..It's a journey after all.. : Food and Travel Blog based in Jakarta: February 2013

Sunday, 24 February 2013

SATE JEPANG : a little yakitori vendor in Bintaro

'Too many cooks spoil the food', well, that is a saying that I believe just fine when I was hanging out as one of the 20 people. The larger the group, the harder it seems to find a mutual destination, in this case, a good place to eat. The problem is either no one is making a choice or everybody wants to go with their own choices.

After an hour of just sitting, with dubious multiple decisions, I have somehow used my right as an individual to utter my choice, my craving, my curiosity of a particular street food vendor that I have been lured by the idea of it for months. It was a secluded yakitori vendor in Bintaro, famous with the name of Sate Jepang among the inhabitants of the area. It's a funny thing how one mind can affect other's. So the next thing I knew, there we were, a breezy 6 p.m, on the side of Maleo street.

To my disappointment, we arrived with no presence of any vendors. Back to square one, we all stepped out of our cars and began discussing our next destination. Here's another funny thing, call it something about fate or just pure damn luck, as we were all busy dwelling, there it was. A small yakitori cart pushed by two skinny men, approaching us. Well, being dubious wasn't a bad thing after all.

No, this was not a 'Silent Hill' setting. It was just too smoky as they were setting up the tools. And no, that was not me or any of my friends. lol
Once again, 'Too many cooks spoil the food'. Too much of everything has never been a good thing. This is a concept which I think they get really well. They only offer you with three choices of yakitori. Either you have chicken skin or chicken meat skewers (breast or drumstick). It was easy in deciding what to order as we were all just faced with three options. Sometimes less is definitely more.

Is it normal to call it chicken thigh?  The yakitori was coated with a thick brown sweet savory sauce that gave it its kick in the taste buds. 
Make your request for extra crispy skin. TOP NOTCH. Each portion is worth for 10k, with a total of 5 skewers. Not fulfilling enough, that's why we ordered most of the stock for the night.
If we have lontong for satay's company, this vendor have onigiri (8k). You can choose between just plain rice or the ones with tuna fillings. Since they also grill the onigiris, the outside layer of the rice became a bit crispy, in a good way.
I always have a special thing for street food vendors. It was more exciting to discover a new unexposed cheap 'it-destination'. I warn you fancy diner fans, this place has no high-end touches in every way possible. It is the place to sit on the side of a road with plastic chairs and minimum lighting, with minimum care in the world but with lots of fun teasing and bullying your friends. Not forgetting, the misty setting from the thick smoke will blur out your vision. I was unable to see anything further than a 2 meter distance and I also ended up smelling like yakitori for the whole night. I have no complains though, it was the highlight of my day, both the yakitori and the crazy times I had with my friends.

We bought most of the stock for the night. In an hour and a half, there were none left. I only had a portion and an onigiri for the night, but I also kept taking my friend's portion as we sat there. It's a bit ruthless that we left almost nothing for the other customers. After all, we were the first customers.. ;p

Monday, 18 February 2013

Introducing new menu from BONCHON

I was hungry. It was 10.30 am and I haven't eaten anything, yet. Last Saturday, I was invited to have a Bonchon brunch at Citywalk Sudirman. Putting aside the fact that I was so exhausted from that past few weeks, I decided to go anyway. "It's a Saturday, I should enjoy myself", that's what I thought..

It was an exclusive blogger gathering and they were going to introduce a new menu that is not available yet.. I was intrigued by the pictures and the idea of this gathering. Again, putting aside my exhausted self in the name of being too busy having too much fun with too many people, I came and of course, in the appropriate amount of so-called being late.

If the Japs have a thing for soba, then the Koreans have a thing for Myun. They are Korean buckwheat noodles that is usually served cold. But in Bonchon, of course, they have their own creation for the Myun. Before I continue my rant, let me just show you the pictures first... 

My original flavor bites. Finished it in a matter of seconds.. 
Introducing : Bonchon Spicy Myun (will be available next month).. Further review below.. 
Blueberry and Strawberry Snowflakes for dessert.. Well, mine was the strawberry one.. 
Mocha Mochi.. 
The bites : Okay, first thing first, I love having little bites. Well, reason number 1 is because I am a messy eater. I manage to get the sauces in every unimaginable location you could ever imagine. Having Bonchon bites really helps me in keeping my image as this clean neat female being. Reason number 2 is definitely the texture. Packed crispiness coated with yummy original sauce in a bowl, YES PLEASE.. Reason number 3 is that they are able to represent the mini version of that famous perfect Bonchon's chicken. Practical is the word for it..

Bonchon Spicy Myun : Eating noodles in morning time has always been a thing for my family and I so while I was tasting the myun, it felt right to have for what some other people may consider it as a heavy meal. The first thing that I love about this new menu is the combination of the crispy texture from the fried lean chicken and the softness of the myun. The sauce itself is a bolognese-like sauce with little chicken cubes, the spicy version with of course, Korean-fusion touches. It has a bit of subtle grainy texture from the sesame seeds. Somehow the three elements clicked. I don't know whether I am biased by my hunger, but I think it was a pretty good meal. Now here's the thing. I have always been a wuss in eating spicy food. To be frank, it almost passes my 'this is too spicy for me' bar, but I managed not to sweat or drink more than one cup of lemon tea.. The term spicy itself becomes subjective. For me personally, it was just about right.. The only downturn of this dish is that the other food bloggers claimed that the classic myun was bland compared to the spicy one. I didn't have the chance to taste the classic myun so I am in no place to make any judgement.

Snowflakes : Shaved iced with strawberry syrup, red bean, Japanese mochi and cornflakes. COLD, PLENTY, CHEAP, YUMMY, and has more than one texture~ SNOWFLAKES FOR THE WIN. I need not explain furthermore..

Mochi : Well, I ate Bonchon's mochi way back before this gathering. I was curious by the sight of it. Well, it is definitely different from any other mochi I have ever tried. But this mochi and I, we can never get along just fine. I have a problem with Bonchon's mochi. Y U SO LITTLE? Y U ONLY 3? Serving a good dessert in such little amount, well, now they're just being mean.. lol..

Sometimes I  find that the variance of textures of my meal matters, A LOT. The taste is still a number one priority but when a new creation combined a number of elements  (the texture, the combination of flavors, the portion), it is somewhat like a chemistry. When it clicks, it clicks.. Just like meeting someone new for the very first time, if the chemistry is there and the timing (a substitute for the texture, lol) is just right, you click.. and when it clicks, you seem to ignore the fact that you might be biased.

I left the place feeling satisfied. I left the place with a happy tummy. I left the place with tons of fun meeting my fellow bloggers. Once again, Bonchon has managed to hold a hospitable event. It was definitely refreshing after such an exhausting week. 

BonChon Chicken
1.       Grand Indonesia5th Floor Sky Bridge​, Jakarta Pusat
2.       City Walk SudirmanGround Floor, Jakarta Pusat
3.       Living World Alam Sutera, Ground Floor, BSD
4.       Supermal Karawaci, Ground Floor, Tangerang
5.       Gandaria City, 2nd Floor, Jakarta Selatan
6.       Central Park, Lower Ground, Jakarta Barat
7.       Kota Kasablanka,  2nd Floor, Jakarta Selatan 
Website : www.bonchonindonesia.com
Twitter : BonChon_ID
Facebook : BonChonIndonesia

Friday, 8 February 2013

Iron Chef Kitchen is IN TOWN!

To all Iron Chef's fans out there, as a fellow fan, I am happy to say that Iron Chef Kitchen is definitely IN TOWN~ Yes people, they are here.. Located in Food Gallery (LG level Plaza Senayan), it is hoped that the people of Indonesia will get to know more of the variance of Japanese food. Oh, the show Iron Chef itself is going to be aired in Trans TV this month. 

As we all know, our people are fond of Japanese food. With the emerging sensation of ramen joints, the crazy creamy addictive mille crepes, or even the classic yummy savory sushi bars, I can speak for myself that I am definitely tagging along to this highly in trend Japanese fever.

So, a few days ago, I was invited to the Iron chef screening and press conference. I came to notice (again) that I always think the Japanese culture is somehow very unique. Not only the food, but the language itself is beautiful. They are almost poetic, even in everyday application. They speak the taste of summer time, which I believe I have no clue by what they meant, but in a way, I think I understand. They manage to always penetrate graceful and polite gestures in engaging every social interactions. Listening to their conversations about their food made me more eager to try it and of course, I was once again, amazed by the differences and diverse culture that we all share. 

After all the talking, they gave a few sample for food tasting but I failed to snap any good pictures.. Please bear with me and tolerate the pictures as there was not enough light nor a good opportunity to take a decent one. 

The Chefs/owners of the Japanese restaurants, available in the Iron Chef Kitchen
Food is here...
I got to say, this one was my favorite. It was the Iron Chef Chen's Spicy Black Ramen. Unlike the ordinary creamy broth ramen that we are fond of, this ramen use soy and fish sauce as its base. In a way, I found the broth both comforting and light, also balanced and rich at the same time. For those who aren't fond of the usual heavy creamy broth, this one is definitely a must try. Definitely different from the ordinary ramen we know. This one really has its own twist.. 
Well, sweet desserts have always been my weakness. This was actually the first thing I snatched away from the table. It was Iron Chef Sakai's Popover Roast Pear. Well, this might not be an authentic Japanese delicacy, but the Japs have adapted so many things and gave their own touches to it. I personally think it's clever. 
This is the spicy chicken wings that I didn't get the chance to try. The other food bloggers said it's nice. 
For those who are interested in tasting the Iron Chef's dishes, you can all come to Plaza Senayan and give it a try for yourself. 

Period : 26 Jan - 5 Feb 2013
I am aware that it is no longer available, even by the time of the press conference. Anyway, Spoon Bread is the first Popover restaurant in Japan. Popover itself is an American version of Yorkshire pudding. It can be served either as a sweet treat (like the one that I tried in the conference) or as a savory dish with meats.. 

Period : 9 Feb - 25 Feb 2013
Menya Iroha was established 20 years ago in Japan and is a 4-times champion at the Tokyo Ramen Show. They are famous for their black ramen. They will be serving both the Iron Chef Chen's spicy black ramen and Toyama black soy sauce ramen in the outlet. As I have mentioned above, their broth is lighter and perfectly balanced. By the way, it is also halal as they use only chicken and fish for their ingredients.. 

Toyama Black Soy Sauce Ramen

Period : 9 Feb - 25 Feb 2013
Dai Tokyo Sakaba has a cozy Japanese bar concept that serves Japanese style premium chicken cuisine such as fried chicken wings (Tebasaki), fried chicken ( Tori Kara Age), fried chicken kurupuk (Tori Kawa Sembei)  to name a few. They also serve Yakitori in the outlet. 


Period : 26 Feb - 14 March 2013
Aloha Terrace serves Hawaiian dishes with Japanese touches. They will also be opening an outlet in Bintaro, Tangerang in early April. It will officially be the first Hawaiian restaurant in Indonesia. I tried their Loco Moco, which is a Hawaiian traditional meal that consists of white rice, topped with a hamburger patty, fried egg and brown gravy. It was very filling. I also tried the aromatic Hawaiian Kona Coffee, which is said to be one of the most expensive coffees in the world. It has a vanilla-like sweet fragrant that eventually lured me into drinking 3 cups.. lol

Loco Moco. Sorry I wasn't able to snap a good picture out of the sample given on that day.. 

Period : 26 Feb - 31 March 2013
First established in 1970, Sagami has been one of the largest chain restaurants in Japan. It has been famous for its soba (healthy buck wheat noodle) and its 'healthy and fresh' tagline. They serve variety of dishes in the outlet such as basic zaru soba, curry duck soba, Mt. Fuji beef soba, duck soup soba, shrimp oroshi soba, tempura chicken oroshi soba, chawan mushi, and yuzu honey juice. I tried their curry duck soba and it has a subtle mild curry hint. I have to say it is quite new to me to taste a combination of duck and curry.. 

Curry Duck Soba
If you are a Japanese food mania, what are you waiting for? Pay a visit and try their dishes! I know I will be back to get me some more of that spicy black ramen! 

Food Gallery, The Food Hall
LG Floor, Plaza Senayan