The joy of fried food

by Kitty Drake in December 2019
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Art & design Food & drink

Made by an Indonesian culinary collective called Lazy Susan, Suzine’s second issue is entirely dedicated to fried food: gorengan, when something is deep fried in oil, or in Indonesian, goreng. The stories included are peculiar: one feature is about the nasty habit street food vendors in Jakarta have of melting a single use plastic bag into a pan of oil to prevent the fried tofu, sweet potato or tempeh they’re selling from going soggy. Apparently, the way to tell if you’re eating food fried in plastic is to try and set your gorengan on fire: if it keeps burning like a candle, you’re in trouble.

If you aren’t a gorengan eater living in Indonesia, you could be forgiven for thinking this magazine isn’t for you. But the mad specificity of the content is strangely gripping. Another highlight is a piece about Ciherang village; since 2014 the population of 7200 has been mostly employed folding paper waste into origami gorengan casings, which are then sent out to vendors all around Indonesia. Apparently the village collectively makes 3.6 billion origami casings per year.

The writing in Suzine is uneven, but the luscious fried things pictured on these pages make it a pleasure to read. The final page features a interesting little quiz: How well do you know your gorengan? You can fill in the answers beneath six tiny pictures of fried things: ubi? Tahu isi? Singkong? Pisang?

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