At least, that’s the allusion co-owner John Anthony gives when explaining the meaning behind the restaurant name, Krakatoa Indonesian Cuisine, also the name for the volcanic island located between the islands of Java and Sumatra in the Indonesian province of Lampung.
“It’s a metaphor for the explosive flavors we’re serving, a very traditional representation of what I consider to be one of the most vibrant and globally influenced cuisines of the world,” says Anthony.
The chef creating these intense flavors is Anthony’s partner, Indonesian-born and -raised Abe Muis, whom he met during a trip to the Indo-Asian island several years ago. When Anthony returned to the States, the pair decided to relocate Muis to the United States with plans to open a restaurant.
“We knew we needed to bring these flavors to South Florida, but we also wanted to do it right,” says Anthony, who chose to launch the restaurant with Muis at the Yellow Green Farmers Market as a way to keep food quality and recipes consistent. “We’re still looking for the right location to open a full-service restaurant. But this works for now.”
Today, Muis is a one-man show. Every weekend, the self-taught chef works feverishly from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in a tiny kitchen at Krakatoa’s open-air stand, located at the south end of the Yellow Green Farmers Market. Anthony — wearing a traditional Bali-style head wrap — acts as affable host and server for guests
Together, the two men are offering South Floridians a rare taste of traditional, Indonesian street food.
A short menu offers several variations of nasi campur, the name street vendors use to sell a variety of fare served with a scoop of rice accompanied by small portions of meats, vegetables, and fish. The staple meal of most Southeast Asian countries, here it’s offered with a bright-yellow pyramid of cumin- and cardamom-spiked rice alongside dishes like beef rendang (a spicy meat dish), nasi campur sate ayam (soy- and spice-marinated meat skewers), and pecel (a Javanese salad of mixed vegetables in a homemade peanut-sauce dressing served with handmade compressed rice cakes).
A smaller menu allows Muis to prepare new specials each week. Whatever you do, be sure to try the Bala Bala, or vegetable fritters. They are tiny cakes of joy, made by hand and fried to order with a number of Indonesian spices and served with Muis’ homemade peanut sauce — a tangy, fishier version compared to the sugar-sweetened ones you’ll find at most American-Thai restaurants.
For dessert, try the traditional baobing, a shaved ice and fruit concoction. The dish, served from Malaysia to Vietnam, is a simple presentation of fruit served alongside a pile of flaky ice chips Muis shaves by hand, then drenched in a sweet strawberry syrup and thickened, condensed milk. As they melt together, it forms an ice-cream strawberry slush, perfect for washing away the heat from Muis’ food.
“Most importantly, we want Krakatoa to be the most authentic representation of Indonesia as we can make it,” says Anthony. “These are flavors you won’t find anywhere else in South Florida.”
Krakatoa Indonesian Cuisine is located inside the Yellow Green Farmers' Market at 1940 N. 30 Road, Hollywood. Call 305-926-0889, or visit krakatoacuisine.com.
Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the BPB New Times Food & Drink Instagram.