It turns out that good rendang--a spicy beef curry staple of Indonesia--may no longer require a trip to West Covina. Thanks to a fledgling Asian rice bowl concept called Bowld, you can have $10 homemade lunch bowls delivered to your workplace or home.
Founder Brian Moeljadi launched Bowld four weeks ago, primarily serving Indonesian food recipes created by his mother, a Chinese-Indonesian who grew up in North Sumatra’s capital, Medan. While working at a desk job, Moeljadi noticed the lack of decent lunch options and longed for the soulful cooking from his childhood: Indonesian fried chicken ayam goreng, satays, gado-gado (blanched veggies tossed in peanut sauce) and krupuk shrimp chips. Bowld posts a weekly menu which you can find on their Facebook or Instagram pages. Email them to pre-order your meal and the following day they’ll respond with a confirmation and expected delivery time. There is no bowl minimum, no delivery fee, and you pay cash upon arrival. For now, Bowld delivers to both the Eastside and Westside of L.A.
“We're taking traditional Indonesian cooking and trying to bring it into the 21st century by using modern techniques and ingredients," says Moeljadi. For instance, the rendang—made with coconut milk, galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and red chilies—uses boneless short rib as a replacement for the tougher types of meat that are usually left to simmer and tenderize. The chicken satay is glazed with butter and kecap manis (a thick, sweet soy sauce). Moeljadi also enlisted friend Johnny Cirelle, a line cook at Bestia, to help in the Bowld test kitchen. Cirelle is helping teach the team about new approaches or ingredients, like confiting pork belly for the Filipino dish sisig instead of frying it. In upcoming weeks, Bowld plans to expand its menu with dishes like slow-braised short rib dish called daging semur, a vegetarian beet stew made with jackfruit, tofu and tempeh, as well as garlic noodles.
“I grew up with rice bowls and love the idea of getting a variety of dishes within a single meal. That’s how it is with nasi campur, which is a classic Indonesian dish” says Moeljadi. The popularity of rice bowls has taken root at several other places, including ShopHouse, Asian Box and Chego. Even Hero Shop, which bills itself as a Vietnamese sandwich shop, offers several rice bowls due to the high demand of vhef Eric Park’s coconut rice from his other restaurant, Black Hogg.
“Ideally this is the first step towards having a truck or a shop, almost like a beta phase,” says Moeljadi of Bowld. “The premise behind this delivery system is that we’re trying to get the product in people’s hands before we set our eyes on something bigger.”