That should make you want to immediately romancing with the whole movie, right? I have to thank the unknown guy who gave the effort to edit the scenes and presented it to us so neatly.
To make it official by the way, here’s the real trailer for you to see.
Now, let’s cut the chase and allow me to share my thoughts about this film, just briefly to keep it from becoming a spoiler.
Master Chef Chu has been acting cold to his family ever since the death of his wife. Not only that, he loses his taste buds’ senses although he’s a legend in Chinese kitchen of an upscale hotel. Even so, Chu maintains the Sunday dinner tradition with his daughters, where he will cook colorful and appetizing Chinese cuisine made from a full, one-day preparation.
The film then cleverly tells us about each character’s story – starting from how complicated the relationship between the daughters and the dad, between the siblings, and each of their love stories. Even though at first, the second daughter – the most beautiful and the most promising among other claimed to be the one who hates Chu the most, turns out to be the one that cares about him so much. While the other two siblings use their love stories as a mean to escape from their fathers “clutches”.
However, I personally don’t see Master Chu as somebody who’s annoying or dictating, because it turns out that he’s caring as well and it was all a matter of communication. Although I have to admit that he’s making a really controversial surprise at the end of the movie and that made me laugh hard! I have to applause Ang Lee for his effort on creating a masterful tempo from start to finish, good overall comedy, and a big bang in the end. The editing of the film was also clean and neat, but most importantly, the film features a lot of good Chinese food and the process of making it.
The food somehow becomes a focal point to many scenes and as a catalyst as well. The tension somehow reduced back to normal because of it – especially if we see it from the modern POV where people adore food more than back in the 90s when this film produced. It’s a solid work of art by Ang Lee. It’s a dramatic comedy where we see awkwardness of Eastern people meets culinary refinements and Western-kind of romantic impulsiveness. Hopefully you can understand what I said with that! 😀
EAT DRINK MAN WOMAN (Yǐn Shí Nán Nǚ) (1994)
Drool Level: **** (gimme gimme!)
Director: Ang Lee
Producer: Hsu Li Kong, Hsu Kong
Screenwriter:Ang Lee, James Schamus, Hui-Ling Wang
Starring: Sihung Lung, Yu-wen Wang, Chien-lien Wu, Kuei-mei Yang
“The industry doesn’t want you to know the truth about what you’re eating. Because if you knew, you might never want to eat it.”
– Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation
As a conscientious foodie with conscience, I decided to brace my fear and watch this powerful, mind-blowing documentary. If you want to know it before I share you the reviews, you can check the full videos available on Youtube. But later, if time allows me, I will breakdown the details to make everyone know about the bitter truth of food industry.
For now, you can watch this trailer but do brace yourself, lads! 🙂
“Assalamualaikum!”. That’s what I heard from somebody behind the outdoor kitchen counter welcoming me and my family as we arrived at this humble restaurant. I assumed it was the owner who my blogger friend Umi Fadilah said as Sulaiman, a Muslim Chinese guy from the city of Xian of Shaanxi province, neighbor to the northwesternmost part of China of Xinjiang-Uighur region.
Since I didn’t come by myself nor only with my wife, I somehow had no liberty to scour around at ease since we’re having a family meeting and also famished! I shout back to reply it the way to fellow Muslim, “Wa’alaikumussalam!”. With a smile, I head inside and began to scan the menu.
By the way, this particular region in China is inhabited by many Muslims since hundreds of years ago and has a unique blending between the China we already know and the Muslim Turkic culture of Central Asia. Unlike the usual Cantonese or Szechuan cuisines that we already knew so well, this particular area is considered exotic and its cuisine is rarely found outside the region. To be able to find it in Jakarta means that it’s a blessing for all the foodies who love to try something new! Sulaiman Restaurant is indeed the right place to start!
Why? Take a look at these warm roti (jokingly named by Sulaiman as kue gepeng bakaar – grilled flat cake) here, perfect to be paired with a delicious dipping sauce – the Indian style. But no! There’s only a little influence from the Indian here as Sulaiman was able to introduce the whole different style – thanks to his origin – of lamb curry. I sensed no coconut milk use in the curry and probably he might be using a little yogurt in it. In turn he wanted to give the extra freshness in it with spices and tomato. However, you won’t find the spice attack that you might expected from a curry.
However, I found that this particular dish they called as “Daging Ayam Porsi Besar” suited itself better as the dipping sauce and has richer taste with colorful presentation, thanks to the spices and the vegetables. This is indeed a must-taste dish in the restaurant. I enjoyed this one more than the curry itself!
Of course, you’d better pair it also with the restaurant’s signature dish – the sate kambing! Its difference than usual satay lies in the seasoning of the meat. Skewered through a metal stick, the lamb cubes are heavily seasoned and taste a tad too salty for many. You might want to compensate it with the usual kecap manis but I honestly enjoyed it plainly and was having a really good time with it!
To seal the rest of the deal, of course you might want to cheer things up other dishes such as mapo tahu, grilled eggplants, noodles, fried rice, and many more. For more infor, you might want to check Umi’s blog as well for the dishes I didn’t try there. One thing for sure, Sulaiman stated that it’s a Chinese Muslim restaurant and everything should be halal. How thoughtful! Hopefully he will soon arrange a certification with MUI and then my return to this restaurant becomes a certainty!
Some menu are suitable for vegetarians
Address: Jalan Wahid Hasyim no. 116, Jakarta – Indonesia
Not until the past two or three years, the trend of enjoying tapas finally caught the Jakartan foodies. What makes it interesting is definitely because of its rich variety that combines meat, vegetables, seafood, bread, and sauces.
Although Tapas is originally consumed in-between heavy meals, or particularly in the evening – thanks to the late dinner time in Spain which starts at 9 pm, but all I see in myself during my visit to Tapas Movida was a sheer lust to choose everything from the menu and it’s already lunch time by the way!
So, no fuss and just thrills. I decided to order four types of tapas, two from the pinchos (small portioned and usually served ‘stabbed’ with tooth picks), one from montaditos (‘mounted’ upon toast), and one from raciones (a rather big portioned tapas). After these babies, I also ordered the paellaonly with vegetables and enjoyed the good old churros with chocolate sauce. Classic!
The pinchos consists of interesting combinations such as chorizo and quail egg, mini hamburger, chicken brochette and Moorish spices, and many more. What I had that day was the grilled prawns and pineapples made like satay and tasted sweet yet savory. The hint of sweetness from the sauce, the juicy prawns, thus combined with the freshness of the pineapples was just impeccable. Try to have both of these beauties at the same time!
Another one from pinchos was smoked salmon with cream cheese filling and served upon a toast. The taste of the cream cheese reminded me of tartar sauce and it teamed up well with the smoked salmon. I’d have that anytime of the day!
From the montaditos, me and my wife enjoyed the caramelized onions served upon a toast and the aged blue cheese, but the main star did not compete well with the rest of the cast. The tenderloin was served rather generously but it was a bit tough and uninspiring in the end.
Luckily, the albondigas (meatballs) from the raciones section gave the boost back. Four albondigas were bathed inside a spicy tomato sauce which became the perfect dipping sauce for the toast. Perfecto!
By the way, aside from the paella, Tapas Movida also serves its substitute or known as fideua – made from pasta instead of arborio rice. The proteins available are exactly the same – chicken & seafood, seafood only, or chicken & chorizo. My vegetarian paella appeared impressively colorful thanks to the asparagus and capsicums. It was also decently flavored and came in sharing portion. However at the end of the day, I am not a vegan after all. So, I’d be sure to try the rest of the combination next time, especially the one with chorizo – if it’s made not from pork like from El Asador.
Again, it’s better to visit places like this during night-time. Of course, it’s still quiet during lunch time and you can enjoy your meals easily, however the atmosphere was rather uninspiring and I did not feel neither at home nor at a good restaurant. Tapas Movida should consider giving a warm welcome through music since the hour it opens and more lights coming from the bar. It was all too gloomy around the stage there. On the bright side though, I admired its Gaudi-inspired outdoor seats although it was way too hot to sit there during lunch time. Perhaps next time!
Halal-friendly (some menu contains pork and alcohol)
Some menu are suitable for vegetarians
Address: Jalan Cipete Raya no. 66, Jakarta – Indonesia
Opening hours: Everyday,
11 am – 10 pm (weekday), 11 am – 11 pm (weekend)
Although the options are pretty limited, it’s kinda hard to pick another selection of Hispanic cuisine in Jakarta after my visit to Tapas Movida. I had a prolonged discussion with my editor whether we should pick another pure Spanish with tapas features like in Plan B for example, a fine dining at Casa Espana, or to simply choose the Hispanic descendants such as Mexican or South American.
Originally, Hacienda had been the original choice of my editor. However after further considerations and the fact that it’s not easy to take good pictures from Hacienda at night with limited gears and an imminent deadline, therefore I decided to take the initiative by choosing El Asador, the well-reputed South American grill on the vicinity of Kemang.
This decision was also made through several other considerations such as because Plan B would be at the same page with Tapas Movida, while Casa Espana is more for splurge, and basically I don’t have time to research about the rest. Thanks to a cool writer friend of mine, Sebastian Subakti of JJK and Epicure, I had the confident to try El Asador. Anyway, my editor recommended me about it as well.
Those are the dynamics of being a food writer, ladies and gentlemen. It’s not easy to adapt with certain unfavorable conditions such as this for example or because the restaurant simply doesn’t want you to take pictures in other cases. You’d really have to rely on your memory, experience, or references from trusted sources like this case for instance. Not just that, you have to ready your stomach to ‘collect the data’ and then to fight the traffic just to get to the nearest coffee shop or home to beat the deadlines while also biting your nails preparing to face editing consequences from your remote boss. Lucky for me, this is the best job in the world so far and I am more than happy to face the challenges!
Back to El Asador, we arrived during lunch time and there was only a patron aside from us. Mild Latin music was in the air and we seated ourselves at the edge of the non-smoking lounge, which by the way, El Asador has a smoking area made like a terrace with seats overseeing the street and completely separated from the inner chamber.
Since we entered the restaurant through the terrace door, nobody took notice of us until I decided to approach the cashier and afterwards, the service became very supreme. Even the owner, Mr Eugenio, dropped by and say hi to ask how’s the service so far. While it’s cheap to train the employees about how to serve the customers with the best attitude, according to a good friend of mine who often came by and drop some comments in my blog, it’s actually an admirable thing done by Mr Eugenio to emphasize this matter. As a result, it felt like I had my own butler for a while because somebody was stationed all the time nearby us and being very helpful indeed!
Unfortunately for me, it wasn’t mentioned before in the website or anywhere else that El Asador only serves the grills for dinner or Sunday brunch. I was very curious about the result of the grills made with asado technique – a South American style to grill meat – upon a uniquely designed parrilla or the adjustable metal frame which enables the asador (master griller) to position the meat in flexible angles to achieve the balance.
So instead, what I had that time for the opener was the lengua a la con vinagreta con enslada Rusa or a portion for sharing of boiled sliced beef tongue – which was so tender and much to my liking – marinated with herbs, olive oil, vinegar, and egg. The Russian salad, heavily equipped with mayo, was served as the accompaniment. It was interesting and although the taste may be a bit strange for many, it’s a good try anyway.
After a while, I realized that I had ordered two mains which also consist of eggs in it. I don’t know whether Argentinian cuisine (or Uruguayan – since Mr Eugenio came from that country) uses a lot eggs in their dishes or it was merely a coincidence. Anyway, both dishes tasted decent although I don’t really see the real difference with the usual Western dishes we often have.
The first one was chivito al pan or basically a sandwich filled with meat, ham, bacon, fried egg, mozzarella cheese, and mayo served alongside French fries. The meat, however, was a beef tenderloin grilled the churrasco style and was very flavorful and tender. By the way, Mr Eugenio said that chivito is a common dish in Uruguay. Safe to say, we can consider it a national dish although heavily influenced from other countries as well.
The second dish came from Mexican influence although Mr Eugenio said that he applied his own style there. It’s actually a burrito filled with minced meat, capsicums, onions, spices, scrambled eggs, melted mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, and the special sauce from El Asador. It was inviting and came in huge portion. I felt content with what El Asador has to offer and thankfully, I did my best to prepare my stomach during the visit because every dish here came in huge portion!
A comeback is definitely a must for me and El Asador better fire up the grills because I’d be a really demanding customer if it’s about the meat!
To be continued to part 2 some time in the future after I tried the grills!
EL ASADOR Halal-friendly (no pork dishes served but alcohol served) Some menu are suitable for vegetarians
Address: Kemang Point Building, Ground Floor, Jalan Kemang Raya no. 3, Jakarta – Indonesia T: +62.21.718.2206
Opening hours: Tue – Sun,
11 am – 12 am (weekday)
11 am – 2 am (weekend)
9.30 am – 12 am (Sunday, asado grills available from morning)