Monday, March 22, 2010

Table8 at Hotel Mulia Senayan

Good day, mate. How is your day?

Since things are a bit slow on Monday, I am spending the day looking into food photos. Here are several photos I made during a visit to Hotel Mulia's Chinese restaurant Table8. The restaurant serves Cantonese and Sichuan cuisines. If you can't handle spicy things (points to self), it is best to stick to the Cantonese.

I tried hua ca (floral tea). When poured with hot sizzling water, the green bundle would open and show three flowers made into one piece: chrysanthemum, jasmine and the red flower (sorry I don't know the name of the red flower). The taste is common, but the special thing about this tea is that it is served by teamaster Zhen Zhen, who will perform kungfu-like movement with the long nosed-brass tea kettle.

I kinda like the appetizer. I forgot the name of this tray package (umm perhaps degustation?), but I do remember that it consists of (from left to right) salmon skin, smoked chicken, smoked duck wrapped by bun skin and shrimp with Thai sauce. I like the salmon skin, it tastes like kerupuk (Indonesian style of chips).

Another must-have menu is prawn with strawberry and wasabi sauce. The combination is just so heavenly.

Crab claw with tofu is also nice.

Then I accidentally sank my teeth into this Stir-fried chicken wings with Sichuan flavor...

... and I felt the spicy sensation I would never forget for the rest of my life. There was nothing for one or two seconds, but then I could feel some hot sensation rise and sweep over my head. Then my eyes began to water and trickle with tears.

Glasses of water could not take the spiciness away, therefore I had this Fried rice foie gras with sea food.

And for dessert, there is frozen yogurt Sweet Mimi.

Happy Monday!

Friday, March 19, 2010

It's Time For The Annual Tax Declaration

Last week I had a training on how to fill the forms for the annual tax declaration. I had the first training last year, but I totally forgot it once I submitted the forms. I guess, it's the kind of training you should have annually (sigh). Just to remind you, the due date is March 31, 2010. But quoting our former Vice President Jusuf Kalla,"It is better to do thing early." So I guess I'll try to find a drop box today.

Have a wonderful weekend:)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Kopi Tiam Oey on Jl. Sabang

I really like culinary expert Bondan Winarno.  I met him in person at an informal lunch and he's as nice as he is on Trans TV's Wisata Kuliner (Culinary Journey). He suggested menus for me (it was aglio olio), explained the ingredients and even put the food on my plate.

Therefore, when I read that he opened restaurant Kopi Tiam Oey on Jl. Sabang, I went to check it out. The premise has a friendly atmosphere. The menu is priced at, if I'm not mistaken, between Rp 10,000  (approximately US$1) and Rp 40,000. They have different menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I've just made it to try their breakfast and lunch. The taste? They're delicious and what's more important, they come in the right price.  

(The meal) Nasi briyani and (the drink) Green cincau (jelly) with ginger

On Sundays, there is a special menu called Bubur Kambing Pekalongan (Pekalongan style mutton rice porridge), which I had with a small pitcher of wedang uwuh (herbal drink).

Nasi tim ayam

Nasi item

I definitely recommend the restaurant for a friendly meet-up. Kopi Tiam Oey also opens in Legian, Bali. Hmm, I wonder if the one in Legian has different menus.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Silent Monday

It's Monday but the office is extremely empty. Why? Tomorrow will see Nyepi, the Hindu's Day of Silence, therefore, it's hari kejepit nasional (literally "the caught-in-between national day"). I wonder what it would be like to spend a day without speaking to anybody at all. I'm not a talkative person, but I think I would be happy when the day is over. 

I thought I would just finished an article or two and headed home. Or watch a movie with a friend. Ah well, got to finish the said articles in the first place.

Yesterday I read about a 3D video mapping held in front of Museum Fatahillah in the Old Town. The movie is a collaboration of English multimedia artist D-Fuse with Indonesian artists Sakti Parantean and Adi Panuntun, photographer Feri Latief and writer Taqarrable.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

How To Spend Time On Jakarta's Congested Roads

(Source: here)

I grew up in Jakarta's greater area and have been commuting, so traffic jams are basically my staples. I know the commute will take two hours, so I leave two, or sometimes three, hours earlier before the appointed schedule. If you can't beat them (traffic jams), just (at least try to) join/enjoy them.

Here's some ideas on how to spend the hours on the road:

1. Listen to the music
There are always street musicians, beggars, vendors in every bus, angkot (public minivan) or street junction, who sing, deliver a litany or offer their goods. Sometimes they sound good, most of the time not. My suggestion: buy an MP3 player and lose yourself into the music. It also hampers perverts attempting a conversation with you.

2. Bring something to read
Either a newspaper or Roald Dahl's Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, the reading material will bring you away from the congested roads to the Faraway countries. The not-so-good side: sometimes people sitting next to you join you in the same page and they are not happy when you turn the page so quickly.

3. Do crossword
It encourages the gray cells, as Hercule Poirot may say. The good side about doing it on the road: you can ask the person sitting next to you if you stumble on a word or two. Hey, it is a good idea to start up a conversation.

4. Wear/re-apply make-up (for the girls, sorry guys)
As I once emphasized, taking public transportation here is like sitting in an oven. It's so hot that I usually reach office drenched in my sweats. This is why I only wear make-ups to the minimum limit. After all, I'm not working in a media that requires its workers to look trendy. However, I once saw a woman applying  facepowder and lipstick on a bus. So I guess it's do-able.

5. Play games
Only do this when you are sure no thugs/pickpockets in vicinity. There are so many game choices, from the ones in cellphones to the consoles. My favorite games are Nokia's Snake and iPod's Vortex. But i would only pull the gadgets out if I got myself a seat by the windows.

6. Have meal
Most people leave homes/office without a proper breakfast/dinner. Before our govenment prohibits eating in public transportation, let us munch our food there. Just don't litter around, will you?

7. Sleep
Why not? As long as you have a seat and keep your belonging close to you, I think it is allright to take a nap.

At the end of the day, it's simply the ability to adapt and have gratitude that save most Jakartans from mental breakdown and depressions.

Monday, March 8, 2010

All Roads Lead To Office

Happy Monday, folks.

As the proverb says, there are many ways to reach my office. Since I live in Bekasi, West Java and work in Jakarta, I have to switch four buses or angkot (public minivans) to get to my office. The journey from my home to office is around 35 kilometers. 

My daily commute usually start with D riding me to Pondok Kopi, East Jakarta or Sumber Arta market in Bekasi with his trusty motorbike. He insists on doing it, perhaps thinking it's the only thing he can do for this grown-up woman. If I go to Pondok Kopi, I will continue the journey with Metromini 506 (route: Pondok Kopi-Kampung Melayu) or 47 (Pondok Kopi-Senen). Here it is...

(Taken from here)

Yup, that's the kind of bus that has seen a better day. I wonder why the administration has yet to replace them. It's hot inside (just like in the oven or even sauna), the exhaust pipe produces black fume, sometimes the engine dies in the middle of the journey...and I still have to pay Rp 2,000 (around 20 cents US) for the service!

From Kampung Melayu, I usually take PPD 213 (Kampung Melayu-Grogol). You can see from the picture above that it's not better than Metromini. PPD buses are bigger, of course. But they are just as hot and old as  the orange counterparts. Oh, and the fee is also Rp 2,000. I remember that in 2000, the fee was only Rp 1,000 and the bus was still the same. Time changes the tariffs but not the buses.

Taken from here

I will hop down at Slipi and take that blue minivans creating congestions at the junctions. They are called Mikrolet (public minivans). There are two options, either 11 (Tanah Abang-Kebon Jeruk) or 09 (Tanah  Abang - Kebayoran). And then I arrive safe and sound at the office.

Those are the public transportation vehicles I take if I depart from Pondok Kopi. If I leave from Sumber Arta, I will take Mikrolet 19 (Kranji-Cililitan), PPD 46 (Cililitan-Grogol) and Mikrolet 11 or 09. 

Usually I switch route on my way home. If I use Pondok Kopi route in the morning, I will take the Sumber Arta in the evening, or vice versa.

Actually, there is another route leading to my office: the Casablanca road. But it requires me to drive private car. I just don't find happiness in changing gears for two-hour drive. I'd rather kick back and relax, and even fall asleep if condition allows.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Travel Wish List

I've been having a mood for traveling in the last couple of weeks (Er, Boss, would you mind signing my leave permit?). So I'm thinking to write about places/countries I wish to visit. Here we go...

1. China-Japan-Korea

I can't keep these countries apart, because I'm somewhat obsessed with them. They just have to come in one package. I've visited China twice, the first was to Shanghai and the second Beijing, but if I could have the chance to go there again, I would like to go to Xinjiang region and see how the Chinese Muslims of Uygur ethnic group live. 

Why Japan? D went to Japan when M was seven-month pregnant (carrying me). I've heard from D about how beautiful Japan is, la la la la la, but actually I have a different things-to-do-when-you're-in-Japan list in my head. For example, I want to see people doing cosplay in Harajuku, buy an umbrella (I know it sounds odd, but my uncle once bought me an umbrella when he was assigned to Japan and it lasted for 10 years!), and eat sushi there (I wonder if they serve the same sushi as we have here). I hope I get to meet Takeshi Kaneshiro if I ever landed on the Land of the Sakura.

When I say Korea, of course I'm referring to South Korea. But if I have the chance to cross the border to its northern neighbor, I would grab it. Anyway, back to South Korea.. I have learned a few basic things since my assignment on Korea Cultural Week last year. For example, they eat kimchi (fermented vegetables), wear Han Bok and there are a number of good looking Korean actors. (Another confession: I'm a Korean drama fan) So maybe, just maybe, one of the things-to-do there is doing observation on the men? Hmm.

2. Russia

I'm sure you can guess this one from my previous posts. It's just a railway track away from China (Trans Siberia), and there's a lot of things the world need to know about the country. There's a Muslim community there. This year also sees the 60th anniversary of Indonesia-Russia relationship. 

3. India

Most travel stories usually complain about how dirty and foul-smelled India is. I have to confess that I'm a Bollywood fan. I want to see the place where Shahrukh Khan, Aamir Khan and Salman Khan make their movies. LOL. I also want to dip my feet into the Gangga river, see Taj Mahal and do some yoga at a nearby ashram. And perhaps hitting a ball or two at a cricket game there? 

4. Egypt

Where should I start? I want to see the pyramids, cruise on the Nile river, cross the Aswan dam, go to Alexandria. I've tried Egyptian cuisine during Hotel Four Season Jakarta's food promo held Ramadhan last year, I think I can survive there. I just have to skip the desserts, they're super sweets.

5. France

If I have to put a Europe country in this list, it's got to be France. I mean, who does not love France (and Paris)? Ok, so maybe some of you raise your hands out there, French people can be very rude, I hear. But I have interest in French language, so I want to go to the land where it is spoken. Oh la la, amour...

6. Cuba

Being a journalist, coming to the world's second biggest prison for journalist (the first is China) is definitely a challenge. If I'm lucky, I may get a glimpse behind the bars of Guantanamo. Naahhh, it's just socialist and communist countries attracts me. Cuba is not only about cigars, Che Guevara murals and dudes with bongos but also the Caribbean beach and the free medical service as featured in Michael Moore's Sicko.

7. Greenland

Located between the Arctic and Atlantic Ocean, Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark.When I was about nine year old, M took me to an exhibition on Greenland, and that was all. I was captivated by the fiords, snow capped mountains and beautiful scenery. We can also view aurora borealis there. 

8. Tanzania -- or to be precise the Serengeti National Park

Of all African countries, actually I want to go to Ethiopia. But since the Africa continent is a bit scary to explore, Tanzania and the Serengeti National Park seems the most possible choice. I've always wanted to go on a safari and see the wild animals in their habitat. But of course, learning some Swahili words and making friends with the locals will be fun too. Hakuna Matata! No problem!

I guess that's all for now.

All That Jazz

It's Friday already? Why? I still have so many things to do. Does this mean I have to take two days break before I can start slaving myself away in my cubicle?

In that case, why don't we head to Jakarta Fairground in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta and listen to all that jazz? It's Java Jazz 2010 on March 5,6 and 7! We can catch performances of international Jazz and non-Jazz artists, such as John Legend, Lee Ritenour, Babyface and Diane Warren, as well the Indonesians, like Syaharani and Queenfireworks, and Endah n Rhesa.

I hope it's not going to rain.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Vintage Advertisements

My friend Aneen snapped this vintage advertisements during Sekaten (an event to commemorate the birth of the Prophet) in Surakarta. Really bring back memories of the good old days, LOL.

Ford and Chevrolet have been strong brand in the past. How about today? 

Lux uses beautiful models nowadays, but I personally like their vintage ads!