The Escapist’s Getaway™: Bandung – Tebing Keraton (Venture Travel Magazine, Oct 2014)

Bandung’s current sensation is not about a new place to hang out or its famed street food or even its mayor’s interesting initiatives. Tebing Keraton, the newly found landmark with a stunning view have gone viral for some time now and we went there to see what the hype is all about.

The northern hills of Bandung have always been like a mystery to me. For many years, I sought refuge in-between the ‘more developed’ part of the hills that has good restaurants or cafés with a great view to the city, a bit of jungle trekking at Taman Hutan Raya, some paintball wars upon the slopes of Dago Giri, or even just seeking for fresh air.

Also, the very hills that encircle Bandung have undergone so many developments from restaurants to real estates and there’s always another alternative route either revived or recently built heading to Lembang and Maribaya. It feels like an open canvass for so many improvements and there’s always something new coming out from here.

Tebing Keraton 2

With anything goes viral for the past few years, it’s not hard to find whenever there’s something new from Bandung. Tebing Keraton (Keraton Cliff), although as Javanese as it may sound, is the trending topic for the past few months and its spectacular images shared by people intrigued us to try and test the experience ourselves.

Against the chilly morning

We headed out fresh since 5am from the upper side of Jalan Dago to catch the sunrise. It is imperative for the travelers heading this way to leave a bit early and avoid weekend if possible since this cliff is mostly frequented during these days.

The direction is pretty much straightforward but as a first timer, you might rather worry with the distance and the road condition uphill. Heading out with sports utility vehicle or motorcycle is more advisable than low height sedan or fully-packed family car.

The easy direction is to head left to Taman Hutan Raya and upon the next intersection, head right to Bukit Pakar Utara, since heading left would lead you to Maribaya.

Continue to head uphill for several kilometers until you reach Warung Bandrek Dago – the cyclers famous watering hole en route back downhill. Please note that the road heading up since Bukit Pakar Utara would be intermittently in-between good and bad tarmac, thus the reason why to use special kind of transportation means.

Not far from Warung Bandrek Dago, you will find another branch on the road and try to look for a semi-permanent signage telling that heading left will lead you to Tebing Keraton. By the way, we encountered a minor hiccup from several shy people who offered ‘transportation service’ by motorcycle under pretext that the road ahead is impassable by car. So you have to man up and speak confidently, noting that you are a regular and they will rest their case in an instant.

The early bird takes the best spoil

After a few kilometers from the last intersection, the local officials will any passersby for an affordable entrance fee and then they will lead you to where you should park. I was actually quite happy to see how the locals empower themselves to organize everything and mobilize the citizens of the nearby settlement to accommodate the visitors. The parking lot is sufficient, people are ready to assist, there are warungs nearby for snacks and coffee, clean toilets, and also a modest security measures at Tebing Keraton itself.

Now it’s time to take a little stroll!

As soon as you have paid the fares, tread the winding path for around a hundred meter to reach the spot. Finally, you have arrived!

Tebing Keraton feels an open space like an observation deck over the skyscrapers around the globe. There you will witness the stunning 180 degrees of view overlooking Mount Tangkubanperahu far in the north and also the valleys, the forests, the pine trees, and the morning mist as far as the eyes can see. We arrived at least around a half an hour earlier before the sunrise and the crowds were anticipating the moment so much like I did.

Tebing Keraton 1

Finally at around 6.15, the sun rose spectacularly and it was the moment where true photographers would fire the shutters, teenagers do their selfies, while the rest of us enjoying the mesmerizing moment solemnly. I decided to enjoy the moment longer than the rest of the people until the blue sky arises from the horizon. The mist was eventually disappearing and the vast greenery became unveiled, clearing the view of so many small things that we would deem as beauty from such height. Such magnificence!

On my way back, after a cup of coffee in a nearby warung, I head back to the city with an uplifting spirit and reminiscing already such a grand moment that I rarely feel in city life. Perhaps one day, it is time to witness the sunset from there but I’d wake up early again to repeat such experience.

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TEBING KERATON
Taman Hutan Raya Ir. H. Juanda, Kampung Ciharegem Puncak,
Desa Ciburial, Bandung – Indonesia

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Featured in VENTURE TRAVEL MAGAZINE October 2014 edition

Download it here via SCOOP!

Photography by Dennie Benedict

Quikskoop™: Gahyo (2014)

For years, I originally considered that visiting established Korean restaurant would be exclusively about splurging. However my second encounter with Gahyo shed a light that Korean food is after all something that we can enjoy everyday to your heart’s content. Here’s why!

Gahyo 2

As perhaps one of the pioneers of Korean cuisine in Jakarta, Gahyo always finds its way to satiate foodies and the aficionados of Korean food, not to mention also the expatriates. Once arrived, you can tell that it’s always cheerful and warm inside with patrons busy conversing in Japanese and Korean while the staffs are dedicating themselves to give the best for the customers.

Panchan
Panchan

While everything feels the same like my prior visit sometime around two years ago, I found out that the service is still efficient and the staffs are highly knowledgeable about the products. From the small servings of the all-you-can-eat panchan or the Korean-style side dishes that comprises of so many things, you can ask them one by one and they did give a satisfying answer. Be sure to not miss the Korean omelette and the highly refreshing kimchi. If you’re still up for digging it, don’t bother to ask because the staffs will fill them up right away.

For the mains, here’s where the ‘problem’ actually lies. You can always opt for the budget way by ordering the a la carte dishes such as the bibim bab, jabchae, or yukkejang only BUT you’ll be missing the splurging lane by enjoying the finest from Korean cuisine – the exquisite beef grills!

Gahyo 7 Gahyo 9 Gahyo 5 Gahyo 8

Having the grills in a Korean restaurant is an absolute must-try experience especially when in Gahyo, who happens to have so many options for you to try. You may have to splurge a bit but who would dare to resist sweet temptations coming from teuk seng galbi (prime boneless rib), bul galbi (marinated short rib), and even the wooseol (beef tongue) and the delicious teuk yang (beef intestines).

When Koreans are talking about beef, it’s all about the best from it. So prepare to indulge yourself with the sexy marbling, the juiciness that came after the grilling, marvelous marination, and the immaculate dipping sauce. Don’t forget to wrap the beef with salad and to also have that grilled garlic afterwards to achieve maximum pleasure.

Dolsot Bibim Bab
Dolsot Bibim Bab

The sidekicks came so real and undoubtedly delectable as well. My wife particularly enjoyed her share of dolsot bibim bab or the Korean-style nasi liwet. Well, let’s face it, we all love to be served with something as nutritious and fulfilling like this right?

Sam Gae Tang
Samgaetang

The healthy chicken soup came beautifully as well. While some may refer it as ‘ayam obat’ or medicinal chicken dish from Chinese cuisine, it indeed meant to be like that as well in Korean cuisine. The samgaetang came in complete with mild but tasty soup, well cooked chicken, and real ginseng in the soup.

Yukkejang
Yukkejang

Lastly, the yukkejang came in to complete the deal. This reddish noodle soup may seem fiery, but if compared to Indonesian spiciness level, it’s actually very mild. But we did get a refreshing chili taste from it as well as good condiments that came with the soup such as the veggies and the beef.

Hence, ladies and gentlemen, it was another satisfying moment for me clearly and now I can rest easy because Korean food feels more approachable after I have seen to many alternatives to enjoy it and Gahyo is a hospitable place to start with its prime service, good quality food, and plenty of options to try. Well done!

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GAHYO

Halal-friendly (alcohol is served, but pork only in Kelapa Gading branch)
Suitable for vegetarians

Address:

  1. Galeria SCBD, Jl. Jend. Sudirman Kav. 52-53 Lot 6
    T: (021) 5289 7044
  2. Sport Mall Kelapa Gading, Blok A 26-27
    T: (021) 4587 6626

Opening hours: Everyday, 11am – 11pm

Website

Kembali Ke Selera Asal (Femina, Sept 2014)

Dari kegiatan mencicipi hidangan fusion Barat-Asia, lalu mengeskalasi pengalaman ke hidangan dari resto berbintang Michelin maupun yang beraliran molecular gastronomy, pilihan saya, Rian Farisa, di kampung halaman tetaplah konservatif. Bahkan ketika Bandung telah bertransformasi dan sarat akan restoran modern, apa yang selalu tertulis di catatan kecil saya adalah rasa yang sudah melekat sejak lama.

Untuk makan pagi, sajian nostalgia selalu menggoda hati. Serabi polos dan oncom di Jalan Cihapit, nasi tim ayam Sizi, ataukah lontong kari sapi di Gang Kebon Karet?

Femina - Bubur Ayam Pak H. Amid 1

Aahh, rupanya pilihan saya selalu berujung pada kenikmatan yang mengepul-ngepul dari bubur ayam Pak Haji Amid di Jalan Pajajaran. Menu wajib saya adalah bubur ayam yang diaduk dengan kuning telur mentah. Ada satu dimensi rasa yang tidak dapat ditemukan dari bumbu-bumbu pada umumnya dibandingkan perpaduan yang satu ini. Tidak lupa, taburan cakwe, daging ayam suwir, seledri, dan bawang goreng.

Femina - Lotek Herry Thea 2 Femina - Lotek Herry Thea 1
Untuk makan siang hari di akhir pekan, daripada bersaing dalam kemacetan bersama dengan turis yang mengincar tujuan yang sama, saya memilih meluncur ke arah selatan kota. Di sekitar jalan raya Lingkar Selatan dan Jalan Buah Batu, andalan saya Lotek Herry Thea (alias Lotek Buah Batu). Dulu lapak di Jalan Batu, kini lotek Herry Thea telah buka permanen di Jalan Solontongan.

Menu vegetarian khas Bandung ini lengkap dengan bumbu kacang, lontong, serta kerupuk merah muda. Potongan tahu besar dan berbagai sayuran rebus saling harmonis, diselingi rasa manis khas lotek Herry Thea.

Femina - Ikan Bakar Bang Themmy 2 Femina - Ikan Bakar Bang Themmy 1

Untuk makan malam, favorit saya adalah kedai ikan nila bakar khas Padang milik Bang Themmy. Berbeda dengan kedai ikan bakar yang berkutat dengan resep ikan bakar yang dilumuri bumbu kecap dan diiringi sambal, Bang Themmy yang asli Bukittinggi ini punya konsep yang berbeda.

Dipilihlah ikan nila dari Subang karena berasal dari sungai yang deras arusnya, hingga konon secara biologis terbentuk ikan yang tulangnya berukuran besar sehingga mudah disantap. Volume dan tekstur daging selaras diolah dengan cara dipanggang. Hal utama lainnya adalah penggunaan bumbu kuning khas Padang sehingga ikan berempah, berjodoh dengan sambal hijau khas Minang.

Bang Themmy juga secara musiman menyajikan Pucuak Ubi Tigo Jam khas ibunya. Ini berasal pucuk daun singkong berempah, dipepes bersama ikan asin dan cabai selama tiga jam.

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BUBUR AYAM PAK H. AMID | Jalan Arjuna, Bandung

LOTEK HERRY THEA | Jalan Solontongan no. 16, Bandung

IKAN BAKAR NILA KHAS PADANG BANG THEMMY | Jalan Terusan Jakarta no. 280, Bandung

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Featured in Femina, Sept 2014 issue

http://www.femina.co.id/shop.dine/makan.di.mana/kembali.ke.selera.asal/007/003/551

Special Section – Our Indonesia: Ma’ Uneh (The Foodie Magazine, July 2014)

Ma’ Uneh has been pleasing Bandung with her original recipes she created since five decades ago. Now, people from out of town wouldn’t miss a chance to visit her restaurants while in Bandung. If you haven’t, now is the chance to get to know her recipes.

Ma' Uneh 1

Sundanese cuisine may appear simpler if compared with Padangnese – especially from the quantity of spices used, cooking techniques, and the coconut milk factor; but once cooked properly, everyone will know which one is noteworthy and not.

While a straightforward, clean taste is what that defines Sundanese cuisine generally, an old eatery that goes with the name of its first owner Ma’ Uneh devised their traditional recipes by understanding all of the flavors from sweet to spicy and not limited only to savory which the Sundaneses are fond of naturally.

Ma' Uneh 3

 

Ma’ Uneh (or in English, Grandma Uneh) started out modestly back in the 60s with only selling lotek and rujak. As time went by, people demanded Ma’ Uneh to whip out more variety on the dishes and she started at once by experimenting from the simplest such as fried eggs and now up to meat and seafood.

My personal favorite until this day is their magical fried beef tripe, beef lungs, and the unique haremis (locally found freshwater clams). Have it altogether with rice and raw vegetables, but mind you that the sambel is rather fiery. However you’d be amazed at how this combination can whet your appetite. What’s left probably is to add the usual fried tofu or tempe. Well, that’s all you need with Sundanese stuff!

Ma' Uneh 4

With a vast array of menu numbering around 30 options already available since early morning, find out also that Ma’ Uneh has some non-mainstream dishes from the haremis as mentioned above, stir-fried banana hearts, and also fried ikan impun (guppy) from local freshwater source.

Now, the third generation of the family bears the responsibility to continue what Ma’ Uneh started many years ago. So for first timers, be sure to visit Ma’ Uneh first ever restaurant inside Terasana alley, just a shy away from Jalan Pajajaran.

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MA’ UNEH
Jalan Terasana no. 132, Bandung – Indonesia
T: +62.22.420.2568

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Featured in THE FOODIE MAGAZINE July 2014 edition

Download it for free here via SCOOP!

Photography by Dennie Benedict

Recipe: Ihutilinanga – by Biko Mointi Boekoesoe

As the continuation of Ibu Biko’s Gorontalese dishes on the previous post, I would like to also share the recipes that she cooked specially for us during the photo shoot. I hope you can try this back at home too. Have fun!

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Ihutilinanga
Ihutilinanga

IHUTILINANGA (Gorontalese fried eggplant with turmeric sauce)

Serves: 5

  • Ingredients:

10pcs              Eggplants (divide into four each)

Condiments:

  • Coconut milk (from 1/4th of coconut)
  • Red chili or bird-eye chili
  • Shallot
  • Garlic
  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Lemongrass
  • Candlenut
  • Pandan leaves
  • Galangal
  • Steps:
  1. After divided into four, fry the eggplants.
  2. Blender all the condiments except for lemongrass, galangal, and pandan leaves.
  3. Sear the blended condiments.
  4. Put the lemongrass, galangal, and pandan leaves with the condiments.
  5. Once it becomes aromatic, pour over the thick coconut milk on the pan.
  6. Once cooked, pour the sauce over the eggplants.
  7. Pour the fried shallots as the garnish. Serve.

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Recipe is provided by Omar Niode Foundation and Biko Mointi Boekoesoe – owner of Talaga Cookery.

TALAGA COOKERY | Jalan Kalibata Utara no. 25, RT 11/RW 2, Jakarta – Indonesia | +62.21.797.2246

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Photography by Dennie Benedict