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Thursday, September 7, 2017

Food Trail: Part Two – Jakarta

My trip to Jakarta was a spontaneous decision. One moment I was lying on bed, lazing around and next moment my tickets to Mumbai was posponed to another date and my tickets to Jakarta were booked instantly. Never made any such hasty decision in my life. Well there is always first time and I am glad that I went because I had a very good time.

My food trail started the minute I landed in Jakarta. My family who came to fetch me from the airport drove me directly to an Indian Restaurant called Queen’s Tandoor’ that serves fusion Indian food. There were street food like Pani puri, sev puri and then their were those indian desserts like falooda and kulfi. But the most interesting was this Rumali Roti roll that tasted like a frankie. Rumali roti was stuffed with egg omelet and chicken and was tightly rolled. When cut into slices , each slice seemed liked a Swiss roll.

The best thing about visiting a new place is to try the local food and know their culture. We went to a huge mall called ITC Mangga Dua that had rows and rows of shops selling almost everything. It looked like a street market and is the biggest wholesale market in Jakarta. On one of the floors, there were only street food stalls. 
"Look at her grinding stone" said my cousin " See its so large and look at its shape, lets watch them work."

We stopped at  Soto Betawi Pinangsia, there were four women churning out delicious dishes. They had a huge concave stone in which they made peanut chutney. It was interesting to watch them work.

When in Jakarta, eating Satay in Kecap Manis sauce is a must.

Eating sea food at 212 Wiro Sableng was quite an experience. The strong fragrance of the grilled fish instantly tickled my taste buds and I couldn’t wait to get inside. I watched the man grill the fish on an open fire outside the restaurant, each time he brushed the fish with copious amount of sauces,  the dark orange flames came alive again. Thick smoke floated in the air almost blinding me.

The interior had just wooden tables and plastic chairs, a very humble restaurant, but when the food arrived, nothing mattered, just seafood…..crabs, shells, fish, jumbo prawns, and those spicy sauces. While I write this..I am drooling all over again…..

Imperial Shanghai Lamian Xiao long Boa is a popular Chinese restaurant known for its fresh noodles made instantly in the open kitchen behind the serving console. It was interesting to watch the chef roll out the dough, stretching it with his fingers to make into long noodles in minutes.

For every order, the noodles were made instantly and served. They tasted good in a soups and stir fries. Loved all the dishes that we ordered, they were authentic Chinese dishes. Its no wonder then that there was a serpentine queue outside this restaurant, all waiting for their turn to get in.

The singing artist crooned an Indian Bollywood number 
Kyu ki tum hi ho, tum hi ho, zindagi meri’ 
and many people at their tables swung to the melodious music. Hearing Indian music in Jakarta has different kind of pleasure. The place was packed with people scattered everywhere in a food hub called Sableng Kelapa Gading

There was street seafood again at Sari21 most delicious sea food, similar to the one I had at Wiro Sableng. Enjoyed the crabs though.

Padang cuisine is one of the most popular cuisine in Indonesia. The most interesting fact about this restaurant called Medang Baru was that there was no menu card to choose the dishes. Whatever was cooked in their kitchen was brought to our tables.

 "We cannot eat so much food" I protested. 
 "Eat what you can." informed my cousins.  
The dishes that lay untouched on the tables were taken back and we were charged only for what we ate. The food was excellent with bold flavors and their rich use of spices. Every dish tasted differently and we hogged like there was no another day.

Our last evening was spent at Fountain Lounge of Grand Hyatt, closer to large glass windows that offered great view of the Plaza Indonesia and the live music played inside. We came to spend an relaxing evening with continental food like sandwiches, cheese rolls, fish cutlets and drinks.

Jakarta is truly a great place to enjoy street food with its’ fragrance of spices always hung in the air.

Also Read
Food trail Part one - Hong Kong
Food trail part three. Voyagers of the seas

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