Flavor Preview: Fish Cakes (Otak Otak Si Dia, Jakarta)

Fish Cake
Fish Cake

Used to be a white-collar worker for a few years back around Sudirman – Jakarta and it was the time when I had my fun with office canteens, snacks from office pantry, street foods, and also restaurants around working premises. Even with all that fun, one thing that I really miss was the moment when I ascend or descend the lengthy crossing bridges on Sudirman Street only to smell fish cakes wrapped in banana leaves being grilled by the sellers on their bicycles. Just the smell of it drives me crazy, even so I’d rather have real fish cakes back home or bought from a quality vendor instead.

Until one time, I had the chance to taste the 4,000 rupiah worth of fish cake each from Otak Otak Si Dia. Yes, it’s a catchy name but it does sell good stuffs. Made from a mixture paste between mackerel and Asiatic spices, these otak otak has always been a great choice anytime anywhere. Otak Otak Si Dia’s version has exactly what I need from fish cake – right degree of chewiness, grilled moderately, fragrant, and dense, making the every bite of it fulfilling. Moreover, the fish cakes came with two kinds of sauce – spicy red chili sauce with vinegar and the original peanut sauce. It’s a treat indeed as most fish cakes are only accompanied with peanut sauce only.

Oh how they can mix up these unusually set of characters in the sauces with their ever-tempting fish cakes. It may be a tad too spicy with the red sauce so all you got to do is just dunk it in with the original sauce, or simply have it your own way. A box full of delights was delivered overnight but all it took was just for 10 minutes for us here at home to savor it completely.

Now that I’m talking about it, I’m gonna have to order some again soon! Can’t wait to have my snacking time again with these babies.

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OTAK OTAK SI DIA
Halal-friendly
Unsuitable for vegetarians
Delivery only

T:  +62.21.2617.0180

Website
Email 
Twitter

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Image courtesy of The Yummy Traveler

The Haute Cuisine Experience: The Delightful French Cuisine Inspirations by Chef Michel Portos

Michel Portos - Preparation

The year of 2012 was a bountiful year of experience, especially because it’s the very year where I had great opportunities to encounter a handful of great one-star Michelin chefs and an exciting visit to celebrity chef restaurants back at Marina Bay Sands Singapore. For this particular chef, much to my surprise that I have not yet posted the story about it until now even though in fact it’s my very first dueling with great dishes from a two-stars Michelin chef.

His name’s, Michel Portos.

The dinner service was at full-house capacity that night and it brought me joy to see that as now people had become very keen to seek higher appreciation of quality fine-dining experience in Indonesia, especially with rare visits of Michelin-starred chefs like this one. It’s been quite a journey for myself also since the program inception at Mandarin Oriental Jakarta where I had been experiencing the wizardry of Nicolas Isnard, Fabien Lefebvre, Jerome Laurent, Laurent Bernard, Lionel Levy, Richard Toix, and now this famous guy from France!

Michel Portos himself is a powerhouse name back in France, even though many chefs attained achievements ahead of him. His prized restaurant of Côté Théâtre in Perpignan was awarded two stars by Michelin and additionally, Gault & Millau awarded him as the 2012 Chef of the Year. Previously, his appearance in Master Chef France was also a huge contribution for his career as all eyes set on him. Of course, it was very symbolic as French people are amongst those who appreciate food at an ‘extreme’ level in modern society nowadays.

Monsieur Portos visit a few months ago was a complete joy as I had the privilege to freely choose his dishes without the need to stick with three or four-course rule or even degustation stuffs. Therefore I designed my alternatives well and if curiosity still rules then I’m up for the another challenge!

Seared foie gras, Moroccan style
Seared foie gras, Moroccan style

The first one came from the exotic French delicacy of goose heart, seared, and seasoned Moroccan style. It’s another new version of  foie gras for me. Well personally, I like my foie gras lightly seared to maintain the fat and juiciness. Mr Portos’ version came in quite the exact and he added it with dates, chili powder, and curry powder for the Maghreb flavor. Furthermore, he added diced cucumber and onions for the neutralizer but also, it’s all lightly showered with balsamic vinegar for a refreshing sour kick. Not bad for a starter!

Butternut squash ravioli with black truffle
Butternut squash ravioli with black truffle

But what I really liked from the appetizers would be Mr Portos interpretation of ravioli.  Well, it’s not the usual pasta texture but it’s more like a wonton skin blanketing an awesome butternut squash puree with black truffles in it. How elegantly sweet the taste was! The piquant smell from the dish was a credit for Aragonese truffle oil and I was in love with it.

Three is a party and it truly was for the main course!

Yes, I had the privilege to taste all the proteins Mr Portos had delicately prepared.  There’s this pan-seared john dory, asparagus, and great raw sea urchin with its creamy seasoning. Well, not bad if I say so myself. Making it even more Japanese, thanks to the inspirations he got from his travels there, Mr Portos put some wasabi oil to give a unique ending for the brave dish.

Beef with a taste of a pizza
Beef with a taste of a pizza f

Mr Portos creative flair continued with a steak dish called ‘beef with a taste of pizza’. The beef may be only pan-seared but what he really wanted to achieve would be the Italian flavor that we all knew very well from the topping of the most ubiquitous dish on the planet Earth. He accomplished that through an amazing concoction of tomato concasse, rocket, arugula to give a slightly bitter taste, anchovies for the saltiness, olives, and shaved grana padano cheese. Ate it all altogether with the meat and I was an Italian signore in an instant. Astonishing!

However, the main cast of the show should be given for the lamb dish. Diced carrots and onions with a cleverly-proportioned sauce consisted of curry, caraway, coriander, coconut milk and mustard were all topped with perfectly pan-seared and then grilled lamb. It was simply the climax of the opera performance and I enjoyed it as long as I can even though the desserts appeared also well-crafted and complex from what I had heard.

For the desserts, I found that a specific role assigned for a Pastry Chef to prepare the desserts have become more familiar lately. I remembered my visit last time to db Bistro Moderne back in Singapore. The ‘Superb’ Chef Stephane Istel left this role for a highly talented pastry chef whom I regretfully forgot his name was. This time Mr Portos had the honor shared with Mr Sebastien Bertin. Although in overall I enjoyed the creations back at db Bistro Moderne better but Mr Bertin crafty work should also not be taken lightly.

Chocolate and raspberry with scum of fresh thyme
Chocolate and raspberry with scum of fresh thyme

Among the four desserts that I had, I found the baba bouchon to be the most delightful one. Soaked with caramel overnight and added with banana compote, chantilly cream and vanilla seeds with pistacchio, this dessert was already a star even before I set my eyes upon it.

Other desserts were also no less complex. There’s this Valrhona dark chocolate with raspberry sorbet; Saffron jelly with tuille, orange cubes, orange sauce, and black tea ice cream; and finally the eclectic Granny Smith apples with simple syrup all uniquely combined with sesame tuille, celery sorbet, and celery compote. It may be a bit weird especially for the celery-ish part but above all, I was really thankful with the whole experience from Mr Bertin at this part in particular.

It was a great presentation by Mr Portos although his style may sound simple but it was all delicately prepared. True to his words, there’s no actual need for emphasizing the beauty in presentation but everything can represented by unique flavors and inspired creativity. All I can say is that my experience in handling cool dishes of Michelin’s quality is improving day by day thanks to these beautiful people who keep on motivating my curiosity with their flairs!

Looking forward for the next event in 2013 at Lyon, Mandarin Oriental Jakarta, where they have already officially scheduled two amazing chefs from France again. First, it would be another two-starred chef Mr Olivier Bellin and then the famous Thierry Marx of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Paris! As for the rest? We’ll just keep it a secret first. 🙂

So, it’s gonna be an awesome year ahead and you gotta stick with me again sometime soon for the whole story!

Cuisine Enchantment (Dreams, Vol III / Issue 4 – 2013)

Marina Bay Sands - Overview (Credit for Timothy Hursley)

As a global city, Singapore, as we all know is geared as a hub of commerce with its buzzing businesses, piercing skyscrapers and advanced tourism. Now, Singapore’s hegemony in the region is further strengthened by the presence of Marina Bay Sands.

True to form, Marina Bay Sands has become a mecca for the avid gastronome. Top international chefs such as Daniel Boulud, Guy Savoy, Tetsuya Wakuda, Mario Batali and Wolfgang Puck have opened their restaurants here and quickly attract visitors who wish to savor high class dining experience. The hotel itself has a number of very successful F&B outlets which cater to the myriad of guests in this almost 3,000 room property. Daily the hotel serves up thousands of meals all very well orchestrated by its expert team of chefs. We might ponder on how they could possibly run a vast operation involving the upkeep of every aspect of a structure this massive alongside thousands of guests and staffs to be this smooth.

Manning the F&B ship expertly is Mr Tamir Shanel, who is Vice President for Food and Beverage. Starting from pre-operations, Mr Shanel has overseen all aspects of the department with a deft hand. His critical involvement includes planning, day-to-day operations of all F&B programs from in-room dining all the way to the celebrity chef restaurants, casino restaurants, and banquets are indeed of great importance. ‘The celebrity chef restaurant concept is definitely the most interesting part of all and also the latest innovation of today’s hospitality business. I’m proud that we can introduce this to Singapore’, said Mr Shanel, who spearheaded the success of this venture by bringing six world class chefs to a single property.

The technicalities of this huge operation are ably run by Executive Chef Christopher Christie. His domain is the underground Heart-of-House, an immense labyrinth that serves as the soul of Marina Bay Sands. He and his team take great care of the eating and drinking needs of the hotel’s guests as well as the 7,000 plus employees who work there. One can only imagine the logistical complexities of this operation at this scale – from managing ingredients storerooms, preparation kitchens and staff meals, to fulfilling the needs from the guests, every single day! A job of this magnitude requires him to walk over 15 kilometers a day to oversee everything. It is indeed an admirable effort for this high-spirited chef to be able to manage everything smoothly.

MBS - Rise Restaurant and Lounge

Clearly, the hotel F&B outlets become the first choice for anyone staying at the trio towers. For all-day dining, Rise is definitely the busiest place as it caters most of the patrons with quality service and politeness. The food is not lacking of praise as Rise marries a vast array of fares successfully between Chinese, Indian, and Western. Putting more emphasis on Asian food, Rise offers the popular selection of sushi and sashimi, roast duck, tandoori, noodles, spring rolls, Singaporean laksa ,and many more.

Western fare is also very well represented with widespread option of cold cuts, smoked haddock and gravlax, a la minute pasta, raw seafood, lamb rack, prime ribs, and the sweet note ending of bread and butter pudding alongside other inviting desserts.

MBS - Rise Restaurant Buffet Spread

Fuse can be a good choice to relish your personal concoction of drinks wile SweetSpot offers a wide range of pastries and chocolates expertly crafted by Executive Pastry Chef, the talented Mr Ryan Witcher. Additionally, Jin Shan is there as a fine option for a high class Chinese cuisine.

A visit to Sky on 57 is probably one of the most stunning experiences one can have while at Marina Bay Sands. Located literally on the top most level of the hotel, the restaurant boasts 360 degree views of the city and the sea. The 12,000 square feet restaurant boasts a bar and lounge that greets guests upon arrival, a main dining area with four private rooms, and lastly, the outdoor terraces with their million dollar views. Chef Justin Quek, may appear quite eccentric with the Elvis-style sleeves of his chef’s jacket and his trademark quirky smile but with his extensive experience and skillful creativity, make Sky on 57 a genuine delight to visit. Chef Justin’s creations resound loudly with a modern Asia flair fused with his mastery of French cuisine. His interesting interpretations of Nordic crab vermicelli, Maine lobster Hokkien mee, and Wagyu beef rendang are among that should not be missed. Quite recently, he also invented Lobster ‘Marco Polo’ using the XO sauce and his signature foie gras xiao long bao. For the dessert, French’s macarons are incorporated with pandan and gula jawa or the palm sugar brought special from Java, Indonesia.

MBS - Sky on 57 Interior

Aside from Sky on 57, other celebrity chef restaurants are also forces to be reckoned with. The traditional Italian spirit Osteria/Pizzeria Mozza, supreme steaks at CUT, Japanese-French unique fusion at Waku Ghin, and skillful French at Guy Savoy and db Bistro Moderne would be an experience that may happen only at Marina Bay Sands.

Marina Bay Sands stands tall and proud as a symbol of luxury and grandeur. It indeed services varied needs to many, its completeness is unparalleled and it is managed adepty by people of immense experience and knowledge. Yet still, Marina Bay Sands continues to expand and evolve, to make sure that its guests and patrons are very well served. Surely they will continue to unveil surprises in the culinary scene and further extend the reach of its domination around the region.

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Marina Bay Sands

10 Bayfront Avenue – Singapore 018956

+62.6688.8888

http://marinabaysands.com

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Pictures courtesy of Marina Bay Sands

Featured in Dreams magazine – Cravings Edition, Vol III / Issue 4 – 2013

Staycation: The Trans Luxury Hotel – Bandung, Indonesia (Trans Group) (Kabare, December 2012)

The Trans Hotel - The Spa

Perkembangan pariwisata di Bandung telah mencapai puncaknya dalam beberapa tahun belakangan ini. Mulai dari hotel budget hingga hotel berbintang telah melakoni kekuatan dan ciri khasnya masing-masing di berbagai wilayah Kota Kembang ini. Tapi di antara semua itu, baru pertama dan satu-satunya hingga saat ini yang memberanikan diri berintegrasi dengan sebuah kawansan yang terdiri dari berbagai fasilitas seperti mall dan theme park. Itulah The Trans Luxury Hotel.

Bandung Supermal (BSM) telah dikenal masyarakat Bandung belasan tahun terakhir sebagai salah satu mall favorit di wilayah Bandung Selatan. Keunggulannya sejak dulu adalah infrastrukturnya yang sudah dirancang komplit, siap menampung kapasitas besar serta menempati lahan yang luas sehingga menjadikan siapapun yang hendak mengembangkan potensi ini bisa jadi akan melakukan sebuah gebrakan yang belum pernah terjadi sebelumnya di kota ini.

The Trans Hotel - The Grand Ballroom Foyer The Trans Hotel - 18th Club Lounge

Adalah seorang Chairul Tanjung, seorang pebisnis yang terkenal dengan perusahaan media dan perbankannya, yang dengan jeli memanfaatkan peluang ini. Dalam waktu yang terbilang singkat, ia berhasil menyulap mall ini dengan renovasi ulang sehingga lebih modern, serta dilengkapi theme park Trans Studio keduanya setelah buka di Makassar beberapa tahun silam. Tidak hanya itu, lengkap sudah akhirnya kawasan terpadu ini dengan keberadaan sebuah hotel mewah perdana dari grup konglomerasi ini.

Sambutan yang elegan

The Trans Luxury Hotel diresmikan Juni lalu oleh Presiden RI, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono beserta segenap jajaran menteri dan petinggi propinsi Jawa Barat. Dengan tagline ‘Pride of Indonesia’, hotel ini memililki kapasitas 282 kamar eksklusif di bangunan setinggi 18 lantai. Dari penampilan luar, The Trans Luxury Hotel berdiri megah dengan warna merah yang eksplisit menyimbolkan kemewahan.

The Trans Hotel - The Grand Ballroom The Trans Hotel - The Beach Pool

Memasuki lobinya maupun kamarnya, pengunjung akan disambut dengan lantai Serpiente yang merupakan salah satu jenis marmer khusus dari Italia yang eksklusif. Selain itu aksen-aksen khas negeri Tiongkok juga cukup kental mewarnai lobi hotel ini, seperti contohnya Crystal Dragon setinggi 11 meter yang dibuat dari kristal-kristal Swarovski. Meja resepsionisnya saja dihias oleh lukisan dengan gaya Cina yang dikreasikan selama tiga bulan. Konon lukisannya menyimbolkan gotong royong, kerja keras, dan kemakmuran.

Pesona hotel berbintang enam

Pesona itu terus berlanjut hingga ke kamar tidurnya yang sudah mengikuti tren masa kini dengan berbagai fitur menarik di dalamnya. Setiap kamar memiliki TV layar LED berukuran 46’ yang interaktif, amenities dari Acqua di Parma, tempat tidur mewah dengan seprai dari katun Mesir, docking station khusus berbagai peranti Apple (iPod, iPhone, dan iPad), internet bebas pakai di seluruh area, serta hal-hal lainnya yang tentunya menambah nilai dari pengalaman menginap para tamunya.

Khusus untuk Presidential Suite-nya yang hanya berjumlah satu ini dan dibanderol dengan harga 25 juta rupiah untuk semalam ini memiliki living room sekaligus dining room yang terpisah . Begitu pula untuk Celebrity Suite yang merupakan satu kelas di bawahnya dengan living room eksklusif yang terpisah. Kedua jenis kamar ini dilengkapi dengan butler khusus yang siap melayani 24 jam, Jacuzzi, dan dapur mini.

Untuk kebutuhan MICE yang kini semakin tinggi di keseharian dunia bisnis di Bandung, The Trans Luxury Hotel juga tidak ketinggalan mempersembahan convention center raksasa yang berkapasitas hingga 4,000 orang dengan akses langsung ke mall. Pilihan berikutnya tentu jatuh ke Grand Ballroom yang bisa menampung hingga 2,000 orang serta 18 board room khusus untuk berbagai keperluan meeting. Selain menggunakan ballroom bagian terrace garden hotel ini juga bisa difungsikan untuk berbagai acara outdoor mulai dari barbeque party hingga pesta pernikahan.

Tujuan prima pesiar kuliner dan wisata belanja

Sudah barang tentu tidak lengkap bila melewati bagian berwisata di kawasan terpadu ini. Pertama adalah mengunjungi bagian mall-nya yang kini berubah nama menjadi Trans Studio Mall (TSM).  TSM kini telah menjelma menjadi mall yang modern dengan berbagai toko bermerk, pilihan pesiar kuliner yang tidak terbatas, hingga tentunya bioskop. Namun yang tidak boleh ketinggalan bila tengah menginap di sini adalah untuk mengunjungi Trans Studio yang memiliki wahana bermain hingga berjumlah puluhan.

The Trans Luxury - 18th Lounge The Trans Hotel - The Restaurant

Untuk pilihan kuliner di hotel sendiri terdapat The 18th Restaurant and Lounge yang terletak di rooftop hotel. The 18th Restaurant and Lounge tidak hanya berpenampilan romantis dengan konsep candle light dinner tapi juga menyediakan spot outdoor dimana kita dapat menikmati panorama kota Bandung yang disertai hidangan-hidangan lezat. The 18th Restaurant menyediakan berbagai hidangan masakan Barat dan Jepang seperti pan fried foie gras, apple compote, dan juga daging sapi Wagyu yang dipanggang sempurna. Untuk menu lokal, tentu tidak ketinggalan sop buntutnya yang banyak direkomendasikan para pengunjung setianya.

Elegan, mewah dan eksklusif, begitulah kedatangan megah hotel perdana Trans Group di kota Bandung ini. Dengan ini kota Bandung sudah mencapai sebuah era baru dan keberadaan kompleks terpadu ini tentu telah membawa sebuah konsep segar dalam membangun industri pariwisatanya lebih jauh lagi.

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THE TRANS LUXURY HOTEL

Jalan Jend. Gatot Subroto no. 289

Bandung – Indonesia

+62.22.8734.8888

http://www.thetranshotel.com/

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Featured on Kabare – December 2012 Edition

Pictures courtesy of The Trans Luxury Hotel

The Haute Cuisine Experience: Will and Will Gala Dinner at JCF 2012

GFGFGL, TGA, WW, Wanderbites (Photo courtesy of Wanderbites)

Perhelatan akbar dua tahun sekali di bidang kuliner yang dinamakan Jakarta Culinary Festival diadakan di mall Grand Indonesia selama sebulan penuh beberapa waktu yang lalu. Festival ini menampilkan warna warni kiprah dari berbagai chef berbakat dalam dan luar negeri, demo memasak, kelas kopi, wine tasting, dan berbagai kegiatan lainnya begitu menarik minat masyarakat yang kini sedang mengalami ‘demam’ eksplorasi kuliner.

Salah satu acara yang merupakan highlight dari keseluruhan festival ini adalah jamuan makan malam pembuka istimewa yang dipersembahkan khusus oleh duet chef terkenal asal Indonesia yaitu William Wongso serta chef asal Australia yang tengah naik daun, Will Meyrick. Kolaborasi yang dinamakan Will & Will ini tentu bukan tanpa maksud. Keduanya adalah chef yang piawai dalam memasak makanan khas Indonesia dan menorehkan nama dari sepak terjangnya ini.

William Wongso kerap menjadi duta negara Indonesia di berbagai perhelatan kuliner mancanegara serta semangatnya dalam mempromosikan ragam masakan Indonesia dari segala penjuru tanah air tidak perlu diragukan lagi. Sedangkan pasangannya Will Meyrick adalah otak di balik kesuksesan dua restoran terkenal di Bali yaitu Sarong dan Mama San, yang mengkhususkan pada masakan Asia Tenggara. Tentu ini menjadi keunikan tersendiri, karena chef berdarah Skotlandia ini memiliki minat yang teramat besar pada kuliner Asia Tenggara seperti masakan Thai, Vietnam, Burma, serta tentunya Indonesia.

Acara makan malam kali ini sungguh semarak karena dihadiri juga oleh Menteri Pariwisata dan Ekonomi Kreatif, Mari Elka Pangestu, serta segenap tamu seperti para chef top dari dalam dan luar negeri, media, serta para blogger. Makanan Indonesia tentu menjadi tema malam itu dan apa yang dipersiapkan oleh duet chef ini ternyata mengejutkan dan sangat eksploratif. Tidak hanya mereka mempersembahkan masakan Indonesia dengan kreasi masing-masing namun juga membawa serta inspirasi dari seluruh penjuru tanah air!

Sungguh lain dari biasanya dimana pada umumnya jamuan makan formal menggunakan set menu yang terdiri dari tiga hingga lima course. Namun kali ini untuk keseluruhan dari appetizer hingga dessert, semuanya berjumlah belasan dan berasal dari berbagai propinsi yang berbeda!

Sop Biji Biji Ternate (Photo courtesy of Wanderbites)
Sop Biji-Biji Ternate (Photo courtesy of Wanderbites)

Sebagai pembuka saja William Wongso memperkenalkan Sup Biji-Biji Ternate yang ringan dan menyerupai sup bakso bening namun menggunakan kenari dan ikan sebagai bahan dasarnya. Tidak lama beliau juga memperkenalkan Mentho Yogya yang jujur saja baru saya temui kali ini. Penampilan dan komposisi hidangan yang serupa bacang ini dimasak dengan cara dipepes. Hasilnya adalah rasa daging yang kaya sekaligus kelembutan dan rasa manis yang cukup dominan sungguh memberikan sensasi tersendiri bagi sebuah makanan pembuka!

Mentho Yogya (Photo courtesy of Wanderbites)
Mentho Yogya (Photo courtesy of Wanderbites)
Burung Puyuh Tangkap Aceh (Photo courtesy of Wanderbites)
Burung Puyuh Tangkap Aceh (Photo courtesy of Wanderbites)

Masih di fase ini, Will Meyrick mengeluarkan jurus pembukanya dengan Burung Puyuh Tangkap Aceh dan memiliki karakter rasa yang berbeda dengan Mentho Yogya. Di sini rasa asin gurih dari burung puyuh diiringi rasa pedas dari daun kari, renyahnya daun pandan, dan segarnya limau. Perpaduan ini jelas unik dan merupakan pembuka yang menggoda dari beragamnya kekhasan kuliner Indonesia.

Konro Sulawesi (Photo courtesy of Wanderbites)
Konro Bakar Sulawesi (Photo courtesy of Wanderbites)
Udang Asam Pedas (Photo courtesy of Wanderbites)
Udang Asam Pedas (Photo courtesy of Wanderbites)

Meskipun demikian, justru ini belum ada apa-apanya dibandingkan dengan menu-menu utama yang berdatangan berikutnya. Udang Asam Pedas ala Will Meyrick datang dengan kekuatan dahsyat dan segera digabungkan dengan Konro Bakar Sulawesi yang empuk dan tebal dengan saus kacangnya yang manis gurih. Begitu pula dengan Gulai Kambing Banda Aceh-nya yang kaya rempah serta Bebek Goreng Tiga Sambal Indonesia seperti sambal matah, merah, dan hijau. Sungguh memesona!

Gulai Kambing Banda Aceh (Photo courtesy of Wanderbites)
Gulai Kambing Banda Aceh (Photo courtesy of Wanderbites)
Bebek Goreng Tiga Sambal (Photo courtesy of Wanderbites)
Bebek Goreng Tiga Sambal Indonesia (Photo courtesy of Wanderbites)

Sementara dari kubu William Wongso, beliau menyambut dengan jurus-jurus pamungkas seperti Tiram Goreng Tepung Pacri Melayu dan Ikan Tenggiri Masak Tauco Tangerang yang luar biasa lezatnya. Beliau mencatat, ‘Saya menggunakan tauco yang hanya terdapat di Tangerang. Ini merupakan masakan perpaduan etnis Cina Benteng dengan masyarakat setempat. Sangat menarik!’. Tentunya percakapan ini berasal dari betapa kagumnya saya dengan citarasa tauco yang beda dengan yang biasanya dan betapa nikmatnya ketika dipadukan dengan ikan tenggiri segar ini.

Tiram Goreng Tepung Pacri Melayu (Photo courtesy of Wanderbites)
Tiram Goreng Tepung Pacri Melayu (Photo courtesy of Wanderbites)
Kering Ubi Ungu (Photo courtesy of Wanderbites)
Kering Ubi Ungu (Photo courtesy of Wanderbites)

Sementara itu hidangan yang tidak kalah menarik adalah Oseng Jambal Pancing Cabe Hijau dimana rasa jambal terasa lebih elegan dari biasanya. Konon William Wongso sengaja memilih ikan terbaik dan membutuhkan proses tersendiri dibandingkan jambal yang biasa diproduksi para nelayan pada umumnya. Sungguh semuanya terasa nikmat apalagi dalam menu jambal ini terdapat banyak petai yang siapapun pasti tidak akan melewatkannya!

Bahai Me Bolu, Klepon, Kue Deto (Photo courtesy of Wanderbites)
Bahai Me Bolu, Klepon, Kue Deto (Photo courtesy of Wanderbites)

Sebagai penutupnya, kue-kue basah khas Indonesia menyambut kami dengan suka hati. Bahai Me Bolu, Klepon, serta Kue Deto terlihat menggoda meskipun saya sudah terlampau penuh dengan kreasi-kreasi hebat duet chef ini. Tapi yang tidak saya lewatkan adalah Kue Lumpur Kinca Duren yang nikmat sebagai penutup.

Pengalaman yang luar biasa ini masih berbekas kuat di ingatan saya sekaligus kelezatan tiap masakannya seolah masih terasa di lidah. William Wongso dan Will Meyrick dengan segenap pengalaman dan kecintaannya terhadap kuliner Indonesia telah mengajarkan kembali kepada saya untuk lebih mengapresiasi apa yang telah kita miliki selama ini di tanah air yang kaya raya ini. Betapa kayanya khazanah kuliner Indonesia dari Sabang sampai Merauke dan belasan hidangan yang saya cicipi malam itu jelas hanya sebagian kecil saja. Itupun sudah luar biasa!

Jelas ini menjadi sebuah pembelajaran bahwa eksplorasi kuliner tidak mesti selalu melihat apa yang bangsa lain telah capai dan justru di sinilah kesempatan kita untuk memunculkan kebanggaan kita sebagai bagian dari bangsa yang besar ini. Pertanyaannya adalah apakah kita segenap hati dan kekuatan untuk menggali potensi ini sepenuhnya? Mari kita tunjukkan kehebatan terpendam yang dimiliki negeri khatulistiwa kita yang tercinta ini!

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Pictures courtesy of Fellexandro Ruby, a talented food blogger and photographer known as Wanderbites!