More long hots are broken down into a sambal for dendeng balado, flank steak sliced thinly and piqued with lime before a quick fry; and for duck, boiled to render the fat and then pan-fried so the skin crackles.
At first, I thought my favorite dish was calamari, airy from a dredging in tapioca flour and gilded by salted duck egg yolks, powerfully fatty and further enriched by butter. They’re buried under a thousand shards of crispy garlic and shallots; the people at my table chased down every one.
Then came nasi tim ayam jamur, which Awang described as “what you make when you visit people” in the hospital. It begins with chicken and mushrooms, garlicky and soy-dark, layered at the bottom of a bowl and topped with rice half-cooked in chicken stock, then steamed so the liquids and spices run. This is inverted on a plate like a pineapple upside-down cake. A bowl of chicken broth is presented on the side with a slick of sesame oil, the better to heal you.
Goat skewers, nicely chewy, are paired with nubs of lontong, rice rolled inside a banana leaf and steamed until it takes on a faint woodsy flavor, like water drunk from a bamboo cup. Chicken is poached in coconut water for tenderness and a hint of sweetness. Catfish is saturated for hours in lemon and lime, then fried and smacked with the back of a spoon, so the sauce can find crannies and soak through.
Some dishes celebrate the animal parts that the West often snubs: beef tendon and liver in a tangle of flat rice noodles; gizzard and heart submerged in congee; creamy cow brain curry. But funk also appears in unexpected places, like an intensely marine fish cake with a batter of flaked Spanish mackerel and tapioca flour, sealed around a raw…