Tag Archives: Chinese Food

Street Food: Ikan Nila Pak Ugi

If anyone speaks about seafood in Indonesia, then it cannot be separated with what people love best – grilled fish or fried fish. In this issue, it’s time to visit Pak Ugi and his finest tilapias right on the heart of Kelapa Gading.

Living in the world’s biggest archipelago means that you have to eat seafood more every day. With the abundance of our frutti di mare, it’s easy to stop by at any given seafood shack on the side of the street or make way once in a while to splurge at a really good upscale restaurant for that. But the beauty of working with street food articles is to find the right place that goes with the right price.

Ikan Nila Pak Ugi (3)

In the case of Pak Ugi’s restaurant, it’s easy to get lost between the throng of shops and restaurants of Kelapa Gading. As an easy pointer for you, Pak Ugi’s restaurant can be found around a hundred meters after the roundabout from Mall Kelapa Gading on the left side.

Arriving at 2.30pm I was caught in awe with how they operated the business. In contrast with many other local small restaurants or even hawkers, the staffs at Pak Ugi’s were diligent in maintaining the cleanliness and the speed of service. The one man behind the grill was responsible of hundreds of tilapia, pomfret, or gourami every day but he did not neglect his work even for a couple of minutes and that’s how the service became so disciplined.

Ikan Nila Pak Ugi (1)

I always love the tilapia. With its moderate size, the flesh is plentiful and the bone structure was unlike other fish. The bigger bones gave out a good space for us to dig in with ease and that’s how I remembered how divine my visit to Bang Themmy’s back in Bandung last year.

That afternoon, I opted for the grilled tilapia and the fried version in butter sauce. The latter was the typical dish you will find in many Chinese restaurants although it is commonly applied to chicken or frog’s legs. Much to my surprise, it worked so well with the tilapia, thanks to the crispy skin and the rich, sweet and velvety butter sauce.

Ikan Nila Pak Ugi (2)

The grilled tilapia was also decent but quickly overshadowed by the qualities found with its fried counterpart. In spite of that, the sambal came as the rescuer. As praised by many, Pak Ugi’s sambal was not only fiery, but has that complex balance of flavors into it and the freshness coming out from the squeezed lime.

The quality that I witnessed was proven well with the price and that became an experience that cannot be traded anywhere else. Be sure to come by during odd hours to avoid queues, but if you happen to be that unlucky, I’d stay even for more than an hour to wait for seat!


Some dishes are suitable for vegetarians

Jalan Boulevard Raya Blok FX1 no. 1, Kelapa Gading, Jakarta – Indonesia

Opening hours:
Daily, 11am – 10pm

Spend: IDR 50,000 – IDR 75,000 / person




Featured in THE FOODIE MAGAZINE Sept 2015 edition

Download it for free here via SCOOP!

Culinary artistry of the Uighur Muslims (via Aquila Style)

Our good Uighur Muslim friends from Xinjiang, China have been writing in and reminding us they are not Chinese. Here, we pay a real culinary tribute to their wonderful food artisans for coming out with such unique techniques in creating flavour and colour on a plate.

Background from the Uyghur Kitchen 

The Uighurs are Turkic people and form the majority of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. Uighur culture is deeply rooted in this area, since before the time of Genghis Khan and Uighur’s history reflects the exchange of languages and religions that occurred along the Silk Road. Today, the Uighur language is written in a modified Arabic script and most Uighurs are Sunni Muslims. The Uighurs currently are under Chinese rule.

As one can imagine, the food of the Uighurs are largely influenced by the historic exchange of goods in this area, making them mostly traders. Xinjiang’s harsh desert terrain is largely uncultivable, but a system of irrigation introduced by the ancient Uighurs created ‘oases’, allowing people in this area to begin cultivating vegetables, wheat and fruit. These oases are famous for producing sweet melons and grapes. However, the feature food of the Uighurs is the incredible Lamb Kebab, often simply prepared allowing the quality of the meat to shine. Lamb Kebabs roasting over coals and naan, a leavened flatbread cooked in a Tandoor oven, are common street foods for Uighurs.

Liang Mian

A common Uyghur dish is Leng Men or Liang Mian, a noodle dish likely to have originated from the Chinese La Mian, but its flavor and preparation method are distinctively Uighur. It is a special handmade noodle made from flour, water, and salt. The dough is divided into small balls and then stretched by hand. The noodles are boiled until very soft and then served topped with stir-fried meat and vegetables (bell peppers, chili peppers, cabbage, onions, and tomatoes) in meat stock.


Another typical Uighur dish is polo, a dish commonly found throughout Central Asia. In a version of the Uighur polo, carrots and mutton (or chicken) are first fried in oil and onion, then rice and water are added, and the whole dish is steamed. Raisins and dried apricots may also be added.


Another common staple of the Uighur menu, naan is prepared in the same traditional way as what you’ll commonly see in Middle East or Southeast Asia.


Kebabs – more commonly known as Kawap – is seasoned with chili powder, salt, black pepper and cumin. Varying versions carry different levels of onion, garlic and pomegranate juice, which adds a kick of tartness to the lamb. Finishing with cumin and salt is not uncommon.

Da Pan Ji

Another popular Xinjiang dish is Da Pan Ji, literally translated means ‘big plate chicken’. It is a spicy hot chicken stew served on a big plate and after the chicken has been eaten, wide flat hand-pulled noodles are added to the gravy. The dish gained popularity in the mid-to-late 1990s, and is said to have been invented in Shawan, northern Xinjiang by a migrant from Sichuan who mixed hot chili peppers with chicken and potatoes in an attempt to reproduce a Sichuan taste.


Mutton soups need little introduction. Probably one of the best comfort food in the world.


Taken from Aquila Style (see the images there)

Halal Eat Out: Komala’s – Singapore

Probably my biggest regret is that I missed the opportunity to eat at Sarinah’s Komala’s back then. It’s now already a history and we are now forced to eat at expensive places for Indian food in Jakarta.

Which is why that, again, this is my sole mission to enjoy good Indian food while in Singapore and Komala’s happens to be also halal-certified!

Not sure what is the main reason why Indonesians are not really fond of Indian food in general. We’re more closely attached to Middle Eastern food in a sense, but even so both cuisines are still alien if compared with the ubiquitous Chinese and Japanese food.

So back to business, Komala’s is a vegetarian restaurant that derives most of its influence from Southern Indian cuisine. It was almost midnight but the spilling from Mustafa Center keeps on coming one by one here. Lucky that the cashier was still in good spirit and helped me with the service swiftly.

Picking the vegetarian biryani set with dhal tadka, yogurt, and pappadams; one plate for two was more than enough for both of us to be happy. It was not only romantic but also hearty. Altogether with a large cup of Fanta Orange, we had our most exciting time on the first day I brought my wife for the first time to Singapore.

There are so many rooms to explore but it would be waste to just visit Komala’s while neglecting the rest. However, rest assured, the next time we’re heading for Mustafa again, then a visit here would be a full certainty.


All dishes are suitable for vegetarians

Address (Singapore only):

  • Upper Dickson Rd.
  • Tanglin Mall
  • Serangoon Rd.
  • North Point
  • Chevron House


Opening hours: Daily, 7am – 11.30pm

Dish That I Crave: The Yamien of Warung Lela

Well, today is not actually about me missing a dish or anything that I want to eat in particular. But I was only missing my hometown and Warung Lela. I could be that sentimental sometimes.

Wale 1

You see, Warung Lela has been around for so long, offering dishes as simple as bakmi and nasi tim, but it’s that simplicity and how homey the place is that made me missing them so much.

The vicinity of Jalan Kupa or Jalan Apel on the upper hills of Bandung has charming surroundings. Not only that once or twice ,whenever I am in Bandung, I would frequent Kopi Selasar or Roemah Kopi for my caffeine intake and the breezy side of Bandung, but a visit to Warung Lela or Bumi Joglo became a must-do as well.

At any rate, I nevertheless love how the food tastes here and Warung Lela’s attentiveness to hygiene and service. It may took quite an effort to come up here during holiday times but that’s Bandung for you and its traffic. Queued in a waiting list is to be expected but it’s worth the trip nonetheless.

Now, I should book a ticket back home sometime soon.



Some of the menu are suitable for vegetarians

Jalan Kupa no. 6, Bandung – Indonesia

Opening hours:
Daily, 9am – 9pm

Spend: IDR 25,000 – IDR 50,000 / person

VIDEO: Tim Ho Wan, Jakarta (via JAX)

Just around a few months back, my article about Tim Ho Wan was published on JAX.

As we all know, JAX strives to be different than any other media thanks to its background as a production house as well and that’s why we utilized our production team to shoot this video, solely dedicated for Tim Ho Wan and all the foodies out there.

Be sure to check it out and follow JAX also in Youtube. 😉

Article: http://wp.me/przAI-2Xp