The Chemistry of Konro Bakar and Susu Kental Manis at Daeng Tata

Back in my Jakarta dwelling days when I'm still in the mid 20s, one of the special treat I always look forward to, beside of a sushi dinner at Tengoku, is the "Konro Bakar", or roasted rib in Makassar style at Daeng Tata.

Roasted over the coconut husk charcoal, and poured over with the creamy sweet peanut sauce, the gigantic meat on the gigantic rib bone commands respect from those who eats them.

Though some of my peers favours Karebosi in Kelapa Gading for taste concerns, I found Daeng Tata is still very much enjoyable, and the Kasablanka street, the by pass road which name are made up by mixing words from "Karet, Saharjo, Tebet, Lapangan Ros, Kampung Melayu"; the major areas the street passes, is within short reach from both my office and my home, making Daeng Tata my first preference.

However come to think of it, I realize then that beside of the taste, there is also another unique factor that I don't find anywhere else on eateries alike thus making this eatery unique; the free flow of red syrup and sweet condensed milk to accompany your dessert! Contained in humble plastic bottles, they are simply put on each tables, waiting for the action to happen. Now if you're an Indonesian like me, the "Susu Kental Manis", or sweet condensed milk is something of a treat we've been having since the early childhood; we mixed it with the iced water to create a soothing cold drink on the hot days, or with warm water to create a hot drink to help you recover from flu, pour it on a toast for simple breakfast, or simply just take them as it is; the super sweet thick sticky liquid that makes your brain goes "sweet freeze" upon consuming.

Growing old, the sweet condensed milk is also accompanying us in our everyday life, ranging from the milk coffee in the morning, to the sweet martabak filling for late snack, or poured over the "Pisang Keju" dessert which consisted of chopped roasted banana, topped with crusted roasted peanuts, a thick layer of shredded cheddar cheese, sprinkled with chocolate rice, and bathed with the sweet condensed milk.

There's also a place in Kemayoran area that is famous for serving ll day breakfast of hot sticky rice sprinkled with the steamed coconut grate, and poured over with the sweet condensed milk; a wonderful match.

And seeing its versatility, it's not a surprise then that the sweet condensed milk is also goes well with the famous dessert from the same region of Konro; the Pisang Ijo and Pallu Butung. And to me, the presence of the two free condiments on the table is a sure sign of invitation to the desserts. In fact, most of the times because of those two condiments I ordered the desserts; now that's a clever marketing tactic, for the sweet toothed customers like me.

Sadly now in Bali, and before that in Bandung, from several visits to the local eateries which are serving similar foods, I never found either the red syrup or the sweet condensed milk on the table. Though that the Pisang Ijo and Pallu Butung probably tastes the same, it feels like there's still something missing; its the liberty you have to adds those extra condiments, even though you might feel that is not necessary any more.

So before it becomes a widely practice, those two plastic bottles will always makes Daeng Tata a special place, and the main destination to have Konro Bakar and Sup Konro for me. (byms)