All posts by Rian Farisa

Rian Farisa stars himself in a flick about how a culinary correspondent living a life full of adventures as if he will live forever. At the end of the day, he lives to retell the chronicles of his swashbuckling daring gastronomic adventures like a bard singing his tales of beautiful faraway lands. Since gastronomy consists of complex aspects and that is where his passion lies, he decided to unravel how businessmen, hawkers and luxurious restaurants alike, serve their dishes for the patrons. Whether they only serve for the advantages in taste or only the surroundings or whether they really throw anything for the sake of customer's satisfaction, he shall be solely the only one who can tell and in the name of this noble profession, justice shall be done!

Halal Eat Out: Ramen Ten & Shin Tokyo Sushi, Singapore

Berpindah ke tahun 2015 sepertinya masih belum banyak perubahan yang bisa dilihat dari food scene halal di Indonesia. Tren masakan Jepang yang tidak pernah usang seolah terus menarik hati para penggemarnya. Sayangnya, banyak titik kritis kehalalan dari masakan Jepang yang tidak banyak diketahui oleh para pecintanya, khususnya dari kalangan Muslim.

Menilik ramen yang memiliki beberapa jenis kuah ini layaknya membandingkan dengan sop maupun soto. Ada yang berkuah bening, ada yang mengandung santan, atau ada juga yang berkari. Ramen secara garis besar memiliki empat kategori kuah yaitu shio (garam), tonkotsu (tulang babi), shoyu (soy sauce), serta miso (bumbu fermentasi kacang kedelai).

Yang biasanya kita luput sadari adalah banyak dari masakan Jepang pada dasarnya mengandung penyedap beralkohol yang disebut mirin atau dari sake, namun juga ada resiko penggunaan pork atau lard. Kuah ramen tidak luput dari resiko ini.

Label tonkotsu bagi para konsumen Muslim jelas harus dihindari, tapi ada juga yang mencampurkan elemen-elemen babi pada kuah jenis lainnya. Selain itu chasiu (topping khas ramen seperti daging lapis) misalnya, banyak juga yang menggunakan babi ketimbang ayam.

Lalu terakhir sang telur yang biasanya direbus hingga matang namun kuning telurnya masih bertahan di level setengah matang dan turut cair bersama kuah untuk memberikan kelezatan yang tiada tara. Sungguh cantik, namun banyak yang tidak tahu bahwa telur ini menjadi berwarna lebih gelap karena setelah dimasak biasanya diaduk lagi dengan soy sauce - saus yang notabene terdapat kandungan alkohol juga.

Ramen Ten 1

Tidak cukup itu, kita juga bisa membicarakan sushi yang juga memiliki banyak titik kritis halal. Tapi sepertinya mari kita bicarakan di lain kesempatan karena kunjungan waktu itu ke sini, saya hanya menikmati ramen-nya terlebih dahulu. Namun untuk kedua segmen yang menjadi tema restoran ini, ramen maupun sushi, telah mendapat sertifikasi halal dari MUIS (Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura).

Alhamdulillah ternyata beberapa restoran sushi di Indonesia sudah ada yang mendapatkan sertifikasi halal dari MUI meski masih sedikit dan secara kualitas masih kalah bersaing. Tapi setahu saya hingga detik ini, belum ada restoran ramen yang memiliki sertifikasi halal. Sepertinya meskipun ada beberapa restoran yang melengkapi menunya dengan ramen berkuah toripaitan (tulang ayam), namun sulit bagi mereka untuk tidak menjual versi babinya atau bahkan sekaligus tidak halal.

Beda dengan Ramen Ten, ternyata restoran ini percaya diri dengan menu-menu halalnya, bahkan mereka mengklaim bahwa franchise mereka sudah terjual ke berbagai negara Teluk. Meskipun dari segi menu terbilang fusion, saya menyempatkan mencoba ramen kuah ayamnya yang terlihat paling otentik di menu. Ternyata rasanya lumayan juga meskipun kocek tidak sedikit harus saya keluarkan yaitu sebanyak sekitar SGD 13.

Ramen Ten 2

Porsinya sungguh banyak dan saya sendiripun (tumben-tumbennya) tidak berhasil menyantapnya hingga ludes. Dari segi rasa tentu Ramen Ten perlu melakukan beberapa pengembangan, namun memang akan terasa sulit bila ingin mendapatkan kuah kaya nan gurih ala restoran-restoran yang subhat (grey area pada kehalalannya). Kualitas kuah mereka memang lebih superior karena biasanya ada chef Jepang langsung yang mengawasi pembuatannya dan bukan tidak mungkin ada bahan-bahan yang belum jelas kehalalannya turut dicampur bersama.

Namun saya sungguh berbahagia karena bila suatu waktu saya bertandang ke Singapura lagi, saya bisa bersantap ramen dan sushi dengan hati lapang bersama sang istri. Maklum kami juga penggila masakan Jepang!

Saya berharap di Indonesia-pun kelak para pemilik usaha mulai berinisiatif melakukan proses sertifikasi halal untuk restoran-restorannya, apalagi karena Indonesia adalah negara dengan mayoritas Muslim. Terlepas dari permasalahan bahwa sertifikasi itu diharuskan atau tidak, cobalah membayangkan potensi bisnisnya. Kota maju seperti Singapura saja menyadari potensinya, sayang bila Indonesia tidak mengikuti contoh yang baik ini.

Sekali lagi, sukses untuk Ramen Ten dan semoga langkahnya akan dicontoh para restoran Jepang lainnya dimanapun!

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RAMEN TEN & SHIN TOKYO SUSHI
Halal-certified
Some menu are suitable for vegetarians

Address:
14 Scotts Road, #01-22 Far East Plaza,
Singapore

T: +65.6238.7983

Opening hours:
Everyday, 11.30am – 10pm

Website (Ramen Ten)
Website (Shin Tokyo Sushi)

Dish That I Crave: Breakfast at Tong Ah Eating House

Although peranakan-style kopitiam becomes popular in Jakarta nowadays, I usually just want to steer clear and reserve the experience whenever I can visit the real deal abroad.

Well, abroad doesn’t mean that it has to be in Singapore or Malaysia. We got some classic as well as modern kopitiams in Bangka for example, and I visited some during a trip several years ago. But when talking about Singapore because of my recent trip, I decided to skip the mainstream choices in malls and head straight for individual kopitiam which you can only find downtown or at the Chinatown.

That’s when I found out about Tong Ah Eating House.

The original place, which was really beautiful and located on an intersection where you can overlook the Chinatown in 270 degrees, has now been sold to Potato Head – one of Indonesian prominent F&B groups from Jakarta. I finally got to see Three Buns as well there!

Tong Ah 2

Lucky enough, Tong Ah moved a bit further inside the neighborhood but still nearbly.

As expected, the place was busy and there’s not much too see except for the serving station. A sight of the old kopitiam kettle is more than enough to tell you that they mean business but I saw also the sous vide machinery as well. That’s certainly for the soft boiled eggs!

The service was quick and concise but it would be great if you could bring a friend who speaks Chinese like I did back then. I was practically just sat down and waited for the food to come.

Tong Ah 3

Anyway, my milk coffee was just perfect. Some say that it’s a skill only owned by kopitiams who have their way of brewing coffee, although mostly use robusta beans.

The toast though, was not exactly as I expected. The usual ones I have are usually thinner and crispier, but Tong Ah’s kaya toast tasted like home, a bit thick and not too crispy.

Finally, it’s the egg. Unlike the warkop in Indonesia, we have to crack the eggs open by ourselves and despite using the sous vide (which I didn’t see personally), the egg was just lukewarm and uninspiring. It reached the much desired consistency at the very least.

So anyway, even though it was just a brief visit, it felt good to visit what Singaporeans are proud of one at a time. After chicken rice and kopitiam, perhaps chili crabs and raw fish porridge come next for my future visit. We shall see!

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TONG AH EATING HOUSE

Address:
35 Keong Saik (Siak) Road, Singapore

The Poetic Gourmet: Laksa Betawi Pak Ali

Sebagai residen tapal batas timur ibukota negeri ini, sudah sekian tahun mata ini memandangi pelbagai hidangan kaki lima yang lazim ditemui dimanapun.

Laksa Betawi Pak Ali 2

Tak disangka tak dinyana di suatu sore yang cerah, saya melewati satu gerobak yang didorong oleh bapak sepuh yang bersemangat menjajakan makanannya.

Mobilpun saya parkir dan dikejarlah sang bapak hingga masuk ke dalam gang. “Mari kita kembali ke arah mobil mas”, sahutnya melihat antusiasme saya. Tak sabar saya ingin mencicipi hidangannya!

Laksa Betawi Pak Ali 1

Ya, inilah Pak Ali dengan Laksa Betawi-nya yang, jujur bagi saya, sulit ditemui lagi dimanapun saya berpijak dalam keseharian saya. Dua puluh lima tahun beliau berdagang dan mungkin hanya dialah yang tersisa berjualan laksa.

Ketupat, bihun, oncom, kemangi, dan toge bercampur sudah dengan kuah laksa yang terdiri dari 20 jenis bumbu rahasia. Nikmat nian rasanya dan kenangan almarhumah nenek yang dahulu menjadi penggemar laksa PT Rasa seolah menyeruak kembali.

Haru biru dan kebahagiaan bercampur. Perut terisi penuh dan istripun berbahagia bersama nikmati satu mangkuk berdua. Terima kasih Pak Ali!

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LAKSA BETAWI PAK ALI
Halal-friendly
Suitable for vegetarian

Address:
Traveling around Cipinang Besar area, East Jakarta

T: +62.857.7117.3573

Opening hours: Daily, 12pm – 8pm

What Chef Eats: Antoine Audran (The Foodie Magazine, Dec 2014)

Forty years of experience working in many kitchens across the world and covering the roles as executive chef, restaurant owner, and spearheading the R&D about food are what that drew us to know more about Antoine Audran and what he really likes to eat here in Indonesia.

Antoine Audran 1

With a mixture of fluent Bahasa and English as well as his big stature, Chef Antoine Audran is easily recognized. Twenty years of living in Indonesia has brought him to get along very easily with the people anywhere and that’s what I saw when he greeted many fellow business owners inside Pasar Santa.

Quite recently he rented two kiosks and providing a good space for her wife to start her simple pasta business. “Whenever I’m here in Jakarta experimenting with produce that we got from the countryside, I will always be around here to drop by at my wife’s café and grazing around for good stuff around Pasar Santa”, says the chef who proudly admits that he can have his lunch three times when he’s with the right crowd.

You can say that Chef Antoine Audran is my personal hero on French food. Years ago, I was very fortunate to enjoy French dishes that he cooked personally at his former restaurant – Java Bleu. I never thought that real French food ultimately does not always require finesse with presentation, but it’s also like us here in Indonesian – the food has to be good and fulfilling!

Clearly, years of working with five-star establishments gave him clear understanding that eventually most people wanted their food to look more than a feast for the eyes.

Working in both France and England didn’t stop young Antoine to travel around the globe and heading to the unknown parts of the world during the era of dictators sometime around 30 years ago. “Not only in hot kitchens, I started early also to learn about managerial when I was assigned as the head chef to supervise airline meals owned by Air France back in Africa”, he says.

A few years later, Chef Antoine moved to Le Meridien Baghdad nearby the presidential palace where he often catered high ranking officials including Saddam Hussein himself. “Iraq was a beautiful country and I love the people so much. The food was unique and I was lucky to experience Iraq when it was still peaceful”, the chef reminisces.

Finally he set foot in Indonesia after a few years spell in Thailand and has done so many things from opening up his own restaurant and now in a food R&D business specializing with local produce. That’s also why we asked him to take us to his favorite local haunt for Indonesian food.

“I always enjoy the original Sate Padang Ajo Ramon here in Pasar Santa. We are lucky that it is not too crowded today!” he says while ordering a plate full of sate campur with rice cakes.

Well, there’s a reason why that he brought us there in the first place before off we went on to scour the lively Pasar Santa, grazing around what it has to offer, and of course, talking about food!

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Featured in THE FOODIE MAGAZINE December 2014 edition

Download it for free here via SCOOP!

Foodie Quotes #23

“The only think I like better than talking about Food is eating.”
- John Walters