Raise your hand if you’ve heard of kue pancong before. Yes? No?
I will forgive you if you are unfamiliar with it because it is so worth getting to know! And what’s more, the street food company Moon Man invites us all to become part of the story.
My close encounter with Moon Man happened to be a couple of months back at the Famous Food Festival hosted by Grand Bazaar NYC on the Upper West Side. A stall among many, Moon Man stood out because of its catchy nomenclature, as well as the celestial smell of sweet coconut sizzling in the heat of the market. The sun was shining bright, but no one seemed to mind as they waited on the long concession line for the crispy-chewy treats.
Moon Man also boasts other coconut-based treats. Tasty tongue-twisting names on their Facebook page: putu campur, which is a mix of the rice cakes and other traditional snacks sprinkled with coconut and Java palm sugar; klepon– glutinous rice powder mixed with pandan juice and a chunk of the same special Java palm sugar inside, and the requisite coconut flakes on top. As unassuming and simple the offerings, we should be so honored to be able to track the flight of Moon Man as they slay the city with their traditional confections.
Kue Pancong is endemic to Indonesia and consists of grilled rice and coconut pancakes, usually prepared on the streets in crescent-shaped pans. Tasty options besides the very-necessary original cake include a topping of Nutella if you crave extra melty chocolaty-ness with your coconut. Upon asking about the unique treat, I learned that outside of Indonesia, this is not something commonly experienced by Americans, with the exception of the food magnet capital that is New York City, of course! As the vendors travel around, they can often be found completing “missions” at the Queens Night Market in Corona, and Bryant Park in Midtown Manhattan.
The best thing about the Queens Night Market is that it happens at night, of course! If you are having a hazy, sleepless night in the tail-end of the summer, it is a great reason to stroll through the parking lot of the New York Hall of Science and follow the likely live music playing. The smells of the market are a mix of many types of ethnic foods, sweet, savory, fruity and creamy, and hail from several Asian, European and Latin American countries. The Queens Night Market is on a late-summer break but will return to its grounds in Corona on September 30, 2017.