Turkish coffee, a 500-year-old tradition (via Star2)

Tucked in a narrow alley in the middle of Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey, is a tiny cafe that proudly proclaims to serve coffee “so thick even a water buffalo cannot sink in it”. That term can be simplified in one Turkish word Mandabatmaz, which incidentally, is the name of the cafe.

The cafe’s name may be given in jest, but its message is no joke. Turkish coffee (Turk Kahvesi) is incredibly thick and dense, and it has a consistency similar to hot chocolate.

It is not unusual to hear the locals describe the beverage as “black as hell, as strong as death, and as sweet as love” and you’d be surprised to know that for a tea drinking country, Turkey, and its people, is fiercely passionate about coffee.

“To us, tea is just a beverage … but coffee? It’s a culture,” says attache at the Turkey Embassy Tourism and Information Office in Kuala Lumpur, Kaan Yilmaz.

And if you’re in Turkey, don’t say no to an invitation to have coffee as it is considered rude to turn down the offer. That’s how serious they are about their coffee culture.

Turkish coffee is recognised by Unesco as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, and this year, Turkey proudly celebrates the 500th year coffee made its way to Istanbul – all the way from the tip of the Arabian Peninsula.

The most important part of Turkish coffee is its preparation. — EAEEAE, Wikimedia Commons

In 1555, Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent learned of the beverage from the Ottoman governor of Yemen, and unofficially made it the official drink of the government. It became an integral part in ceremonies in the Ottoman court as well as among commoners.

“This was the birth of Turkish coffee. Coffee became the shining star of the court’s social life, and the sultan appointed his own kahvecibasi to prepare the imperial cup of Turkish coffee,” adds Yilmaz.

It is reported that the kahvecibasi (coffee maker) had over 40 assistants to prepare and serve coffee for the sultan and his court. The equipment used to make the coffee was on display at the A Drop of Pleasure: 500 years of Turkish Coffee exhibition organised by the Turkish Coffee Culture and Research Association at the Topkapi Palace.

The exhibition, which ended earlier this month, included pieces such as cups and grinders from the palace’s collection and from private collectors.

“In the olden days, coffee was the centre of political and social interactions. Women socialised over coffee and sweets at home while men socialised in coffee houses to discuss politics and to play backgammon.

“Coffee houses also played host to ‘shadow theatres’ where puppets were used to convey satirical, political and social criticism. Turkish coffee houses became social institutions to meet and talk,” explains Yilmaz.

There is a saying in Turkish which goes “One neither desires coffee nor a coffeehouse. One desires to talk with others, coffee is but an excuse”, so naturally, coffee shops sprouted within the city to meet demands. And half a century later, folks still congregate at coffee houses for their caffeine and gossip fix.

“There are many traditional and modern-style coffee shops all around the country which serve Turkish coffee and other coffees. In big cities like Istanbul and Ankara, you can find coffee shops in every corner. Even international coffee franchises like Starbucks and Gloria Jeans serve Turkish coffee in their outlets here – although they do not make it the traditional way,” says Yilmaz.

Coffee is, however, still an inherent part of tradition in Turkey. Even today, marriage customs include the old-fashioned custom of brides-to-be making and serving coffee to their prospective husbands. The groom-to-be judges a woman’s merits based on the coffee she makes.

“There’s one traditional practice for this ceremony. The female candidate puts salt, instead of sugar, into the coffee for her future fiancé and expects him to drink it without complaining. If he doesn’t complain, then she assumes that he loves her as he drank the salty coffee without a fuss,” explains Yilmaz about the age-old tradition.

Turkish coffee (Turk Kahvesi) is incredibly thick, dense and turns 500 years old this year.

“This is just in jest, and is not taken as seriously as it was before. We still do it just for fun.”

There is another coffee-related custom that the Turks still follow today – fal or fortune telling.

Yilmaz explains that once the coffee is finished and the cup has cooled down, it’s turned upside down onto its saucer. The drinker rotates the cup clockwise three times, and lets it cool down a little longer. When the cup is slowly lifted, the fortune teller will read the coffee drinker’s future from the patterns the grains leave on the inside of the cup and saucer.

“Although most people do it for fun, some take it very seriously, especially those seeking good fortune or a potential mate.”

Although children are not encouraged to drink coffee, it naturally becomes their preferred beverage when they hit their teens.

Breakfast only ends when coffee is had, although coffee is also consumed at any time of the day. No meal in Turkey is complete without a serving of the thick and frothy beverage, and Yilmaz adds that Turks enjoy each other’s company too much to say no to an invitation for coffee.

“Coffee will always be part of the Turks’ life,” says Yilmaz. “It has been for the last 500 years, and it will be for another 500 years and more.”


Written by: Sharmila Nair

Taken from http://www.star2.com/food/food-news/2015/06/20/turkish-coffee-a-500-year-old-tradition/

Taking It To The Streets: Nasi Uduk Gondangdia (The Foodie Magazine, Mar 2015)

While heading to Tanah Abang may be tricky for your usual fix of good nasi uduk, the Cikini area on the other side of Thamrin has also commendable options for that. One of the champions there is clearly Nasi Uduk Gondangdia.

Nasi Uduk Gondangdia (3)

So many combinations of rice dishes in Indonesia and yet the oldie goodie nasi uduk is always good for any occasion. From breakfast to dinner, nasi uduk is the staple choice for Jakartans and nothing could beat how the fragrant rice with delicate coconut milk taste could mix so well together with its sidekicks.

The Cikini area is easy to reach, nearby the city center, and a rather traffic-friendly neighborhood. From street food, coffee shop, fast food, fine-dining to iconic restaurants; there are plenty of choices for anyone here. When it comes to nasi uduk, there are two (competing) nasi uduk eateries in the neighborhood and separated for several blocks away. They are the Nasi Uduk Pasar Hias Rias and Nasi Uduk Gondangdia.

When talking about the latter, Nasi Uduk Gondangdia clearly has the upper hand when it comes to space and ambiance, while taste can become a subjective matter in this matter. It is located a bit deep inside the neighborhood but yet it attracts a lot of visitor. Inside, they provide anything that you wish to mix and match with nasi uduk – from fried chicken, grilled chicken, empal (fried, sweet and spiced beef), catfish, cuttlefish, intestines or gizzard satays, and the dynamic duo tempe tahu.

Nasi Uduk Gondangdia (2)

While waiting for them preparing your order, slide a bit to the bar and have your customized lalapan or raw vegetables that will go with the sambal. Clearly, the sayur asem is not to be missed as well here. Top that also with the self-service, free-flow hot tea anytime or the refreshing orange juice that will go well with most of Indonesian food anywhere.

Despite frequented by so many during rush hours and the rather extreme noisiness thanks to the live music, the service is nevertheless quick and precise to compensate the hectic ambiance. Even after the customers left the table, the waiters made it neat in a matter of second and still also friendly during rush hours. It’s basically more than you ask from street food, right? So, best to give it a try to see which one is your favorite anyway in Jakarta.


Unsuitable for vegetarians

Jalan Cikini IV no. 8A, Jakarta – Indonesia

Opening hours:
Daily, 10am – 12am

Spend: IDR 20,000 – IDR 30,000 / person


Featured in THE FOODIE MAGAZINE March 2015 edition

Download it for free here via SCOOP!

Photography by Dennie Ramon

Foodie Quotes #40

“I come from a family where gravy is considered a beverage.”
– Erma Bombeck


Fun Food Facts #23

Fun Food Facts #23:


  • Cilantro may be useful to treat urinary tract infections
  • Both the leaves and seeds aid digestion, relieve intestinal gas, pain and distention
  • They also treat nausea, soothe inflammation, rheumatic pain, headaches, coughs and mental stress
  • Cilantro is a member of the carrot family


Facts provided by: www.mercola.com

How To Make A Food Blog (via Wonder Tripper)

Nowadays in Indonesia especially Jakarta becoming a blogger is a phenomena amongst Gen Y where we all very connected through our social media. Building friendship through interactions – likes, comments – on the social media profile. Then continue to develop more through meetup. From travel, food, technology, to fashion, it seems these bloggers have what it takes to talk about the subject. One industry that has the interest of locals is the Culinary industry. New restaurants or cafe are opening in town, and this balance out with places force to shut their business due to increasing competition.

Here, I would like to share views from Ruby the man behind Wanderbites, Culinary Bonanza by Ellyna the lady famous for its striking red hair, and Rian Farisa from The Gastronomy Aficionado. After Q&A section with these bloggers, I believe they have what it takes on how to build and sustain a food blog in these crowded market.


What makes you choose to be a food blogger?

Ruby (R): I never choose to be a food blogger. I only follow my passion, which are photography, writing, and eating. People who give me label, as a “food blogger” is not me.

Ellyna (E):It came from my love of food and trying new places to eat.

Rian Farisa (RF): Because I love to eat. You can see from my tummy ☺. Well, when I learn and implement my English skill, of course the higher my skill the most part that will utilize are writing and/or conversation. As the opportunity to use English daily is very limited hence I decided to write. The easiest method and free method in 2009 was through blogging. To be honest, when Friendster is the go-to social media, I tried several time to blog through that platform. However, in 2009 I decided to commit blogging via WordPress and this is continue until now.

How to choose your blog topic?

R: I always look what’s the story behind this place. When a reader stumble and read my blog, they must know there is restaurant review and street food column. Both of them are equally important to me whether it’s from Indonesia or abroad. By looking at both side – street food and restaurant – we would gain comprehensive knowledge on the culinary industry of the country.

E : Random. Depends on where I eat at the time or my writing mood.

RF: As I said before, that’s easy. It’s because I love food, I love having food as the finer things in life aside from other forms of lifestyle such as  music or film. Also it’s because food is more accessible for everyone and I think by writing about it feels like having a secret key to anyone’s heart. 😀

Do you start blogging as a full-time or part-time first? When is the right time to pursue full-time blogging?

R: I never be a full-time blogger. Until now I only blog when I have free time.

E: Now this blog is my hobby. I have not think to take this blog too serious because I still work for my family business.

RF: First blogging as a hobby but after in times this blog has generate enough income for me and then I decide to become full-time; Accepting the ups and downs of being a full-time blogger. There is no specific time if you want to become a full-time blogger but you need to know what you want to achieve through this blog. The vision. Is it solely for fun, financial freedom, opportunity from blogging, or else? you have to choose.  But, the time to start is now. In the end, blogging takes time and not instant.

What made you stand out among other blogger?

R: How to tell a story. Quality of photos. Authenticity. Whenever I come across a bad dish I always tell the truth. I tell it in a constructive manner tough.

E: Places I visited and try, style of photos and writing. There are many blogs that are visually attractive (pretty and attractive photos) yet does not relevant with the topic or writing. When I blog I focus on my writing, sometimes it looks very editorial. The reason is I want to share informative info about a place and not share my personal life.

RF: From the beginning I direct my blog as a medium for me to become a journalist or international writer. I think this what differentiates me from other blogger. The need to write informative and helpful article that help readers. Of course this is a process that need a continuous improvement. Other bloggers essentially creates their own signature. A blogger who’s talented in photography / has basic photography could be a food photographer. Someone who has a web design skill eventually the blog become their own portfolio.

How long it takes for your blog to receive steady visitor and keep increasing too?

R: Around 3 -6 months if you post regularly and maintain a good quality writing.

E: Approximately 6 months after the blog running.

RF: Around 1 year. I made my blog in 2009. I think now to start a blog focus on food is getting more and more difficult since the blogging market is getting more saturated. Several who has high Instagram followers are lucky because there they got the most traffic from.

Who’s your inspiration for food blogger?

R: Katie Quinn Davis from What Katie Ate.

E: None specific. I seldom read other blog. Currently I’m more interested reading food related article from Eater.com, Finedininglovers.com, Buzzfeed, Seriouseats.com, and Huffington Post.

RF: I admire renowned food writer from big publisher in the US. One of my favorite is Sam Sifton. At the time when I started to blog he was the Food Critics for New York Times. I also admire Ruth Reichl poetic writing style on each writing about food. Hence, I try to experiment on my writing style to be more poetic. In terms of writing quality, I received many feedback from other editors and writers. Eventually this improves my writing quality.

Are you busy doing  cafe or restaurant hunting on daily basis?

R: On daily basis I’m busy working as a food photographer and videographer. I also have my own company that focus on self-development. Hence 70% – 80% of my time is dedicated to that and the remaining is for blogging. I do random Café or restaurant hopping when its lunchtime or on weekend.

E: I have a 9 to 5 full-time job. Whenever I receive invitation I try to go to the most important one or I really looking forward to it. I keep professional between work with family and maintaining this blog. I cannot count the days I have to sleep really late to finish editing photo and updating the blog.

RF: Restaurant or cafe hopping has been less and less. Especially now when I have more responsibilities. However, there are times when I’m traveling I try my best to try new place and explore the culinary part of the city. Also, mostly I work at home or cafe while I tried to finish one or two articles and edit photos for my blog.

Have you encounter any problem while being a food blogger?

R: If you mean is paid review, so far I have no problem. Nowadays I have very little time hence I it’s difficult for me to accept and come a restaurant invitation.

E: Maintain my weight. Also, one time when I criticize a new restaurant by chance the owner read my writing. Then, through them I get information because of my review all staff goes to meeting to discuss. Hence, I unpublished my article. Thankfully my relationship with the restaurant PR is still good.

RF: Almost none. But, one time I write experience about a certain restaurant for a magazine. I write my honest experience.. When the article published one of the staff left derogatory remarks on the comment box without realizing he/she left their identity. I just laugh and ignore it. Of course I delete the comments. 😉

Congratulations! I see that your blog is huge now. When it started to receive attention from media or brand?

R: I started my blog in 2010. Around 1.5 – 2 years running brand started to explore my food blog. In my opinion, people start to appreciate food blog in 2012.

E: When I joined Instagram.

RF: 1 year after starting my blog. Media and journalists friends from online and offline media started seeing my writing skill. From then there are the several partnership in terms of content producing and branding. This still ongoing regularly.

What it takes to become a food blogger?

R: Gotta have passion for food, understanding of the culinary world and credibility. The passion to keep writing even tough blog traffic is still low. Fully understand to write meaningfully and know what and why you choose to comment on the food or dish. Stating your opinion and idea to build and give improvement to the industry and not bringing it down.

E: Love and appreciation about food is essential.

RF: First, is the vision to share your knowledge. Then, you need to be persistent. Make sure what you write or make is up to the highest standard and not only for fame. With the spirit of sharing, blogging wont be only to gain fame hence we give better contribution to the community surround us. You need to dedicate yourself fully. This become the basis for your productivity.

Creativity plays an important role too, as you need to adapt to the latest trend. Variation and constant learning is essential to keep improving our knowledge on sharing our experience through writing.

In your opinion, when would the blogging phenomena would phase out?

R: Not sure. Just enjoy the ride. I never wish this blog would be phenomena. So, I don’t mind if in the future it’s not a phenomena anymore.

E: I think this trend would last long. There will be new blog coming out.

RF: As long as the spirit of sharing and writing still intact, I’m sure blogging will last quite long. Especially this profession won’t have effect when there’s force major. A writer’s to be always a step ahead of the game, they need to constantly learning, think creatively, and making improvement at their writing style.

What is your favorite food or dish?

R: My favorite food is Bagansiapi-Api from my hometown. I also love Rujak Bagan, Curry rice, and Bagan noodle.

E: Right now I don’t have any special preference. I hope in the future when I have the opportunity to taste more dishes and places, I would have 1 favorite restaurant.

RF: At my position today its frustrating to choose 1 favorite place or food because of the culinary experience I’ve done. In fact at this point is where I reminiscence the food old days such as eating porridge or a simple fried rice. Also, historical places to eat in Bandung such as Toko You or Suis Butcher even tough if we compare the taste there are many competitors that can match it.

And lastly…

How to be the first to know if there’s new restaurant opening?

R: If you’re online and you have good circle of foodies, you’ll know one way or another.

E: Nothing special. Everything is by chance or when the restaurant contact to give info about opening place or new menu.

RF: Technology plays an important part. Access to information is becoming easier. Other than receiving personal invitation from the restaurant, I usually get information from fellow bloggers and restaurant directory.


Bloggers Bio

Fellexandro Ruby

You might recall that particular scene from Friends where Joey Tribbiani shouted the lady he’s dining with for trying to grab fries from his plate. Well, He’s no Tribbiani in that sense. According to Ruby, he’s a Tribbiani who love food and just can’t seem to get enough of it. An Om-nom-nom-nivore, foodie, aficionado, or whatever you want to call Ruby. A Tribbiani who’s strong in culture. While he’s Italian, Ruby is Indonesian with Chinese roots. This defines his palate and the food he enjoyed the most. While Ruby have tasted Michelin Star restaurants, he still find ultimate comfort in Cheese Martabak. Quoting Ruby: “So call me a food blogger, food writer, whatever, but I prefer the term “Food Storyteller” cause essentially that’s what I love, sharing stories of food, travel, culinary hits and misses”.


Rian Farisa

By refusing to accept his fate as a bored banker, Rian decided to embark on an exciting journey to become a full-fledged writer by sharing his foodie’s life account in a blog. Just within a year, Rian started to enjoy his newfound, secret part-time life as a food writer for lifestyle magazines, in-flight magazines, newspapers, and occasionally as a food correspondent for a national TV station. Rian finally embraced his other life as his main job since 2012 and currently enjoys his stature as the writer for The Foodie Magazine, while at times he also shares his two cents about food with everybody he encounters.


Ellyna Tjohnardi

Culinary Bonanza (circa August 2011) is a personal blog, which Ellyna manage all by herself. It started out as a medium in which she pour about her personal thoughts and feelings, but after a few posts, she decided to focus the content to just one topic – her passion about food. Ellyna sees herself as a blogger with attitude. Quoting her: I dislike wasting food, I have an issue with body image, I run to keep track of calories I ingested, and I do not believe in publishing criticism.



Text: Shabrina Koeswologito

Link: http://www.wondertripper.com/2015/06/how-to-make-a-food-blog-confession-of-a-foodie/

The exciting gastronomic escapades of a stylish gourmet!


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