Eat your way around Indonesia

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So there’s a warung (family-run Indonesian eatery) just around the corner in almost any Dutch city, and you grew up with nasi gorengsatays and soto ayam. But have you ever tried Bakmi KepitingPengkang with Kepah SambalRujak Soto or Campor Lorjuk?

To inaugurate CinemAsia’s new culinary section OISHII Asia, our Opening Film will be Aruna & Her Palate, directed by Edwin, starring Nicholas Saputra and Dian Sastrowardoyo. A charming road-movie with many romantic twists, Aruna will take you on a culinary journey all over Indonesia, from Singkawang and Pontianak in West Kalimantan, to Banyuwangi, and Madura in East Java, to sample the signature dishes of these regions. Less than three weeks after the film’s European premiere at the Berlinale, Dutch audiences will get to enjoy this gastronomic treat in Amsterdam on 5th March at Kriterion Cinema, then again on 9 March.

Epidemiologist Aruna (Sastrowardoyo) is sent to investigate a reported outbreak of Bird Flu all over Indonesia. Her chef friend Bono (Saputra) comes along for the ride, steering her into a culinary tour in search of a nasi goreng (fried rice) recipe. Things get testy when Aruna’s old flame Farish (Oka Antara), arrives to monitor her work. The discovery of government foul play stirs unpredictability into the pot.

Indonesia is an archipelago that boasts incredible diversity in culture and geography, which finds glorious expression in its cuisine. Based on Laksmi Pamuntjak’s bestseller, Aruna fulfils every foodie’s dream. It’s also buoyed by the incomparable chemistry of Ada Apa dengan Cinta? co-stars Sastrowardoyao and Saputra. Festival darling Edwin (Posesif, Postcards from the Zoo) retains a subversive streak while getting the hang of commercial filmmaking. Beneath the fizzy romance, the film possesses a political heart that beats for the nation’s plight.