Moni is a simple little town made up of a few buildings – mostly guesthouses and a few restaurants.
Most people stop here to stay overnight on their journey to the top of Mount Kilumutu – a very colourful volcano.
In Moni, I found some basic accommodation which would serve its purpose for the night – but it wasn’t winning any awards.
It was early – about 4 pm or so – but I hadn’t had any lunch so I could make sure I drove the road between Ende and Moni while it was open. I was starving. I headed out to find some food.
As I tried to leave I was approached by a man. He said, “Hi, I’m a chef here. I have a small restaurant. 4 people earlier asked me to make some dinner so if you’d like to join I’ve already prepared the food. It’s really good and only made from local produce. There are a few courses: ‘Wild rice and banana flower, sweet potato and pumpkin curry, local wild vegetable salad (seasonal)’. There was a chicken dish which didn’t interest my dietary preference. It sounded really good, but he said the food wouldn’t be ready for another hour at least. He then said, “Look, I promise it’ll be the best food you’ll try in Moni. If it’s not, you don’t have to pay”.
Bold claim so I agreed to come back in an hour.
A beer and a snack later I went back to the small shack of a restaurant. It was barely a restaurant, but I suppose it had a kitchen, some chairs and table so probably met the definition. Not dissimilar to the restaurants you find in Myanmar.
The food was amazing. Really really delicious and generously served. I later found out that he was in the Lonely Planet. His modus operandi is to approach tourists early afternoon giving a similar sales pitch to that which he gave me. He’ll then continue to recruit customers by approaching them in the street. If you try to find his restaurant, you probably won’t, and if you did he probably won’t be there.