Saturday, June 10, 2017

Distinctive Indonesian takes on afternoon tea? ;D

Imagine being given a choice of six different kinds 
of sugar with your choice of tea...
Arguably even weirder is an afternoon tea
food selection that includes a prawn salad dish! :D
Before my recent Indonesia trip, I thought that afternoon tea was a meal that only existed in Britain and former British colonies like Malaysia, Kenya or Hong Kong.  So imagine my surprise upon checking into the Manohara Hotel at Borobudur to find that my German friend's and my room booking came not only with free breakfasts but also free afternoon teas too!  
Things took another unexpected turn when I discovered that afternoon tea was available at the hotel from 3pm to 9pm.  At this point, I should have realized that the Indonesian conception of "afternoon tea" differs quite a bit from that of the British and the people in former British colonies that also have embraced that particular dining practice; with more evidence for this to be found in all of the delicacies that we were served on the two occasions that we made use of our afternoon tea vouchers at that hotel that was so conveniently located within the grounds of Borobudur.     
But it was at the second hotel we stayed at in Indonesia which took the cake for most unusual afternoon tea I've ever been served.  Upon checking into the Phoenix Hotel Yogyakarta, my German friend and I were offered a welcome afternoon tea as well as welcome (non-alcoholic) drinks and snacks.  Having skipped lunch that day, we eagerly agreed and were soon seated at a table in a picturesque courtyard, whereupon the fun soon started. 
Firstly, after asking about our choice of beverage (ginger tea for my German friend, English breakfast tea for me), our waiter brought to our table not only our choice of tea but also a container filled with what turned out to be six different kinds of sugars (including chunks of palm sugar, brown sugar mixed with different spices, and rock sugar along with your garden variety white sugar).  Then came a generous amount of food on a three tiered affair. 

To be sure, the sweet offerings arrayed on the top tier (a macaron and what I think was a crunchy cup cake along with slices of carrot cake and chocolate cake) and the savory ones (a mini quiche, an open-face smoked salmon sandwich, a spring roll and a curry puff!) arrayed on the middle tier were more international and less distinctively British than expected.  But most unexpected was the offerings on the bottom tier: which included a prawn -- and I do mean one prawn -- cocktail on a plate along with dishes of jam and cream which seemed entirely superfluous since neither my German friend nor I could figure out what we were supposed to slather them on! ;D   


sarah sbk said...

Hi ytsl,

Wow to the different sugars. I think Indonesia can be a very lovely and gracious country to visit. And the food offerings delightful and tasty.

peppylady (Dora) said...

I've always want to try one these tea place they look fun...Coffee is on

YTSL said...

Hi sarah sbk --

I was more bemused by anything by the sugar selection. My German friend, on the other hand, happily went about tasting all six of them! And it sounds like my Indonesia posts have rekindled happy memories of times you spent in the country... :)

Hi peppylady --

You don't need to go to a special place to have afternoon tea. You can make it for yourself at home! After all, even if you can't get such as scones, crumpets and clotted cream where you are, you can make yourself some cucumber sandwiches and jammy sandwiches (using what you Americans call jelly or preserve) to take with a cup (or more) of Indian tea with milk and sugar! ;)