If you’re looking for an authentic, home-cooked Indonesian meal in New York City, apparently there’s only one place to go. Just be forewarned that it’s only open on Tuesdays. Oh, and if you want to dine in, you’ll want to keep your fingers crossed that the restaurant’s one table is open. It’s a two-top though, so feel free to bring a guest!
The YouTube channel Great Big Story recently profiled Warung Selasa – Indonesian for “Tuesday food stall” – a once-a-week pop-up restaurant in Indo Java, a small Indonesian grocery store in Elmhurst, Queens. Since opening the store ten years ago, proprietor Dewi Tjahjadi has used Tuesdays as a day to cook up authentic Indonesian food out of a tiny, closet-size kitchen using culinary skills she learned the old-fashioned way… from her mother. “I don’t have any educational chef background, so I just learned from my mom,” Tjahjadi says in the video.
Tjahjadi says that she originally opened the store and began serving food to create a meeting place for New York’s Indonesian community. “Before, there was no Indonesian store,” she explained. “It’s difficult to find the ingredients from Indonesia, and we missed the community. If we have a store, the Indonesian people will come here and then we still can talk Indonesian language. That’s our dream, and then, now, it’s happened.”
She takes that same community-oriented approach with the way she serves her food. “In the restaurant, the chef always hides in the kitchen,” she said. “I like to talk to the customer when I serve the food so we can share stories.” Ironically enough, after this video, which has already gotten over half a million views, it seems like they are going to be sharing the story of “Hey, remember when you were profiled in that video on the internet and suddenly this table was never free anymore?”
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@warungselasa is cooking up some delicious Indonesian food in the back of @indojavagroceries. It's so good that I'm blocking off my Tuesdays nights for the next few weeks! — ?? Nasi Bakar Ikan Teri (Dried Anchovies & Rice Wrapped In Banana Leaf and Grilled) ?Indo Java (Tuesdays nights), Elmhurst #foodmento ? . . . . . #GoodEatsOrganized #indonesiancuisine #nasibakar #nasibakarikan #nasibakarteri #anchovies #indofood #indojava #warungselasa