It has been 3 months since I made a visit to Japan, and seriously, I still miss their colorful but simple food. I love Japanese food so much. For me their food is so natural (some people, especially some Indonesian think that it is too bland, not for me though) and their basic tastes are simple: sweet, salty, sour, and umami – and I like it. So in short, after my food hunting in Tokyo (Ikebukuro, Chuo, and specifically Tsukiji Fish Market), Kyoto, and Niigata (for sushi), I am still looking if I could have some again here in Jakarta.
A month ago, there is a new restaurant to try in Grand Indonesia, and it is a Japanese restaurant. As their sponsored ads were popped up in my Instagram feed, and it caught my attention, I decided to make it a try on their opening day (January 19th, 2018). Their spot is cozy, their food price is also good and reachable, and the taste is cool – let’s talk about it on my review!
“So, I know you know about ochazuke. What is it?”
Chazuke or ochazuke (お茶漬け) means to submerge in tea (ocha お茶漬), so basically is a rice dish, consists of rice (plain, white) with some toppings (from fish, beef, chicken, roe, or more), then poured with tea, or hot water, or dashi (出汁) a fish (normally made of drenched fermented bonito fish flake or katsuobushi 鰹節) and or kelp (kombu 昆布) based broth, which is rich in natural umami flavor that enhance the flavors of the main ingredients to the next level. Originated in Heian Period of Japan (794-1185), hot water is used. Later in Edo Period (1603-1868). Funny enough, in Kyoto, this dish called bubuzuke and when it served to you as a guest, that means you have been overstayed in the restaurant and THAT is a polite way of the restaurant servers to ask you to leave. But I believe in Zenraku, since the main theme is chazuke, it doesn’t mean that way! Hehe (but of course don’t stay too long and buy nothing, it’s improper!).
So I ordered two kinds of chazuke that day: Salmon – as my first impression to see if the fish is good, and tarako or pollock roe – my favorite topping in pasta and onigiri during my visit in Japan.
So their basic rice topping is chopped mitsuba leaf (三つ葉 – it is a fragrance and a bit spicy leaf), nori (seaweed), white sesame seed, chopped leek, and tempura crumble. In some dish I saw edamame or green soybean is also added. The salmon is partially broiled, mainly on the surface. It is delicious as I tasted it. Once I poured the dashi, wow it escalated! It is awesome!
Initially, I thought there is a tea added to the dashi, but actually it is a fish-based dashi and it brings a perfect amount of salty flavor (added into the dashi), to the whole meal!
The second meal, Tarako Chazuke, I poured the dashi a bit gently over rice, not to hit the roe as it will change its consistency and probably the taste. In short, I keep it raw, while I use the dashi to enhance the flavor of the rest part and slowly sips into the roe. And wow, wow, it is so delicious. The combination of tarako saltiness and the umami, it is just spot on!
It is not enough!
So then I made my second visit (February 1st, 2018). If I love the foods, I will made my second visit. This time, I couldn’t spot the Japanese chef. So things rest to the main chef of the restaurant now.
Today’s decision: To try something new (so I tried the sampler) and I think I need more fish, but probably the different one (red snapper).
Different from the salmon, red snapper is served as cubes, and already marinated with sweet soy based sauce. The sweetness balance the saltiness of the dashi. It has more flavor than the salmon and it is delicious!
An extra chopped thin omelette (tamagoyaki) is added into the chicken and unagi, and edamame is also added specifically in unagi. I like the beef as it is soft and kinda melted to the rice, the chicken is good, and the unagi, it is okay – the problem is the unagi is a bit hard. In conclusion, the beef is the best one among the three.
Then, I finished my meal. All my meals are awesome, I have to say. The atmosphere was relaxing, I’d love to make another visit again someday. The price is okay, it’s reasonable and matched the quality. The thing I needed to complain is the waiter/waitress. They’re still a bit clumsy and confused during the opening, and I got a wrong food. I believe they could make it better soon, so overall, I was enjoying my lunch!
ZENRAKU DASHI CHAZUKE
Food rating: 5 out of 5
Service quality: 3 out of 5
Grand Indonesia – West Mall LG Floor. Jl. M.H. Thamrin No.1, Kb. Melati, Central Jakarta, Indonesia. Phone: +62 21 2358 0486
Cards? – Yes, Debit – Mandiri and BCA
Everyday at 10:00 am – 10:00 pm
Food: Chazuke (IDR 49k – 72k, extra toppings IDR 12k – 38k, add ons IDR 4k – 12k), Others (IDR 15k – 42k)
Beverage: IDR 8k – 52k
Tips: It probably will be crowded during lunch or dinner hours.
I love to eat unagi ever since my first try a long time ago. If you ever wonder what unagi is, it is a Japanese term for eel, specifically, grilled eel (unagi kabayaki, うなぎ蒲焼). I remembered the first time eating it on Sushi Tei Indonesia in around 2009ish, the moment when the quality of restaurant is still very good (now most of the unagi is chewy, and sliced thinly in smaller portion). And now it is very very hard to find a good unagi, and probably if you found one, the price will suck your wallet dry. The declining population of freshwater eel is also contributing to this rarity.
I know that the best unagi is served in Tokyo and Shizuoka area. The question was, where to buy it?
Thank God, last November I had a chance to visit Japan! My goals are food, study, and family. To have a remarkable culinary trip, to meet my potential professor for PhD and for research collaboration, and to walk with my brother and my new family (me and my new siblings, long story to tell).
And then, I found this:
There are only few traditional restaurants on this planet made their mark to The Michelin Guide, and even has certified with one star! So then me and my little brother, Arif, went to the Chuo neighborhood, we went to the designated location using Google Map, commuted along Yurakucho Line from Ikebukuro Station to Edogawabashi Station, and ended up in the exit no. 4.
It was our last day to travel in Tokyo before we went back to Indonesia again. The day was already getting darker, and cold. Then we walked and walked, and we arrived in the restaurant. There was a warm feeling by seeing it. It is, not only a restaurant, I said, it looks more like a house, a home for someone.
Then we went in through the sliding door, it was quiet. Some men and a couple talked in their seats in farther distance.
“いっらしゃいませ！(Irrashaimase! – Welcome!)”
An old lady greets us, then she leaded us to our seats, “Is it okay if you seat on tatami?” We nodded as we agreed, and she smiled when we made an attempt to seat in (painful) Japanese manner, “Sit normally, it is okay” then she showed us the English menu of the restaurant. There was normal unagi don or grilled unagi over rice bowl (うなぎ丼), unagi kabayaki or grilled unagi served without rice (うなぎ蒲焼), and unagi shioyaki (shio means salt – 塩, yaki means grilled 焼き) or unagi served without the sweet tare (たれ) sauce, more to the unagi original taste – suitable if you want to try the real taste of the eel. We ordered the medium sized unagi don. Then the old lady handed us a warm wet towel and a cup of lukewarm green tea. We feel so much at home.
It was quite long, it maybe took 20-30 minutes to serve, but we understood since they grilled the eel from scratch, we know that it would gonna worth every yen we spend there. Then, the renown dish arrived. We glanced, we gulped, and we were amazed… so much.
The dish was so simple, so humble, yet appears so majestic. You can tell it was properly grilled and done by a very passionate person in a kitchen.
The rice was so uniform, sticky, and in perfect consistency, you can grip them while using a chopsticks no matter it was already glazed with the sauce on the top. The eel meat was so fluffy yet melted like butter when you cut them with chopsticks. As I grow in Indonesia, we always thought that unagi is sweet. We were wrong. It has deep flavor comes from both the fat of the unagi, and the soy sauce or shoyu (which normally salty) but added with some sugar to make a tare sauce which sweetness only tasted for a bit. There was only one downside for the dish, we had some eel spines, but we managed to pick them and we’re fine to continue.
When we eat unagi, we are normally also served with pickles or a dried spice called sansho (山椒) or Japanese pepper from a plant called Zanthoxylum piperitum (L.) DC. As sansho is for addition of peppery flavor, the pickles are for neutralizing the taste bud. Here, they have one salty pickles made of cabbage, and two from radish or daikon – one in original taste (a bit salty) and one in sweeter taste. If you eat the unagi and the pickles in returns, you can relive the flavor of unagi for again and again. It was fantastic!
Then we finished our meal, in the same time, we were thankful for the meal! I said to the old lady, “This is the best unagi (we ever had)!” (“これは最高なうなぎです！！”) and she thanked us and she said that she’s glad. Then we paid the meal and leave. We wish to have the experience again one day in the future for more!
UNAGI HASHIMOTO (うなぎはし本)
Michelin Guide Star: 1 out of 3
2-5-7 Suido, Bunkyo-ku, Chuo, Tokyo. Phone: +81 33811 4850. Website: Link
Closest Station: Edogawabashi (Gate 4), Yurakucho Line
Everyday except Thursday – Lunch: 11:30 am – 02:00 pm, Dinner: 04:30 pm – 08:00 pm (last order at 07:30 pm)
Small Dish: JPY 250 – 700
Main Dish: JPY 700 – 4000 (Unagi ranged from JPY 2600 – 4000)
Beverage: Green tea (Ocha) is free, the rest JPY 550 – 900
Notes: It is a quiet restaurant, it is a nice place for romantic or easy dining. Not for family visit.
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…
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??
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
Uhm… everyone who watched Dreamworks How To Train Your Dragon movie franchise probably ever heard this:
“This is Berk. It snows nine months of the year, and hails the other three. Any food that grows here is tough and tasteless…” – Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III
No… no… I don’t mention about the dragons. I mentioned about the tribe on which Hiccup, the protagonist of this film affiliated with: The Viking. Go browse about them, so… yes… they occupied the northern area of Europe until Greenland… and if I correct, even until the coast of Newfoundland. It’s basically true, then… they were settling in very cold area. Sure, they had to be tough, or perished. Now my common question: So what did they eat??
Lucky for me in this town of Turku, there’s a restaurant that selling Viking originated cuisines! Viikinkiravintola Harald (FI: Viking Restaurant Harald). The name comes from King of Norway, Harald Fairhair who ruled during Viking period in 872-930 AD.
First time I ate here is on April 21st, 2016.
The front view of this restaurant (Turku branch), is probably won’t telling you much about anything on the inside, but once you stepped in… you’ll see the wonder inside.
First floor – Where you stepped your feet in. I feel already like in a ship or a chieftain’s lodge.
From the stairway to the seating area in the second floor. The feelings intensify…
Dining area. You can feel the atmosphere of a Viking gathering hall or hunting lodge in this room.
So I was there for the first time for my lunch. I walked upstairs, a waitress warmly greet me and took me to my seat. She was on a medieval clothing. For lunch, we offered a price of 12.50 euros for three kind of set; I forgot what are those… but I choose the combination of mushroom soup, salmon steak, and for the drink… I bought extra drink called Miklagård’s Drink (in lunch set, we got free water).
Cep and Chanterelles soup of Northern Forest (lunch version)
First meal of my lunch is a mushroom soup served with archipelago bread. Although it mentioned only as mushroom soup, I do believe it is the small version of Cep and Chanterelles soup of Northern Forest which description written in the menu. Let’s say, norther area of Viking territory can be sea, icy regions, and forests. I believe in the northern cape of Norway or Finland at the time, it covered by forest. Of course, one of forest product is mushroom. Cep (Boletus edulis Bull.) and chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius Fr.) are both mycorrhizal fungi that grow in symbiotic relationship with trees in coniferous and deciduous forest. Cep is a perfect mushroom for soup or risotto. Chanterelle is a yellow trumpet-shaped mushroom, known by chefs for its fragrance that resembles apricot and mild peppery taste. Combined as creamy soup, the flavour is just wonderful. The archipelago bread here is made with rye and some malt. Unlike normal dry rye bread, this one is soft, emitting some sweet taste with a bit of bitterness and signature fragrance of rye. Compared to normal European dinner white bread and baguette, this rye bread’s unique taste give its own nice combination with the soup.
Salmon steak for lunch.
The salmon steak served with creamy sauce, sweet root vegetables and fried potato cylinders. The salmon is really good and the sauce topped the tastes. To balance the palate, the sweetness of carrot… and turnip (I’m not really sure) makes your tongue happy. In the end, I love to wipe the remaining sauce with the potato. Yum!
Okay… what a perfect lunch!
But that’s not enough…
Later that afternoon, I stepped myself for early dinner. Table for one with some space left in my belly!
This time, I ordered one a la carte set course, it called ‘Voyage of Finnmark”. Finnmark is a county located in the northern most tip of Norway which connected directly to the northern area of Finland. Thing that sure, River Tana of this area is renown for the largest place in Europe to catch salmon! So… yeah! I expecting salmon as one of my dish! Anything else, based on the menu, since northern Finland area (Lapland) is one good place for reindeer, no wonder if that dish is included on the menu. And of course, any dishes brought from other Viking region might complement the dishes.
Hors d’oeuvres: Hard rye breads and melted butter
Before the starter, we got the small dish (hors d’oeuvres, or appetizer in French) consists of some cuts of hard rye bread, served with melted butter. The bread, I think is Finnish reikäleipä (FI: reikä – hole, leipä – bread). It’s a hard but thin rye bread. I ate that by cracking it into several pieces and dipping it into the butter. The taste is sour at start and there’s a hint of cardamon on the bread. It’s good… and it’s tough as Hiccup said (see the quote in the beginning). You want to make it sweet? Chew it a bit longer and let your enzyme at work!
Salmon soup from The Archipelago
As it almost emptied…
My appetizer is the salmon soup. The salmon has a hint of crispiness, I think the salmon is added last and it prepared by light seasoning and frying in oil. We know that salmon is one of commodities that you can found in Nordic region. Other thing inside is a mix of artichoke with Icelandic yoghurt called skyr as mousse and the combination add some fresh-sour taste to the vegetable broth. The basic broth itself has carrot, onion, fresh dill, and I think there is cardamon added. Placed between the salmon and the mousse, there is a piece of reikäleipä as crouton, but unlike white bread, it remains hard although it’s soaked. Interesting part is, although it’s hard, it absorbs the flavor from the soup. In the end, the soup itself is just perfect.
Skyr was brought from Norway to Iceland c.a. 1100 years ago, and gradually the tradition perished in Scandinavia but thrive in Iceland until now. Compared to conventional yoghurt, skyr is more solid because rennet is added following the fermentation with Lactobacillus and Streptococcus to separate the whey from the solid protein.
Reindeer of Snowy Fells
As main course, I ate an awesomely tender and juicy reindeer tenderloin (cooked medium). Shortly, reindeer meat tastes gamey and the meat itself is very lean thus it’s good for consumption (I will explain it later in my next article). The steak is served with two sauces: cranberry and cut brandy sauce and creamy cep-chanterelle sauce (if you love mushroom sauce, like me, you’ll LOVE this one!). In addition, we have smooth and creamy potato cake (you can see it above in the top right, under the creamy thing) topped with crusty smoked paprika mousse. The creamy thing is a game mousse that top the reindeer salami (the salami is a bit hard with rich smokey meat flavor but with the mousse, it’s become really good!). For the veggies, there are fried kale, soy bean (edamame), bell pepper, rye grain, and one that caught my attention: a bit of sour and sweet Gooseberry (Ribes uva-crispa L.) jam. All I can say: Wow!
Pancake from Reval with added Tar Ice Cream
To let you know, the pancake here in Europe is a real cake made thin on a pan… not the fluffy one served in most area of US. In my dessert here, the pancake… a bit crispy on the outside and soft inside, poured with raspberry and balsamico syrup. The taste is sweet and sour. Actually, there should only one ice cream in here, but I asked with addition of another ice cream with unique taste! The first one (bottom) is ice cream, flavored with Iceland moss, roasted sugar, and nuts. The second one (top) is tar flavored ice cream.
Icelandic moss is not actually a moss but it is a lichen, scientifically called Cetraria islandica (L.)Ach. It was used for folk medicine and said that it taste a bit bitter. However in this ice cream, the sugary flavor is more dominant so it didn’t feel so much in my taste buds. Tar is a result of destructive distillation of organic material. It’s commonly used in Finland from cooking ingredients to candy (which I don’t understand why), but it considered as panacea or capable to heal anything! It was made from wood by burning. When you eat it, it has a minty taste with a hint of smokey flavor. For the ice cream, I could taste it and it went well! Anyway, Reval is medieval name of town we recently know as Talinn, Estonia.
I was leaving the restaurant that night with my belly stuffed…
Then I went there again Friday 13th (wow) 2016. This time, I tried another a la carte set course called “Voyage of Dyflin”. Dyflin is what Dublin, Ireland, called during Viking period. So probably I expecting something that comes from western area of Europe.
Njord’s Starter Stone
Njord’s Starter Stone: Archipelago rye and malt bread with roach mousse, reindeer salami, fried duck heart, salad with rye grains
Njord’s Starter Stone: Salad with brown rice, cold-smoked horse meat, blueberry and onion jam, cold-smoked Greenland halibut, tarred Baltic herring, and marinated vendace.
The starter is this various… meat and stuff. The name itself comes from Nordic god Njord (Njörðr), the father of deities Freyr and Freyja. So, what’s in his stone plate? We have the archipelago rye and malt bread topped with roach mousse. No… not that roach the insect from ordo Blattodea but roach the fish in Cyprinidae family, Rutilus rutilus L. I like the bread with the creamy mousse… so yummy! Then we have reindeer salami, cold-smoked and sliced… horse meat (it’s a bit tougher than smoked beef even it’s thinner here, but it’s good), strangely-but-really-good blueberry and onion jam, cold smoked halibut (it tastes like smoked white fish, but the meat has a bite), tarred (okay… more tar) Baltic herring, and (I think it also marinated by tar) marinated vendace. It’s funny if you imagine a minty tar flavor combined with fish, but it’s good… no kidding! Ah, there are also fried duck heart (this is my first time eating it, and somehow the texture and flavor is close to beef), and salad with rye grains in it.
Fish from Baltic sea like herring is tend to be more plain in flavor than fishes from other seas or ocean, because Baltic see is known for its close-to-fresh water salinity level. Well… that’s for your info, basically I already wrote so much facts here, hehe.
The Horseman’s Tenderloin (side view)
…from another view, you can see the potato cake now
For the main course, I wouldn’t say anything… it’s just stunning! The beef tenderloin is so tender and juicy as it cooked medium, very nice to be eaten with the sweet (a bit sour) cranberry and cut brandy sauce. The creamy and cheesy flavor of potato cake (baked with paprika mousse on top, making it crusty) is really delicious. The veggies, aragula, and root vegetables neutralized your palate. Oh… there is also a thin slice of a bit salty and crusty Maasdam cheese, a Swiss-style Dutch cheese make of cow milk, aged for 4 weeks.
Frigga’s Chocolate Cake
To close my dinner that day, we have this double chocolate cake (my favorite!) with salty liquorice (another odd “sweets” combination from Finland) mixed in the top layer of white chocolate (it balances the sweetness of the milk chocolate layer below, and intensify the whole flavors in your taste buds). The cake tastes like heaven for me! There is also raw chocolate ice cream with blackberry jam and star anise-rhubarb sauce (I thought it was cloudberry sauce, until I tastes it further). Personal preference: The berry jam is nice with the ice cream, the sauce goes well with the cake and the sugar.
Anyway, the name Frigga… well, if you notice the Nordic mythology (or watched/read Thor comic), Frigga/Frigg is Odin’s wife, Thor’s mother.
In case you wondering, there are of course drinks available here. This mocktail for example. Miklagård’s Drink is a mix of blueberry syrup, orange juice, and soda water.
Miklagård or Miklagarðr (Old Norse: mikll – big, garðr – city) is an old name of Istanbul, Turkey, during Medieval Viking era.
If you don’t want to drink anything fancy, you can ask for cold water in a pitcher for 1 euro.
In the nutshell, it’s a wonderful experience to dine in there. It feels like you just come back in time and try the Viking-medieval period delicacy here and this experience, although the price for you to pay (for the food) is considered high, the experience itself is memorable and priceless. I’d like to come back here again for the atmosphere, and of course the food… especially the meat and salmon! 😉
PS: That afternoon (both), I came back to my apartment listening to “This is Berk” and “Flying With Mother” by John Powell to intensify the feels (that I got when I watch “How To Train Your Dragon”). And I feel like I was in Viking island at the moment… :p
VIKING RESTAURANT HARALD/VIIKINKIRAVINTOLA HARALD
Branch: Helsinki, Jyväskylä, Kuopio, Lahti, Tampere, Turku, Oulu
Turku Address: Aurakatu 3, 20100 Turku. Phone: +358 44 766 8204.
Food: EUR 6.20 – 67.60
Beverage: EUR 1.00 – 64.00
Lunch set: EUR 12.50
Set – Voyage of Finnmark: EUR 52.30
Set – Voyage of Dyflin: EUR 49.90
Tar Ice Cream: EUR 3.50
Water: EUR 1.00
Opening Hours (Turku):
Monday: 12:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Tuesday – Thursday: 12:00 pm – 12:00 am
Friday – Saturday: 12:00 pm – 01:00 am
Sunday: 03:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Website: Viikinkiravintola Harald (available in English version)
TripAdvisor (Turku): Viikinkiravintola Harald
Foursquare (Turku): Viikinkiravintola Harald
Note: Eat the reindeer and beef here, for steak, ask for medium cooked. Seat in the middle room for brighter ambience, or else ask the waitress.
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.
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!
The herring being fried in flat pan (click to enlarge).
And stored under heat lamp.
Then how do you like it to serve for you?
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.
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)
Nordic version (with lingonberry jam, shaved raw carrots, and sliced beetroot)
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
- 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…
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
- The opening hour above may change occasionally.
- 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.
- The water is free of charge.
- Throw your food plates, utensils, and plastic glass in the available garbage bin before you left
Moi! It’s been so damn long since I wrote something here. Being a Ph.D student is one heck of a challenge you know. But, when science stuffs drain your brain energy, food will be there to soothe it up!
In these both months of March and April of 2016, I’ve been on a boat cruise twice. First, it’s for a cruise seminar along my lab colleagues in Silja Line (route: Turku-Åland-Turku in a day) and second, I went to Stockholm with Viking Line. For my second trip, I can only tell you about my return trip, since my departure trip is at night and I was obviously spending most of it on my cabin bed.
In the nutshell, if you want something really Nordic to eat, go to their buffet!
Let’s start from the breakfast meals!
(Silja Line) Buttermilk (FI: Piima) with lingonberry jam
Most of the time, finding yoghurt and other dairy products here in Finland is always been easy. You go to any convenient stores to big supermarkets, you’ll find one. Even honestly, this become my reason of why I can get easy access to cheese, yoghurt, milk, and buttermilk every time! Anything else is, berries are common forest products to find in summer. Back to the ship, so then I tried the buttermilk with lingonberry jam. I thought the jam is sweet. I was wrong. It’s face-warping sour. Now I know my supervisor, Pav, poured a lot of sugar in it.
(Viking Line) Nordic pancake with starwberry jam, Karelian pasties, mini cakes, and cookie.
Nordic pancake is similar to French pancake or crepes. The serving for pancake in Nordic way is by combining it with berry jam. This time (learning from experience before), I used the sweet strawberry jam. It tastes really good and fresh! About Karelian pasty, I’ve explained about it before. However, in both boats, it tastes plain, you have to use munavoi (butter mixed with chopped boiled egg) to give the taste in. The mini cakes flavor mostly buttery, sugary, and sometime have almonds in it.
(Viking Line) Bread, butter, and smoked salmon.
You know what? It’s hard to find a white dinner bread or toast here in Finland. They mentioned it as French bread for it. But the French bread I know available here is baguette, the long hard bread. So, to eat a sliced loaf of soft bread, you will normally found bread that normally and naturally colored brown or yellowish. The color comes from rye or other cerealia seeds (or carrot). And it’s common to eat them with LOT of butter as topping. Anything else, you can also add smoked salmon in it. It’s protein and omega-3 rich meal for you! And its taste is very rich, umami, and fresh!
(Silja Line) Cheese plater
In Europe, cheeses are something you can easily found, staple, and cheap (compared to Asia countries, including Indonesia). You can eat cheese like emmenthal, blue cheese, smoked cheese, or more with crackers. Me? I like to eat the cheese as it is! Not everyone have an endurance for the taste of blue cheese, and I’m enjoying myself eating one of the strongest blue cheese, roquefort from France!
(Silja Line) Caviar, assorted herring, smoked salmon, and open sandwich with fish salad.
Smoked salmon (FI: savulohi), especially the cold smoked one (slowly smoked in 25ºC for hours to days, allowing the natural fragrance of the smoke to permeate the fish) is recommended dish to start your day! You can it it with bread, or as it is. Anything else, in Nordic country, an abundant fish you can find from Baltic Sea is herring. You can found it as fresh commodity, hot-smoked, fried, baked, pickled, and even… as sour herring (SE: surströmming, the Swedish cuisine, a fermented RAW herring with extremely putrid smell… if Capt. Barbossa of Black Pearl in Pirates of Caribbean ever mention the smell of kraken’s mouth… here you go). Here, you can find the pickled herring that tastes salty or sweet. I don’t know exactly yet on how it cooked. Open sandwich, normally with fish is common dish in Nordic countries, especially Norway. And in picture above, you can found herring cooked in tomato and caviar… although we believe it’s not the actual one, but it made with alginate. Yeah… the original one has a price of fortune.
(Silja Line) Roasted beef, spiced chicken with red sauce, and Greek Dolma with Feta cheese.
There are also many European dishes and some Asian dishes like curry in the buffet. Even you can find roast beef and Dolma (Greek dish, grape vine filled with sour rice, been explained here although it’s in Indonesian).
Other than these buffet menus, I was also walking around in the boat. I found this in Frank’s Casual Dining… let’s put it as extra…
Reindeer & beef filled potato lefse (FI: Poro & nautarieska, SE: Ren och nöstek fyllda potatis tunnbröd)
My second reindeer dish during my whole journey in Europe! Lefse is basically Norwegian flatbread made of flour, butter, milk, and potato. Here, the lefse is rolled with cold roasted beef, small-diced roasted reindeer mixed with mayo, lettuce, sliced grilled tomato, and sliced cucumber pickles. I kinda like the combination! It’s fresh!
Mazarin or in Swedish, Mazarintårta, is a tartlet consists of almond paste dough and topped with icing sugar. So far, this is one of my favorite dessert because I love the sweet flavor combined with the almond taste inside! If you asked me to compare this one with the one I ate in IKEA Tangerang (near Jakarta), Indonesia… it’s heaven to earth compared.
So much new food to try! I’m glad I’ve been through various trip in here!
Special thanks to my lovely colleague from Laboratory of Paper Coating and Converting, Åbo Akademi University, who brought me to the special cruise seminar and then… the buffet!
SILJA LINE & VIKING LINE
Breakfast: EUR 10.50
Lunch: EUR 24
Dinner: EUR 31
Frank’s Casual Dining
Reindeer and beef potato lefse: EUR 6.90/SEK 63
Mazarin: (around) EUR 3/SEK 30
Note: Booking the buffet while booking the cruise ticket is recommended to avoid fully booked restaurant.
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):
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.
The difference is uncanny… this one is piece of art!
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).
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.
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).
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!
Smoked salmon with cream cheese and herb (0.25 Kg = EUR 5), warmed in microwave.
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…
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).
Limppu and salmon… and extra horseradish sauce (as you might see)
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.
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)
Halo pembaca! Setelah sekian lama saya vakum karena saya beberapa lama lalu sedang berusaha fokus mengerjakan tesis dan menyalakan api komunitas yang saya dirikan, akhirnya saya memutuskan buat nulis lagi! Sekarang, blog saya ini juga terasosiasi dengan komunitas saya yang saya sebut “Omnivora”, apa itu? Tempat blogger makanan, foodgram, dan personil kuliner apapun. Feel free to ask! Ah ya, masuk artikel ke-100, saya mau me-review pengalaman kuliner saya di sebuah hotel bintang lima di Yogya, Grand Aston Yogya. Pertama2, saya mengucapkan terima kasih kepada pihak Grand Aston yang telah menghadiahkan tiket menginap semalam gratis karena saya menang lomba makan hotdog!
Karena ini blog kuliner, saya akan lebih banyak menyoroti aspek makanannya daripada yang lainnya.
Semua berawal dari ketika saya check in jam 2 siang setelah seminggu saya melakukan reservasi.
Yak! Tempat yang pas buat
ngerjain tesis dengan tenang tidur2an dan makan!
Menariknya soal makanan di hotel ini adalah memiliki harga yang lebih murah dari harga makanan di hotel bintang lima yang saya tahu tanpa mengurangi kualitas dan kreativitas chef yang memasak. Gimana ngga, gini deh… di Jakarta, dirimu nginep di hotel bintang lima, coba beli 1 makanan simpel kayak spaghetti. Berapa? Rp 70 ribu? Rp 80rb? Di sini harga makanan sekelas pasta jangkauannya hanya Rp 35rb hingga Rp 45rb (yah walau belum sama pajak) lho!
Ketika saya masuk di sini, saya mendepositkan uang saya sebanyak Rp 200.000,00. Ketika saya tiba di kamar, apa yang pertama kali saya lakukan? Ya… saya yakin kalian sudah tau: Pesan makanan! Untuk review makanan di kamar hotel, saya menambahkan skala ukuran di sini: Waktu pengantaran.
Saya mengerti betul bahwa makanan di sini adalah buah karya Chef Jojo (yang sejauh ini saya kenal sebagai chef yang cukup nyentrik, iseng, cuma sangat kreatif… liat aja dengan klik ini). Spaghetti-nya enak. Pastanya al dente. Sausnya rich dan meaty. Yang menariknya lagi adalah bread stick hitam yang dibuat dengan karbon aktif seperti hot dog yang waktu itu saya makan dan saya awalnya mengira mereka mau ngasih saya sumpit buat makan spaghetti. Overall, it’s good!
Fish n’ Chips
Fish n’ Chips adalah makanan khas Inggris favorit saya. Setiap kali saya pesan, saya berekspektasi untuk mendapatkan porsi fillet ikan yang besar dengan tepung yang renyah, plus chips atau kentang goreng dengan konsistensi renyah di luar namun empuk di dalam (bukan lembek atau kayak kerupuk… asal kalian tau, chips di lidah Inggris kadang sama dengan French Fries), plus… saus tartar yang campurannya pas dan jumlahnya cukup. Setelah saya pesan, akhirnya Fish n’ Chips pun datang ke kamar saya. Awalnya saya cuma melotot karena mereka menyajikannya bite size atau kecil2 potongannya, dan pakai tepung panir bukan tepung cair (batter). Tapi… ternyata enak! Ikannya dibumbuinya pas, renyah di luar dan empuk di dalam. Hmmmm… terus kentang gorengnya punya konsistensi yang pas. Saus tartarnya… mungkin lain kali perlu banyakan karena menurut saya rasanya sudah oke!
Nachos bisa dibilang snack khas Meksiko yang pas buat nonton TV atau bioskop. Biasanya merupakan keripik tortilla jagung yang disajikan dengan saus seperti salsa atau guacamole dengan kadang diberi tambahan keju yang melimpah. Lalu bagaimana dengan pesanan saya? Tortilla-nya oke, salsa-nya enak, kejunya… SUPER NANGGUNG. ‘Bok ya kejunya banyakan dikit atau pakai keju cair yang banyak. Saya rela nambah Rp 3rb – Rp 5rb buat makan salsa dengan keju yang ga nanggung2, atau mending ga sama sekali. Serius… liat aja foto di atas… nanggung.
Vanilla Sky Lounge
Bosan di kamar berkutat dengan laptop, tesis, dan nonton NatGeo Channel terus, saya pun jalan2 untuk meng-eksplorasi hotel ini. Kemudian saya teringat dengan promo Vanilla Sky Lounge yang katanya menyediakan makanan khas Meksiko dengan harga mulai Rp 25rb. Penawaran yang menarik, akhirnya saya pun ke sana. Di lantai teratas hotel ini.
…area bar nya kayak mati lampu.
Sesampainya di sana, suasananya… gelap. Ya saya tau dekor nya punya warna gelap, cuma maksud saya itu… sepi. Mungkin saya pikir karena saya dateng “kepagian”. Yah, dasar saya dodol sih… dateng ke Lounge sore2 gini, pake sendal kamar, dan tujuannya buat makan makanan Meksiko di situ. Ketika saya melihat menu nya, ternyata… harganya jauh dari perkiraan saya. Di atas perkiraan budget saya.
Chicken Pozole Blanco
Akhirnya saya pun memesan sesuatu yang sederhana saja… sup khas Meksiko: Chicken Pozole Blanco. Sup bening dengan ayam, keju Meksiko, dan alpukat. Sejauh yang saya makan, rasanya oke. Cuma yang rada “ganggu” adalah keripiknya. Agak mood whiplash ntah kenapa. Saya ekspektasi pakai tortilla yang jagung ataupun tepung… ini, kayak pangsit. Cuma… gapapa, sup nya oke.
Seusainya makan di situ, saya kembali ke kamar saya…
Sarapan adalah momen yang baik untuk memulai hari. Mereka bilang, kalau kalian mau tenaga yang kuat satu hari itu, makanlah sarapan yang punya karbohidrat sederhana (gula, bukan tepung) dalam jumlah yang banyak (mohon koreksi ya… jadi justru jangan makanan yang santai pagi2… dari situ lahirlah istilah “Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper”). Ketika saya menginap di hotel, buffet sarapan adalah indikator seberapa niat sebuah hotel menyambut tamunya untuk memberikan yang terbaik di awal hari mereka.
Pagi ini saya jam 7 sudah di Saffron karena jam setengah 9 saya harus ke kampus, terlepas hari itu adalah hari Minggu. Tapi apapun untuk Xenobiota yang saya cintai. Menariknya, bahkan 2 ahli bioteknologi dari Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) yang kemarin mengadakan seminar singkat dan diskusi, ternyata menginap di sini juga!
Pagi itu cukup ramai.
Di sini ada jus, sereal, susu dan keju…
Ini pilihan cheese platter nya…
Ada roti dan pancake…
Pilihan sweet pastries…
Dan sushi… pesan saya simpel: Jangan cuma California Roll dong, tambahin yang ada ikan segarnya pasti mantap
Variasi makanan di sini cukup banyak. Mulai dari roti tawar sampai pancake, dari keju sampai pasta, bahkan menariknya, di sini ada jamu! Lalu apa yang saya ambil?
(Dari kiri atas) Sosis sapi, (kalo ga salah) fondant potato, creamy spinach, dan fusilli tomato.
Rasa fusilli, kentang, dan sosis nya oke dan gak lebay. Bayamnya… ntah ini lidah saya atau bagaimana, cuma perlu ekstra bumbu.
Sebagai tambahan dari yang saya makan…
Almond croissant, waffle, dan yoghurt ceri.
Terlepas dari croissant yang gurih, renyah di luar, dan empuk di dalam, waffle dan pancake dengan konsistensi yang pas… saya merasa satu yang kurang: Maple syrup dan mentega. Oke lah, mentega atau butter tersedia di sini, cuma maple syrup adalah saus manis utama yang harus ada untuk waffle dan pancake, biarpun yang lain disediakan sebagai topping.
Overall, makan pagi saya asik… ah coba para professor dari MIT itu saya sapa dan ajak diskusi.
Buat Grand Aston, makasih banyak untuk kesempatan ini. Untuk nilai plus dari saya tolong dipertahankan ya, untuk kritik dan masukan dari saya mohon dipertimbangkan 🙂
Lain kali saya mau nyicip dan eksplor makanan di Vanilla Sky Lounge nya lagi deh, dan pastinya saya akan ke sini untuk menjaga hubungan bilateral (apa sih Dit) dengan Chef Jojo dan Tim Grand Aston lainnya.
Ketanggapan Room Service: √√√√√ (full score, ketika saya bertanya… responnya cepat dan mengerti yang saya tanyakan)
Waktu pengantaran pesanan: √√√√ (4 dari 5, cepat… tapi masih bisa lebih cepat kok)
Kualitas dan inovasi makanan: √√√√ (4 dari 5, masih bisa lebih baik lagi)
Buffet sarapan: √√√√√ (4 dari 5, sama masukannya dengan di atas)
Service hotel keseluruhan: √√√√½ (4.5 dari 5, good!)
GRAND ASTON HOTEL YOGYAKARTA
Class: 5 Stars
Jl. Urip Sumoharjo no. 37, Yogyakarta. Ph: +62 274 566 999
Jangkauan harga makanan (di luar pajak, promo “G.I Joe” termasuk):
Room Service & Saffron Restaurant: Rp 20.000,00 – Rp 300.000,00 (minus minuman alkohol)
Vanilla Sky Lounge: Rp 27.000,00 – Rp 80.000,00
Notes: Di waktu tertentu, pilihan buat stay di sini merupakan pilihan yang baik. Karena di waktu tertentu… harga menginap per malam di sini sangat terjangkau: Rp 400.000,00 an!