Saturday, February 18, 2017

Missing you...

Decades had passed. The memory was still clear on my head. You posted few things on my blog as I allowed you to access as a writer. I was having a grueling schedule towards the upcoming examination and yet you were always be there for me consoling my tiring heart and mind.

Words of wisdom by Renee Wood

Sometimes, I did not even realize when you put those words of wisdom to tell me how much you treasured me, to motivate me walking through my journey in life, and to motivate yourself when you felt tired about what you faced in your real life (work, love, and daily life).

Sometimes you posted song lyrics to express what you felt too, just like the lyrics below:

I can love you like no one can 
I can be your Superman (Superman) 
Just take my hand let's fly away 
I promise I'll be there everyday 
Just close your eyes let's start to fly 
I'm gonna love you until I die (till I die) 
Until the day of my death to my very last breath 
I'm gonna love you when no ones left 


Superman with S on my chest (Pic source: Google.com)

Come fly with me baby 
Yeah I'm the one 
With the S on my chest 
Forget about your ex 
He don't know what love is 
He just failed the test 
Plus he don't treat you right 
He keeps you crying all night 
See, he's like your kryptonite 
I came to give you their strength 
So you can leave him behind 
You can start all over 
Just press rewind 
Cause he don't understand that you're one of a kind 
So sweet, so sexy and just so fine 
I will fight to my death just to make you mine 
I will never neglect you 
Never have time to stress you 
And always respect you 
Girl you like a hidden treasure 
And I promise to love you 
From now until forever 
O para siempra mija 
te prometo te voy amar
hasta la muerte 

Wow!!! Simply melted my heart!!! :)

Love letter (Pic source: Love-Meter.net)

You were goods at words too, I had to admit, and I just enjoyed every things that you posted. Well, not only from those things you posted there, but also those letters that you used to send me, attached with few surprises with it. You had never failed to brighten up my days. Distance would never be a barrier for us, at all!!!

Happy family photo of yours... (Photo source: Google.com)

Time went by. It changed your entire life, and mine too. I was happy though because it was all changed for the good reasons only. Looking at your family's photo with two beautiful angels, all posed with big smiles on their faces, made me believe that you went through good days, life after me. And like my friend told me, "No one is irreplaceable." She was right. Life went on, be it with or without me. I wished you all the best, as always, and would always be. Your happiness was my happiness, forever...

P.S. The thought of writing just came up and I realized one thing, that somehow my brain chose to run out from the reality, especially when I was under stress. World of imagination was far more interesting than reality. Anyway, whatever arose, would vanish, and everything led to emptiness for everything in life. So, if we could not face the reality, why not kept living in imagination???

Friday, February 17, 2017

Silly moments

Part of me says (Pic source: Google.com)

I stopped my reading, put the bookmark in between the page I was currently reading and held my mobile. My thumb pressed into the Facebook apps.

"Silly and playful little girl," written with the photo of a young girl sat down beside her cute dog. "It's fine to be silly and playful at this age," mumbled me, and consequently my mind thought about my own self, "At least not at my age." I sighed and my mind started to wonder.

I only drank a little (Pic source: Google.com)

The empty beer bottles lie next to me. One, two, three, four, five!!! Oohhh.... five was down. One more to go. I dumped the phone right beside me and tried my best to sit straight, then slowly my two feet tried to find the pair of white hotel's sandals lying next to my bed. My head was spinning. Oh, finally my feet managed to enter to that pair of slipper. However, my brain wasn't quite sure if I had worn them correctly (left or right), couldn't care much anymore.

I got up slowly, opened the room's wooden door. Step by step my feet walked towards the fridge. It's located about 3-meter up front and 3-meter to the left. Even with both eyes closed, I could navigate how to reach that bloody fridge.

Drunk quote (Pic source: Google.com)

"Ahhhh, here you were!!!" claimed me. I opened the fridge's door and my hand caught the neck of that blue color bottle. "One six six four blanc, hahaha...," I was laughing. "I haven't got drunk yet. I still could recognise the brand of this bottle," mumbled me again.

I picked the bottle cap opener that stuck by magnet at the side of the fridge and "plakkk....." the should of the bottle cap being opened sounded clearly on my ears. I let the cap flung somewhere and anyhow put the opener on top of the kitchen table. With eyes closed, I again walked blindly towards the direction of my room.

Numb (Pic source: Google.com)

Gluk gluk gluk gluk.... aaahhhhh...... eeerrggghhh..... The sound of beer being drunk with big burping let the big gas out naturally from my mouth. "Hahaha..... who cares?? Who cares about me anymore???" my little mind was laughing inside, trying to do justice towards my own behavior.

It's been like this for the past one week, since the person whom I loved decided to let me go. "It's fine... it's alright... let him go... let him be happy.... this time, happily ever after.... hahahaha...."

Blacking out (Pic source: Google.com)

Gluk gluk gluk gluk gluk.... this time I drank it longer. The beer spilled from my lips. I brushed it dried using my shirt's right sleeve. Eeerrrgghhhhhhhh....... This time the burp sound got bigger. Hahahaha..... I could feel my self laughing louder... But despite that laughter, I could feel something hurt inside me... That little fragile heart was hurt inside... and those laughter laughed at my own self for being silly, to get drunk continuously in order to forget him... yeah, to forget him... it worked... even for just few hours... even only for a night.... at least I could forget about him..... And slowly I could feel the tears rushing down unto my both cheeks and I could imagine it had turned red and warm, before darkness and heaviness overcame my head. Another day passed by and I overcame it, overcame it....

P.S. I know many writers who could only write when they were drunk. The feeling was only my imagination and based on personal experience. Just had a mood to write about this. Doesn't mean I'm in a bad mood right now :)

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

The sun had burnt my skin only this afternoon when I shopped for my grocery. And now, as I noticed from my window, the rain was pouring incessantly with lightnings and thunders flashing blatantly from behind the groups of black clouds. Time shown from my Ikea-purchased five-dollar clock hung on my room was only 6.30 pm. I pulled the zip of my grey colour sweater up and increased the volume of my radio to refuse hearing the scary thunder's sound. My all-time favourite song - In the end by Linkin' Park - filled the room in full blast now!

Sitting on my bed, I sipped the chilled Bhutan whiskey - a gift from a special Bhutanese friend - using the Tiger Nest mug - another special gift given by another dear Bhutanese friend. It was no coincidence though. I just felt that the Bhutan whiskey tasted much more delicious when I had it using the Bhutan mug hehehe... 

I continued flipping the next page of my book - Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami"It's more likely a strange weather in Singapore instead," mumbled me. 

Oh, book and whiskey??? How to read and drinking at the same time??? Hahaha... Blame it to the book, or the delicious dried cuttlefish that accompanied the book and the whiskey! Lol! Well, couldn't deny! Three of them was a perfect combination though :P
The Perfect Three - for a not sake but alcohol lover like me :P

"One night when she is drinking alone in a local bar, Tsukiko finds herself sitting next to her former high school teacher. Over the coming months they share food and drink sake, and as the seasons pass - from spring to cherry blossom to autumnal mushrooms - Tsukiko and her teacher come to develop a hesitant intimacy which tilts awkwardly and poignantly towards love."

So that's what were written at the back of the book. See? I told you. There were so many occasions of drinking sake written there, almost all the time. And as an alcohol-lover like me, who could resist? Could you? :P

I wasn't a sake lover though. Otherwise I would have drunk that instead of the Bhutan whiskey I was having.  And alas! The story... despite age differences, it never stopped people from falling in love from each other. It's just... in a different way. 

A once married man in his late sixties perhaps was so gentle and full of charisma, that's what I thought about him. The love that rose between them, was very different with the love that young people had in general.  It was so sweet, tender, and no rush at all. It's definitely a perfect reading book for this month - ya, in case you forgot, Valentine's Day's coming!!! No, it hadn't passed yet, it wasn't in January 14th :P This would be a beautiful gift of love if your loved one loved reading ;) *hint hint...

Oh my eyes were so heavy as I finally turned to the last page of the book one hour later. I had finished three mugs full of whiskey and I took a glance at the empty bottle beside it. Before I forgot, I turned the radio off and quickly sent a We Chat message to my Bhutanese friend to send me more when there was someone coming over here. 

After removing my contact lens and brushing my teeth, I walked half-flying towards my bed. I secured myself below the comfortable blanket and turned off the bedside light. Soon my world was dark, and only darkness accompanied me... peacefully... comfortably... Deep inside I wished that I didn't have to get up the next day... didn't have to get up...

"In loneliness I have drifted this long way, alone. 
My torn and shabby robe could not keep out the cold. 
And tonight the sky was so clear
it made my heart ache all the more." 
(Poem by Seihaku Irako - from Strange Weather in Tokyo)

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Happiness is within

It's raining again today. The black and white clouds covered most of area in Hong Kong today. I slipped my both hands inside my sweater's pocket. It could connect inside and keep my body warm.

Caramel Machiatto Starbucks (Photo source: Google.com)

I walked to the nearest Starbucks and ordered the Grande size of Caramel Machiatto. I picked a seat that facing the road outside. The height of the wooden table was comfortable enough to hold my both elbows that held the cup tightly. Hmmmm.... nice and warm mug. It's all what I needed now.

White moustache ^^ (Photo source: Google.com)

I sipped the top part and the print of whipped cream sticking to my upper lip, I noticed from the clear glass's reflection. Haha.... I laughed to myself looking at that as it reminded me of the good ol' times I used to have. I took a selfie before wiping it off with a serviette.

A laughing young couple walked hurriedly holding an umbrella. As they were teasing to each other, the guy touched the girl's nose lightly and smile appeared on her lips.

Love is all around ^^

The old couple walked by with again umbrella covering their head, this time was in slower pace. Once they reached the roofed area, the old man took a handkerchief from his pocket and dried the old lady's hair that was wet from earlier walk. Hmm.... how sincerely cared that old man, my thought was saying.

Anywhere you are, I am near
Anywhere you go, I'll be there
Anytime you whisper my name, you'll see

How every single promise I'll keep
'Cause what kind of guy would I be
If I was to leave when you need me most

What are words
If you really don't mean them
When you say them

What are words
If they're only for good times
Then that's all

When it's love
Yeah, you say them out loud
Those words, they never go away
They live on, even when we're gone

And I know an angel was sent
just for me and I know I'm meant
to be where I am and I'm gonna be

Standing right beside her tonight
And I'm gonna be by your side
I would never leave when she needs me most

I'm gonna be by her side when she needs it most...

I smiled again and took a very deep breath. Hhhmmmpphhhh..... This song... this song reminded me of his words. The words that used to comfort my heart and soul. The promise said for all the future to come. Where was he now? I wondered.

No no, no envy to both couples, not at all... I was happy this way. Being all alone physically did not mean being lonely. Happiness was within. It appeared as and when I wanted it to be. Happiness was all inside me. Don't be mistaken with my presence of being alone or with my silence.

I spoke less as I observed more.
I spoke less as I listened more.
I spoke less as I wrote more.
I spoke less to avoid speaking wrong words.

I loved this peace of mind.
I loved the quietness in me.
I loved the me-alone time.
I loved the content and gratitude feelings inside me.

I might appear young, even like kids sometimes.
But I knew what I was doing every second and minutes of it (well, perhaps not when I drank too much hehe...).

I finished the last sip of my coffee and got up. I held my feet to the supermarket nearby this time, heading to the wine area and picked a three-bottle at promotion price from the shelf. Oh my!!! How I wished they sold this price in Singapore!!! 3 for HKD 208!!! What a steal man!!! Walked away with it, I headed home with a light heart... a very much light heart...

Be kind (Photo source: Google.com)

What are words
If you really don't mean them
When you say them

What are words
If they're only for good times
Then they're done

When it's love
Yeah, you say them out loud
Those words, they never go away
They live on, even when we're gone

Anywhere you are, I am near
Anywhere you go, I'll be there
And I'm gonna be here forever more

Every single promise I'll keep
'Cause what kind of guy would I be
If I was to leave when you need me most

I'm forever keeping my angel close

"What to eat in Jakarta???" - Part 4

Happiness is eating :)

Read the previous posts on "What to eat in Jakarta?" - Part 1, part 2, and part 3.

13. Satay Khas Senayan - offered varieties of local Indonesian food. I told my childhood friend to enter to this restaurant as I'd love to eat more local food rather than foreign ones.

Delicious rice set at Sate Khas Senayan - Jakarta :)

From its name, this place was famous for its satay or meat skewers. Senayan itself was name of the place in Jakarta. Other than satay, they offered varieties of delicious rice set and many other local food. I ordered Nasi Kuning or yellow rice set at IDR 57,000 or SGD $6, while my friend had Nasi Bakar Ayam or grilled rice set with fried chicken at IDR 62,000 or SGD $6.50. We shared a plate of chicken satay at IDR 55,000 or SGD $5.80. I had Jus Alpokat or avocado juice at IDR 32,000 or SGD $3.40.

The price was reasonable for the quality and quantity of the food served. It's a good place for those who wanted to try local dishes at restaurant standard.

Address: Bay Walk Mall Lt. 3 Unit 6, Jl. Pluit Karang Ayu I Blok B1, Jakarta Utara

14. Bakmie Abadi - Chicken Noodle (rubber noodle). Hahaha... It's only my saying - rubber noodle - because the texture of the noodle was thick and little bit hard to bite. However, it tasted delicious although it only contained chicken meat, noodle and accompanied with vegetable soup.

Bakmi Ayam Abadi - Jakarta

The price was around IDR 32,000 or SGD $3.40 per bowl. A bit expensive but the portion was big enough to make you feeling full.

Address: Jl. Pluit Karang Timur Blok O8 No. 63, Jakarta Utara

15. Mie Tek Tek - road hawker fried noodles. It used to hang around our house complex. Tek tek tek tek..... That's how it sounded with kerosene light brighten the cart so that the seller could see and cook its food well.

Mie tek tek - Jakarta :)

Other than yellow noodle, they sold also vermicelli noodle, kway teow noodle, and fried rice. After done, crackers and pickles were given at the side to make it more delicious :) At only IDR 12,000 or SGD $1.30 it could fill your stomach!!! ^^

16. Delicious Bakmi Pangsit or wanton noodle at Bakmi Pinang Sari. It's chicken noodle but they're using pork oil in the noodle that made it fragrant and delicious!!!

Bakmi Pinang Sari - Jakarta 

As I mentioned before, noodle was the staple food that suited any time. Be it breakfast, lunch and even dinner. It's been my favourite food since each place offered different types of noodles, meats, and definitely different taste! :) Bakmi pangsit was sold at IDR 36,000 or SGD 3.90 it was a bit expensive but worth having!!!

Address: Jl. Pinangsia Timur No. 1, Jakarta Barat 11110

Those were what I had during my 9-day trip in Jakarta. I could have eaten more but it was great enough for me :)

Martabak keju and martabak telor :D

More things for you to try like martabak coklat keju (special pancake with chocolate and cheese), martabak telor (egg pancake with spring onion and pickles), assorted local kueh (cakes and desserts), and so on.

Just ensure to try as many local dishes as possible during your stay in Jakarta!!! Write 'til here. Hope you enjoyed reading it and know what to eat next on your stay in Jakarta!!! :)

Saturday, January 21, 2017

"What to eat in Jakarta???" - Part 3

Enjoy your food quote :) (Pic source: Google.com)

Read more on what to eat in Jakarta day 1 here and day 2 here :)

9. Bakwan Bakso from the roadside hawker. Bakwan was fried wonton skin and bakso was beef ball. It was usually served with yellow noodle or rice vermicelli, bean sprout, chye sim (green vegetables), salt, sweet soya sauce, chili, fried onion, and spring onion.

Eating bakwan bakso on the roadside ^^

When I was young, my sis and I used to secretly buying and eating it. The vendor would pass by our house and we would call him to stop. We took the bowl from our house (for hygienic reason) and let him fill the content inside. Why secretly? Because our dad did not like to see us eating it. It's not nutritious and hygiene, he said. :P

That's why I seldom ate it. This time we ate because Mom wanted it first and I just followed her accordingly :D It's a roadside hawker so we ate it on the roadside, sitting on the footpath and used plastic chair as a table. Hahaha.... That's what I loved about eating roadside food. So if you happen to go to Jakarta, try it!!! It's nice and cheap!!! And you couldn't find the same taste elsewhere. Two bowls as per shown in the picture above only cost us IDR 12,000 or SGD 1.30!!!

10. Bakmi CapCit (17). I've visited this stall since I was still in primary school. It was first visited by my elder sisters' generation and the first place I knew that served a sweet noodle (bakmi manis) by adding sweet soya sauce into it.

Bakmi CapCit (17) - Jakarta

It used to be sold by one Uncle originated from Belitung but he passed away two years ago and since then onwards his son continued the business. The taste was still the same and I used to eat a lot, like 1.5 bowls of noodles added with 5 pcs of wonton hahaha.... But not anymore lah!!! ^^ Forgot the price details but should be around IDR 24,000 or SGD $2.50 to IDR 27,000 or SGD $2.80 per bowl.

Address: Lapangan basket Jl. Pluit Putri Dalam, Jakarta Utara

11. Nasi Padang. Padang was a town located at West Sumatera. They cooked delicious spices meat, vegetable, and chili. This was another recommended food to eat if you visit Jakarta. If you ate at the restaurant, don't be surprise when so many plates would be served in front of you with so many varieties of delicious food. You didn't have to finish all, just took what you wanted and they would charge you accordingly. Eat it with your hands as they would serve a bowl filled with water and lime to wash your hands before and after meal. Add the green chili oil!!! And eat it with hot steamed rice! Hmmmm... nyummy!!! :)

Nasi Padang Kasih Bundo - Pluit, Jakarta

Usually we ate at Sinar Minang at Gedong Panjang but this time dad told us that the restaurant in the photo above had just been opened not long ago and they served a package meal containing rice with chicken and vegetables at IDR 25,000 or SGD 2.70 with free egg or perkedel (potato croquet). However, the promo was over. So we packed home rice with meat and vegetables on our choice.

Price list from Kasih Bundo Nasi Padang

I ordered beef Rendang, egg Balado, with rice and vegetables at IDR 38,000 or SGD $4 while rice with Opor chicken and vegetable at IDR 26,000 or SGD 2.80. Too bad the chicken size was too small. Not much meat in it. My mom said that they used chicks instead of usual chicken kekeke... and the beef Rendang was hard too. So we decided to still go back to Sinar Minang next time instead of patronising this one.

12. Sop Kaki Kambing H. Soma at Pejagalan. Sop kambing or mutton soup was another must eat food in Jakarta. Usually opened in evening time around 6pm, once the sky turned dark. They set up the tent outside people's house or shop, or otherwise rented an empty land. Cars would be parked on the roadside just nearby the tent area.

Sop Kambing or mutton soup Bang Soma :)

This was one of my family's favorite stalls. There were few others serving different type of soup. Once you reached, you had to choose what you wanted. The small cut and boiled mutton meat, tongue, legs, brain, etc. had already been prepared in a big stainless steel bowl. Choose what you want and put them into the ceramic bowl. 1 pc of meat and tongue cost IDR 8,000 or SGD $0.85, while the leg cost double at IDR 16,000 or SGD $1.70 each.

I chose 2 meats, 1 tongue, and 1 leg with half plate of rice. The soup contained coconut milk and usually at end the seller would add a spoon of margarine to enhance the soup taste. We had it with pickles containing cucumber, carrot, chili, and red onion. Just be aware that this place had lots of mosquitoes, so wear long pants whenever possible to avoid being bitten by it!!!

Address: Jl Pejagalan 1, Jakarta

More food to come. Stay tune! ;)

Thursday, January 19, 2017

"What to eat in Jakarta???" - Part 2

"Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like" - Mark Twain (Source: Google.com)

Continuing on what to eat in Jakarta. Read the part 1 here :)

5. Bakmi Ayam or chicken noodle at any wet market. Below was the chicken noodle that my Mom and I ate at Pasar Muara Karang or Muara Karang wet market.

Bakmi Ayam at Pasar Muara Karang - Jakarta, Indonesia 

After buying what we needed that morning, suddenly Mom had another craving for Bakmi Ayam or chicken noodle. It was very common for locals to eat Bakmi or noodle for breakfast. In fact, we could eat it at anytime of the day, be it breakfast, lunch, even dinner. The one I ate above was with chicken meat. The noodle was thin in size that it felt more like Mee Sua although tasted just like noodles. In some stall sold by Chinese Indonesian, they even provided fried pork fat or zhu you zha upon request. It's fragrant and crunchy although not healthy for our body :D You could also add wonton (or dumpling) and bakso sapi (beef balls) to complete your meal. One bowl of this noodle cost us IDR 21,000 or SGD $2.20.

Address: Muara Karang wet market, Jakarta Utara

6. Kafe Betawi at Emporium Pluit Mall. My sis asked me what would I want to eat that afternoon for lunch. I had been to Kedai Bu Djoko. But I was still craving for local Indonesian food. So I told her that I wanted to eat at Kafe Betawi.

Here, you could find so many varieties of local food and jajanan or snacks, also dessert. Those food offered were specialty from some parts of towns in Indonesia, and many were usually sold on the street using the wheeled carts. I had a hard time choosing on what I wanted to eat as I missed and loved them all, but only had one stomach hahaha.... :P

Kafe Betawi at Emporium Pluit Mall - Jakarta, Indonesia 

After some time, finally I decided to order Mie Soto IDR 49,000 or SGD $5.20 (mixture of yellow noodle and rice vermicelli soup with beef, cabbage, potato, tomato, fried onion, Emping or belinjo crackers, and the cut spring roll filled with rice vermicelli), shared Batagor - Baso tahu goreng IDR 38,000 or SGD $4 (kind of deep fried fish meat paste mixed with flour and fried tofu, served with peanut sauce and lime) with my sister, and Es Teler IDR 32,000 or SGD $3.40 (translated as Drunken Ice - not real meaning though) - the mixture of avocado, coconut, jackfruits worry crushed ice, sugar syrup, and condensed milk. My sis ordered Beef Rawon soup with rice IDR 60,000 or SGD $6.40 - the black beef soup that originally came from East Java. I used to have it when traveling to that area during my childhood time with my parents.

I'd tasted almost all the food listed there in menu which most of them were sold on the street by the street peddlers. Too bad we could not get them all from the area nearby my house and that's why the only resort to satisfy our craving was to visit the restaurant like this, which sold at a much higher price than what the street peddlers offered. However, they had many branches all around the Jakarta city and you could enjoy eating under the comfortable air-conditioned space with warm service offered by the staffs :)

Address: Emporium Pluit Mall Level 4, Jl. Pluit Selatan Raya, Penjaringan, Jakarta Utara

7. D'Crepes. As I went to the upper floor, I saw a D'Crepes outlet at the same shopping mall. Hmmm..... I missed it so much!!! There used to be few outlets opened in Singapore back in year 2001 and tell you what, I even worked there before. From normal staff to leader, then trainer to admin. It went on for 3 years until they closed it down forever due to the high rental cost of the premier locations that they chose.

D'Crepes at Emporium Pluit Mall :)

I was still full from the heavy lunch above but I could not resist the temptation to have my favourite crepes or pancake - Nutella cheese!!! :) At IDR 29,000 or SGD $3, it's still worth it!!! You could taste sweetness and saltiness which balanced very well in a hot crisp pancake skin!!! And if you wanted something cold, they also sold crepes with ice cream, chocolate, cream, and fruits based on your choice. Or even if you wanted something savory, they also sold few varieties of fillings, equally delicious!!! :)

8. Soto Tangkar and Sate Kuah Aneka Sari Pak H. Diding at Pasar Pagi Lama. Oh my!! It's been so long since I had this!!! Jakarta offered many varieties of soup from chicken, beef, mutton, all offered different taste and each of them tasted delicious.

Soto Tangkar Aneka Sari at Pasar Pagi

This one (the broth) was made of beef ribs. And you could request certain parts of the beef to be added into your soup - consist of coconut milk. I think mine was meat parts (price per bowl at IDR 24,000 or SGD $2.60). Mom ordered few sticks of satay (beef meat skewers) to complete our meal. Sometimes you could even drop the satay meat into your soup and have it with rice. They provided pickles made of cucumber, carrot, red onion, and chili as side dish and it was free of charge. You could add Emping or belinjo crackers into your soup to add the flavour of your soup as well. Drooling now eh?? :)

I still remembered my dad used to bring me to eat this (at roadside - different stalls), riding motorcycle after fetching me back from school, during my primary school time ^^ He fetched me almost everyday and I always excited on where he would bring me after school for lunch. So when having this, it felt very nostalgic and missed my childhood times so much!!! :)

Address: Jl. Pasar Pagi Lama Los T No. 28B-28C, Kota, Jakarta

Read the part 3 here!!! ;)

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

"What to eat in Jakarta???" - Part 1

To travel is to eat (Photo source: Google.com)

There were so many varieties of food available at my hometown in Jakarta (both local and international flavour). And yet, there was only limited time and stomach space available, minus off the delicious home-cooked food that my parents prepared, and the lost of appetite due to the cough and flu that attacked me during the first one week of my stay. Nevertheless, despite all that, I still managed to enjoy the following food as per list below:

1. Kedai Bu Djoko was my favourite place to go. The location was not too far from where I stayed so when there was no private transport available, I could reach the place easily by Bajaj (the three wheel transport commonly used in Jakarta - very similar with Auto in India). There were few things I loved from the stall.

Bakmie Kangkung Bu Djoko

First, Bakmi Kangkung or Morning Glory beef yellow noodle soup (IDR 35,000 or SGD $3.70). It tasted so delicious. The broth was dark brown and sweet. The leaf of the morning glory was crunchy as you bit among the soft yellow noodle. Slurped the soup together with the beef pieces and the fried red onion.. hmmmm.... nyummy!!! ^^

Second, Ketoprak (IDR 30,000 or SGD $3.20) - a vegetarian dish, a mixture of rice vermicelli, fried tofu, boiled vegetables, boiled egg with peanut sauce. Too bad it was sold out when I was there. My mom bought Asinan Sayur or assorted raw vegetable pickles in peanut sauce instead, served with Kerupuk Mie (cracker noodle shape) in small size (same price with Ketoprak).

I ordered one piece of Kerupuk Mie (IDR 10,000 or SGD $1), which was served with peanut sauce - my favourite snack!!! As drink, I ordered Es Pala or fresh nurmeg drink (IDR 20,000 or SGD $2.10) while Mom ordered Es Bangkok - mixture of coconut, sago jelly, etc. with coconut milk and ice, at the same price.

Address: Jl. Blok R II Selatan No. 1, Muara Karang, Jakarta Utara

2. Ayam Goreng or fried chicken H. Mardun Martinah. After shopping at ITC Mangga Dua, suddenly Mom asked me if I wanted to eat there. The location was not too far from the shopping center. You could hire Taxi, Uber, or even Gojek (motor taxi using apps) to reach the place. The restaurant location was near the Mangga Besar railway station.

Ayam goreng H. Mardun Martinah - Jakarta, Indonesia 

The name sounded so familiar in my ears but when I entered the restaurant, I could not recognise the place. We used to visit the old restaurant, which was no longer there. The long tables used to be set in rows and very crowded. When we reached, it had already passed the lunch time so it wasn't that crowded.

My mom loved the taste of their fried chicken. She ate two. Don't be surprised because the size of the chicken was not big as they used kampung chicken. We ordered mix of rice and fried vermicelli that tasted so good - like those served on the wedding dinner during old times :) They served peanut sauce as the condiments for the chicken, added with kecap manis or sweet soya sauce, yellow cucumber pickles, and raw small red onions.

Usually they would put double quantity of the chicken on the plate and if we couldn't finish, we only paid what we ate  (so no obligation to finish all what they served). They would serve fried tofu on the plate too. Hmmm... the overall food really reminded me of olden days. Mom used to bring us there when we were small. Very nostalgic feeling!!! :) I forgot to check the price of each item. However, total paid for 3 pcs fried chicken, 2 plates of half-rice and half-fried rice vermicelli, plus 2 glass of coconut drinks were IDR 133,500 or SGD $14.

Address: Jl. Mangga Besar Raya No.90A, RT.13/RW.1, Taman Sari, Jakarta Barat

3. Bakso Belitung at Bandengan. Belitung was an island name in Indonesia, at South East of Sumatera. The island was famous for its fish produced items just like the fried fish cake we ordered (picture right below) and fish balls (picture left below). The bowl next to it contained Songsui or pork organ soup cooked with ginger, salted vegetables and red things. The soup tasted sweet and spicy. I loved it!

Bakso Belitung at Bandengan

They also sold Chinese style dishes. I saw people at other tables ordering it. Looked delicious!!! My dad ordered Mie Goreng or fried noodles. Hmmmm... It tasted so nice!!! Very homey and nostalgic. Smelled so fragrant :)

As for me, I ordered Bakmi Belitung or the island's specialty noodles. It contained fried bits pieces of something haha... I couldn't say, prawns? There were cucumber and boiled potatoes, both were cut in small pieces, with fried Emping or belinjo crackers on top. It reminded me of Singapore Mee Rebus actually hehehe... :) How much? Mom paid the bill and I forgot to ask ^^

Address: Jl. Bandengan Utara No 14E, Jakarta

4. Kok Tong Kopi at Pluit Village Mall. If you read my previous blog post regarding my trip to North Sumatera, Medan, I stopped at Pematang Siantar town and had an iced coffee at Kok Tong coffee shop. Yeah, this was the original shop that selling the same coffee. But the one I attended recently was in Jakarta, their branch.

Coffee and snack from Kok Tong at Pluit Village Mall :)

After shopping groceries at Carrefour inside the Pluit Village Mall, my sis was asking me if I wanted to have a coffee. I said yes! And she brought me there. It's just located outside the other entrance door. If from outside, you could see it next to Starbucks, not directly, but within walking distance. I ordered hot coffee or Kopi-O  (without milk or cream), while my sister ordered Iced Coffee. We both shared a plate of Pisang Goreng Coklat Keju or fried banana with chocolate and cheese. Hmmmm..... It tasted delicious lah!!! Perfect with my Kopi-O after added with sugar in such lovely evening!

Beverage menu - Kok Tong at Pluit Village Mall 

Food menu - Kok Tong at Pluit Village Mall 

I attached the above menu for your info. Fyi, the price above was exclude of 10% Service Charge and 10% Tax. We paid IDR 73,000 or almost SGD $8 in total.

Address: Pluit Village, Ground Floor
Jl. Pluit Indah Raya, Pluit, Penjaringan, Jakarta Utara

Read the part two here :)

Saturday, January 14, 2017

ITC Mangga Dua - shopping heaven in Jakarta

"Pur, find a place to park OK? And get your handphone ready! I'll call you later once I'm done and we will be waiting in front of the lobby," instructed Mom to Pur, our driver, who sent us to ITC Mangga Dua. "Yes Nyah (from word 'Nyonya' - which means 'Mam')," replied Pur as we both got down from the vehicle.

ITC Mangga Dua is a shopping heaven for everyone especially for local Indonesian women. It's a big shopping complex next to the wholesale shops of Mangga Dua in the heart of Jakarta city. Why I said especially for local Indonesian? Because at there, bargain the price is a MUST otherwise you'd have to pay more. And usually when you buy more, you can slash bigger price from the original stated by the seller :)

Entrance of ITC Mangga Dua approaching Chinese New Year

There was a big fake blossomed cherry tree outside the main door as Mom and I entered into the building. Chinese New Year is coming soon, in fact, is only two weeks away from today. At the front part, you could find shops selling luggage from many different sizes plus China's made rectangular shopping bag made of plastic materials, some were decorated with cartoon pictures like Doraemon, Hello Kitty, etc., which could be very useful to keep the shopped items inside.

Colourful sandals comes with so many varieties, colours, and sizes were fitted by many ladies surrounding the open concept shop. The price was reasonable too, which many were hard to resist from buying. As I passed them by, I heard one lady uttered this to her friend, "The last time I bought that kind of sandal here, I used it only 2 months and couldn't wait to throw it out!" Well, I was not very sure why she said that but perhaps the quality followed the price she paid, exactly like the following Chinese quote said, "一份钱一分货," read: "Yi fen qian, yi fen huo."

Soon after you could find varieties of accessories like necklaces, brooches, bracelet, rabbit fur kind of key hanger or usually attached with the handbag, etc. displayed fully in a limited space of rented shop. Next to it, many beautiful imitation branded bags were displayed and hung. All the well known brands like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, Long Champ, Burberry, Issey, etc. were made so looked alike that those who did not want or could not afford such original expensive bags, still could show off with the imitation types.

Glimpse view of ITC Mangga Dua - Jakarta, Indonesia 

There were so many things sold in the building. It consists of six levels full of stuffs and people. From wearing stuffs like clothes, bags, shoes, accessories, make up, baby items, underwear or sexy dress, watches, measured spectacles and sunglasses, and many more to DVDs, food and drink stalls to quench your thirst after bargaining and to fill your hungry stomach after tired walking and shopping.

The sellers were skilful in talking and offering other stuffs sold in the same shop saying that the items were good (in quality), made in Korea, etc., which of course would come with a much higher price than the local produced ones. Like when Mom visited a shop to buy a lotion, the seller managed to offer other make up products to her (by looking at Mom's face on what kind of cosmetics she was using), and managed to sell eyeliner, eye brow pencil, and lipstick, while almost selling eye shadow set, face powder, and so on. Haha... They would also offer the latest or trendy items that looked very interesting and made people hard to resist not to buy.

Money would go out from the purse so easily just like a running stream if you couldn't hold your desire. Like from the initial purpose to collect sunglasses that she made to order yesterday, she ended up buying few other stuffs on hand. Lol!!! And me? I'd lost interest on buying these kind of stuffs. I'd changed my behaviour to only buy what I need rather than what I want or otherwise the things would be gifts given to others. In the past it might be different story as I would not only buy what I need but also buy what looked nice and cool. Hehehe... :P

Anyway, it was still a great thing to do to visit the place. You could see the real Indonesian way of selling and bargaining, the vast variety of things available, and taste many local food, drink, and snack available. Just hold on to your purse a little bit tighter, maybe wear one eye patch so you wouldn't see too much hahaha..., and visit few more shops to check the price and bargain more to get the most reasonable price for the things you want to buy. All the best and hope you enjoy the experience there!!! :)

Friday, January 13, 2017

There's no place like home

I was awaken by the sound from outside of my bedroom. I turned my mobile phone on to check the timing. It was only 5.20 am. I tossed my self around trying to sleep again but to no avail. I decided to get up and walk to the kitchen. The dining table had been cleaned. The dirty plates and glasses that scattered from last night's dinner, were no longer there. It'd been stacked beautifully on the kitchen rack and covered with a cleaned rag. "Hmm... very efficient," mumbled me. I took a glass from the rack, filled it with water from the dispenser, and gulped the whole content down at one time. "Aaahhhhh....... Eerrrgghhhh.....," the sound of burping came out from my mouth.

I heard the sound of the clothes being brushed from the upstair. Oh!!! I faster went to the toilet that attached to my bedroom, took the dirty clothes, and went upstairs and passed them to the lady in her twenties who was doing it. Weird! It looked so dark. Then I realized that the space that used to be empty, had been occupied and built with another house. No wonder it was dark. Didn't notice it last night when I went up there.

I tried to see the sky above but it was mostly covered, only left a bit space to dry the clothes. "Whose house is that?" I asked her while pointing to the house that blocked the view. "Isn't it ours?" I continued. "Yes Non (a word means missy)," replied her. Oh no! It ought to be too long that I hadn't come here! "You must go from the other side Non if you want to go there," advised her. I walked straight and realized that I took a wrong direction. Oh my! It was so confusing! How could I get lost in here??

I went down and walked to the other side of the house and went up again to the place I saw earlier from the other side. The key to the attic was kept by my dad. So I went to the front part of the house's balcony and opened the door. Luckily it wasn't locked.

There is no place like home :)

The air was fresh and cold. The sky was reddish in color as the sun would rise up soon, just like the colour of flowers that bloomed beautifully in a row of potted plants grown by Mom. The birds were chirping melodiously and cling clang sound appeared as the wind chime was moved by the wind. Hhhmmmm..... It was really nice! What a wonderful scene to start my day!!! :)

Soon after I went out following my parents to have breakfast. He drove us to so called Chinatown area. It was only 6 am. Not many cars on the road yet. Perhaps many people had just woken up at this hour. As he drove, I observed the road, buildings, people from my window. Like usual, I tried to find any differences, look for anything new (the cleaned park from the used to store garbage in the river, the free school bus service that was non-existent before, much cleaner rivers along our way, the growing plantation that replaced the warung or road side carts that used to sell my favourite street food), and so on. "So much changes in just one and half year," mumbled me again.

Soto Betawi (top) and Turtle soup (below)

The usual stall that my dad often visited was not opened today. We went to the neighbour stall that also selling almost the same thing. My dad and I ordered one bowl of turtle soup with half portion of rice while Mom ordered Soto Betawi, the local beef soup that rich of coconut milk, eaten with dollop of pickles and chili, not forgetting the crispy Emping or belinjo crackers that were crushed and spread onto the soup. Hhhmmmm... both tasted delicious!!! :)

Once done we went back home. After a while, I followed Mom to the wet market. She shopped a lot, both dried and wet items. As usual, she walked very fast in a small alleys that were packed with baskets full of vegetables, fruits, eggs, dried fish, and so on. Luckily I'd lose some weight now otherwise I would have bumped many baskets and dropped its content as I was passing by. Hehehe....

The Chinese dialect sound was heard familiar in my ears. Hokkian mostly as many Fujian immigrants settled here in the city. As we stopped at one shop, few aunties at the age of my mom busied choosing and picking up garlic and red onions. The owner busied weighing and calculating the cost, receiving payment and returning the change. Sometimes the seller got lost in moments that he forgot how much to return. The jokes then were made towards him by those few aunties. Many would chuckle, just like me, from one corner. Few times I had to pass the shopped items into the car as we bought quite heavy stuffs including rice, orange, bottles of crushed chili, and so on. Luckily I wasn't losing my way!

After that my Mom had to pay the monthly water bill and visited one government office to collect my sister's local ID. Mom couldn't collect it until now. The staff explained the reason to us patiently. Sometimes, I was amazed with my capability of understanding and speaking my mother tongue. I mean, see how many years I'd been living abroad and how rarely I went back home. Home? Yes, home. My used to be home. A place where I was born and grown up until seventeen years later. The place that was familiar yet foreign sometimes. The place that raised love and fear at the same time. The place where so many memories were created and would still be created. It's home. Yes, it's home...

Home sweet home (Photo source: Google.com)

There's nothing wrong with spending summer in another city
I've seen the lights above the streets at night, they look so pretty
I've flown above the clouds and thought I'd never come back down (back down)

Now I find myself where I started
Picked right up like we never parted
Feels like I'm in between
Am I wide awake or in a dream? (a dream)

No matter where I go
There's no place like home
There's no place like home
No no no matter where I go
There's no no no
There's no place like... home!
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