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!

A Foodie’s Life: Sandra Djohan (The Foodie Magazine, May 2014)

Meet bubbly and bouncy chef, Sandra Djohan, as she takes us for a stroll down memory lane with her immense love for food, travel, and photography.

Chef Sandra Djohan
Chef Sandra Djohan

Behind the façade of Epilogue – a homey French restaurant with its joglo façade, lies a story of immense life experience from its chef and owner, Sandra Djohan. Despite the Javanese influence seen from the architecture and its classic tiles often found in colonial houses in the restaurant, you will also see traces of French mementos from trinkets and personal photos taken personally by the owner.

“Photography is my other hobby aside from traveling and cooking, and these used to be what I cling dearly during my rebellious adolescent years abroad”, confessed Sandra. During her initial years in the USA of being ‘disciplined’ in an academy, she developed her experience working in the school’s kitchen and also in her pastimes for traveling around America as much as possible.

Sandra Djohan 2 Sandra Djohan 1

Her thirst for adventure continued to strengthen as she reached her college years in London. “There was one time when I skipped the whole semester just to assist my lecturer for his photography project in South Africa. Without hesitation, I accepted the job right away!” said Sandra. She admits that wherever she goes, not only that she savors her day in taking photographs or merely enjoys the travel, but she mingles with the locals as well to learn how they cook their food.

How could she travel a lot back then as a college student? Sandra admits that she used to cook and sell Mexican lunchboxes to her friends while also doing the laundry and dishwashing as well for extra cash. “I topped up my allowances with these incomes so that I could travel around Europe. During which, I enjoyed my stay with the locals weekly in different places and learn a lot about them”, said the chef who excels in at least five languages.

Sandra Djohan 4 Sandra Djohan 3

Sandra’s many months in South Africa finally took its toll as her father Robby Djohan, the brilliant CEO of prominent companies in Indonesia, suddenly decided to visit Europe and also to attend her graduation ceremony in England. “You can’t imagine what it was like when my father found out that I was skipped uni!” shouted Sandra still horrified imagining how furious her father was back then.

Back home, she survived her years working and traveling locally until she would be given another opportunity to go abroad by her parents to take care of her younger sibling who was about to enter college in Australia. There, Sandra became more and more attached to cooking and finally after so many years of convincing her father, she displayed her real talent with it – still studying wherever she can, opened up restaurants, and just recently, published her own cook book called “From My Kitchen To Yours”.

"From My Kitchen To Yours" by Chef Sandra Djohan
“From My Kitchen To Yours” by Chef Sandra Djohan

“The book is basically about everyday recipes that you can follow easily”, announced Sandra during her book launching event on a separate occasion. Currently she’s also preparing for another book based on her inspiration drawn from the travels.

“One of the most exciting things I still do on my weekends is the Sunday Drunk!” says Sandra explaining this particular inspiration she got when back in France. During Sunday Drunk, usually she teams up with other 20 or 30 chefs and they cook all day at a friend’s house or anybody who got a good kitchen. “We take turns cooking, eating, and sharing the secrets about our recipes. Some of them even came from Michelin-starred restaurants and they don’t mind sharing the techniques with everyone!” admitted Sandra.

Here, she tried also to reenact that moment almost every Sunday with her closest friends and family members. “One rule of thumb is that you cannot take a shower to start your day and just go straight to the kitchen to cook and eat together!” she said merrily laughing. For her, sharing the ideas and recipes on this kind of occasion will educate and inspire everyone to cook better.

When asked about her future plans, she said, “I used to live by the moment when I was younger, but now I’d love to study more to become a better chef and one day I will open up my own cooking school and have my skillful chef friends as the tutors there!”

For that she just acquired herself a good place to start on an undisclosed area in Jakarta. Upon her return next year from her study which she will start around November this year, we might see great things coming up from our effervescent chef, Sandra Djohan.


Featured in THE FOODIE MAGAZINE May 2014 edition

Download it for free here via SCOOP!

Photos by: Dennie Benedict, Rian Farisa, and Sandra Djohan’s personal collections

How It Was Started: Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream

Never before I found myself thinking at how could the Brits invented something so monumental in the culinary world other than the French. And this is why I should tell you about a lady once known as Agnes Marshall and her ice cream affairs, involving liquid nitrogen.

Agnes Marshall

The molecular gastronomy technique may perhaps was made known by Hervé This several decades ago and even more popular by celebrity chefs such as Heston Blumenthal or Ferran Adria. But many don’t know it was originally a Victorian era lady who actually invented the instant freeze technique for ice cream.

Of course it is also hard not to credit the French or the Austrian who were known for their excellence in culinary fields since long ago. It was also true that Agnes Marshall was once educated in Paris and Vienna. So there you go, a credit for you dear continental friends!

Liquid Nitrogen Ice Creams from Ron's Laboratory
Liquid Nitrogen Ice Creams from Ron’s Laboratory


However, the credit eventually goes back for Agnes Marshall as quoted from Hervé This’ book “Kitchen Mysteries: Revealing The Science of Cooking”:

“In 1901, at the Royal Institution of London, Agnes B. Marshall invented an ideal method for preparing ice cream or sorbet. It is ideal because, using her process, the ice crystals are tiny, as desired, and the preparation is extremely light because of the countless air bubbles introduced into it. And last but not least, the preparation can be made at the table, before your guests, in a few seconds. What is this marvelous contribution to gastronomy?

Agnes Marshall proposed abandoning the classic, old-fashioned ice cream maker for liquid air, or, more precisely, liquid nitrogen. This transparent liquid, present in all chemistry and physics laboratories, is nothing other than nitrogen from air that has been cooled to -196C. I do not have to tell you that that is very cold.

When it is (slowly) poured into a preparation for ice cream or sorbet, it vaporizes immediately, absorbing the preparation’s heat and instantly freezing it. Penetrated by the cold, the preparation becomes filled with tiny ice crystals, while the liquid air passes into a gaseous state; the air bubbles are trapped in the ice cream or sorbet.

The whole thing takes place in an impressive cloud of white mist, the same kind that is used in shooting films when the director asks for fog. A guaranteed success!”

Liquid Nitrogen Strawberry Ice Cream from LIN
Liquid Nitrogen Strawberry Ice Cream from LIN

That’s how impressively Hervé This described the whole invention done by Agnes Marshall so poetically that will surely make any scientific, nerdy, dessert-loving people run right away to the nearest ice cream parlor. That’s how we cherish upon the invention made by the lady, even I found from one source who describes Agnes Marshall as an “ice cream hottie”.

In addition to that, Agnes Marshall also published books about ice cream and cookery while also living a unique life at that time as a public lecturer, cooking instructor, and also running a school of cookery. It is much like nowadays dream job for young aspiring chefs in Indonesia, more than a century later after Mrs Marshall.

Halal-Certified Restaurants: South Sulawesi – Indonesia (per August 2014)

List of MUI halal-certified restaurants in the province of South Sulawesi as per August 2014, sourced from DetikFood and Halal Corner:

    CV Azzahra Kembang Doery
    Jl. Takalar 3 Blok L 151, BSP, Makassar
    Rice Chicken
    Jl. Talasalapang No. 1 A, Makassar
    Rumah Makan Katedoe Resto (CV Katedoe Kasih Jaya)
    Jl. Baiturrahman No. 4, Makassar
    Waroeng Steak & Shake
    Jl. Boulevard Blok A3 No. 5, Makassar
    Jl. Merdeka No. 46, Makale, Tana Toraja
    Mitra Patma
    Jl. Ampera No. 21, Makale, Tana Toraja
    Warung Makan ‘Bengawan Solo’
    Jl. Nusantara No. 61, Tana Toraja



Cover Feature: Craving For Crustaceans – Seafood 45 (The Foodie Magazine, May 2014)

Seafood 45 2

Let’s call it, splurging economically, wanting to spend a bigger budget but still not breaking the bank. I’m sure you can relate to this. Seafood hawkers are among the best choices to splurge economically. They are lively, have plenty of dish options, and of course, have crustaceans every day!

Among the top favorites, people may go for are boiled shrimps. You may even witness people who only eat so many shrimps without rice! Crab is of course, are a highly prized treat that people reserve for special occasions. For that, we decided to savor the crab dish with Padang sauce from Seafood 45, just a few hundred meters away before Cipete intersection if you’re coming from Blok M.

Seafood 45 1

Considering the moderate size, the flesh was pretty abundant for two people, especially if you’re the type who fancies sucking it down from the tiny crevices. In addition, the sweet and savory butter-sauce stir-fry prawns were also a delectable option. We all do love to have something rather sweet in nature especially after the fiery Padang sauce of the crab. Complement it all with the vegetables and warm rice, and that’s pretty much it – your once-in-a-while luxury right down in the neighborhood on the side of the street.


Unsuitable for vegetarians

Jalan R.S. Fatmawati no. 45, Jakarta – Indonesia
T: +62.21.9530.5999

Opening hours:
Everyday – dinner only


Featured in THE FOODIE MAGAZINE May 2014 edition

Download it for free here via SCOOP!

Photos by: Dennie Benedict

Mandala 4

Iconic: Mandala (The Foodie Magazine, May 2014)

While so many other Chinese restaurants battle their way for hegemony in shopping malls or exclusively around the northern part of the city, Mandala appears content and flourishes around the Jalan Wolter Monginsidi strip in-between other restaurants of so many genres in South Jakarta.

Mandala 3

Colorful answers are what you will hear whenever you ask about Mandala. Testimonials like “Yeah, they have a really good sop tahu (tofu soup)” or wonderful descriptions for the rest of Mandala’s dishes will definitely intrigue those have only heard about their reputation.

Another noteworthy part of Mandala is that people would also talk about the restaurant’s eclectic décor and the use of practically anything kitschy they would find to decorate every conceivable angle inside the restaurant. That makes Mandala a bit out of ordinary for a Chinese restaurant.

Mandala 5

I remember something about a Chinese restaurant back in my hometown that gave me the same impression when I first encountered Mandala. You know, an office-like exterior, with huge tinted glass doors and old style square-shaped door knobs
that feel like you’re entering Hong Kong soap opera restaurant scenes – something that I remember watching regularly when I was little.

How Mandala became successful like this was actually a long journey for the late owner, Mr. Samuel Darius, and it started during his teenage years in the 50s. Mr. Samuel started the business alongside his brother at Jalan Sabang area, which is now famed as the hawkers center in Jakarta, selling noodles from his pushcart. Aside from the fried noodles, they are also known for their delicious chicken porridge and nasi tim (Chinese-style steamed chicken rice), even until this very day!

In 1978, Mr. Samuel opened Mandala, as what we know today, and actively took care of it every day, until his last years only from home. It was said that the staff usually brought several dishes for him to sample each day as a standard measurement.

Mandala 1

As of this day, Mandala successfully maintains around 200 dishes available every day from early morning until late night service. People will come and go in the morning for a bowl of hot porridge or nasi tim, but for lunch and dinner, you might want to arrive a tad earlier because it gets full so quickly. Alternatively though, it seems that some customers usually opt for take away or delivery instead. Even one of their loyal customers from as far as Condet in the outskirts of Jakarta chooses to have a single portion of nasi tim delivered there!

During our visit and in accordance to our seafood theme for this issue, Mandala presented us with some of the best from their frutti di mare collections – such as their savory seafood fried rice and ifumie (crispy noodles showered with seafood and vegetables). On another occasion I particularly enjoyed their unparalleled tofu soup that has a powerful flavor from salted cuttlefish and sea cucumber that blend well with the broth, as well as the use of silk squash to give it a more Chinese-style flavor.

Mandala 2

Those dishes are simply a fraction from other abundant options that you can explore every day from Mandala and a fruit of labor from the late owner for so many decades. Even though a year has passed, Mr. Samuel’s legacy keeps going strong and Mandala will always be the dear of so many of its fans in Jakarta and far beyond.


Halal-friendly (there might still be the use of angciu)
Some menu are suitable for vegetarians

Jalan Wolter Monginsidi no. 80, Jakarta – Indonesia

RSVP: +62.21.314.2570

Opening hours:
Wed- Mon, 8am – 10pm (closed on Tue)


Featured in THE FOODIE MAGAZINE May 2014 edition

Download it for free here via SCOOP!

Photos by: Dennie Benedict