Remarks by Ambassador Blake at Kaki Lima Night, Jakarta

elamat malam and good evening everyone. My wife Sofia and I are thrilled that you’ve been able to join us for our first ever “Kaki Lima Night” here at the U.S. Ambassador’s residence.

For any of you who have visited the State Department, you have seen the food trucks lined up on Virginia Avenue at lunchtime to cater to hungry U.S. diplomats who like tasty international fare!  An Indonesian food truck is often among them.

So I was delighted to learn upon arriving in Indonesia that from Aceh to Sorong and everywhere in between, Indonesians also love food carts.  The omnipresent kaki lima.

Everyone seems to have their favorite, for nasi gila or siomay or martabak.  But how does one find the time to travel around and try all of these delicious local delicacies?

So we figured why not try to gather a bunch of great kaki limas in one spot so we can all join in the fun!  That’s how this night came together. It also got me thinking, about what things really bring us together, Americans, Indonesians, families, friends.

Throughout the course of my diplomatic career – spanning postings in Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and Washington DC – I’ve come to recognize that there are fundamental things that bring people together.

Regardless of nationality or culture, people love to get together and partake in some delicious food.  Even better, if they can enjoy it in an atmosphere of great music.

Well tonight we’re going to enjoy great food and music, from both the U.S. and Indonesia.  We’ve got nine kaki limas, recommended to us by friends, food bloggers, and chefs.  We also have Loco Mama’s Food Truck with us tonight also serving up tacos.

To cap it all off, the Anthony Stanco Ensemble, a talented young ensemble from the United States, is also with us, fresh off their recent gigs at Java Jazz.  The band has performed at festivals, music clubs, and has hosted workshops and master classes throughout the world, and it’s a great pleasure to welcome them to Jakarta.

So, on behalf of the Blake family and the U.S. Embassy family here in Indonesia, thank you for coming to Kaki Lima Night.  Now, if you’re ready, please help me welcome Marcus Elliot on saxophone, Paul Brachter on piano, Sam Cooperman on bass, Jordan Otto on the drums, and Anthony Stanco on the trumpet.
As prepared.