Foodie Quotes #14

“I suppose there are people who can pass up free guacamole, but they’re either allergic to avocado or too joyless to live.”
― Frank Bruni

TGA Guest Post: Meracik Untaian Kata Gastronomi Indonesia (by: AGI)

Pemahaman Gastronomi di Indonesia masih langka dan belum dimengerti oleh masyarakat kebanyakan. Malah ada yang menyamakan gastronomi dengan kuliner atau kulinologi. Ketiganya punya arti yang berbeda meski obyeknya sama yakni makanan & minuman (hidangan).

Kuliner (atau disebut juga seni kuliner) didefinisikan sebagai suatu disiplin ilmu dan kebiasaan (practices) yang berhubungan dengan seni dan keterampilan menyiapkan, menyusun, memasak, meracik minuman dan menyajikan hidangan (makanan & minuman).

Kulinologi adalah pendekatan baru dalam seni memasak (kuliner) yang memadukan (mensinergikan) seni kuliner, ilmu dan teknologi pangan untuk membuat rasa hidangan (makanan & minuman) lebih baik dengan metode menerjemahkan konsep sebuah makanan dan minuman, seperti yang diterapkan dalam santapan atau dalam hidangan etnis tradisional.

Gastronomi adalah seni, ilmu dan pengetahuan mendetail serta apresiasi akan makanan dan minuman yang baik (good eating) atau segala sesutu yang berhubungan dengan kenikmatan dari hidangan (makan dan minuman).

Secara universal, gastronomi adalah sebuah pengetahuan yang mempelajari mengenai hubungan kuliner dengan berbagai komponen budaya dimana makanan & minuman sebagai poros tengah yang fokusnya pada hidangan yang berkualitas prima (gourmet).

Hubungan budaya dan gastronomi terbentuk karena gastronomi adalah produk budidaya pada kegiatan pertanian, peternakan dan perikanan, sehingga pengejawantahan warna, aroma, dan rasa dari suatu makanan dari berbagai bangsa dan negara yang dapat ditelusuri asal-usulnya dari lingkungan tempat bahan bakunya dihasilkan.

Peran gastronomi adalah sebagai landasan untuk memahami bagaimana makanan dan minuman digunakan dalam situasi-situasi tertentu. Melalui gastronomi dimungkinkan untuk membangun sebuah gambaran dari persamaan atau perbedaan pendekatan atau perilaku terhadap makanan dan minuman yang digunakan di berbagai negara dalam budaya kebangsaan-nya. Pengetahuan tersebut secara holistik menjadi satu kesatuan terkait dengan seni dan ilmu sosial bahkan ilmu pengetahuan alam dalam hal sistem gizi tubuh manusia.

Dengan demikian pemahaman terhadap seni dalam kuliner dan kulinologi adalah sekedar makna sekunder dan simbolisme yakni sebatas hidangan yang dikonsumsi setiap hari untuk mempertahankan hidup atau bicara “sebatas perut”. Kalau diibaratkan sebuah toko, maka kuliner adalah pemandangan terbatas terhadap beberapa hidangan tertentu yang dipajang di etalase kaca luar toko yang bertujuan mengundang minat orang untuk singgah masuk ke dalam. Begitu masuk, maka kaca mata kulinologi berbicara mengenai berbagai aneka hidangan yang isinya lebih banyak / lengkap tersaji di dalam toko tersebut. Sedangkan gastronomi punya ruang pandang yang lebih luas, yang tidak hanya memandang sebatas apa yang dipajang di etalase itu atau berbagai aneka hidangan yang tersaji di dalam, tetapi juga siapa-siapa yang mengelola di dapur bahkan sampai bahan baku yang disusun di gudang penyimpanannya.

Jika sudah bisa dipahami “benang” merah dari gastronomi, kuliner & kulinologi seperti yang dijelaskan di atas, maka apapun bidang atau kriteria atau penggolongan atau jenis dari pembahasan untaian kata gastronomi (termasuk kuliner & kulinologi), secara konkrit prosesnya disusun sesuai tahapan seni keahlian (“tangible“) sebagai berikut :

1. Mencari sejarah asal usul budidaya makanan dan minuman yang disajikan (Sejarah Budidaya)
2. Faktor budaya yang mempengaruhi masyarakat mengkonsumsi hidangan tersebut (Budaya)
3. Susunan isi resepi makanan dan minuman (Resep)
4. Memilih bahan baku makanan dan minuman (Bahan Baku)
5. Persiapan sebelum memasak makanan dan meracik minuman (Persiapan)
6. Proses maupun teknik memasak dan meracik minuman (Proses & Teknik)
7. Keseimbangan estetika yang prima terhadap mutu kekayaan makanan dan minuman (Estetika)
8. Kecanggihan seni presentasi maupun penyajian makanan dan minuman (Seni Presentasi dan Penyajian)
9. Proses mencicipi makanan dan minuman (Mencicipi)
10. Penilaian makanan dan minuman (Penilaian)

Dari ke-10 butir tahapan seni keahlian di atas, yang membedakan gastronomi dari kuliner & kulinologi adalah di butir 1,2, dan 10, dimana keduanya (dan ini sebenarnya) tidak diwajibkan berbicara mengenai tiga butir tersebut, meskipun banyak orang suka “latah dan genit” mencampur-adukan ketiga butir ini ke dalam kuliner & kulinologi, sehingga mengakibatkan garis tegas perbuatan mereka berada di wilayah “abu-abu”. Begitu seorang ahli kuliner atau kulinologi melakukan tindakan butir 1,2, dan 10, maka yang bersangkutan sudah masuk ke dalam ranah gastronomi dan orang yang melakukan tindakan itu disebut sebagai gastronom.

Ke-10 butir tahapan seni keahlian ini (atau disebut juga sebagai “tangible“) banyak dipakai sebagai standard pemahaman hidangan (makan dan minuman) masyarakat Barat (seperti Eropa, Amerika & Australia). Kuliner masyarakat Barat dikenal dengan inovasi resepi baru (dan atau modifikasi) dengan cara mengakomodasi kebiasaan kuliner lokal dengan budaya masak dari etnik pendatang yang masuk ke negeri mereka. Pada umumnya restoran atau kedai makan di Barat selalu menghidangkan menu resepi yang berbeda dengan tempat lain walaupun namanya sama tetapi tetap mempunyai perbedaan isi satu sama lain.

Dengan demikian perkembangan gastronomi masyarakat Barat sangat pesat dan selalu mempunyai inovasi baru sehingga semua yang berhubungan dengan ke-10 butir tahapan seni keahlian di atas selalu berkembang sesuai jaman dan berubah dari suatu waktu ke waktu sesuai selera dan pengetahuan baru. Gastronomi masyarakat Barat jarang menampilkan resepi warisan tradisional, walaupun untuk acara-acara tertentu tetap dipertahankan (antara lain Natal dan Thanksgiving). Gastronomi masyarakat Barat minim memiliki filosofi, kearifan budaya lokal, nilai ritual maupun nilai religi, sehingga content gastronomi mereka berbeda dengan content gastronomi di masyarakat Timur (atau bangsa Asia).

GASTRONOMI INDONESIA :
Gastronomi Indonesia memiliki kemiripan dengan gastronomi masyarakat Timur (atau bangsa Asia). Secara universal definisinya hampir sama dengan pemahaman gastronomi di masyarakat Barat, yakni gastronomi dengan makna “tangible” menggunakan10 butir tahapan seni keahlian yang ada.

Hanya saja di sebagian resepi hidangan gastronomi Indonesia (maupun masyarakat Timur) memiliki unsur tambahan yakni makna “intangible” yaitu nilai-nilai luhur di balik hidangan yang ada seperti legenda, filosofi, etika, perilaku, identitas kepribadian, jati diri dan akar budaya bangsa yang melembaga secara tradisional. Intinya makna intangible di sebagian resepi hidangan makanan & minuman yang ada merupakan kearifan lokal dari gagasan-gagasan, nilai-nilai, pandangan-pandangan masyarakat lokal setempat yang bersifat bijaksana, penuh kearifan, bernilai baik nan tertanam, bersemayam selanjutnya diikuti oleh anggota masyarakat turunannya.

Oleh karena itu, jika membahas Gastronomi Indonesia harus bisa ditarik garis tegas antara gastronomi dalam pengertian “tangible” dengan gastronomi dalam pengertian “intangible” di sebagian hidangan makanan & minuman yang ada, walaupun keduanya satu sama lain saling sejalan ber-iringan (“tangible + intangible“).

Lebih jauh lagi makna “tangible” dari gastronomi Indonesia (atau masyarakat Timur) itu  berbeda dengan dengan “tangible” gastronomi masyarakat di Barat, dimana kekayaan khazanah inovasi dan modifikasi terhadap resep-resep makanan & minuman secara siklus selalu berulang terjadi di masyarakat di Barat.  Seperti diketahui makanan & minuman bangsa Indonesia adalah resep hidangan dari 1,340 suku & sub-suku yang merupakan warisan tradisional para leluhur nenek moyang serta perpaduan dari budaya hidangan etnik pendatang yakni India, Timur Tengah, Tionghoa dan penjajah kolonial Belanda yang diserap dan diolah oleh penduduk lokal setempat menjadi budaya kuliner masyarakat Nusantara sebelum Republik ini berdiri.

Sejak itu jarang diketahui atau dilihat ada inovasi baru terhadap resep-resep hidangan makanan dan minuman bangsa Indonesia, meskipun akhir-akhir ini ada gejala beberapa modifikasi dilakukan oleh para chef muda Indonesia. Meskipun demikian, sejak kemerdekaan, sejarah memperlihatkan sebagian besar bangsa Indonesia mengalami masa migrasi dari berbagai etnik pendatang dari luar, namun bisa dikatakan percampuran budaya resepi masakan luar tidak begitu besar mempengaruhi “local heritage cuisine” yang ada nang ini telah teruji kemampuannya untuk bertahan sampai sekarang. Umumnya pengaruh itu hanya berkisar pada bahan baku dan bumbu, sedangkan subtansinya masih sama.

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Written by: Indra Ketaren

Source: http://gastroina.blogspot.com/

Taking It To The Streets: Lontong Kari Sapi Kebon Karet (The Foodie Magazine, Dec 2014)

One of the staple breakfast meals from Bandung is the mighty lontong kari sapi. So what makes it different than the usual lontong sayur and why I specifically chose the one in Kebon Karet as the example? Find out why here!

Lontong Kari Sapi Kebon Karet 2

It would be a bad idea not to stop by at the hawkers who sell lumpia basah or lontong kari sapi when you’re in Bandung. First of all, speaking subjectively, I am a real fan of these delicacies and secondly, you will not find these in Jakarta at all.

But let us keep lumpia basah aside for another occasion, let’s talk about lontong kari sapi shall we? Well, to start with, it’s very different than the usual lontong sayur that you will find in neighborhoods all over Jakarta. Despite the same use of rice cakes as the carbohydrate source for each dish, lontong sayur is usually comprised of tofu, hard-boiled egg, and julienned chayote over the rather spicy, Indonesian-style curry soup.

Lontong Kari Sapi Kebon Karet 4

What interests me most in the common lontong kari sapi pushcarts is the rice cake blocks enveloped with leaves and sliced into small bits before serving, unlike what we see in Jakarta’s lontong sayur or ketoprak pushcarts where some of them use a combination of leaves and plastic to cook the rice cakes. Best to steer away from those as it is deemed inorganic, at least some part of it.

However, the usual serving of lontong kari sapi doesn’t use any tofu, tempe, or julienned vegetables. Rest assured also that many of whom I usually visit in Bandung also uses the whole leaf to wrap the rice cakes.

Although hard-boiled eggs are found in Kebon Karet’s version, the use of sliced secondary cut beef that retains a certain amount of crunchiness and tenderness at the same time alongside fried peanuts are what describes lontong kari sapi at its best.

Lontong Kari Sapi Kebon Karet 3

Since starting their business in 1966, Lontong Kari Sapi Kebon Karet maintains the originality of the recipe that they won’t share with anybody else and that’s what makes it special. The soup, as the most powerful part of this dish, is made from perhaps a dozen of local ingredients and spices, until finally added with a bit kecap manis to harmonize the umami flavor and don’t forget to add a fresh note of kaffir lime.

This immaculate combination is a rare find, even for me, and their supremacy is totally proven by simply being around for decades now.

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LONTONG KARI SAPI KEBON KARET
Halal-friendly
Unsuitable for vegetarians

Address:
Gang Kebon Karet, Jalan Otto Iskandardinata Belakang no. 11 (in front of Hotel Guntur), Bandung – Indonesia

Opening hours:
Everyday, 7am – 8pm

Spend: IDR 15,000 – IDR 20,000 / person

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Featured in THE FOODIE MAGAZINE December 2014 edition

Download it for free here via SCOOP!

A Foodie’s Life: Rahung (The Foodie Magazine, July 2014)

What people will see from Rahung would make them think instantly that this guy is perhaps an activist or somebody who is too fond of tattoo, but certainly they will never knew that one of the ultimate joys of his life is cooking.

While it’s true that he’s a tattoo aficionado, Rahung is actually also a guy who is straightforward about his feeling with anything tribal, political, environmental, and cultural in this country.

Rahung 1

“Perhaps it was because I befriended activists, NGO people, and living in Timor Leste for six years. I fell in love so much with this country and would like to know more about the tradition behind all those tribes that built Indonesia”, curiously he said. That’s also why he decided to learn more about the audio visual world and now he becomes an adept videographer.

“I’ve had my share of time working behind the desk doing all sorts of video editing, but I cannot stand idly sitting around doing menial jobs. I’d like to also explore and share my experience with others”, said Rahung. Together with his friends, they started The Tribal Project that brings them to explore the depths of Indonesia and to create documentary videos, storytelling their rich culinary culture visually.

“We quickly immerse ourselves with the traditional lives of the people we met in Mentawai where we walked for two days long to find them, or within the depths of Kalimantan with Dayaknese Iban tribe where we took a 16 hours bus ride just to get there, or when we learn to cook interesting Torajan dish with the natives”, Rahung explained his job excitingly.

Furthermore, meeting up with ACMI people and synergizing with them confirm his ultimate wish to promote the undiscovered part of Indonesia. They often hang around together to discuss anything about food, creating food events, and going to traditional markets together whenever he’s in Jakarta.

When asked how did he started his fondness with cooking, Rahung simply answered that it’s what his mother taught him and that it became his hobby since he’s still little. “I remember the time when I was in junior high. Since my parents return home late from our paddy fields, I usually cooked for my family the traditional Bataknese dinners”, he reminisced.

His cooking habit continues until this day and he often shares it with his friends. Being a proud Bataknese, he usually cooks arsik by using any ingredients he found in traditional markets – from bamboo shoots, ferns, and mostly carp fish. Aside from cooking Bataknese dishes, he admitted nonetheless that he’s fascinated other cuisines as well, especially with the cooking techniques he found in traditional tribes that utilizes only simple ingredients but resulted in a dish so full of flavor and aroma.

Curious about his tattoo, we asked about what made him decided to tattoo his whole body. Rahung answered, “It’s all about my personal political statement”. Mostly his tattoos are originated from Papuan, Dayaknese, and Bataknese designs and mainly he sympathizes with the struggle of Papuan people. That’s why he braved himself by tattooing his face.

“Even though the Papuans live on a land blessed with rich natural sources, they’re simply forgotten and treated badly. My tattoo here is a statement of my empathy with them. I let the whole world know that I will forever be a part of them, as fellow Indonesians!” exclaimed Rahung.

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Featured in THE FOODIE MAGAZINE July 2014 edition

Download it for free here via SCOOP!

Photography: Dennie Benedict

Iconic: Gado Gado Bonbin (The Foodie Magazine, Sept 2014)

Probably only a handful of the young generation know that Jakarta’s zoo used to be at the present day Taman Ismail Marzuki and that the streets of the neighborhood, on its opposite side, was once called Jalan Kebon Binatang (or literally, Zoo Street). The neighborhood itself harbors interesting eateries that, in time, we will reveal for you our benevolent readers, but certainly we can always start with one of the oldest – the Gado-Gado Bonbin.

As we all know, the peanut sauce plays a highly important role in many genuine Indonesian dishes and gado-gado is among that owes a lot to the silky, rich flavors of this dressing. It’s easy to find generic gadogado on street vendors and even five star establishments proudly offer this traditional Betawi cuisine for their customers. But of course, one must strive to be different if they want to be recognized.

With a recipe that has stood proud for the last five decades, Gado Gado Bonbin’s version is perhaps among the best in Jakarta. Why the name ‘Bonbin’ you might ask? Of course, because it’s a portmanteau of Kebon Binatang, the name of the street where it resides on before it got renamed Jalan Cikini after the zoo was moved to Ragunan. The owner said that back then, the portmanteau has, somehow, a good vibe in it and that the teenagers in those days used this word a lot.

Gado Gado Bonbin 2

But let us return back to the food. For the dressing, Gado-Gado Bonbin chooses to roast the peanuts rather than frying it, thus avoiding the excess of cooking oil to make it healthier. They also do not grind the peanuts too finely and maintain the subtle crunchy textures within this smooth and silky dressing.

The rest is pretty much the same routine with fine additions of blanched vegetables from long beans, bean sprouts, cabbage, spinach, cucumber, topped with fried potatoes, tahu, and really good homemade rice cakes. Usually in many street vendors, the peanut sauce has to be dissolved first with water to make it less thick and then mixed with the vegetables on a mortar. Bird-eye chilies can also be added by request.

However, Gado-Gado Bonbin’s peanut dressing is already well prepared and all they need is to assemble the vegetables upon a plate and then pour the dressing all over it, hence the term ‘gado-gado siram’. Additional toppings are also prepared to make the gado-gado even more delicious with fried shallots, emping, and a thick shrimp cracker. The homemade sambal is provided separately.

Even with this fantastic recipe, Gado- Gado Bonbin clearly has gone way past its heyday. Mr. Hadi Lingga Wijaya, its current second generation proprietor, honestly admits that business has become slow nowadays and they have to close at 5pm every day, which is rather in contrast during the 80s when they can only close only after 8pm because everybody flocked in all the time.

“It is probably because of the appearance of shopping malls and people can go look for other places to eat”, he sighed. Some conservative eateries like Gado-Gado Bonbin and others around the neighborhood do suffer from this kind of development, but some others chose to invest on other things like opening in new locations and rebranding themselves.

Gado Gado Bonbin 3

There are plenty of other factors as well, for example, with so many varieties of food to choose from nowadays, it can affect people’s preferences. Not to mention that I personally heard some opinion noting that gado-gado is the food for older generations making it unlikely for current teenagers to choose as they often go for something hip and new.

Nevertheless, Mr. Hadi is still proud of the historic stature that his restaurant has achieved after all these years and that media from both local and international companies keep on coming to cover his gado-gado, thus preserving Gado-Gado Bonbin’s existence further.

“Last time, Bobby Chinn came here and the crew filmed him while assembling his own gado-gado. He’s such a funky fellow and kept on asking to enter the kitchen, but I said no”, said Mr. Hadi laughing cautiously, keeping his mother’s best-kept secret recipe.

“Back then, we were actually a small grocery shop. As time went by, we decided to sell es cendol, specially made from soybean flour – not the usual rice flour that you will find anywhere else”, he said proudly. Furthermore, the grocery shop transformed itself to become a restaurant and known for other dishes as well such as lontong cap gomeh, asinan, and even their version of nasi rendang.

The road will be long and winding from here but know that if the younger generation nowadays decide to preserve what their parents love best, traditional eateries such as Gado-Gado Bonbin will continue to exist and be loved for many generations to come. Weathering any storm and other tribulations over the years, Mr. Hadi and his family will continue to serve the best gado-gado and be ready to welcome anyone, anytime. It’s something that us, as their loyal customers, should support and appreciate always.

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GADO GADO BONBIN
Halal-friendly
Some menu are suitable for vegetarians

Address:
Jalan Cikini IV no. 5, Jakarta – Indonesia

T: +62.21.314.1539

Opening hours:
Daily, 10am – 5pm

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Featured in THE FOODIE MAGAZINE September 2014 edition

Download it for free here via SCOOP!

Photography by Dennie Benedict