Showing posts with label indonesia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label indonesia. Show all posts

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Late Night Eats in Surabaya, Indonesia: Rawon Setan

Surabaya is one of the best food cities in Indonesia, if I do say so myself. One of their more popular joints is Rawon Setan, which was known for serving rawon late into the night. Or morning, technically.

Rawon is a beef soup made with these black nuts called keluak. Keluak is poisonous but you can remove the toxicity by fermenting them. That's the main ingredient but the soup also contains various other spices in beef stock. Here, the soup with generous cubes of beef is served with rice and beansprouts.

Rawon Setan

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Beachside Cocktails at KuDeTa (Bali, Indonesia)

When drinking in Bali, you'd want to drink by the beach, with an ocean view. You can do exactly that with good cocktails on a beach lounger at KuDeTa. KuDeTa is situated in the Hotel Oberoi. To the left is the dining room, the more casual bar is to the right, while the middle section opens up to a set of loungers facing the beach (you can go down to the beach via a set of stairs guarded by a security guard).

The cocktails are much better than the bar in Kuta but they also cost a lot more at Rp.110,000 (~$12). Still, I was happy to see some tiki classics like Blood and Sand and Mai Tai on the menu - happier still to find out they were done well.
To relax on a sunny day, and especially if you can snag some seats during sunset, KuDeTa is currently my bar of choice.

Jalan Hotel The Oberoi Indonesia
036 173 6969

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Citrus Lee: French Cuisine in Surabaya (Indonesia)

High end Western cuisine in Surabaya, Indonesia is few and far between and I'm usually pretty skeptical about trying them. Some of my cousins have been talking about a fairly new French place called Citrus Lee, and it looked pretty good. Turns out the chef is a regular at my mom's restaurant, Kogyo, so we decided to go there for my birthday dinner.

The menu at Citrus Lee comes as a set (when he didn't do set menus, some people would make a reservation and come to eat salads - it was all about showing off that you dined here) of three or four courses. The prices vary depending on your choice of main course and you can go as low as a three course chicken dinner for Rp.175,000 (US$19-20) - not bad compared to US prices! But it does go up to about $80 for 3 courses with a lobster entree. With the amuse bouche, palate cleanser, and all, it ended up being a substantial amount of food and a pretty good value.

First came a trio of seafood-centric amuse bouches: smoked salmon, scallop, etc

Although it's a French restaurant, Citrus Lee incorporates a lot of Chinese flavors. It isn't quite fusion but probably just enough to cater more to the Asian palate.
For my first course I chose the Tiger Prawns with Leek-Potato Bacon Prawn Cream Bisque Soup Infused with Shaoxing (a traditional Chinese rice wine)

The foie gras addition is expensive compared to the US, though. The seared duck foie gras with apricot vanilla puree and star anise costs an extra Rp.265,000 (about $30) - oh well, it had to travel farther to Indonesia.
It was a good sized piece of foie gras and nicely done. I was missing foie gras and was glad I could have a good version for my birthday in Surabaya! This was also the first time my mom tried seared foie gras - and she liked it!

Sauteed Wild Mushroom Brule with Brown Butter and Beets-Orange Wedges
Wild mushrooms are one of the things I miss when I'm in Indonesia, and this was the first time I encountered them here. Turns out he gets them from a small local island, and they were wonderful.

A shot glass of juice and a bowl of granita as palate cleansers follow between courses.

For the entree, my brother ordered the Pan-Roasted Angus Tenderloin with Chinese Aromatic Spices and Bordelaise-Shaoshing Sauce
Tender, medium rare pieces.

My mom's order: Crispy Duck Margaret Confit with homemade preserved orange navel with duck-bacon spiced dressing
The duck in Indonesia is decidedly leaner and gamier than  in the US, so I thought the confit is not quite as fatty as what I'm used to - expectedly so and it was still good.

Marinated oven-roasted seabass with sesame-miso and black truffle-infused soy-corn coulis
Indonesians tend to fry their fishes whole, so the flaky texture of a roasted seabass is a nice break - but really, I ordered this to get a whiff of truffles.

Roasted lamb rack marinated in green curry, garlic mint butter with layu-spices mint chutney
Tender lamb rack, flavorful "curry" sauce. This was a great dish.

Pan-seared Jumbo Scallops with miso mustard sauce and sauteed Chanterelle mushrooms
Another thing I tend to miss in Indonesia: scallops. I'm talking jumbo scallops. I mean, sure we have scallops at street stalls but they tend to be tiny. The scallops at Citrus Lee are the ones I miss, and they were seared nicely.IMG_6000

The chef at Citrus Lee is Hendry Sedjahtera whose parents own a Chinese restaurant in a neighboring city, Malang. Hendry studied at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and worked at a few restaurants there before opening Citrus Lee in 2009.

The desserts at Citrus Lee are all made by his younger brother in Malang and shipped here. A family of chefs who work together! The dessert menu is pretty small here. With the tasting menu you get a choice of two flavors of creme brulee and another item that I can't remember right now ... There's also a flourless chocolate cake and some specials, but they cost extra.
Happy birthday to me!

IMG_5991 Psst, so at Citrus Lee they serve mini mochis after your dessert as a palate cleanser. Guess who makes these mochis? Yup, my family's shop, Mochiko! So of course we loved this course, hehe. We made them miniature-sized and not as sweet as the ones we normally sell, though.

Since there's no in-house pastry chef, there's no house-made amuse bouche. They gave out Valrhona chocolates instead, which are perfectly fine by me.

I wonder how many people were scared to try Citrus Lee because, like my family, they keep hearing about how expensive it is. Well, it can definitely get expensive depending on what you order (like kobe beef), but you can actually have a great meal and be full with one of the less expensive set menus - especially after all the amuse bouche and palate cleansers. There aren't many French restaurants in Surabaya (actually, I think there may only be two), so Surabaya people, why not be adventurous and give it a try?

Citrus Lee 
Jl. Kutai No.12
Surabaya, Indonesia 60241

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Roti Tissue and More Goodness at Kedai Sabindo (Surabaya, Indonesia)

In Indonesia, you don't have to hang out at upscale cafes and bars after dinner. Desserts at a dive works just as well for many people, and Kedai Sabindo is always packed. As with other dives in this country, there's no air conditioning and you sit on plastic stools, yet people clamor to this place for its roti tissu ("tissue bread", also known as tissue prata).

Roti Tissue is a Malaysian Mamak (Tamil Muslim) food and is basically a wide, round-shaped, thinner version of roti canai, grilled until crispy on the spot...
.. rolled up on the grill
.. until you get this cone of very thin, crispy "tissue", doused in toppings on the inside (chocolate sauce, condensed milk, or cheese - or whatever sounds good to you).
It's a very simple yet very addictive dessert. Large enough to share but good enough to not share with too many people. It costs less than $1 anyway, so splurge ahead.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

8 Flavors of Xiao Long Bao at Paradise Dynasty (Indonesia)

A restaurant chain in Asia is taking Xiao Long Bao (XLB) to another level with eight different flavors of XLB. At Paradise Dynasty, which has locations in Singapore and Indonesia, you can get XLB with black truffles, foie gras, cheese, ginseng, garlic, crab roe, and szechuan flavor (and of course, there's the original).

The XLBs were about the same price as Din Tai Fung, but if you order the sampler (a basket of all 8 flavors, they can get pretty expensive). If you know what you want to try or have a lot of people to share with, I'd suggest getting a basket of individual flavors.

Paradise XLB

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Durian, from Indonesia to Singapore

Among all the sticky fingers and durian burps came the anticipated question: Should we get another one?
Our tummies were full, we seemed to vacillate but we all knew the answer: Yes.

Fruits. They're what you grab at grocery stores and farmer's markets, to be eaten as snacks or accompaniments to your meal. Garnishes, palate cleansers. But not durian. In Singapore, durian sellers have set up tables and chairs. They will open the fruits up for you to enjoy right there and then.

Butter Durian
This practice is spreading to part of Indonesia, too, like in Medan. I think this is partly for two reasons. One is that the stinky fruit is banned from public transportation like MTA and buses in Singapore, so it's harder to buy and take them home. Second, unlike berries that you'd eat as snacks, when you eat durian, you want to eat them.

You may think all durians are alike, but once you land in Singapore you'll realize you're wrong. There are as many varieties of durian as there are in the family of oranges/clementines/tangerines! One of the more popular is the butter durian (pictured above), smaller but sweeter than the durian monthong from Thailand. A box like the one above was S$10. The durian sellers can also tell you which ones are sweet vs "bitter" (they're not really bitter but has more of a subtle bitterness or more fermented taste underneath the sweetness). How? I have no idea until I eat them, but somehow they can. This isn't variety dependent but is a characteristic of each fruit.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Mollusk Heaven at Papa Kerang (Medan, Indonesia)

When one thinks of food in Medan, images of kwetiauw (flat rice noodles), spicy Padang rice, and noodles will invariably pop up. But what about a dinner filled with bivalves?
The first thing I noticed when I got to Papa Kerang in Medan was the row of trays, filled with various clams, snails, and scallops adorning the front of the "kitchen", none of them frozen.


Papa Kerang ("Papa Clams") is what we call a "kaki lima" in Indonesia, literally meaning "five feet" (not the distance measurement). It refers to cheap eateries without brick and mortar, looking more like tents on the roadside or parking lots of other businesses.
Here, the concept of your meal is simple. The clams you ordered are boiled and served on a plate, to be eaten with a special sauce.

As common in Indonesia, clams are eaten with a mixture of chili sauce, sweet soy sauce, lime, and crushed peanuts. Papa Kerang gives you a decent sized bowl of the sauce, with a generous helping of the crushed peanuts (and you can always get more).
Other than the normal clams above, they had kerang bulu ("furry clams"). I'm not really sure what the Latin or English name for these are, since top google results for the Indonesian name lead to an adult video site ...
Regardless, these were a favorite among many with their big and plump meat.
Kerang Bulu

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Smoked Crab at Rasane (Surabaya, Indonesia)

If there is one thing I have to eat when I come back to Indonesia, it'll be CRAB. Crab in spicy sauce, crab with salted eggs, or smoked crab. Whichever it is, I want it.
This time around, I went to try a new(ish) seafood place called Rasane, which is famous for their smoked crab (kepiting asap). Rasane in Indonesian means "the flavor" or "the taste".

As with most seafood places in Indonesia, they serve live seafood kept in tanks. Customers would go up to the tanks and pick out which crab, fish, lobster, etc they want to eat that night. Or you can just tell them how much you want and have them pick it out for you.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Indonesia Street Eats: Soto Ayam Tidar (Surabaya)

There are few better ways to spend your time in Surabaya than eating your heart out at a street side dive late at night. When my cousins were visiting from Singapore, we did just that. A bowl of Soto Ayam (chicken turmeric soup) on the side of the road, wooden benches, old style glass soda bottles. Tropical heat with a side of night breeze mixed in with street fumes. This is Soto Ayam & STMJ Tidar, a street stall on a street called Tidar.

(STMJ refers to "susu telur madu jahe", which translate to "milk egg honey ginger". It's a traditional health drink).

Soto ayam is a chicken soup made with turmeric, ginger, curcuma, galangal, and more. At Soto Ayam Tidar, the soup is filled with chicken (ayam kampung, aka "village chicken" which is much more flavorful than the farmed kind) and you can choose between meat, skin, or offals, rice noodles, and egg. The best one to get at this place is the soft boiled egg but they were out that night. It's also served with rice either in the soup or on the side.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Indonesian Street Eats: Martabak Mesir (Egyptian Omelet)

Even when I was younger and couldn't eat spicy food at all I looked forward to going to the Padang restaurant, Rumah Makan Sederhana. Why? Because in front of it, they sell Martabak Mesir, a.k.a. Egyptian Omelet!

This martabak mesir is a typical dish of the Minang people in West Sumatra. Martabak itself is an Arabic word meaning "folded" and is a typical dish of Saudi Arabia, Brunei, and of course Indonesia and Malaysia. How this particular version came to have the name Mesir or Egyptian, I have no idea either.

Despite being attached to the restaurant, you still have to order your omelet at the little stand at the front.
The guy would spin and spin the skin until it stretched thin and big enough for the "omelet"

Surabaya, Indonesia

My hometown and all the good food I miss!

Bebek Goreng Mon Mon (fried duck)
Citrus Lee Restaurant
Hana Sushi
J. Co (Donuts and Coffee Shop)
Kedai Sabindo
Kogyo BBQ (Korean-Mexican fusion, SUTOS)
Kue Leker food cart (in front of Ayam Penyet Bu Kris in Tenggilis)
Layar Seafood
Martabak Mesir (Egyptian Omelet, Rumah Sederhana)
Rasane Seafood (smoked crab)
Rawon Setan
Sari Nusantara (Padang cuisine)

Soto Ambengan
Soto Ayam Tidar

Thai Village

Ikan Bakar Cianjur

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Chicken, Sweat, and Hot Oil

It was about 90 degrees and 70% humidity, because it always is in the tropical country of Indonesia. The sweat and humidity made our shirts stick to our skin. There's no air conditioning here. That would be too much to expect from a dive called Warung Doyong.

Warung refers to a cheap eatery, a hole in the wall if you will. Doyong, on the other hand, means "leaning." And it isn't leaning in the sense of the tower of Pisa (ooh it's a wonder of the world!) but leaning as in the place is about to collapse on itself. Even in these conditions and heat, this place in Bogor is jam packed. The fan on the wall barely helped, so you order a fresh fruit juice or three - lots of ice cubes.

What is it that we all came here for? It's none other than the fried chicken.

Ayam Goreng (Fried Chicken)
Here, pieces of ayam kampung (the literal translation is village chicken - they roam free, but on the streets, not on a green pasture) are fried en masse in a giant wok, spiced with turmeric, garlic, and all kinds of spices, along with serundeng (spiced, fried shredded coconut).

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

All You Can Eat for $1?! Kopi Klotok (Secang, Central Java, Indonesia)

All you can eat for $1? Am I serious? It's less than $1 actually (Rp.8,500 to be exact). In the small towns of Indonesia, such things are still possible.
If you've never heard of the town Secang in Central Java, you're not the only one. I never heard of it either until this trip and even now it will just be that town we had to drive through to get to my mom's hometown (Magelang) from Semarang (the closest airport unaffected by the erupting Merapi volcano).

None of us were hungry after lunch but when we were told about the AYCE for Rp.8,500 at Kopi Klotok that's supposed to be good, all of us said "why not?" Turns out they had quite a few of traditional Javanese items even I haven't tried before, like this Buntil, made with coconut, anchovies, green chili, wrapped and steamed in papaya leaf.


Monday, November 22, 2010

First Time at My Family's Own Restaurant: Kogyo (Surabaya)

There's definitely a conflict of interest here since I'm actually talking about my family's restaurant. My mom opened Kogyo on the 2nd floor of Sutos (Surabaya Town Square) in January but I haven't gone home to Indonesia since then until very recently. Finally could see and taste it for myself!

I don't want to seem like I'm promoting our own restaurant, but you know, after hearing about it for 10 months, I got excited about finally going there myself.

The whole thing started when I brought blogger friends Mattatouille and Glutster to Indonesia last year, and talking about the Kogi hype to my mom, it seemed natural that with a real Korean and a real Mexican in town, we should try making it ourselves.

It's a small and casual place with mid range prices. My mom tends to say you can't find another place serving US rib eye at our prices in town (the local beef is so much tougher compared to the marbled US beef).

The menu is mostly Korean plus some non-Korean items my mom is proud of (like her niu ru mien aka beef noodle soup which seems to have a small following of its own). There are people who come a couple times a week just to have the beef noodle soup.
Photo by my brother.

Our most popular item is probably the Durian Mochi.
Durian Mochi

The chewy mochi skin is made fresh and the mochi is filled with cream and real durian monthong! I've never had anything like it before and loved it. Props to my mom for thinking up something like this.

I try helping out with the menu by suggesting some items. So far I've contributed Pat Bing Su (aka Korean shaved ice), and soon dubu is not far in the future ..

I never told my mom about the Kyochon/Bonchon hype here, but she must've known about Korean fried chicken from somewhere else, since I found these fried chicken wings with sweet and spicy plum sauce on the menu.

I didn't get to try everything, since we still ate at home or went out to other places to eat while I was there, but I really like their burrito too. Guess I'll have to wait until 2012 to try the rest.

Kogyo BBQ
Surabaya Town Square (SUTOS) unit 1-46 (2nd floor)
Surabaya, Indonesia

Thursday, November 4, 2010

An Appeal: Donate to Indonesia Disaster Victims

You may know that Indonesia, my home country, has been hit with three natural disasters in the past month, from earthquake and tsunami to volcano eruption. I'd like to take a page in this blog to raise awareness and hope to get some people to make a donation for the victims of these disasters.

smoke burning
 Villages covered in ash after Merapi volcano eruption
Photo by satria_adi1

The 7.7 magnitude earthquake and 3m (that's 10 feet) tsunami in Mentawai, Sumatra now has a toll of 400 deaths and 300 missing, with hundreds still injured. Six villages were destroyed and about 12,800 people are currently living in camps. Building temporary shelters, feeding and healing the victims, as well as rebuilding what once was a surfer's paradise will require a lot of help and resources.

If you'd like to make a donation to the Mentawai victims, you can do so through SurfAid International
 or Food for the Hungry.


The Merapi volcano in Central Java (one of the most active volcanoes in the world) erupted yet again yesterday, spewing hot smoke all day long. This was the fourth eruption since it first erupted just a little over a week ago. On top of the death and injured tolls, about 20,000 people have been evacuated from their homes which may have been burnt or covered in ash. That's 20,000 people who will need shelter, food, and medicine. Worse yet, they fear Merapi will continue to erupt over the next month.

If you would like to help the injured and evacuated children victims of Merapi, you can donate through Save the Children.

Any of your help would be greatly appreciated by these victims.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Padang Food 101(Sari Nusantara, Surabaya, Indonesia)

Padang is the capital of West Sumatra (which is mostly known for the earthquakes and tsunamis that happened nearby).
When you go to a Padang restaurant, an array of dishes will be placed on your table. Rendang (beef curry), curried vegetables, egg balado, and many more.

It's not all you can eat, though. You pay for what you take and eat, so if you don't think you really want to eat a particular dish don't touch it.

Padang cuisine is known for their spicy dishes and a variety of curries can always be found. Rendang is so popular everywhere now, including in LA. Simpang Asia's rendang actually won the curry competition a couple years back. Padang food is usually cooked once a day and mostly served at room temperature. That's why when you go to a Padang restaurant, they will display everything and let you do the pick and choosing at the table.

When Mattatouille and Glutster visited my home town, we went to Sari Nusantara, a Padang restaurant in Surabaya, for their first Padang meal.
That day the three of us plus my friend and my dad pretty much ate all the dishes. The tour de force: fish head curry
The body of the fish was grilled but in my opinion the fish head curry is superior with its much more tender meat.

When I was little and couldn't eat spicy food (still can't today but I'm getting way better) I used to eat ayam pop, chicken cooked with garlic and butter. I loved ayam pop but I'm not sure if it was because now I can eat spicier food or because the version at Sari Nusantara wasn't that good, but the one we had that day was pretty bland. I would have to try ayam pop at Rumah Sederhana again to see which it really is.

daun singkong (cassava leaves)

To calm my palate down, I had a glass of kopyor. Kopyor is actually a coconut with a genetic defect. Instead of the smooth, meaty flesh in a regular coconut, the flesh of kopyor is tender, easily peels off from the inner layer of the skin, and is crumbly. There usually isn't much water inside kopyor, and the flesh is made into a drink using syrup. Es kopyor is a very popular drink in Indonesia and costs more than regular coconut.

There's a folklore that says that when there is a lunar eclipse, the moon comes down to earth and eats coconuts. The leftovers of those eaten coconuts become kopyor.

If you are in LA and want to try Padang food, I'd suggest Raso Minang in West Covina.

Sari Nusantara
Jl. Gubernur Suryo No. 24
Jawa Timur (East Java)
Phone: 031-5348638

Monday, April 12, 2010

Indonesian Street Food: Kue Leker (Surabaya)

Street snacks in Indonesia are everywhere and are as varied as the number of islands in the nation (about 17,000).

The good thing about having out-of-the-country guests? I have an excuse to indulge in many of them. This kue leker cart was set up right in front of the spicy chicken place we went to for lunch, and since my brother said it was good, we got some.

Kue leker guy on wheeled push-cart

Kue leker
is almost like a crispy folded crepe, usually filled with chocolate and banana. It is supposedly one of the staple foods of my home town, Surabaya, although apparently people from a neighboring town, Lamongan, claim its theirs also. Surabaya-ers will win by sheer number.

The origin of the name "kue leker" is not certain, but a likely explanation is that the word "leker" came from the Dutch word "lekker" which just means good or tasty. Kue simple means cake in Indonesian, so if the first part is true then the term just means "tasty cake."

The cake/crepe is made to order on a rotating hot pan while the guy pours chocolate syrup and plops banana slices down.
It seems quite likely that this dessert did originate during the Dutch colonization, right? I mean, it's practically a chocolate and banana crepe, rather European. And they did colonize us for 300 years!

As the bottom is getting crispy, it's folded and flattened, distributing the fillings around. Eat it while it's fresh: hot and crispy.

They'll have some already made on display, but you can always ask for a freshly made one.

It's a simple dessert that's quick to make and hits the spot, just as street snacks should be.

in front of:
Ayam Penyet Bu Kris
Kl.Tenggilis Utara no.1
Surabaya, Indonesia

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The "Legendary" Oxtail Soup at Hotel Borobudur (Jakarta, Indonesia)

Who's calling this ox tail soup legendary? I didn't start it, for sure. By the time I was enjoying food, Hotel Borobudur was already known for their "legendary oxtail soup."

The claim makes sense historically, as Hotel Borobudur is the first five star hotel in Indonesia. Being a 5-star hotel and all, the ox tail soup costs a ridiculous Rp. 150,000, which is a whopping $15. Well, putting it that way it seems affordable to try, so we went.

We had a super early dinner because my parents had to fly back to Surabaya around 6 pm. When we got there we realized we're missing both the lunch and dinner buffet! The dinner buffet would've cost $25 and came with all the ox tail soup you want, along with crab and other goodies. Dammit.

Besides your typical soft drinks, Hotel Borobudur also offers a couple of traditional drinks, one of them being a jamu which is said to be the favorite of an old king from Jogjakarta. Jamu is the medicinal herbal drink of Indonesia and its variety spans as many as the herbs you might think of to put in it.
This jamu is actually sweet and refreshing, without that medicinal funk at all.

We all got, of course, the ox tail soup. But Hotel Borobudur offers three types of sop buntut: the original, fried, or bbq.

The verdict of the day: get the original.

The oxtail meat in the original soup is much more tender and the soup as a whole retains more of the meat flavor.

For the fried and the barbequed, the meat is served dry, separated from the broth.

The oxtail meat is tougher in this case and having them fried or with bbq sauce on top didn't add much for me and did not compensate for the loss of the meat's tenderness.
Everything is of course served with a side of appropriate condiments - in this case lime to squeeze into the soup, pickled vegetables, and a dollop of chili sauce. Add to taste.

The questions "was it worth $15?" and "was it worth Rp. 150,000?" are completely different, even if the two monetary values are equivalent. In the latter case, probably not. If you're curious in trying this legendary oxtail soup, though, you should probably go for the buffet. That seemed worth the money.

Bogor Café at Hotel Borobudur
Jalan Lapangan Banteng Selatan
P.O.Box 1329
Jakarta 10710
Tel: (62-21) 3805555

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