Taking It To The Streets: Ayam Lengkuas (The Foodie Magazine, June 2014)

I don’t know what I was thinking back then when people were saying good things about Ayam Lengkuas, a fried chicken hawker stand in Setia Budi neighborhood many years ago. All I did was to try other stuff aside from this one! Finally, I decided to have my virgin flight there.

Ayam Lengkuas 3

As we all know, Setia Budi has ample choices for good street foods. Back then I had my own favorite warteg for my regular intake of rice with omelette and stir-fried veggies, or there was also this seafood shack that had really good grilled cuttlefish and fried tahu with sambal. I could even indulge my weekend morning at a warkop (street side coffee shop) for coffee, toast, or instant noodles; and of course, there’s also this affordable Chinese restaurant that I usually frequented but outrageously I never tried Ayam Lengkuas at all.

Years later, I finally got my chance to make redemption and arrived there just before dinner time. Much to my surprise, they already ran out of the breast cut for the grilled chicken and I had to opt for the thigh. While many people often select this latter cut, I am proud to say that I always love the former because of the meat volume and it is less fatty (although I don’t really care about that fact – as a foodie!).

Anyway, the grilled chicken came with rice, lalapan (raw vegetables), a really spicy sambal, and additional fried tahu and bawan jagung (corn fritter) by request.

Ayam Lengkuas 4

But wait a minute! That sounds too normal right? Well, that’s because lengkuas (galangal) in Ayam Lengkuas means that all the serving has to be equipped with this ingredient!

The proprietress of Ayam Lengkuas decided long ago to differentiate themselves with other fried chicken joints by adding shredded galangal instead of the usual coconut. You can still sense the umami richness from either of these but the taste character is of course different. At any rate, it suits a lot with both fried chicken and the grilled chicken that I specifically ordered. The coolest thing about this place is that you can always ask for more lengkuas and the owner will provide you generously.Ayam Lengkuas 1

Additionally Ayam Lengkuas also has other stuff like fish, soups, sayur asem, and different kinds of rice from the usual white, uduk, or yellow. Plenty of option for just a simple fried chicken hawker, right?

As much as I regret those days when I can still come here anytime I want, but it’s all paid off by only one visit. It’s not going to be my last but for those of you who haven’t, do make it your first – like me.


Unsuitable for vegetarians

Jalan Setia Budi Tengah (across Apotik Setia Budi), Jakarta – Indonesia
T: +62.21.9723.3247

Opening hours:
Everyday, 10am – 11pm

Spend: IDR 15,000 – IDR 25,000 / person


Featured in THE FOODIE MAGAZINE June 2014 edition

Download it for free here via SCOOP!

Photos by: Rian Farisa

Pantry 101: Know Your Chocolate (The Foodie Magazine, Apr 2014)

Chocolate is not all about common store bought bars that we usually eat. Chocolate is also applied for cooking and baking. We present you with the various types of chocolate and their characteristics which appear in our daily consumption of this most luscious and well-loved ingredient.

The US FDA and the European Union both have specific definitions of the types of chocolate, with their corresponding compositions. But these can be very confusing for the uninitiated.

Let’s define some terms first:


    This is the cacao bean, right out of the cacao pod, it is fermented and dried, then it is either sold raw or roasted without the shell. Whole cacao is the whole bean, cacao nibs are crunched up pieces of bean, and ground cacao is powdered. This is the barest and healthiest form of chocolate, cacao can sometimes be quite bitter but already has the same chocolate aroma.
    This is the basis of all types of chocolate, formed by grinding cacao beans into a smooth, liquid paste. Nothing is added, and it does not contain alcohol, despite the name. It naturally contains about 53% cocoa butter (fat).
    Also called theobroma oil, this is a pale yellow, edible vegetable fat extracted from the cocoa bean. It is used to make chocolate. Cocoa butter has the same flavor and aroma as cacao. Cocoa butter is are fermented, roasted, and then separated from their hulls or shells. About 54–58% of the residue is cocoa butter. Chocolate liquor is pressed to separate the cocoa butter from the cocoa solids.
    Made by pressing the chocolate liquor, the cocoa butter will then be partially separated and left to harden. The solids, or usually called ‘press cake’, is then ground and becomes dry cocoa powder. Light brown in color and possessing a strong chocolate flavor, the cocoa powder becomes the base for cakes, cookies, brownies, and confections when added with sugar.

And now, let’s jump to the luscious stuff that we all know so much!

Dark chocolate is made up of at least 35% cocoa solids, other brands may even have a high of 70% to 99% of cocoa content, with fat and sugar making up the remainder of the content. For certain dark chocolates, milk is also added to soften the texture but only up to around 12% of the content.

The different ratios of cocoa butter and other elements will further classify dark chocolate into several types such as sweet, semisweet, bittersweet, and ‘couverture’. Semisweet chocolate contains 40% – 62% of cocoa solids and is frequently used for cakes, cookies, and brownies, but if more sugar is added then it is classified into sweet chocolate.

Meanwhile, the bittersweet chocolate has less sugar and more liquor than its semisweet counterpart. Good bittersweet chocolate is what that classified as having 60% – 85% of cocoa solids depending on the brand.

Milk chocolate usually contains at least 10% of chocolate liquor, this type of chocolate also contains cocoa butter and sugar in varying amount in addition to at least 3.39% of fat and 12% of milk in a form of dry milk solids, cream, or condensed milk.

Originally it is much sweeter than dark chocolate, lighter in color, and has less chocolate-y taste although the latest trend shows us that chocolate producers are now putting more than the minimum amount of chocolate liquor, making it possess stronger chocolate taste and less sweetness.

Milk chocolate is mostly consumed directly or made into cookies because of its difficulty to be tempered properly and its proneness to overheating.

White chocolate is not technically one of the types of chocolate because it does not contain any chocolate liquor. White chocolate does not contain any non-fat ingredients from the cacao bean, making it possess an off-white color. It must contain at least 20% cocoa butter and 14% milk solids, 3.5% milk fat, and not more than 55% of sweeteners alongside lecithin, vanilla, or other flavorings. Its mild and pleasant flavor makes it a star ingredient for making panna cotta, mousse, or can be eaten directly.


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Featured in THE FOODIE MAGAZINE April 2014 edition

Download it for free here via SCOOP!

Halal Facts: Panduan Kehalalan Restoran di Kyoto, Jepang

Dewasa ini, Jepang tengah berusaha menjadi destinasi wisata yang semakin ramah untuk para pelancong Muslim. Panduan wisata kini cukup mudah didapatkan dan tersedia pula daftar restoran dan hotel yang menyediakan makanan yang aman dikonsumsi para turis Muslim.

Asosiasi Muslim Kyoto (KMA) serta Dewan Hubungan Syariah dan Halal Kyoto membuat beberapa kategori halal untuk mempermudah dalam mengetahui kehalalan restoran yang akan dikunjungi.

Berikut adalah daftarnya, seperti dilansir situs resmi Kyoto Travel Guide:


Dipajangnya logo halal resmi dari lembaga berwenang menunjukkan restoran dan kedai kopi hanya menyajikan makanan halal.

Jika tak ada minuman beralkohol yang dihidangkan, maka seluruh restorannya bersertifikat halal. Kalau ada, berarti seluruh menu makanannya bersertifikat halal namun minuman beralkoholnya dipisah.


Restoran berlabel ‘Muslim friendly’ menyajikan menu bersertifikat halal yang terpisah dari menu biasa. Menu yang tak berlogo halal bisa saja menggunakan daging ayam dan sapi nonhalal serta bumbu beralkohol.


Tanda ini menunjukkan bahwa restoran tak menggunakan daging babi, bahan yang berkaitan dengan babi, maupun perasa alkohol. Namun, tak ada menu yang bersertifikat halal, sehingga daging ayam, sapi, kambing, dan lainnya yang dihidangkan belum tentu terjamin kehalalannya.


Restoran ini tak menggunakan daging babi maupun bahan lain yang berasal dari babi, namun perasa yang mengandung alkohol mungkin saja digunakan.

Kriteria Tambahan
Organisasi Pariwisata Nasional Jepang kini menerbitkan Panduan Wisata Jepang untuk pengunjung Muslim yang di dalamnya menampilkan detail seperti berikut ini:

  • Restoran yang tercantum di daftar masuk kriteria menyediakan daging halal (M)
  • Pemilik atau chefnya Muslim (O)
  • Non-alkohol (A)
  • Menyediakan menu vegetarian (V)


Edited by: @gastroficionado

Source: http://food.detik.com/read/2014/09/05/085917/2681987/901/1/restoran-muslim-friendly-dan-pork-free-apa-bedanya

Original title: Restoran “Muslim Friendly” & “Pork Free”, Apa Bedanya?

Friday Skylight BBQ Dinner (The Media Hotel & Towers, Jakarta)

Ahhh, barbecue dinner! It’s the prized jewel reserved only in special occasions and some can be found in several hotel restaurants in Jakarta for an all-day dining price.

The Media Hotel & Towers quite recently brought their BBQ dinner to light for the public and now you can enjoy it on cool Friday nights just outside its famed Thai restaurant, Sukhothai.

The Media - BBQ Night 1 The Media - BBQ Night 4

Plenty of selections that I picked for my dinner, starting of course, from the beef and the fish. My wife definitely opted for the mussels since all of us are surely the fans of night seafood hawkers. Additionally there are other menu as well from the Thai station, salad, desserts, and all wrapped under the serenading tunes from the live music.

The Media - BBQ Night 2

The sixth floor of the hotel has a wide terrace and is put into good use for this particular occasion. It is quite enjoyable and during the night, the streets around here are also less crowded than those in the middle of the town. Additionally you can still see the skyscrapers for a good change of view. It was a good night and I had a decent smokey stuffs that I’d like to experience again sometime in the future here.

The Media - BBQ Night 5

So if you are interested, be sure to drop by only on Friday nights and for IDR 250,000 nett you can enjoy everything and literally everything from the BBQ dinner night.

Enjoy your weekend, lads!



Jalan Gunung Sahari Raya no. 3, Jakarta – Indonesia

Information: +62.21.626.3001



Kahvehane: Crematology Coffee Roasters

My aperitif was a really good cup of piccolo back at Crematology before we kicked off my first ever gathering with Zomato quite some time ago. It was a no fuss gathering where we mingled with the rest of Zomatoers and with the co-owner of the coffee shop himself, Mr Elliot Davernas over good meals and coffee.

I have to say that I immediately became a bit shy in front of this new crowd, and that was so unlikely for me. I thoroughly enjoy my days as a journalist and meeting up new people, but for reasons unknown, I was a bit reserved that day. Nevertheless, Elliot amused me with great talks on coffee and how the coffee culture now rules the culinary scene in Jakarta.

The fact that Elliot started his career completely not in F&B business before was very intriguing, because it was the exact same thing that had happened to me as well. On how we transformed ourselves into true foodies, that’s where our chemistry really kicked in and off we started the geeky, nerdy talks on coffee and being a Swedish, on how it is there as well.

Crematology 2

By the way, the meals in Crematology were commonplace like you would find in other hipster coffee shops all over Jakarta and Bandung, however, I enjoyed the nice quality from the salmon salad, the pasta, and the desserts as well. I always treat coffee shop as a place to just have a good light meal and a cuppa but apparently, you can outmatch your stomach growls while here. So bottom line is, it’s a must to have a brunch or lunch for me another time!

I was also thankful with the good arrangement done by Zomato because basically it’s also a good reason to introduce myself to this place. Even though I pass around this neighborhood like once or twice every week but for some reason, the lack of parking space for all the restaurants in Jalan Senopati is something that hinder me to stop (plus the fact that the valet parking fee is rather exorbitant, don’t you think?)

Crematology 3

So anyway, I’d like to visit again this place sometime soon, perhaps by taking a good walk from Pasar Santa after lunch to chill down a bit with its fantastic espresso. I’d love to have another shot of brewed black beads again, Elliot. Thanks for having us!


Some menu are suitable for vegetarians

Jalan Suryo no. 25, Jakarta – Indonesia

RSVP: +62.21.7278.0012

Opening hours:
Everyday, 7.30am – 12am (Mon-Fri), 9am – 12am (Sat-Sun)