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Did You Hear About . . . ? Gossip and care in the Indo American community in Queens

Writings

Written by Dena Igusti, and was originally published in Margins. Nov 27, 2023


Awang Kitchen is an Indonesian restaurant along Queens Boulevard in Elmhurst, a half mile away from Queens Center Mall. This rumah makan, named after its founder and chef, Siliwanga, is known for large group get-togethers and big portions that accommodate every table size. With karaoke every week and constant chatter from seemingly stone-faced men and women, it’s always guaranteed to be a good time.

It’s also where my friends, my parents, and my parents’ friends gather to talk. It’s where you’ll hear bits and pieces of information that you have no business knowing.

During an Awang outing last year, Nina—a photographer and my childhood friend—scanned the restaurant. Hunched over our shared plate of nasi padang, she whispered: “Ari came to Awang with his [non-Indonesian] girlfriend, and she had visible clavicle piercings. He’s not the type of guy to tell his girl what to wear, but he begged her to wear a cardigan before coming in, and she said no. Of course Uncle Ahmad happened to be there, and he gave them both a freaking lecture on body piercings and holiness and shit.”

Read the full article here.

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