice of some sort. The placement and the number of eyes make it difficult to id, but it is very striking. Each eye is surrounded by a circular black outline, definitely strange and unique. Notice even the edges have a black outline. This coral definitely has potential to turn into a super piece in our aquariums. I would not export this coral yet. It was very stressed and needs to recover.

Here it is again, in our Jakarta facility recovering nicely!

I call this coral "the mask of Zorro chalice"!

Here is another one, also stressed. It is not doing as well as the other piece, but I have my fingers crossed!

Can you guess this strange coral? It is not an acan or a lobo. We will discuss this unique rare piece tomorrow.


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