Nadya took us on a whirlwind food trip in Jakarta. In a span of three days, we tasted Padang (West Sumatra), Balinese and Sundanese (West Java) cuisine and I enjoyed every morsel of food that passed through my mouth.
A parade of Padang cuisine at a restaurant located a few meters from Amaris Hotel. The drink in the background is hot tea. The silver bowls are kobokan, tap water with slices of lime, and are used for hand washing before and after eating.
Padang dishes are meant to be eaten with bare hands, but spoon and fork are available upon request.
Upon sitting down, the dine-in customers are served with at least two dozens saucers each containing a different Padang dish. One does not have to eat all of them; one just eats what he wants and pays for what he consumes.
It was my first time meeting Nadya and her family, so I was a little shy (hehe). I had two dishes, fish and chicken. The fish was spicy, but not spicy enough to make me cry. And since I was a little shy, I did not eat with my bare hands.
Nadya enumerated the names of some of the dishes, but there were too many to remember. She also told us the degree of hotness of each dish, which was very helpful.
Our dinner on our first day in Jakarta was at Warung Nasi Ampera, a famous Sundanese restaurant. We arrived at 840pm (from Old Batavia), so most of their dishes were gone. Like in Padang restaurants, Sundanese restaurants also offer kobokan to their diners. There were a faucet and a hand wash container for those who wanted to really get rid of the grime or stink in their hands. The customers order at the counter and the waiter reheats the food and brings it to the table.
Ikan Goreng or fried fish
Ikan Goreng or fried fish. I had fried fish which I ate with my bare hands. It brought me back to simpler times when I ate with my hands as I slouched in front of the table, sometimes, with my left foot on the chair, imitating how old men eat.
Sambal with shrimp paste. Their shrimp paste was sweet and did not smell like most shrimp paste I have tasted. Nadya said that their shrimp paste is one of their secret recipes.
Different stages of preparing bubur ayam (chicken congee). Bubur ayam is a popular breakfast food in Indonesia. It has shredded chicken meat, fried soybean, fried shallots amd soy sauce on top of rice. We had this at 9am, before we arrived at Gunung Mas.
Chicken intestine and internal organs accompanied bubur ayam. They were steamed (I think), not grilled like what I am used to. They felt “wet” and a little bland.
On our second day, we had lunch at Restoran Rindu Alam. Restoran Rindu Alam is one of the pioneers in Puncak and it affords its diners a beautiful view of the tea plantation in the area. It was raining when we arrived so the garden, the tea plantation and the mountains were covered in mist. Our table was at the farthest end of the restaurant but next to a huge window. The air was fresh and the view was fantastic.
Lalab or raw vegetables salad (to be dipped in sambal). I almost had a reverse heart attack upon seeing all this green. It was too much for my meat-loving heart. Since I knew that I might not have another chance to have lalab, I tried the very young eggplant and dipped 1/8 of it in a shrimp paste-based sambal. It was not bad, the eggplant was crunchy and sweet. I should have tried the cucumber. Sayang.
The super duper spicy sambal. Just looking at it makes me sweat.
I do not know the name of this dish, but it looks like fried beef.
My favorite dish. If I recall correctly, this was gold fish and sambal. I ate one fish in one gulp. 🙂 I think I murdered 8 of them. The spicy sambal complemented the fish perfectly.
This looked and tasted like chop suey, and I do not like chop suey.
This dish was perfect for rainy days. I cannot remember how it tasted, but I liked it.
The cold weather called for a glass of teh manis panas or hot tea.
On our last day in Indonesia, we had lunch at Ayam Betutu “Khas Gilimanuk Bali”.
Balinese chicken satay – sprinkled with spices, wrapped around a flat stick, and grilled to perfection.
Disajikan Bersama Plecing Kangkung (kale). It was a little bit spicy, and the kale was crisp and had tons of of flavor.
Sambal Terasi – the spicy one
Sambal Matah – the sweet Juan and the Juan for me. 🙂
The main attraction: bebek betutu kuah of Ayam Betutu. I cannot translate it to English, but it was wonderful. In a matter of minutes, it was gone. Eating with bare hands made the whole experience all the more enjoyable.
Teh Botol – tea in a bottle
For our last meal in Indonesia, Nadya took us to Santiga Seafood. It was an unassuming place beside a main road. Upon getting out the car, the smell of fried food hit my nostrils. I knew right away that I would like the place. The waiter took our order right away while we waited to be seated. Looking around, I saw long tables filled with people, eating with their hands.
Dinner preparation. There were a couple of times when the frying pan lit up and I screamed in surprise. These two guys worked quickly and efficiently. I took these photos while waiting to be seated. The area was packed to the rafters.
Shrimp coated with flour and SALTED EGG! It was divinely sinful.
Because the shrimps were not sinful enough, they had squid coated with flour and SALTED EGG! My clogged arteries protested, but I did not stop eating it.
Green shells with gravy. It had a smoky taste and the green shells were sweet.
Plecing kangkung (kale) – for some healthy greens
I cannot recall the name of this fish, but Nadya said that when translated it is something like “chicken fish” because this fish tastes like chicken.
Any meal would not be complete without an array of sambal.
A local band that performs English songs entertained the diners at Santiga Seafood.
Dinner at Santiga Seafood
Aside from the meals we had in Jakarta, Nadya introduced us to other local food.
Amanda Brownies Kukus. It is soft and not overly sweet. It traveled with us back to Manila and I ended up finishing it off. 🙂
Ubi Manis or baked sweet potato.
There were also some food available in the streets of Jakarta that looked appetizing.
Street food in Old Bavaria, Jakarta
Street food in Old Bavaria, Jakarta
Fruits and vegetables found along the highway from Gunung Mas to Jakarta