Culinary Memoirs of A Biologist Who Loves Food

Culinary Tours

Se’i, The Famous Indonesian Smoked Meat (Se’i Lamalera, Bandung)

Smoking and curing are known way to preserve meat, as well as probably the most favorite ones. These procedures enhance the flavor of the meat to the max, making it more enjoyable to eat. And normally, when we hear about smoked beef, we might think if that comes from Europe or America. The answer, not really. Smoking is popular in many cultures and traditions throughout the globe, including Indonesia.

In Eastern Indonesia, specifically in Kupang (Timor Island), Nusa Tenggara Timur, there’s a smoked meat product called se’i (from Rote language: to slice the meat in thin strips). Originally, as it is a game food, venison is used. But now, because there is a restriction on deer hunting for conservation, either pork or beef are used. Sometimes, chicken and fish are also good for options.

To make se’i, the normal ingredients like table salt (NaCl) and saltpeter/curing salt (KNO3) are used as flavor enhancer and preserving agent against unwanted microbes, respectively. But, the real magic comes from a specific tree, which leaves and woods used for smoking the se’i. The tree is called, kesambi or kosambi (Schleichera oleosa (Lour.) Oken, which belongs to family Sapindaceae, a cousin of Rambutan), also known as Makassar oil tree, or Ceylon Oak. Somehow, in a reason I don’t really know, smoking with this plant materials gives se’i its distinctive flavor and aroma, as well as giving it the reddish surface color.

Unfortunately for me, I haven’t had a chance to go to Kupang to tell the real story. So instead, I visited a restaurant, which specifically selling this smoked meat goodness in Bandung, that only takes me a moment by train from Jakarta (the travel duration would be the same, but you spend only IDR 100k (USD 8) to Bandung, IDR 1.1 million (USD 80) to Kupang).

I ordered the se’i sapi (beef se’i) and se’i ayam (chicken se’i), using the traditional sambal lu’at (sambal or spicy condiment from Kupang, with chili, tomato, and coriander leaves) and sambal matah (sambal made of chili and lemongrass, quite trendy now in Indonesia). Ah, and when we ordered se’i, it seems to be common if it served with rice, a lemony clear broth, and sauteed papaya (Carica papaya L.) flowers. This time, not only the flowers, but also sauteed papaya leaves.


Se’i Sapi with Sambal Lu’at, sauteed papaya leaves and flower, the broth, and rice on background


Se’i Ayam mixed with Sambal Matah, sauteed papaya leaves and flower, the broth, and rice on background

The taste is awesome. The beef one used brisket meat (if I correct), making it layered with fat, enhancing the flavor. It tastes like normal smoked beef, but the smokiness is stronger, as it was just smoked. We normally eat meat with something sour, right, so we used sauces like barbecue sauce. Sambal lu’at has the spicy and sour kick that we need, the coriander boost the flavor even more. Sambal matah is also good, but too spicy for me and it conceal the smokey goodness of the se’i. The broth is good if you add it a bit to the rice, giving more lemon flavor with a hint of meat stock flavor to it. For the sauteed leaves, I like the bites in it and the perfect saltiness add to it. As it is part of papaya plant (it has bitter latex), I’d say that they cook it perfectly.

Final verdict, sambal lu’at is the best condiment for se’i. I like the beef one, but preferably I like the chicken more. Because the beef se’i is kinda shrinking and drier when it served, while the chicken (also I like chicken) is still meaty and succulent, although the beef has stronger smokey flavor.

P.S.: Other than regular beef meat and chicken meat, they also selling se’i of beef tongue (it is much softer and has smoother texture) and beef ribs (rib eye meat) (which has even more denser beef flavor).


Address: Jl. Bagus Rangin no. 24A, Bandung, Indonesia. Zomato. TripAdvisor

Restaurant notes:

  • Mushalla (praying room) – Available
  • Debit card – Available

Ordered Meals:

  • Se’i Sapi with Sambal Lu’at – Regular Size (IDR 20k)
  • Se’i Ayam with Sambal Matah – Regular Size (IDR 15k)


  • Because the price is very affordable for students, this place is packed with people for lunch, plan your trip wisely so you can get a seat!
  • You can buy the 1/4, 1/2, and 1 Kg of the Se’i here. The 1 Kg beef se’i was about IDR 150k



Midnight Snack – Perkedel Bondon, Bandung

Bandung is a artsy and full of youth spirits heaven in the West Java. Creativity and diversity of the citizens and the students of many universities in Bandung, including some of the national tops are becoming the source of the radiant light of Bandung life. And we all know, no life would be sustained without a food, a good food to be exact! Bandung is a city filled with tons of delicacies that would attract all culinary tourist to come. It’s all from the traditional ones like nasi tutug oncom, gepuk, lalab, and surabi, to uncountable modern ones.

From the late 2-3 years behind, I heard a news about a perkedel stand in Bandung that opens at 11 pm, and right before it opened, it already packed with lining up costumers!

For those who doesn’t know what perkedel is, it is a fried mashed potato, which sometimes also made of maize, mixed with leek or meat, and usually coated with egg white prior to frying it. The name might similar to frikadeller, a Danish flat meatball which might introduced during Dutch colonial period.

And about the name “Bondon”, maybe it would be inappropriate to say it out loud, but it means “prostitute”. Maybe it compared to the food because it opens at night and only localized in one place. Well, no comment about it!

Okay, back to topic! So, how the famous Perkedel Bondon looks like??

Here’s the story:

Since the place is quite far away, I decided to buy it using Go Food service and I ordered it about 11:06 pm (6 minutes late, I was overslept). Moments after the order received, this conversation happened:

Go Food: Evening, sir. I’d like to confirm, did you ordered Perkedel Bondon?

Me: Yes, I did

Go Food: Umm sir, before I proceed, I’d like to ask if you had ever buy it before?

Me: Nope, what about it?

Go Food: The line is already long and it would probably took 1 hour to the kitchen! I’d suggest if we bypass the line by bribing the parking officer so I could go straightly to the kitchen and have your order. What do you say? Let’s say we give ’em about 10000 rupiahs (a bit more than USD 1.1)

Me: Errrr, okay. But don’t take it from my Go Pay point, I’ll pay the 10000 later when you’re here

Go Food: Right away, sir

I know, bribery is bad. But I feel bad if the Go Food driver have to wait for an hour and in one hour probably I would be fell asleep since the next day I will have an important presentation.

Curious and curiouser, how good it would be since they have a queue that long??

Then, surprisingly, 20 mins later, the driver arrived. He said that he was number 16 on the line and that was even minutes after the store opened!

Now, unboxing time!


Appearance-wise, it looks quite normal

Unlike normal perkedel, its outer surface is crunchy and sometimes there are some chopped leek. Along with the perkedels, they also provide a sauce, from its appearance, it looks like a sambal.


Inside, it seems so fluffy and good

Okay, here goes nothing!


With the sambal

Plainly, it tastes just flat. Very mild. I doubt that I taste any hint of pepper and salt. The flavor is straightly the potato taste and with a hint of leek. Once I dink it to the sambal, a strong shrimp flavor arise. It appears that the sambal is mixed with fermented shrimp paste (terasi or ebi, not sure), which enhances the flavor.

In the end, I’d say it is not bad. It is crunchy, hearty, and makes you full easily, but flavorwise, it just plain without the sambal and nothing else. Funny thing is, after I let it down in my room until the next morning, the flavor enhances, it becomes richer, especially in leek flavor. I don’t know if I say this: Safe it for your breakfast!


Jalan Suniaraja No.134, Bandung (near Bandung Station)

Open Hour: Everyday 11:00 pm – 03:00 am or until it all sold out

Price: IDR 2000 each piece

Note: Buy it by Go Food IN TIME, or wait in line for hours


International Food! (Part 4) – Medieval Lunch at A.D. 1393

I had a chance to go around the Second Restaurant Day in August 11th, 2016! On that day, I visited a food tent built only at the following day on the park of Turun Linna (FI: Turku Castle). The place caught my attention as they mentioned in the restaurant day website that they serve medieval food. And so I went there…


A.D. 1393

As I walked, as someone who watched Game of Thrones like me thought I hope this is not the tent diorama of Red Wedding or something in Jeoffrey’s wedding this food tent named A.D. 1393 looks like something out of the medieval age, built by the peasants around the king’s castle. Later, I was to getting so curious on what kind of food they serve there.


The book where all the recipes come from.

I saw some people dressed in medieval style and then I saw some foods. Firstly I asked them about how they managed to recreate the food, and they answered that they got the reference from a book called “The Good Wife’s Guide”, a translated book, translated by Gina L. Greco and Christine M. Rose.

Wow… that’s really interesting! So how’s the food?


Boiled Pike with Yellow Sauce, served with bread, Saffron Rice, and Creamy Spelt


The Yellow Sauce for the fish

I was amazed on the simplicity of the meal I had.

Me: How did you cook this fish?

Woman: We just simply clean the pike, dice them, and then boil them in the water with salt.

Me: That’s it??

Woman: Yup!

The flavor of the fish is very natural… I mean, it’s so natural, the… fishy flavor are still there! Even the spikes are still there. Although the yellow sauce (I forgot to ask on how it’s made) gave a bit flavor in it. The rice and spelt are also unique for me. The saffron rice has a near risotto like flavor, but more bland except the taste of cream, same for me on the spelt.

Woman: To make the rice and spelt, cook each of them with 50:50 of water and milk until they soften and absorbed the liquid. Add egg yolk and mix them until their texture are like carbonara pasta. For the rice, add a bit of saffron.

Ummm… I don’t know if I forget but… no seasoning at all mentioned by the book? Or is it because spices are pretty expensive in 14th century?


Pea Soup with Bread.

The pea soup has better flavor than the fish in my opinion. We have a good combination of onion and pea sweetness in it.

Me: How about this pea soup?

Woman: We boiled the whole onion, chopped it, and add the pea to the mix.

Me: Nothing more? For the seasoning?

Woman: Well, salt and pepper… and also white wine.

It amazed me, honestly. I never know a method of cooking the onion by boiling them and diced them and then placing them back in the pan for sautéing with oil. Later, white wine and water are added and reduced. To enhance the flavor, salt, pepper, and ginger is added.

I read a book about medieval food before, a Roman book made by Apicius (first written cookbook in history). I saw many… well, I’m not sure that bizarre is a right word, but… intriguing way to cook in earlier time. Less flavor and the ingredient’s natural flavor is the key.

I wonder how was the medieval food of my country looks like…

Part 1 – PaF International Food Night

Part 2 – Peruvian Lunch and Bunny Chow

Part 3 – Venezuelan Street Foods

Part 5 – African Jollof Rice


International Food! (Part 2) – Peruvian Food and Bunny Chow at The First Restaurant Day

Thing I like from many things in my journey at Turku, people are so festive for many celebrations. There are many celebration held throughout the year. For example, one of the enjoyable event for me is the restaurant day. There are two restaurant days in a year: The first one was in May (21st) and later in August (21st).

The restaurant days are held in ALL country of Europe and everyone may open their own restaurants with their own specialty dishes. Normally, when people are about to open their restaurant, they enlist themselves to the restaurant day event website, so other people who would like to find something to eat may see where and when the restaurants are throughout the countries.

On that day, May 21st of 2016, I was going around the city with my good friends, Diosa and Jens. I was curious as they (also with my lab supervisor, Adolfo) mentioned that there are some Peruvian students open their own Peruvian restaurant for a day! When before I mentioned that I’m so rarely tried African dishes (before I met Joel and Kofi, I ate… an apparent African dish, made by my friend, Dwiki), I NEVER ate any Southern American dish in my whole life!

So then, we gathered at 11 AM on Student Village. As we enter the house, they were selling many foods, cakes, and some drinks (Chicha Morada and Chicha de Jora).

Peruvian Causa Rellena

Causa Rellena

Causa is a basic name for a dish made of yellow potato, mixed with lime (hence it taste a bit sour), onion, chili, and oil. Rellena is Spanish for stuffed. So combined, it’s stuffed (well, because it’s mashed potato, the word is layered) causa. Causa rellena is like a sandwich of mashed potato, filled with pulled chicken meat, veggies (corn, peas, and paprika), with mayo (I think). It tastes good and solid enough to give you power as a morning starter.

Peruvian Tamale


Tamales is a dish normally found in Latin countries (I read that it also available in Mexico), made of boiled mashed corn, mixed with some spices, meat, and in this case black bean, tomato, and boiled egg, and placed in folded banana leaf and steamed. I love the tangy flavor from the spices and tomato and bean. It reminds me of chili con carne. I’m not confused, I believe they used paprika and cumin for the spicing.

Peruvian Ceviche

Peruvian Ceviche

Ceviche is raw fish, diced, poured with hot-spiced lemon juice, and served with potato, sweet potato, red onion as topping, and Peruvian corn nut. For me, I can’t handle the food! It’s too sour and hot at the same time, so in the end, I only ate some bites of the fish, the potato, sweet potato, and the corn nuts. The unique thing for me is the corn nut. As I learned a bit about maize plant for my thesis, corn nut is quite strange for me. Corn nut is basically Peruvian corn kernels that turned into crunchy snack bites. It has some fluffy bites of starch inside the kernel, but it doesn’t pop like popcorn. This Peruvian corn is also known as Inca corn, it has long and large kernels.


The Beverages

For the drink, I had myself a Chicha Morada. A sweet, purple non-alcoholic beverage made by boiling Peruvian purple corn in water with a big chunk of pineapple, cinnamon, cloves, and sugar. So in the end, you got a sweet, a bit sour, and aromatic drink. It tastes really good for me when it’s cold. Overall, Chicha is brewed or fermented drink made of corn. Although it’s non-alcoholic unlike its counterpart Chicha de Jora, I believe the similarity lies with the process as it requires hours to allow the flavors from the corn, pineapple, and the spices to mixed properly before served.

After we stuffed with the Peruvian delicacies, we walked to the City Center (or Marketplace, Kauppatori) to find something interesting before we go back home.

Then I found this… well, consider this one a bonus (other than the Peruvian food):

South African Small Bunny Chow

Mini Version of South African Chicken Bunny Chow

There’s a food stand selling South African unique dish called Bunny Chow. The reason of why I said it’s unique is because Bunny Chow is a combination of spicy, thick, curry (can be either chicken or red meat like lamb) served inside a bread.


The Full Size Bunny Chow (Source: Link)

On the miniaturized version I had in Turku, I had chicken Bunny Chow. It served with bread in the bottom, topped with mayonnaise, and also with chopped cucumber, tomato, and coriander leaves. The taste is fine, nothing much because I couldn’t taste the curry flavor and the bread is too small, but if you like curry, you need to try this one!

PS: Thanks to Diosa and Jens for accompanying me during The Restaurant Day!

There are a lot of story about international food during my study in Turku, click one of these to see the others!

Part 1 – PaF International Food Night

Part 3 – Venezuelan Lunch!

Part 4 – Medieval Dishes

Part 5 – African Jollof Rice


(Stockholm) Street Food – Nystekt Strömming

I want to share you on one of my place-to-visit if you want to have a trip to the capital town of Sweden, Stockholm.

As I mentioned for many times, fish is one ingredients that is abundant to find in Nordic country. But, the thing you have to know: The fishes are caught from Baltic Sea. Baltic Sea is known for its low salt content. So… yes, the fish is close to freshwater fish in term of flavor. One of the fish commodity you can find here is herring. You can smoke it, grill it, pickle it, or even serve it… as the infamous Swedish surströmming. But, this time… I’ll talk to you about Stekt Strömming (it’s Swedish of ‘fried herring’). The herring is filleted flesh to flesh with skin out, seasoned with fresh dill, and covered with breadcrumbs before fried in pan. Normally, you can eat it with mashed potato and vegetables.

Or you can put it into more awesome dishes! Like as served in here… in the market square in front of Slussen Metro Station, Stockholm.

Nystekt Stromming

The food truck: Nystekt Strömming

Nystekt Strömming (it’s Swedish for ‘freshly fried herring’) is a local food truck you can find in Slussen area in Stockholm. It’s known for its stekt strömming (obviously!) and its various ways to eat it!

NS - Fish (1)

The herring being fried in flat pan (click to enlarge).

NS - Fish (2)

And stored under heat lamp.

Then how do you like it to serve for you?

NS - Strommingrulle

Herring Roll (SE: Strömmingsrulle) is rolled stekt strömming inside lefse (Norwegian flat bread) with mashed potato, ‘creme fraiche’ salad (cabbage and carrot, mixed with creamy mayo), red onion, lettuce, alfalfa sprouts, leek, and chopped fresh parsley. This thing contains tons of carbos, so I must to say that you’ll be (normally) get full after you have one.

NS - Strommingburgare

Herring Burger (SE: Strömmingsburgare) is… well… as it name. Burger of stekt strömming with iceberg lettuce, ‘creme fraiche’ salad, red onion, and chopped fresh parsley. For everyone who love fish burger, throw those from your fast food chains… this is the real deal!

You can also eat it in ‘proper’ way! Here: Freshly fried herring with mashed potato (SE: Nystekt strömming med hemlagat potatismos)

NS - NS Med Hemlagat Potatismos (2)

Nordic version (with lingonberry jam, shaved raw carrots, and sliced beetroot)

NS - NS Med Hemlagat Potatismos (1)

My version (with sliced cucumber pickles, chopped iceberg lettuce, and dill mayonnaise)

In default, the meal has three pieces of strekt strömming with chopped parsley on top, mashed potato, and Swedish crispy bread (SE: knäckerbröd). They will ask you to choose three additional topping to add from this list:

  • Sliced pickled cucumber
  • Red onion (chopped)
  • ‘Creme fraiche’ salad
  • Iceberg lettuce (chopped)
  • Shaved carrots
  • Dill mayonnaise
  • Sliced beetroot
  • Remoulade (a French condiment, I think it’s aioli)
  • Garlic sauce
  • Mustard
  • Lingonberry jam

To let you know, this is best for main dish if you want to stay and stuff your stomach as the roll is for you if you want to be mobile.

Last but not least, you can buy this for light meal…

NS - Knackis

Knäckis is stekt strömming served on top of Swedish knäckerbröd, then topped with sliced pickled cucumber, chopped red onion, and chopped parsley. This can be eaten as light snack. You’ll enjoy the crispiness of the bread and herring and the freshness of the veggies.

The place can be easily recognisable if you go out from the Slussen Metro Station from the way where you go upstairs by the stairs, instead of the one in the end with escalator. Once you walk the stairs, you’ll see Pressbyrån (the convenient store) on your right near the exit. Go forward from the exit to the market square and you’ll see this food truck.

Special thanks to Demi (now in Copenhagen, Denmark for his Ph.D program) and Mirna (now in Uppsala, Sweden for her M.Sc program), my good friends, colleagues, and fellow alumni of School of Life Science and Technology, Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) Indonesia who accompanied me for my Stockholm trip!



Sodermalmstorg 1, 11645 Stockholm, Sweden.

Opening hour: 10:00 AM – 08:00 PM

Price range: SEK 35.00-75.00

Price of selected dish:

  • Knäckis: SEK 35.00
  • Strömmingsburgare: SEK 55.00
  • Strömmingsrulle: SEK 75.00
  • Nystekt strömming med hemlagat potatismos: SEK 75.00
  • Water: SEK 0.00


  1. The opening hour above may change occasionally.
  2. The tables are not equipped with umbrellas, in case of raining, go to the side of the truck where the place is sheltered by the truck shady roof.
  3. The water is free of charge.
  4. Throw your food plates, utensils, and plastic glass in the available garbage bin before you left

Foursquare: Link

TripAdvisor: Link


My Culinary Trip at Turku – The Beginning

Moi! Tervetuloa Suomen! Ummm… I meant, welcome to Finland! This month and forth, I will take you to the meals that I will eat for daily routines, or some restaurant visits, or even some traditional food events!

Honestly for me, transition between Indonesia and Finland is not that much in term of food for me because actually I used to eat bread or cereal in the morning instead of rice while I was still in Indonesia. Even more, I actually random enough to made this… Karelian Pasty (low budget and no rye version):

Screen Shot 2016-02-06 at 2.47.20 PM

Seems… odd…

The idea comes from Alexis Gabriel AKA “The French Guy” in Youtube…

And… now I’m here! Here in Turku, Finland, Karelian Pasty or Karjalanpiiraka is something you can found almost in every supermarket that selling breads which may cost you only less than 1 euro per kilogram.

FI - Riisipirakkan (1)

The difference is uncanny… this one is piece of art!

FI - Riisipirakkan (2)

Bitten one…

As Indonesian that accustomed to be full after eating rice, me myself… after eating like 3-4 pieces of this (medium size), I’m starting to full. I like the mild savoury and creaminess of the rice in here. I like these one! There are other variants of Karelian Pasty: Porkkanapiirakkan (FI: Porkka = carrot) or Perunapiirakan (FI: Peruna = potato).

FI - Porkkanapiirakkaan

Porkkanapiirakkan (with rice and carrot)

To let you all know, Karelia is area in Europe that marks the northwestern part from Russia, including some part in south of Finland. This pasty or pirog is available mostly in Finland, and especially here in Turku (you can find it in LIDL, K-Market, or Siwa). People here say that the pasty is delicious if you eat it with egg butter or munavoi (FI: Muna = egg, voi = butter), butter mixed with chopped hard-boiled egg.

For daily, I ate bread, cheese, and sometime… fish, because fishes in here are all mostly fresh! In Turku, I normally buy my stuffs in supermarket, but sometimes… if I’m in mood for adventure, I go to Kauppatori (FI: market) located in the heart of the city, where sometimes… various goods can be found.

FI - Market

In the market… in fish truck.

We can sometime found a fish truck in the market (last time, I saw it on Wednesday in a week ago, and in Friday around three weeks ago). They sell various cooked fish in there, from salmon with any methods of cooking, fish patties, to other smoked fish. They priced per weight (kilogram).

FI - Salmon

Smoked salmon…

You can found smoked salmon… with cream cheese and herb, with herb, with spices, or original one. Last time, I bought the one with cream cheese and herb… and it’s truly marvellous!

FI - Salmon w Cream Herb

Smoked salmon with cream cheese and herb (0.25 Kg = EUR 5), warmed in microwave.

FI - Smoked Herring

Smoked herring (whole fishes; 0.5 Kg = EUR 5), also warmed in microwave.

For the first time, I also interested to buy smoked herring because I was curious about it. Well… like I was in Indonesia eating nila fish, it has a lot of spiky bones in it so you have to be careful, and because it’s whole… you need to separate anything with flesh before you it it. I ate “something” from it, and I don’t like it…

FI - Limppu


Rye breads are common in here. The one I bought (picture above) is called limppu. It made from rye and added with molasses, so the flavor is between sweet and a bit sour, and it has unique aroma. My housemate told me that it’s a traditional bread here for Christmas and good to be eaten with butter… and it does! It also good with lox (cured salmon).

FI - Limppu + Lohi

Limppu and salmon… and extra horseradish sauce (as you might see)

FI - Leipajuusto w Cloudberry Jam

Leipajuusto with cloudberry jam

Other than fish and bread, Finland is also has their own cheese… and sometimes Finnish people eat meat or cheese… with jam, especially lingonberry (red one, Vaccinium vitis-idaea) or cloudberry (orange one, Rubus chamaemorus). One of the unique cheese here is called bread cheese or in Finn, leipajuusto. This cheese is made from colostrum rich milk of cow that already has calves, and strangely… it squeaks while bitten (in contact basically) with your teeth, so in America, they call it squeaky cheese. It tastes plain with some richness of cream but a bit salty (if preserved with brine). Normally eaten with cloudberry jam or lakkahillo and it gives the flavor quite colorful in your mouth!

Ah right… there are also special foods that can be eaten to commemorate some events. Like in February 5th, you can eat Runebergin torttu (FI: Runeberg torte, SW: Runebergs Tårta) to celebrate Johan Ludvig Runeberg’s (a poet) birthdate.

FI - Runebergin Torttu

Runebergin Torttu

The torte is made from pastry flavored with almond and arrack or rum and in top of it, there is raspberry jam with ring of sugar icing. It is nice to eat as snack in any time!

Ah right, you can found A LOT of pizzeria and kebab store (normally both in one shop) here! You may found one who sell falafel (Lebanese fritter made of chickpea) or kebab pizza!

Well… that’s for now. I believe there will be more soon!

PS: If you are not eating pork, here’s some list to avoid… meals with these words in Finnish:

Sika (FI: pig), sianliha (FI: pork), kinkku (FI: ham), porsaan (FI: pork), porsaanliha (FI: pork meat), porsas (FI: pork), porssu (FI: piggy)

PPS: These stuffs is just okay:

Kala (FI: fish), kana (FI: chicken), pihvi (FI: beef), lammas (FI: lamb)


Wisata Kuliner: Bengkulu

September lalu, saya berkesempatan juga (akhirnya) ke Bengkulu setelah dari 2 tahun terakhir ingin sekali ke Bengkulu! Kemarin, saya ke sini dengan tujuan ikut simposium internasional tentang bunga Rafflesia dan Amorphophallus. Kemarin, berempat sama Reza, Shandy, dan Wahyu kami pun berkelana makan2 di area sepanjang Pantai Panjang, dan kami sangat berterima kasih sama Pak Dimas yang udah repot2 mengantarkan 4 bocah2 ini. Siang simposium, malam makan. Work hard, play harder!

Secara umum, makanan khas Bengkulu kebanyakan adalah gulai. Banyak makanan di sini disajikan menjadi gulai dan makan berkuah + berempah yang mirip gulai. Menurut saya ini karena pengaruh makanan Sumatera pada umumnya yang dapat pengaruh Arab dan Persia dari jaman dulu, maka makanan berkuah, berempah, seperti kari pun banyak di Sumatera dari ujung Aceh hingga bahkan Bengkulu. TAPI… gulai di Bengkulu, kadang nyentrik! Lagi, nyentrik! Ada rebung bambu digulaikan… ya okelah rebung. Yang paling bikin “heh??” adalah… gulai rotan! Iya rotan… yang biasa jadi kursi itu! Eits… tapi maksudnya rotan muda. Namun sayangnya karena 2 gulai ini adalah makanan yang biasa disajikan pagi hingga siang hari, saya gagal mencobanya.

Walau begitu, di malam kedua, kami menyempatkan diri makan di restoran khas Bengkulu di area Pasir Panjang bernama Rumah Makan Inga Raya.

BKL - Gulai

Sesi kalap: (bagian depan) Bagar Hiu, (kiri tengah segaris ke kanan) Gulai Jengkol, Tempoyak Udang, Ikan Goreng, Ikan Bagar Asam.

BKL - Ikan Bagar Asam

Ikan (ekor) Bagar Asam.

Bagar asam biasanya menggunakan ikan kakap yang harus dalam keadaan segar. Yang menarik, katanya makanan berkuah ini sama sekali tidak menggunakan santan meski terlihat seperti gulai biasa. Salah satu komponennya asam Jawa (Tamarindus indica) dan untuk memperkuat rasa digunakan daun luku-luku (yang saya sendiri kurang tau kayak gimana).

Kemudian untuk bagar hiu, digunakan serundeng kelapa sebagai campuran di dalamnya yang menambah rasa dan kekentalan. Ikan hiu yang digunakan adalah hiu yang kecil lokal (ga mau dianggap pengurang jumlah hiu sama orang2 konservasi).

Selain bagar, ada tempoyak. Tempoyak juga terkenal di Palembang. Tempoyak ini berasal dari hasil fermentasi durian dan produk akhirnya memiliki cita rasa asam-manis serta wangi yang khas durian (iya lah!). Campuran kental ini saya rasa kemudian dijadikan campuran ke gulai dan dicampur udang ke dalamnya. Selain udang, ikan juga bisa digunakan.

BKL - Gulai Buah Remunggai

Gulai Buah Remunggai (Buah Pohon Kelor).

Nah, ini makanan yang cukup nyentrik juga. Sejauh ini, saya cuma tau pohon kelor itu termasuk polong2an (Fabaceae) dan udah gitu aja. Paling fakta random lainnya, pohon ini terkenal sebagai penetralisir kekuatan magis. Oles aja daun kelor ke peluru, maka mereka yang kebal langsung bisa tertembus… atau kibas aja daunnya ke orangnya sebelum ditembak! Oke, ga nyambung. Ternyata buah kelor pun enak banget dijadikan gulai! Walau yah… kulitnya ga bisa dimakan. Sensasinya hampir kayak makan edamame, cuma lebih agak pait (ga pait… cuma agak). Polongnya pun ga perlu dikupas pas dimakan, karena bentuknya kayak pipa, kita cuma perlu sedot aja.

BKL - Gulai Batang Keladi

Gulai Batang Keladi (Talas).

Selain dengan daun kelor, ada lagi yang unik dan jarang orang makan: Batang talas. Batang talas atau keladi (atau taro) ini bisa dijadikan gulai juga. Rasanya enak! Rasanya punya tekstur kayak kalau kita makan batang lidah buaya (Aloe vera). Daun talas pun bisa digunakan seperti yang di bawah ini.

BKL - Ikan Pais

Itu… yang kiri kayak daun itu namanya Ikan Pais.

Ikan Pais atau Pendap adalah ikan, dibumbu rempah, dan cabe, kemudian dimasak dengan cara dikukus. Rasanya pedas, tapi nikmat dan agak asam karena dibumbui dengan asam jawa.

Malam itu, kami kekenyangan! Iya lah…

Di pinggir pantai, kadang suka dijual pula makanan gorengan… dengan isi yang tidak umum kita jumpai di Jawa.

BKL - Gorengan

Dari arah jam 10 searah jarum jam: Ikan layur (Trichiurus lepturus) yang pipih, udang, (arah jam 4) bakso tahu, telur puyuh. Tengah: Kepiting cangkang lunak.

Gorengan ini pas buat disantap sambil bersantai di pinggir pantai.

Oleh2 di bengkulu… kami mendapatkan ada manisan terong, kacang siput, dan keripik ikan layur.

BKL - Kacang Siput

Kacang siput.

BKL - Manisan Terong

Manisan terong.

Kacang siput dinamai demikian karena bentuknya seperti siput yang dikeluarkan dari cangkangnya (eh iya yak? ngasal), Kacang berselimut tepung yang digoreng ini diberi cairan karamel dari gula yang manis. Kemudian manisan terong, teksturnya kayak dodol cuma tidak terlalu kenyal tapi rasanya manis kayak dodol.

Yah… semoga lain kali bisa ke sini lagi. Mungkin juga sekalian proyek. Terima kasih Mas Sofian, Mas Asnody, Pak Dimas, dan segenap panitia simposium untuk momen2 seru di sini! Sampai bertemu lagi!


Wisata Kuliner Kilat: Makassar

Akhirnya saya inget ada sesuatu yang saya lupa tulis dari akhir bulan Juli lalu! Yap! Saya sempat merasakan berkunjung ke ibukota propinsi Sulawesi Selatan ini. Walaupun sejujurnya sangat kilat dan waktu itu juga bertepatan dengan bulan suci Ramadhan, sehingga pas berkunjung saya ga bisa makan apa2 pas siang hari… .___.

Ga pake lama… jadi makanan di Makassar itu kayak apa? Sebenernya selain yang saya akan tulis di bawah, ada Coto Makassar, Sop Konro, dan lain2. Cuma kalau saya makan itu semua, saya yang ada kekenyangan dan sakit perut, terus saya batal puasanya #lebay

Menariknya soal makanan di Makassar, konsepnya agak mirip dengan makanan2 dari luar. Saya pun akan meng-highlight beberapa makanan yang cukup menarik perhatian saya…

MKS - Mie Titi

Mie Titi.

AW: Fan, ini mah Ifumie!

ATK: Mirip bang, cuma mie nya beda… cobain aja!

Yak, pertama kali melihat makanan satu ini disajikan… sangat 11-12 (baca: sangat mirip sekali) dengan menu turunan khas Chinese Food, Ifumie. Keduanya disiram, kadang pake hot plate, siramannya pake cap cay atau sayur dan sea food  yang ditumis. Terus apa bedanya? Mie nya. Mie yang dipakai di mie titi itu lebih kecil dan uniknya, mie itu daya serapnya lebih kecil daripada mie tepung biasa di ifumie. Sehingga, pas kalian makan, renyahnya awet!

MKS - Es Pisang Ijo

Es Pisang Ijo.

“Ada satu bahan yang ngebuat es pisang ijo khas Makassar itu beda sama es pisang ijo yang dijual di luar Makassar, siropnya” – Arfan Tri Kusuma

Sekilas… yah, ini mah di depan kampus juga ada. Ya ga? Nope… es pisang yang dibalut adonan tepung beras hijau dan dimakan dengan bubur sumsum manis ini emang beda di Makassar. Kenapa? Saat di mana2 yang dipakai adalah sirup standar atau sirup cocopandan, sirup untuk es pisang ijo di Makassar menggunakan sirup brand lokal bermerk DHT. Yap, sebut aja Sirup DHT. Buat yang pernah minum Sirup Cap Buah Tjampolay khas Cirebon (iya kan ya?) rasa pisang susu, rasanya mirip. Cuma bedanya, sirup DHT lebih menonjolkan rasa gulanya daripada rasa pisangnya. Buat kalian yang pernah ngunyah gula pasir atau gula batu pas kecil, rasanya pasti ga bakal asing. Gula yang dipakai di sini alami, jadi ati2 kalau kalian menyimpannya ya. Gampang dikerubungi semut.

MKS - Ikan Kotak

Ikan Kotak/Boxfish/Ikan Kudu-Kudu Goreng.

Kata teman saya, Makassar itu identik dengan hidangan laut dengan ikannya yang unik2. Benar aja, saya melongo setelah ikan ini disajikan di atas meja. Luarnya keras, ngeliat ini bahkan saya ngira ini saya makan ikan buntal. Menariknya, dalamnya rasanya enak banget! Teksturnya berserat kayak ayam, cuma ini rasanya kayak ikan (iya lah!).

MKS - Panada


Sebenarnya ini adalah cemilan umum di Sulawesi. Bentuknya mirip pastel, cuma ga pake adonan pastry yang renyah, melainkan pakai adonan roti. Dalamnya pun bukan sayur, tapi ikan. Biasanya yang dipakai adalah ikan tongkol. Untuk saus, kadang ada saus khusus yang rasanya asam buat tambahan. Ini adalah cemilan kesukaan saya selama di Makassar! Saya berpikir konsepnya berasal dari Empanadas… masakan khas Spanyol/Portugis. Apa ini ada hubungannya Pulau Sulawesi karena dekat sama Filipina ya?

Sayang banget saya baru nyoba dikit waktu itu. Pengen ke sana lagi dan nyoba lebih banyak lagi. Makasih ya Ghea dan Arfan udah nemenin. Juga makasih bapak yang udah bayarin tiket anakmu buat ke sana.


Wisata Kuliner: Sosis Solo

Halo pembaca! Di post ini saya ingi melanjutkan misi untuk menjelajahi kuliner khas Solo alias Surakarta, dan kali ini akan lebih fokus ke Sosis Solo. Sosis Solo merupakan makanan jenis makanan ringan yang biasanya menjadi jajanan pasar. Penjualannya sudah tersebar dari Solo sendiri ke Yogya, bahkan kita lain seperti Jakarta. Uniknya, sosis ini tidak seperti sosis!

Sosis Solo - Bitten

Malah kayak risoles! Dokumentasi 2 tahun lalu dari penjual yang di dekat kosan saya.

Daerah Jawa memiliki pengaruh kuat bekas kolonial Belanda dan bukan tidak mungkin bahwa sosis ini juga merupakan makanan yang diwariskan dari kebudayaan Belanda pada era kolonial. Sosis yang kita ketahui berasal dari kawasan Eropa Tengah (daerah Jerman, Belanda, dan sekitarnya) memiliki lapisan bungkus yang terbuat dari usus babi gelatin, kulit, hingga kolagen sapi. Mungkin karena di Indonesia saat itu sangat sulit diolah menjadi yang bisa diproses seperti sosis, sehingga yang digunakan adalah menggunakan tepung.

Jadi, mari kita ke Solo dulu…

Sosis - Basah & Kering (1)

Sosis Solo… yang kiri itu sosis basah, yang kanan sosis kering atau goreng…

Sosis - Basah & Kering (2)

…versi setelah digigit.

Sosis Solo yang saya temui ada dua macam: yang basah, yang dililit dari telur dadar yang tipis, dan yang kering, yang dari adonan risoles dan digoreng. Isinya sama, ayam cincang dengan bumbu yang manis. Bentuknya juga sama, yaitu panjang… yang mungkin lahir dari konsep awal sosis itu sendiri.

Kota tetangga Solo, Boyolali tepatnya kawasan Pengging, terkenal dengan wisata kuliner Sosis Bedug nya. Sosis ini bukan sebesar bedug, melainkan merupakan peninggalan Mbah Bedug yang menjadi awal dari usaha tersebut sejak tahun 1950. Berbeda dengan sosis Solo yang tipis adonannya, Sosis Bedug lebih tebal, dan dagingnya bukan ayam tetapi sapi.

Sosis - Bedug Pengging (1)

Sosis Bedug Pengging dari Boyolali…

Sosis - Bedug Pengging (2)

…bagian dalamnya.

Tekstur adonannya lebih lembut dan bagian terluarnya juga lembut (tidak renyah seperti sosis Solo yang lain) dan dilapisi putih telur sehingga lebih gurih. Intinya lebih lembut daripada renyah. Pokoké nampol!

Varian lainnya, adalah di sang pemrakarsa sup timlo di Solo, Timlo Sastro. Sosis Solo di sini berbeda lagi bentuknya, lebih seperti gabungan sosis Solo ini dengan martabak telur.

Sosis - TS Sosis Kuah (3)

Sosis versi Timlo Sastro

Bentuknya lebih besar, lembarannya lebih longgar dan isinya ayam bumbu juga tapi rasanya lebih asin. Sosis di Timlo Sastro ini disajikan lebih sebagai tambahan pada kuah Sup Timlo, atau disajikan sendiri sebagai Sosis Kuah. Kuah yang dipakai juga merupakan kuah kaldu yang dipakai pada Sup Timlo yang rasanya kuat dengan bawang merah, dan rasa ayam yang menjadi bahan utama kuah itu sendiri.

Sosis - TS Sosis Kuah (1) Sosis - TS Sosis Kuah (2)

Sosis Kuah…

Tanpa kuah, rasa sosis ini renyah seperti martabak dan ayam di dalamnya rasanya tidak diberi bumbu manis seperti sosis Solo lainnya. Sehingga rasa dari kuahnya yang memberi rasa ekstra ke sosis ini. Yang jelas sensasinya unik! Oh ya, makan timlo di sini juga dapat sosis ini lho di dalam campurannya! (Note: Cuma karena timlo isinya telur dan jeroan, dua hal yang saya kurang suka… maka saya lebih prefer sosis kuah itu).

Variasi dari menu Sosis Solo ini bisa menjadi peluang usaha atau semacam “godaan” buat kalian untuk berwisata kuliner lagi. Jadi, kapan kalian mau ke Solo? 🙂

Sosis pertama karena itu belinya random sebagai jajanan, saya ga akan ngasih alamatnya.

Sosis kedua saya beli di Solo, di toko2 jajanan seperti:

Mie Gadjah Mas. Jl. Suryopranoto no. 1 (dekat Pasar Gede), Solo. Harga: (kalo ga salah) Rp 3.000,00-Rp 5.000,00. Foursquare klik sini.

Sosis kuah:

Timlo Sastro. Jl. Pasar Gede Timur 1-2, Solo. Harga: Rp 12.000,00. Foursquare klik sini. Note: Buka pagi sampai siang saja, sore tutup.

Sosis Bedug Pengging:

Sosis Bedug Pengging. Kawasan Pasar Pengging, Kecamatan Banyudono – Boyolali. Harga: Rp 3.000,00. Foursqure Pasar Pengging klik sini.


A Visit to Tekka Centre Food Court and Big Bites in Little India, Singapore

Okay, still… on this time I will continue to share my experience on my last visit on Singapore (November 21st-24th, 2013). Honestly, I don’t know how many of my friends in Indonesia (I’m not talking on my Food Squad whose stomach really adaptive from mild food of Japanese to spicy food of India and Middle East, to the heterogeneity of composition in African food) are suitable with Indian food. Even my juniors in my campus said that their olfactory sensors (nose… inside… thingy) and stomach are incapable to withstand. Their loss, I said.

Okay, now let’s get back to business, shall we? So I stayed in my friend’s place in Little India. Not really in Little India actually, but near to MacKenzie Road, so it’s only few long steps ahead to there. All I know since I was younger when I visited Little India, the area is vast. Of course the point of interests are the Indian market, their incenses are everywhere, Mustafa shop where you can buy souvenirs before you go back (both edible and inedible), and Indian food. As I love to eat, in the last 2 years, I’ve tagged several places to visit for food and one of those is Tekka Centre. It’s a big food court. You can find cuisines of multiple countries whose people usually come to Singapore, such as Malaysia, China, Sri Lanka, India, and of course my country of Indonesia.

I love Indian food. The cuisines of India never ceased to excite me (here I’m talking about Indian food because it’s the highlight about this topic). Once, I have some dialogue with a chef who at first cook French cuisine but he has a heel-face turn on Indian food because he interested on their concept of healthy food. He learned that in Indian cuisine, food that made to be offered has to possess a benevolence impact on human who ate it. So there’s thing from Hindi culture called Ayurveda which describes some methods and combinations to make foods are good to human body. For anything else, that made Indian food uses tons of spices for their preparations. For example, the chef said that in order to prepare a Tandoori chicken, at least of 8 to 14 spices are used to marinate the chicken meat for 12 hours before finishing process (Tandoori chicken is known to be roasted or fried).

Back on Tekka, I got there with Lanang and Rino and on that time I was so amazed when my friend, Lanang show me that Indian food there is divided into 2 regions: Northern Indian cuisine, and Souther Indian cuisine. Correct me if I wrong, Northern Indian foods are known to be spicier and hotter, while the Southern Indian’s are relatively mild and usually served with banana leaf for plating.

So, for lunch, I had SGD 25 for the budget. Then I looked around the food court and find something that tempted my eyes (eyes come first, then aroma, then taste, followed by responds from digestive system, this is my survival guide on culinary travel so far).

Tekka Centre 1

Looks crowded, isn’t it?

For main course, I ordered my favourite meal: Fish biryani and it costed SGD 4.5 at that time with portion almost twice amount in the same price I bought on my own country.

Tekka - Fish Biryani

The Fish Biryani with Vegetable Curry.

Funny thing was, mentioning my last visit on the same restaurant, “Hanifa, The Biryani Specialist”. They used banana leaf for plating and on my latest visit they used paper. But okay, never mind. Thing that I like here is the flavour is milder, and the usage of saffron on rice is prominent. See the picture? See the coloration of the rice. Due known as the most pricey spice on the planet, utilisation on saffron us only in limited amount. Fortunately, in only addition of few amount, you can make more intense colour coverage on rice rather than when you use turmeric. I also like the additional veggie curry they gave in extra. It consists of lentils, or dhal in Hindi name. Recalling again, the fish biryani is SGD 4.5, you can add few cents to add extra Papadam cracker on it. Scoring for the fish biryani here is √√√√½ (4.5 out of 5).

Only for that day, I stretched my stomach capacity to try more. Following Lanang’s recommendation, I visited the Northern Indian food stand and ordered a Garlic Naan. As I always do, it’s fun to see the making of Naan. Unique it is, to see a man making a bread, patting it, and stick it on the wall of a giant clay pot with burning charcoal in the bottom, and once the Naan is ready, he uses a pick to get the Naan, brushes it with butter, added some add ons (in this matter, chopped garlic and cilantro leaf), slices the Naan, and bam! There you have it!

Tekka - Making Naan

This is the “oven” for making Naan.

Tekka - Garlic Naan

My Garlic Naan.

In the other hand, Lanang also bought the same menu, with roasted Chicken Tikka Masala.

Tekka - Garlic Naan & Chicken Tikka

Lanang’s Garlic Naan, Chicken Tikka Masala (the red one), and Curry Broth.

Personally, I prefer Naan than Prata. It’s easier to eat too. When you eat Prata, when you rip the bread, it’ll messed up if you don’t get use to it. In Naan, it won’t mess you up, only leave you some oil in your hand if they used liquified butter. Scoring for the Naan: √√√√√ (full score!).

The Chicken Tikka Masala is really spicy. I learned that similar process of marinating is used like when you making Chicken Tandoori (please correct me if I wrong, okay). But I like it!

Later, I’m still curious about some meals. I visited a stand named S.J. Tandoori. They also sell naan and curry. The other interesting fact here is they also sell snacks. There, I bought Butter Naan with Vegetable Curry and a unique Indian dessert, Gulab Jamun.

Tekka - Butter Naan, Vegetable Curry & Shalot Chutney

Butter Naan with Shallot Relish and Mint Chutney, and Vegetable Curry.

The Butter Naan here is smoother in appearance, and look! I got chopped shallot relish and… mint chutney! Perhaps I can pour it somewhere and see what’s gonna happened (lame reference to “3 Idiots”). And man, look at the curry. It’s nice, and loaded with goodness of lentils, potato, and some other vegetables on it. About the naan, actually I love the burn mark on it; indicating that it has been burned to perfection… to crispiness. But this one is okay, the butter… I believe they used Ghee (some kind of butter with lower water content), it has nice flavour on it. This one is SGD 1.50 (but I forget about  price of the curry). Scoring for the Naan: √√√√½ (4.5 out of 5).

Now, I’ll show you this:

Tekka - Gulaab Jamun 1

Gulab Jamun.

Tekka - Gulaab Jamun 2

Bitten Gulab Jamun.

I consider that this SGD 2.00 dessert is one of the most unique sweets I ever ate. According on several recipes and literatures that I read, Gulab Jamun is made from a dough made from buffalo milk, sugar, then fried until brown, and served in liquid sugar and rose water syrup. A massive intake of calories, eh? It’s okay. Funny thing is, the Gulab Jamun I tried here is more flour-ish than milk in my taste buds. Plus, instead of using rose water, they use ginger water. It’s… zingy… warm… and sweet! And as they add more flour, (apparently) you can worry less about your calories intake.

As I done with my lunch, I made some walk with Rino in the neighbourhood area of Little India. I found a local retail selling Indian snacks.

BB - Indian 2

It’s like… falafel… or veggie cookie, I guess.

BB - Indian 1

There’s Dhokla, Samosa, Murukku.

I know Samosa, it’s fried flour dumplings with curry and vegetables on the inside. I haven’t tried Murukku, but it said that it’s made from rice and urad dal flour. Well, it worth to try next time. Dhokla… ah I’ve mention this one before.

BB - Dhokla 2

Dhokla… it sounds like a bomb… (another reference to “3 Idiots”)

BB - Dhokla

Served Dhokla.

Dhokla is made from fermented rice and chickpea batter. It has consistency of sponge cake, very oily, and for me, it tastes like tofu. It usually served with green chilli, plus cilantro leaf and seeds.

Ah well, that’s for my Indian food experience! This time I cannot refer the name of the shops I visited because it will be too much and I didn’t keep the details as well. However, I’ll give you the place location on Foursquare:

Tekka Centre Food Court – The location is on Serangoon Road, near intersection of Sungei Road. If you walk from Selegie Road, go across MacKenzie Road, cross twice on Sungei Road (the road has 2 ways), then you managed to go to the left. You’ll see a vast food court. There you go! 4SQ link please click here.

Big Bites Restaurant – It’s on 70 Serangoon Road. From Tekka Centre, go to the northeast exit, as in your right is Serangoon Road, go to the north (go farther from the intersection). Walk for several buildings away then look on your right. Cross the road on a right place and go there. There you go! 4SQ link please click here.

Ah right, I recommend you if you go there by MRT, take the North-East Line (NE, the purple line) and stop in NE 7- Little India. Find the exit on MacKenzie road.

I hope you enjoy your reading, and as my experience fro Indian food is in learning as well, please do not hesitate to tell me for corrections and comments!