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TGA Appreview: OpenSnap – Cook, Dine Out, and Share Your Snaps

Selamat datang di OpenSnap! Sebuah aplikasi yang didesain khusus untuk petualangan dan interaksi para pecinta makanan di Asia. Berikut adalah ulasan singkat saya dari kacamata seorang foodie dan pengguna gadget kelas kakap.

OpenSnap (2)

Harus dimaklumi memang demam kuliner sudah sedemikian merasuki seluruh lapisan masyarakat di seluruh dunia dan tidak terkecuali Asia serta Indonesia. Berkat dorongan dari berbagai siaran televisi, munculnya banyak restoran baru, kehadiran para chef selebriti, serta tentunya semangat menjelajahi para foodie inilah yang menyebabkan demam kuliner rasanya tidak akan (pernah) berhenti.

Di sisi lain, perkembangan teknologi telah memungkinkan kita untuk mengakses informasi serta berbagi kepada sesama karena bermunculannya website serta aplikasi yang khusus dirancang untuk kebutuhan ini.

Sebut saja OpenRice yang sudah sekian tahun ini menjadi rujukan resmi para pencari informasi restoran serta sajiannya. Sebagai buah kreativitas para penggagasnya; muncullah OpenSnap yang menjawab kebutuhan para foodie untuk dapat mengakses informasi secara mudah, rinci, serta berbagi keceriaan dengan sesama pecinta makanan lainnya.

Fitur-fitur utama

Segera setelah mendaftar, layar utama tampil dengan desain cermat yang memungkinkan pengguna dengan mudah dapat memutuskan apa yang dicari pertama kali.

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Misalkan saja pemilihan kota. Berkat database OpenRice yang sudah terbangun lengkap sekian lama, pengguna dapat memilih bertualang di kota-kota lokal seperti Jakarta, Bandung, Bali, Surabaya, Semarang, Yogyakarta dan lain-lain. Atau misalkan bila kita tengah berwisata ke mancanegara, pilihan kota begitu banyak dari negara-negara seperti Cina, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, India, Malaysia, Filipina, Singapura, serta Thailand. Sehingga jelas, faktor database yang lengkap menjadi keunggulan tersendiri bagi OpenSnap khususnya di Asia Timur dan Tenggara dibandingkan aplikasi-aplikasi lainnya.

Selain dari fitur pilihan kota yang begitu banyak ini, OpenSnap merancang bagian slider yang berisi pilihan para editor serta sayembara-sayembara berhadiah seru yang berganti setiap saat. Setidaknya ini awal yang bagus untuk terus menggali berbagai fungsi aplikasi seru ini.

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Lalu tibalah pada keputusan untuk memilih tempat makan. Selain tempat-tempat makan yang bisa dipilih sebagai bookmark atau mengandalkan GPS untuk memilihkan yang terdekat pada menu Nearby, OpenSnap juga membantu mengkategorikan dari segi wilayah yang bisa kita atur sesuai daerah yang kita sering kunjungi.

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Ingin mengejar aspirasi kekinianmu? Cobalah masuk ke kategori New Restaurant atau Editor’s Pick. Bila ingin sesuai jenis masakannya, jangan khawatir, rupanya OpenSnap juga sudah mengkategorikan sesuai genre masakan mulai Indonesian, Chinese, dan lain-lain hingga ke yang spesifik seperti street food serta yang buka hingga larut malam. Misalnya saja kesukaan saya adalah mencari tempat makan halal terbaik di Jakarta. Kategori inipun tersedia di OpenSnap.OpenSnap (13) OpenSnap (14)

Foodporn sharing

Sulit memang memisahkan fungsi social media dari munculnya berbagai aplikasi di Android serta iOS di masa ini. OpenSnap rupanya sudah menyiapkan fungsi yang cukup menyeluruh ketika berkaitan dengan makanan.

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Fungsi paling utama adalah photo uploading. Pada menu ini, kita dapat segera berbagi foto yang kita ambil langsung atau yang sudah terdapat di dalam database handphone bila ingin diberikan filter terlebih dahulu.

Fungsi-fungsi dalam fitur photo sharing
Fungsi-fungsi dalam fitur photo sharing

Bila ingin segera berbagi cepat, OpenSnap telah menyiapkan fungsi-fungsi mendasar seperti rotating atau cropping namun ada juga berbagai filter instan yang dapat dipakai langsung untuk mempercantik foto makanan yang baru saja kita ambil.

Berbagai filter yang tersedia
Berbagai filter yang tersedia
Emoticons!
Emoticons!
Pengaturan cahaya untuk membantu foto dalam kondisi low light
Pengaturan cahaya untuk membantu foto dalam kondisi low light

Tidak hanya di situ, puluhan emoticon tersedia untuk turut menghiasi foto yang ingin kita share. Tidak lupa tentunya, fitur pengaturan cahaya tersedia untuk mengoptimalkan kualitas foto sebelum siap untuk pengunggahan. Menu-menu basic ini sangat bermanfaat bagi para foodie yang ingin bersegera sharing secara praktis dan hanya menggunakan handphone, bahkan pada kondisi low light.


OpenSnap (11)OpenSnap (12)Tentunya selain sekadar mengunggah foto, OpenSnap melengkapi fitur ini dengan mengajak kita mengisi tambahan informasi seperti nama makanan tersebut, dimana tempat kita menikmatinya, harga, hingga tags dan fungsi sharing di channel socmed lainnya.

Lebih menariknya lagi, rupanya OpenSnap juga dengan sigap memberikan tambahan kategori untuk foto-foto di luar foto makanan di restoran seperti foto interior, foto selfie, hingga foto masakan di rumah. Dengan demikian OpenSnap mengajak kita berbagi pengalaman foodie seluas mungkin dengan para pecinta makan lainnya!

Fitur social media di OpenSnap

Tentunya kurang rasanya bila hanya sekadar mengunggah foto. Tidak berhenti di sini, OpenSnap membuka kesempatan bagi penggunanya untuk langsung berinteraksi. Mulai dengan saling memberikan love kepada foto yang kita suka, para user juga dimungkinkan untuk saling follow diantara sesamanya.

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Kejelian OpenSnap rupanya tidak berhenti di situ. Selain memberikan credit lebih kepada para user yang rajin mengunggah foto dengan menampilkan mereka di halaman atas, ternyata apabila kita memasuki pilihan find foodies kita akan mendapati bahwa para selebritas lokal dan mancanegara turut memenuhi daftar foodie yang bisa kita follow. Di sini terlihat bahwa para selebritis ini ternyata rajin menggunakan aplikasi ini dan tentunya seru juga untuk bisa mencari tahu serta mencicipi apa yang mereka nikmati.

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Maka satu pesona terakhir yang pastinya menggugah siapapun yang masih bertanya-tanya mengenai OpenSnap adalah kesempatan memenangkan begitu banyak hadiah. OpenRice sendiri terkenal dengan kesempatan bagi-bagi hadiahnya dan tentunya hal ini berlanjut ke OpenSnap. Setelah saya telusuri ternyata kesempatan ini tidak hanya datang sesekali namun seringkali!

OpenSnap dari sisi teknis

Terakhir yang tidak boleh lupa saya bagi adalah kualitas aplikasi dari segi teknis. OpenSnap secara penampilan sukses untuk menciptakan desain yang cukup optimal dan kelancaran akses dari fitur satu ke fitur yang lain. Tidak pernah saya temukan adanya crash atau kegagalan ketika mengunggah foto.

Namun alangkah akan lebih optimal sekiranya cropping foto dapat diatur lebih lebar lagi secara dimensi baik secara vertikal maupun horizontal. Other than that, aplikasi ini terbilang jempolan untuk kualitas keseluruhan.

Sepertinya sudah tidak layak lagi menahan diri untuk segera mencoba lebih jauh OpenSnap di smartphone kita. Selain fitur-fitur dan kemudahannya, tentunya saya pribadi saja tidak sabar bersaing untuk mendapatkan hadiah-hadiah seru di salah satu sayembara yang tengah berlangsung.

Nah, bagaimana dengan Anda? Sudah siapkah berpetualang makan-makan dan foto-foto? Saya nantikan penampilannya di aplikasi ini.

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OpenSnap is available for free download at Android and iOS

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Pantry 101: Cute Little Biggie Eggs! (The Foodie Magazine, June 2014)

“There are at least two sides to every issue, and I like my issues sunny side up. I also like bacon and toast on the side. Are you eating what I’m saying?” – Jarod Kintz

As one of the world’s most important ingredients used in so many dishes from breakfast to dinner, choosing eggs turn out to be a matter of complexity and that’s because so many options to choose from. Around the world, not only do we cook with chicken eggs, there are other, more exotic eggs too!

QUAIL EGGS
Undisputedly, this egg is the smallest yet also a hugely popular and is consumed in large quantities all over the world. Take for instance the quail’s egg satay often found in many chicken porridge pushcarts every morning here in Indonesia or even in soups and Chinese cuisine.

Out there, the quail egg is simply an honorable ingredient that so many countries use in their notable dishes. For example, we can easily find it on top of steak tartare from France, in tapas dishes from Spain, marinated with soy sauce in Korea, and many suggest the use of it for croque madame as well.

CHICKEN EGGS
Clearly, the chicken egg is the most familiar choice to cook with, any household around the globe would cook it every day. The efficiency of the poultry industry – or in this case, chicken, is signified as well by the wide array of choices for the eggs.

Starting from whether you want it brown or white from the eggshell color or bringing it up to the level where you also consider whether the eggs came organically, from free-range chicken, or cage-free. Choosing chicken eggs has never been this personal before!

With the size of around 2 ounces, chicken egg packs around 78 calories and is one of the most versatile ingredients in the entire universe. Fry it, scramble it, poach it, or anything that you like.

DUCK EGGS
With the size of almost twice that of chicken eggs, the size of the yolk from duck egg is also way bigger. With its higher fat content and creamier texture, the duck egg becomes the favorite of bakers and pastry chefs alike. Name anything you want from crème brulee, sponge cake, flan, or anything with custard-y texture. In the East, the duck egg becomes a delicacy, especially in The Philippines with the balut or the salted duck egg in China and also Indonesia.

Again, we’d like to remind you that the calorie level of duck egg is twice of what the chicken egg has and three times the cholesterol. Tread carefully.

TURKEY EGGS
Unlike chicken, quail, or duck eggs, the turkey eggs are not commonly found in markets because of the high demand of whole turkey itself and with lower output of the eggs when compared with other fowls.

With the size roughly the same with duck egg, it actually possesses a bit more calories but 3.5 times of cholesterol found in chicken egg! With its creamier texture but similarity with chicken egg, it is also suitable to treat it like a fancy chicken egg but still made into the classics like poaching, scrambling, and frying.

GOOSE EGGS
The goose egg is particularly high in calories, cholesterol, and goes with twice the size of duck egg. It has a richer, more pronounced flavor than a chicken egg. In some parts of the world, despite the price tag of around $3-per-egg, it sells out really quick. It is also a bit rare to find it in local markets because in some countries, you will have to travel to farmers’ markets or splurge at high-end gourmet shops for this egg. Some suggestions on how to deal with this egg are to hardboil it, fry it, or make it into an omelette.

OSTRICH EGGS
Here’s the fun fact – each giant ostrich egg equals to 24 chicken eggs! Of course the shell is harder as well and you might need extra strength to crack it open, but some people also prefer to drill and drain it instead. The egg’s availability is also limited to certain farmers’ markets that usually sell it at around $30-per-egg!

Some suggests to just scramble it with anything you have on the fridge but a chef recently tried to put it as an ingredient for making fresh pasta. Well, at around 2,000 calories per egg, you really want to be careful eating it. But even before that, you have to splurge the 30 bucks first though!

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Click to download this article

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Featured in THE FOODIE MAGAZINE June 2014 edition

Download it for free here via SCOOP!

Pantry 101: Pearly Shells (The Foodie Magazine, May 2014)

“He was a bold man that first ate an oyster” – Jonathan Swift

Although Indonesia is an archipelago and a maritime country, many Indonesians do not really pay attention to the distinct characteristics of the shellfish that they eat every day, they rather generalize everything as kerang only.

In truth, these lovely bivalve creatures are divided into many types from cockles, clams, scallops, oysters, and mussels.

Let’s get to know these tasty bounty from the sea!

BLOOD COCKLE (KERANG DARAH)
Blood cockles are quite known as the staple of many seafood stalls in Indonesia. The blood cockle is small, with sizes ranging between 2-5cm, and possesses a unique red haemoglobin liquid that resembles ‘blood’ in the body. Finding these cockles may not seem easy because they burrow down into sand and mud, but once found, they are abundant in numbers.

With its delicate yet sweet taste, this type of cockle is usually served in a straightforward way, commonly raw, roasted or steamed. However in Indonesia, it is commonly boiled and served with a fruity-tasting sambal. Moreover, due to Chinese cuisine influence, these cockles are commonly stir-fried with garlic or with oyster sauce. I n the West, blood cockles are used in salads, soups, chowders, pasta, and in Southern-style seafood gumbo.

JACKKNIFE CLAM (KERANG BAMBU)
Also known in Asia as the bamboo clam for its distinct shell resembling a bamboo, hence popularly known as kerang bambu in Indonesia. These tube-like clams with a sweet taste and firm texture have only recently made it to Western restaurants in the United States, unlike their Asian counterparts which have been serving them for many years.

Like the cockles, these clams burrow deep and move fast, thus making them hard to catch. They are quite popular in Chinese, Japanese, Thai, and Korean cooking. Moreover, they are highly prized in Italy and many tapas bars in Spain.

ASIAN/PHILIPPINE GREEN MUSSEL (KERANG HIJAU)
The green mussel may have its notorious side in some cases, but it still is edible and people can never get enough of these green beauties. As they are abundant in number and particularly cheap, oftentimes you will see street hawkers selling steamed green mussels in residential neighborhoods in Indonesia.

Like oysters with its juice, the sea water inside the mussel shell is rich in umami and usually contributes additional taste and aroma to the dish. While it is commonly just steamed in Asian countries, the French often add garlic, shallots, and white wine to it. Baked mussels is also a popular dish to be found in Western and Italian restaurants.

SCALLOP (KERANG SIMPING)
Known as escalope in French, scallops are highly prized although they are found in all the world’s oceans. Making it even more exotic, wild fisheries on specific oceans employ divers to directly harvest the scallops from the ocean bed as it is considered to be more environmental friendly.

Even so, both fresh and frozen scallops are available all year round. Despite the fact that scallops may be more popular in Western cuisines and Japanese, Indonesia has a growing interest with this particular edible mollusk. It is probably because scallops doesn’t feel too seafood-ish like the rest of the shellfish thanks to its appearance, fleshy texture, sweet flavor, and its versatility to be cooked in many ways.

Popular scallop dishes in the West require serve them seared or grilled. In the East, the scallops are often made into sushi or sashimi – known as hotategai in Japan, and dried or steamed in China and Taiwan.

OYSTER (TIRAM)
There’s nothing sexier than oysters, right? Not only are they delicious and highly flexible when it comes to cooking, several members of the oyster family are inedible species that produce pearls as well!

Raw oysters have complex flavors in accord with the characteristics of the water that nurtures them as they may become sweet, earthy, salty, and sometimes melon-y. Other methods of cooking them involve smoking, baking, frying, roasting, stewing, steaming, and you name it – so many!

Although it is still less popular in Indonesia, oysters are more popular in many tapas bars, Mediterranean seafood shacks, and haute restaurants. They are often served freshly shucked, still possessing the sea water they were harvested from. The simplest serving usually allows only a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkling of pepper or salt, to savor it’s juice. Or in a more elaborate way but still according to the purists way, with shallot vinegar or cocktail sauce aside from the usual lemon juice.

ABALONE (ABALON/KERANG MATA TUJUH/SIPUT BALIK BATU)
Spared from the rest of bivalve family we featured in this article, the abalone is actually classified as one of the edible gastropods among others like the conches or whelks.

Highly exquisite and considered as delicacy in certain parts of the world, the dried abalone is even prized higher than even shark’s fin or sea cucumber. In Chinese cuisine, abalone is considered as a luxury item and even reserved only special occasions, while Japanese cuisine utilizes live, raw abalone for sushi. Apart from these, abalone is made into Korean-style stew, braised, grilled, and fermented with salt. However, it is relatively unheard of in Indonesia except when found in expensive restaurants.

Even so, overfishing has been the real issue that causes the threat of the extinction of abalone despite fishing permits are issued specifically for this species in certain countries.

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Click to download this article

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Featured in THE FOODIE MAGAZINE May 2014 edition

Download it for free here via SCOOP!

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:

BASIC TERMS

  • CACAO
    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.
  • CHOCOLATE LIQUOR
    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).
  • COCOA BUTTER
    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.
  • COCOA POWDER
    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!

UNSWEETENED CHOCOLATE
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.

DARK CHOCOLATE
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.

MILK CHOCOLATE
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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Click to download this article

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Featured in THE FOODIE MAGAZINE April 2014 edition

Download it for free here via SCOOP!

Pantry 101: The Spice of Life (The Foodie Magazine, Feb 2014)

To spice up the love month, we have decided to feature the spice of life and Indonesia’s most favorite vegetable, the chili. Red and green chilies or peppers have long been considered to give an extra kick to boost both the flavor and the eater’s mood for centuries. Here we feature some of the famous chilies along with their Scoville scale ratings that determine their heat level.

bellpepper

Bell pepper
Scofield Scale: 0 (none)

Who doesn’t love these wonderful fruits available in so many colors? The bell peppers are not only rich with nutrients but also possess that crunchy texture and sweetness that we all love to have in our dishes. The red bell pepper is simply the best you can get and is the most mature yet more nutritious among its yellow or green counterparts. Recent studies show that it has over than 30 different members of carotenoid nutrients and vitamins.

Peperoncini

Peperoncini
Scofield Scale: 0 – 500 (mild)

Considered as one of the wonders brought to Europe during early colonization era in South America, peperoncini has since become popularly used in rustic Italian dishes or for instance the famous spaghetti aglio olio e peperoncino. Its mild heat level and sweet note are often used to lend more flavors in antipasti, pizza, or salad and sandwich.

Jalapeno

Jalapeño
Scofield Scale: 2,500 – 10,000 (medium)

Easily the famous pepper found in American and Mexican cuisines. Referred to as huachinango in Mexico, the pepper naturally develops scars in form of small brown lines and the more scars the more heat level for you to expect. Aside from famously made into chipotle (smoked jalapeño), it is often made into juice – believed to be a remedy for allergies and cardiovascular problems.

Serrano

Serrano
Scofield Scale: 10,000 – 25,000 (hot)

Native to mountainous regions of Mexico, these small peppers transform to red color as they mature. Serrano is often used in sauces, marinades, or salsas, and considered as the hotter substitute for jalapeño. A rule of thumb, the smaller the size then the hotter it gets. Just sharing a personal experience here – the dried version is also viciously spicy.

Bird's eye chili

Bird’s eye chili
Scofield Scale: 50,000 – 100,000 (very hot)

Undisputedly, it is the pride of Southeast Asians and especially here in Indonesia where it is named as cabe rawit. While it may appear small and harmless but make no mistake, it packs a knockout punch for those who are not used to it. Cabe rawit is applied in many recipes here from simple fritters (or gorengan) to even more sophisticated dishes.

Habanero

Habanero
Scofield Scale: 100,000 – 350,000 (exceptionally hot)

Undisputedly one of the hottest chili among the naturally bred for commercial use, habanero is a native Mexican and commonly used as an accompaniment in salsa as it possessed also the fruity and floral aromas, making it less notorious somehow. Aside from the heat, it boasts also nutritional values. Even so, you might want to think again before bracing yourself with its KO punch.

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Featured in THE FOODIE MAGAZINE February 2014 edition

Download it for free here via SCOOP!