Foodies Lists: Marco Padang (The Foodie Magazine, Jun 2014)

The recently renamed Marco Padang serves more than just titular West Sumatran delicacies that we often find in restaurant chains around big cities of Indonesia. Finally, we got a chance to see how Minangkabau dishes can be transformed with a modernist twist but still preserving the honorable old values that have always been of the biggest part of its greatness.

While cooking is something that is passed on through generation to generation in West Sumatra, it is also a fact that the men are the ones who mostly do the cooking there. That’s the case for Marco Padang’s owner, Chef Marco Lim.

Chef Marco Lim
Chef Marco Lim

This native of the city of Padang has seen a lot since he began to cook when he was little. Born in a family that naturally loves to eat and cook, Chef Marco also began to roam around the countryside in search for old recipes that he could learn and tweak to perfection in his own aesthetic way. He would stay at certain rural areas in West Sumatra for weeks to learn directly how to cook dishes from the locals.

Now as we can see from Marco Padang, not only that Padang restaurant has reached a whole new dimension in terms of appearance, but the food served there is an eloquent yet beautiful adaptation of homestyle recipes with modern presentation with a touch of elegance.

Marco Padang 2

To add the important element of authenticity, Chef Marco decided to import most of the ingredients from West Sumatra itself from the notable spices including the chilies and the vegetables. Further taking it to the next level, the chef also uses native rice, coffee, and even the crackers. That we believe also as something that you cannot trade with other ingredients even though bountifully found – especially in terms of how it tastes, the texture, and how the scent should feel when cooked.

At Marco Padang, usually it all starts with a plate of nasi sayo or the steamed rice with curry, sambal, vegetables, and crackers. From here, you can move on to his signature proteins such as the delicate, moist, smoky, and highly recommended grilled barramundi with lemongrass marinade. Aside from his glorious take on Bukittinggi style black rendang, Chef Marco also serves fish head curry, thinly sliced and deep-fried stinky beans or pete, eel with lado mudo, and of course – the one and only dendeng batokok.

It will be a never ending journey if you happen to fall in love with this restaurant as Chef Marco himself is a man of who adheres on perfection and the importance of exploration. His last word when we met last time was, “Watch out for my new dishes coming up soon!”. Yes, that’s the result of his research done at a remote mountainous region of the eastern part of West Sumatra quite recently. We can’t wait!


Suitable for vegetarians

Setiabudi One, 1st fl, Jln HR Rasuna Said Kav. 62, Jakarta
T: +62.21.520.3221
Lotte Shopping Ave., 3rd fl, Jln Prof. Dr. Satrio, Jakarta
T: +62.21.522.5858

Opening hours:
Everyday, mall opening hours

Website Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Spend: IDR 75,000 – IDR 100,000 / person





Featured in THE FOODIE MAGAZINE Jun 2014 edition

Download it for free here via SCOOP!

Photos by: Dennie Benedict

Iconic: Tan Ek Tjoan (The Foodie Magazine, Apr 2014)

One important legacy the colonial powers left Indonesia would probably the bread baking industry. Tan Ek Tjoan is one of the oldest bakeries in Jakarta and has a very colorful story of how it all started and how they keep their legendary stature alive.

If you happen to visit some major cities in Java, you will find that each of them usually has iconic bakeries that may predate as far as the 1800s. The same goes also for Jakarta with some of its legendary bakeries but the famous one is surely Tan Ek Tjoan in Cikini.

Tan Ek Tjoan 5

Back in 1921, Mr Tan Ek Tjoan started his bakery in Buitenzorg or which is now known as the city of Bogor, but some three decades later, he decided to move his business to Jakarta to cater to the bigger market by choosing the strategic neighborhood of Cikini. To make it even more lucrative for the business, Tan Ek Tjoan bakery initiated the plan to spearhead the sales through bicycle cart peddlers. Nowadays we can even still see so many of them peddling the bread the traditional way.

The one and only store in Cikini is ready to serve all day only for takeaway and people do come from time to time to buy their roti gambang, roti bimbam, chocolate smeared bread, sugar-apple bread, horseshoe bread, and other classic breads that Tan Ek Tjoan bakery is known for.

Tan Ek Tjoan 4

The unique roti gambang and roti bimbam are creations of Mr. Tan Ek Tjoan’s successor, Mr. Tan Kim Thay. These come  from the philosophical thinking of Yin and Yang. Roti gambang is a sweet, brownish bread with sesame seeds that appears hard from the outside, but when you bite into it, the bread is actually easy to chew and has a really pleasant flavor. While it describes the dark Yin side, Mr. Tan Kim Thay also derived the inspiration from gambang, a xylophone-like instrument that possesses a beautiful sound but is made from the thick 18 layers of wood, as known in the gambang kromong – the traditional orchestra of Betawi and Chinese influence. As for the Yang side, the bakery creates roti bimbam, a soft bread with mild texture that has a sweet, buttery flavor much loved by everyone.

Peeping through behind the screen of Tan Ek Tjoan bakery, we saw the bakers happily working on each of their stations – from mixing and heaving the heavy dough, kneading and putting the ingredients inside, and baking the bread on huge ovens. Thousands of breads are produced daily and distributed to around 80 bicycle cart peddlers spread all over Jakarta and its satellite cities like Bekasi and Tangerang. Additionally, Tan Ek Tjoan designed special workspace only to produce customized pastry and bread for the flagship store itself.

Tan Ek Tjoan 1

The three-storey building has actually a lot of potential should Tan Ek Tjoan wishes to develop into a coffee shop and even a rooftop café. During our visit, we took a small detour to the rooftop of this colonial era building and found out how nice it would be if one day Tan Ek Tjoan decides to make the flagship store bigger. Even so, the plan to open a new concept bakery is already being implemented and will soon open at Jalan Panglima Polim. As for now, it will always be a great pleasure for their regular buyers to enjoy their favorite bread from Tan Ek Tjoan accompanying us during breakfast, tea time, and even on our way back home from the office.

Tan Ek Tjoan 2


Some menu are suitable for vegetarians

Jalan Cikini Raya no. 61, Jakarta – Indonesia

RSVP: +62.21.314.2570

Opening hours:


Featured in THE FOODIE MAGAZINE April 2014 edition

Download it for free here via SCOOP!

Photos by: Dennie Benedict

The Haute Cuisine Experience: Michelin-starred Chef Jarad Gallagher at Sana Sini, Pullman Jakarta Indonesia

As the continuance of his trip down to Southeast Asia, Michelin-starred Chef Jarad Gallagher of Chez TJ from Mountain View, California promotes his arty cuisine for a week only at Sana Sini Restaurant of Pullman Jakarta Indonesia.

The coming and going of a number of Michelin-starred chefs for the past few years to Jakarta signifies the city’s improvement with its modernist culinary scene. Along with this phenomenon; restaurants are flourishing, with more variety on the menu, and the icons behind the scene who in turn got promoted as well. People become aware on almost anything food as they cannot keep their enthusiasm on it nonchalantly anymore.

Chef Jarad Gallagher - Banner

The coming of Chef Jarad Gallagher further supports Jakarta’s will to become the culinary destination city of Southeast Asia. The beautifully designed Sana Sini Restaurant has become the host for his public performance since June 17 and only until June 22.

Without further due, here’s my experience with Chef JG’s show of skills.

Chilled Asparagus Velouté

Chilled Asparagus Velouté

What I have always been waiting from Michelin-starred chefs creations are all the aesthetic factors inside the dishes. Not to mention of course, how creative the use of the ingredients and how to mix and match them. It’s not easy for sure, even from the eater’s side and that means me.

The velouté sauce was chosen to give a garden impression that grows asparagus on it and that’s the main star of all. It got the crunchiness from the roes and the quail’s egg was definitely the one that gave not only a unique flavor, but it also boosts the presentation. Additionally, more complex flavor came from the crispy beef tendon right on the middle and that parmesan cracker. A good start!

Chef Jarad Gallagher - Coffee-flavored Rack of Lamb
Coffee-flavored Rack of Lamb

For the main dish, the lamb rack should be more rewarded than just ooohs and aaahs. The slow cook process was undertaken after the overnight marination with all that coffee and spice. Surely it gave the lamb more values as you can cut through it easily and still see the reddish beauty inside. Needless to mention, the unique taste of the marination, how tender it was, and certainly – the juiciness.

As for the rest, it’s another beautiful garden on display with fresh and crunchy vegetables. Personally I’d have the lamb only with the sauce, but the mashed potato was also an exquisite addition thanks to the chef’s finesse.

Grapefruit Consommé
Grapefruit Consommé

The intermezzo came from a grapefruit consommé that involves a minty breath inside of it. It’s not easy for Indonesians to enjoy olive, let alone this grapefruit, but I had to say that the chef was a bravado and he impressed me with his skill on how to mix and match it along with other components and to make us a happy guinea pig for that.

Gold Bar
Gold Bar

The extravagant Gold Bar came last and it was a more-than-you-can-ask dessert and if I can, I’d stock it in my fridge for so long and eat it bit by bit. The chocolate was rich and has several dimensions of taste which additionally complemented by how exotic a coconut sorbet can be. Delectable!

So, as the day will come to an end soon, best to book your place for dinner and enjoy the last round with Chef Jarad Gallagher before he returns. Lastly, I would also recommend the same as my blogger friend Ellyna for this dinner course set. Enjoy!

The 6 Course Set Menu – IDR 888,000++ / person :
  • 1st Course: Kampachi Sashimi with caviar, oyster & seaweed
  • 2nd Course: Chilled Asparagus Velouté with textured beef tendon, quail egg and romesco sauce (also served at lunch)
  • 3rd Course: Sea Trout “Mi Cuit” with peas, Alsatian onion tart and tamarind (also served at lunch)
  • 4th Course: Foie Gras Mocha with black truffle and gold spuma
  • 5th Course: Smoked Rack of Lamb with garden roots, caraway & spinach
  • Palate Cleanser: Grapefruit Consommé of mint, avocado and orange (also served at lunch)
  • 6th Course: “Gold Bar” caramel & milk chocolate mousse with coconut sorbet (also served at lunch)


Pullman Jakarta Indonesia

Jl. M.H. Thamrin 59 Jakarta 10350 – Indonesia
RSVP: +62.21.390.6444

[Infographic] The Shelf Life of Food (by Visually)

An infographic guide to recognize the shelf life of fresh fruits, vegetables, processed food, and even leftovers.

The winner of all is none other than.. HONEY!

Buzzfeed - Shelf Life


Infographic via Visually

Taking It To The Streets: Martabak Favourite (The Foodie Magazine, Apr 2014)

Martabak Favourite has ruled East Jakarta for almost three decades as everybody’s favorite sweet martabak. The Foodie Magazine sought them out to find out really how good they are.

I have to admit that it’s pretty unusual for the eastern part of Jakarta to get the spotlight for interesting places to eat. Even in a food guide I acquired recently, the pages for East Jakarta are no match when compared to other more familiar parts of the city. To tell you the truth, this side of Jakarta has so many hidden gems waiting to be discovered and if time allows, The Foodie Magazine will unearth these in upcoming issues.

Martabak Favourite 5

Back to the real story, the all-day vibrant Jalan Balai Pustaka is a den for foodies to explore – from hawkers, restaurants, cafés and even a bustling supermarket for affordable groceries. It’s hard to talk about the famous Indonesian pancake when it comes to Jalan Balai Pustaka as Martabak Favourite rises above everybody else with its food truck appearance and a legacy that has lasted for around 30 years.

This family business is now being run by the second generation. Yudi’s father created an excellent recipe for the martabak dough and has since been well-loved by people from around this area. The strange thing about martabak is that often we see random stalls poured so many chocolate sprinkles or cheese on top of their martabak but that doesn’t mean that you’re going to get what you expect. Decadent yes, but delicious? Not always! The key lies in the dough recipe and Martabak Favourite does a fantastic job with that.

Martabak Favourite 4

Martabak Favourite keeps its martabak size relatively compact but somehow, more affordable. After the dough is cooked properly, it is sent off to the serving station right on the food truck, then the rest of the crew, including Yudi or his wife, will shower the pancake generously with rich Wysman butter and toppings such as chocolate sprinkles, crushed peanuts or cheddar cheese.

Martabak Favourite 6

While the topping selections may seem classic if compared to those who already leveled up the ante in order to renew public interest over this iconic evening snack, Martabak Favourite still retains a huge number of followers and they even recommend everyone to book their martabak first before coming in straight or risk themselves waiting in the queue.

The owners of Martabak Favourite see diversification as a way to expand their business. Just nearby the already famous food truck, they have a bubur ayam and nasi goreng stall and a savory martabak stall just across the street. If you have made it all this way to East Jakarta, you definitely can’t just leave without tasting their delicious creations.


Unsuitable for vegetarians

Address: Jalan Balai Pustaka Timur (in front of Lada Motor), Jakarta – Indonesia
Tel: +62.816.1922.336

Opening hours: Everyday, 5pm – midnight

Spend: IDR 40,000 – IDR 60,000 / martabak


Featured in THE FOODIE MAGAZINE April 2014 edition

Download it for free here via SCOOP!