Eclectic East has been a bit quiet this week because we have been climbing the majestic mount rinjani.
Our Friday food post is a little different this week; what can be cooked between 2600m and 3700m up a mountain with a campfire, a trusty wok, some fresh veggies and the most incredible guide – Ang and his team of super strong porters.
For our first lunch Ang set about chopping veggies, frying chicken and boiling the kettle on the fire for a much needed cuppa. He told us he was making mee goreng (fried noodles) and we were impressed. But then we saw that he was frying fresh prawn crackers and we knew this would be a special lunch!
From then onward we new we were in for a treat. Every meal was beautifully prepared with so much skill and effort. Our most memorable culinary experience was Ang surprising us with delicious hot french fries at 2600m. Who would have thought it was possible to serve a french fry from a campfire! With the stunning back drop of the crater rim and the summit of rinjani as our backdrop it is quite a strong contender to compete with the highest restaurant in the world at the top of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai (but that is another story!). We were exhausted and, after watching an incredible sunset over Lombok and Bali whilst eating another yummy meal of fried rice with chicken and fresh pineapple for dinner, we were ready to snuggle into our tiny tent and get some sleep.
Day two started at 6am with extra strong lombok coffee served with pineapple pancakes! a steady descent took us down to the lake at 2000m where we stopped to swim in the hot springs and have lunch. Ang caught fish from the lake which he prepared with spaghetti which he told us was western style but it actually had a distinct sweet Indonesian flavour – scrummy!
After another gruelling climb to 2600m taking us to the lower left ridge of summit, day two ended with veggie curry served looking at another stunning sunset.
Day three began at 2.30am (yes really!) with more lombok coffee to fire us up for our 1100m climb to get to the summit at sunrise. It was the toughest physical thing I have ever done in my life and one of the most rewarding. Seeing the sunrise as we arrived at the summit and catching the shadow of the mighty rinjani across the lake – worth every bit of effort!
After the glorious summit we skidded down the hill to be served a breakfast of kings! Apple pancakes with chocolate sauce and banana fritters with chocolate and cheese (yes it sounds disgusting but it was truly delicious – or maybe we were just exhausted!).
I will leave you with a portrait of the multi talented Ang – King of the mountains (and the woodfired wok!).