Saturday, December 19, 2009
Warung Kario - the only place for Suriname Food in NY
The Richmond Hill area of Queens, aka "Little Guyana" is home to the only Suriname restaurant in New York. Since the two countries are geographically located next to each other, it only makes sense that Warung Kario would find a home within this Guyanese enclave.
Suriname is a country located in northeastern South America that many people in America have not even heard of. It is a fusion culture of Indonesian, Indian, Chinese, African and the original Dutch colonizers. Their cuisine represents this myriad of flavors.
Warung Kario is a place that you certainly do not go to for ambience, but if you are a dedicated foodie that places authenticity over pretty garnishes - this is the place for you for delicious, home-style Surinamese food!!! However, it is a very clean establishment, despite its simple furniture. When I was in culinary school, there was a teacher who once told me if the bathroom is clean, that gives you a very good representation on how clean the kitchen is. The bathroom passed my test.
Now for the food. Authentic, Flavorful, Delicious!!! Indonesian Satay is made with more peanuts and less coconut milk. The sauce was delicious but the meat was a bit dry - this was the one negative for Warung Kario.
The Dutch influence is apparent in the chicken and potato krokets, served with ketchup. The chicken and potato filling is very flavorful, seasoned with spicy mustard. Three very filling krokets for only $5 is worth every cent. The other highlight of the appetizers is the Bakabana (sweet plantain fritters) served with the same peanut and satay sauce is sweet and spicy at the same time.
All the meat is Halal, indicative of the large Indonesian Muslim population in Suriname. Indonesian Suriname standards like Nasi (fried rice) and Bamie (fried noodles) are there along with stewed Chicken or Fish. However, if you go on a weekend, I suggest going with Rijs met Pom, one of their weekend specials. Pom is a layered casserole made with tannia and chicken. It is served with rice and red beans, vegetable (bok choy on the day I went), pickled cucumbers (pickled with rice vinegar and sugar), sambal (spicy condiment of chicken livers and chiles), and optional hot sauce. This filling and flavorful meal (photographed below) - all for $9.00!!!
You can have your standard iced tea, soda or lemonade, but I suggest ordering Dawet - a drink made with lemongrass, coconut milk and fresh, young coconut meat. Cool and refreshing with the spicy food.
Don't try looking at the menu online and pre-planning what you are going to order because I guarantee they won't have a number of things on the menu, but they do have both meat and vegetarian options and I can recommend everything, except the Satay.
It may seem very far out to travel - I had to take 4 trains from Brooklyn to get there, but they are short rides and it took me the same amount of time to get there as it does to get to Manhattan. Once you get there, there is a lot of shopping you can do - from Indian saris to spice shops to Bollywood DVD - the Caribbean Indian community is well represented in Richmond Hill. Dessert from the Little Guyana Bakery located 2 blocks from Warung Kario (128-12 Liberty Avenue) is a wonderful stop for coconut drops, currant rolls or cassava pone. Fish World (located 1 block past the Lefferts Blvd. train station) is a great spot for all sorts of fresh fish, including Guyana hassa and Suriname mullet, as well as Halal lamb and goat (at only $3.49/lb), perfect for making Lamb or Goat Curry for dinner the next day.
If you live anywhere in Manhattan, Brooklyn or Queens, Richmond Hill is a wonderful cultural excursion.
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