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23 Catt. 4: In re Saté Truck

2013 September 25

Opinion of CHIEF JUSTICE JEREMY, in chambers.

There is a wonderful Indonesian restaurant in a fascinatingly diverse strip mall off Van Dorn Street in Alexandria: Satay Sarinah. They offer a fried duck which, as you might imagine, I am quite fond of. They also offer a chocolate avocado smoothie which I adore. And, if you’re in the mood, they offer kopi luwak 100%.

Satay Sarinah has done us all a favor and opened up a food truck, Saté Truck, which roams the streets of the District. According to their website, they are the first food truck in the United States to feature Indonesian food. I don’t know offhand whether this is or is not true, but it could very well be. It’s not as though there are a lot of Indonesian restaurants in the metro area to begin with. (But, really, there should be. It’s delicious.)

Saté Truck

Saté Truck

Saté Truck (“ST”) offers a variety of dishes: chicken sate, mie ayam (egg noodles, chicken, oyster mushrooms, sesame sauce, bok choy, and crispy wonton), and a combo platter (coconut rice, beef rendang, chicken sate, vegetable stew, and corn fritters). A vegan menu is purportedly “coming soon,” but that is not the subject of this review.

The name of the truck is Saté Truck and so, naturally, I opted for the chicken sate (the diacritic may or may not be optional; it may apparently also be grave or acute). It came with coconut rice, peanut sauce, and vegetable stew.

Our first inquiry is whether sate/saté/satè/satay is “street food” under our jurisprudence and thus entitled to the presumption of affirmance. See In re Big Cheese, 6 Catt. 2 (2012); In re Eat Wonky, 2 Catt. 5 (2011). We have defined “street food” to be food that (1) is cooked or capable of being cooked in front of the customer; (2) is meant to be eaten with one’s hands; and (3) is eaten or is capable of being eaten while standing up. In re Big Cheese, 6 Catt. 2; In re Eat Wonky, 2 Catt. 5. Served on skewers, the chicken sate is, clearly, “street food” as we have defined that term. Besides, it is classic street food in its place of origin.  See In re Hot People Food, 6 Catt. 4 (2012). The fact that it is also served with less mobile accoutrements need not alter this determination. See In re OoH DaT ChickeN, 16 Catt. 3 (2013). Therefore,  ST’s chicken sate is entitled to the presumption of affirmance.

I affirm.

Chicken Saté

Chicken Saté

As noted above, the dish is composed of four parts. As is our practice, see In re TaKorean, 1 Catt. 4 (2011), I consider each in turn.

Chicken Sate. Sate, of course, is “seasoned, skewered, and grilled meat.” Chicken, of course, is chicken. (Or is it?) Chicken sate, then, is “seasoned, skewered, and grilled [chicken].” The chicken was well seasoned (turmeric?) and quite flavorful. It was well grilled, with a beautiful smokey char but still entirely succulent. (I suppose the chicken was well skewered, as well, but that’s no great feat so far I can tell.)

Peanut Sauce. The peanut sauce renders probably involves soy sauce, sambal, and shallots, but I could be wrong. The sauce was wonderful, savory and sweet, and complemented the succulent chicken magnificently.

Vegetable Stew. While only a side, the vegetable stew was exquisite: a mixture of green beans, carrots, cauliflower, etc. simmered in a seasoned (turmeric?) broth.

Coconut Rice. The jasmine rice was well prepared and flavored with coconut.

For these reasons

AFFIRMED. It is so ordered.

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