Obama, Pining for Indonesian Homeland, Orders Native Fare
The Bali Times
Disappointed at twice having to defer his March visit to his former home in Indonesia over a viscous healthcare battle, US President Barack Obama sought to quell his Southeast Asia pining by ordering up traditional fare from the resort island of Bali, the White House said on Wednesday.
“The president has a strong longing for Indonesia and felt like he was missing something. He decided to personally call up a restaurant in Bali and order some local food,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told The Bali Times.
Obama has long spoken to his Indonesian counterpart, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, about his craving for local-style fried rice known as nasi goreng, a staple during his formative four years in Jakarta with his mother, who went on to marry an Indonesian.
The trendy eatery in upscale Seminyak district where the order was placed was thrown into turmoil by the superpower request.
“We got quite a shock when we realised it was Obama on the line,” said Clemence Harvey, a spokesperson for famed Bali nightspot Ku De Ta. “We were even more surprised when we learned that he wanted to order four portions of nasi goreng, extra spicy.”
Harvey said the American president, in an apparent attempt to initially disguise his famous voice, spoke in the Indonesian language and paid for his order by credit card.
“He was a bit rusty, but we understood him just the same,” she said.
The international takeout was rushed to Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport, where a waiting US Air Force C-17 jet ferried the delicacy to Andrews Air Force Base outside the US capital in a journey that took 13 hours. The aircraft had been at the location as part of advance-trip preparations, and had been due to depart for the US.
Because the meals had been placed in a vacuum container, they were still warm for the president to enjoy, Gibbs said.
He added that first lady Michelle and the couple’s two daughters were only able to manage a forkful of the fiery dish.
Afterwards, Obama’s appetite for Indonesia was satiated, Gibbs said.
Obama is due in Indonesia in June, as part of a Pacific trip that also takes in Guam and Australia. In Indonesia he is scheduled to visit Jakarta and Bali, where he previously spent time writing his memoir, Dreams from My Father.Filed under: Headlines