Thursday, March 05, 2009
Asia World Tour: Jakarta, Indonesia
Indonesia consists of 17,508 islands. So this weekend in Jakarta is only the beginning. For the three of us, it was our first time there and it was NOTHING like we expected.
From what we heard from others it's a very dangerous and dodgy place. I have friends who have witnessed gun battles. My boss has fled teargas. And for some reason, we still wanted to go and check things out.
Really, it's like any big city. There's the posh places and the shady places. And like LA it's not a walkable town and everything's pretty spread out. This was probably the most frustrating point for us. We had to taxi everywhere, which is hard when you don't really know where you're going.
Enough people spoke English so except for the taxis it wasn't really a problem. And what really made a difference is that Bahasa uses the alphabet. If we wrote something down we could just show someone and they could point us in the right direction. Daven put together a 4 page cheat sheet, with a list of restaurants, useful phrases, tasty restaurants, hot clubs, and cool sites. He practiced his Bahasa on the taxi drivers who got a good laugh or maybe had no idea what he was saying. The only think I picked up was the word "mom," you know, just in case I need to say word to your nyonya.
And the food. Sweet Jesus the food itself made the journey worth it.
I'm pretty sure I'd never had Indonesian food before moving to SE Asia. And even then it's only been from one restaurant, the late Dirty Duck Diner or Bebek Bengal. They had some problems with their building management and so the restaurant moved back to Jakarta and we had the intention of visiting it as well.
The most common dish which can be found everywhere is nasi goreng. Rice, often with egg on top. So so yummy.
Daven claims this was the best chicken dish he's ever had. I'm not entirely sure I can defend that statement but it was pretty off the hook, perfectly cooked chicken, and oh so tasty. Next to it is some mashed potato concoction that was yummy as well.
Some other pics of where we lunched:
Like other big cities, this places is a big mix of cultures, and you can still see the Dutch influence.
While wandering about the older parts of the city, we made a stop at Cafe Batavia. It's been around since 1905. At this point I needed a break because it was pretty hot and extremely humid.
It's a really cool place to chillax, have a drink, play games, whatever.
I really wouldn't mind living in a place like this.
Their bar was nominated as one of the world's best bars twice in the 90s.
And you never know who you're going to come across. I bumped into Anthony Kiedis in the bathroom!
This place has a special place in my heart because they can offer you a variety of reading glasses and mobile phone chargers!
Back to the food.
Sadly, Daven was hit very hard by "the demon" and had to stay back at the hotel on Saturday night. He was in bad shape too. I've never seen anything like it. We didn't pinpoint what caused this mess, and it's strange too since the three of us were eating the exact same things and sharing our food and drinks. Whatever it was, was bad news. It was like watching an addict in rehab, shaking, yelling, crumpled in a corner in pain. I wished we had taken pictures of him but I felt too bad at the time. So Powers and I put him to bed and went out for a night on the town.
Dinner was at... I can't remember the name of the restaurant but the bar is called Tao. A really really cooooooooool place.
A pretty decent sized place, and by HK standards pretty big. The strange thing was, nobody was there!
The appetizers were better than the entrees, which was fine because we ordered a bunch of apps. I think we were just lead in the wrong direction by our server. It's times like those, here in HK too, that the language barrier is a problem. Even if their English is good enough, you can't pick their brain the way you can if you have a full understanding of each other. If you've dined with me you know that I have lots of questions. It's mostly because I try to be open minded with food and if I'm going to a restaurant for the first time I want to experience the restaurant... not the same old thing I always get. And I am very guilty of getting the same old things.