Into the Indo at ABC Indomart

When an immigrant community sets up an enclave, the first two businesses opened are for worship and to buy the homeland's foodstuffs, whether in a restaurant or store. OC's small Indonesian community has followed this template somewhat seamlessly. The county's first Indonesian restaurant opened up in the 1990s in Orange before decamping to Diamond Bar—too soon. Early last decade, a Christian church catering to the community arrived in Fullerton, and a couple of years ago, Warung Pojok opened up in Garden Grove, bringing Indonesian food back to the county. Since then, more churches and restaurants have slowly crept in, meaning the Indonesian community is thriving.

How thriving? In 2010, ABC Indomart opened up in a Fullerton strip mall more famous for hosting Genghis Khan Mongolian BBQ. It is unapologetically Indo—unless you know exactly what you're looking for, you're going to walk in and immediately feel mystified as to how humanity can have so many different flavors of shrimp crackers. It's a tiny mart, just three aisles of groceries, a big freezer in the back and a smaller cooler in the front. The only décor is in the front window, which rotates posters of whatever concerts or festivals are upcoming (usually in Duarte—why Duarte, Edwin?). But this is where non-Indonesians can get a quick primer on how one of the most fabulous cuisines on Earth gets constructed. There are shelves, for instance, of seasonings offered by Munik, the McCormick of Indonesia. Other aisles feature noodles, make-your-own-tempeh kits, even a couple of Dutch items thrown in as a shoutout to the archipelago's former colonial masters. In the frozen section exists packets of milkfish and other meats. Soft drinks, chocolates, detergents, everything—ABC Indomart will fill all your Indo needs, especially those you never knew you had.

The only thing I've never found here is actual prepared food. People in the past have boasted about getting quick, simple meals, but either the owners were out of food whenever I ask for it, or the owner thought I was the health inspector and told me nothing was available (it's happened in the past, you know). Or maybe the owners no longer feel the need to sell it, with more Indonesian restaurants rumored to be opening and the community asserting itself in OC life. So swing by, grab whatever suits your fancy, and marvel at all those shrimp crackers.


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