Indonesian Nasi Bali

#FoodFri Glutton in Jakarta

It’s lunchtime here in Singapore so I thought it’s an appropriate time to launch this week’s #FoodFri.

I was in Jakarta last weekend and was quite disappointed by the food there.

But I only have myself to blame. Despite all the research on food in Glodok, I didn’t really jot down the locations nor print out a Google Map of Chinatown.

Well, not everything was terrible so here’s a less hunger-inducing version of the Glutton series.

The Good

Indonesian Nasi Bali
Indonesian Nasi Bali
The restaurant/cafe at our hotel served quite tasty nasi (rice dishes). Since I’ve never been to Bali, I ordered the Nasi Bali.

The portion that came was quite small but D reminded me that what we have back home are actually supersized.

The whole dish was slightly spicy but tasty. I even had a fish paste on a lemongrass stick which was cute.

Seafood Kempinski Hotel buffet
Cold seafood
We did a very un-budget traveller thing in Jakarta and splurged at the buffet restaurant of a 5-star hotel. Hotel K. Our handbags needed to be checked and we had to pass a metal detector before we could go in.

The main mean spread was alright. The sushi counter a bit too stingy–salmon was gone and never to appear after one hour. The cold seafood was fine, although I would love to have raw oysters instead.

The redeeming feature were the desserts. My favorite was the sticky toffee pudding.

What I enjoyed most at the restaurant was gawking at the lifestyles (and hairdos) of the rich and famous.

Blueberry pancake house
A toast at Blueberry Pancake House
When we were walking in search of the illusive Jalan Jaksa, we passed by this little restaurant. (If it’s in Lonely Planet, I’m not sure how little it is.)

They had a buffet breakfast spread so we got that. They served fried rice, fried eggs, fried chicken, fried potato patty, non-fried fruits. I had a lot of the coffee and tea as well.

Indonesian food stall
Pre-buka puasa set up
While we were at Blok M, the hawkers were preparing to operate after the fasting period. The stuff looked tasty but we had more important food to tend to. Maybe we can come back next time.

Bread Papa creampuff
Creampuff and strawberries
Not quite an originally Indonesian dish but I enjoyed my cheaper-than-Singapore Bread Papa creampuff at the airport. The organic strawberries I got from the supermarket were a bit too sour.

Drinks

Teh botol, less sugar
Teh Botol, less sugar
A colleague of mine introduced me to Teh Botol (literally “bottled tea”) before I went to Jogjakarta. The full sugared Teh Botol is too sweet for our liking but the Less Sugar version is like Goldilock’s last porridge. Just right.

Iced coffee at Tomodachi Cafe
Ice coffee
Also from our hotel cafe/restaurant. The ice cream and coffee went really well.

Kopitiam Oei
Kopitiam Oei
While walking aimlessly after finding Jalan Jaksa, we stumbled upon this faux-vintage kopitiam. It has a 1960’s feel to everything.

The menu was a fake newsletter, telling people the origins of the place. (“No, it did not really exist in olden days. The coffeeshop is a recent creation”.)

I had two coffees there. The kopi jawa was a really “manly” drink with its dark liquid and coffee grounds while the Vietnamese-styled coffee lack the buttery taste.

I had one too many cups of coffes, as I found out an hour later. I was feeling nauseous for a long time after that.

The Ugly: Why is Bakmi GM popular?

Bakmi GM
Horrible food at Bakmi GM
I was looking forward to bouncy bakmi and huge meaty siowmay which I had in Jogjakarta. The flavor, the chewiness of everything!

Unfortunately, we visited Bakmi GM. It was the only visible (meaning a HUGE sign) bakmi place around and we thought the quality would be good.

When we reached the first floor of the building, we found ourselves with plenty of other Indonesians. This must mean that the food is good.

Our order was taken and paid on the spot. However, it took a really long time for our change to come back. In fact, our food arrived before the change did.

The avocado juice was incredibly good (as expected of Indonesia). However, the main dishes were not as tasty. D liked her veggie with oyster sauce but the rest were a joke.

My noodles were limp and all stuck together when I poked them with my chopsticks. It was not a good sign. I nibbled on it and discovered it tasted exactly like the terrible noodles I had as a kid.

Flashback of terrible noodles: It was a road trip and mom’s friends drove us to Kinabalu Park. We stopped by a shop for noodles. The dish was too disgusting that we children didn’t have much of it. Mom’s friend (Auntie L) insisted that the noodles were packed and brought along with us to eat later. In the end, I “accidentally” left the gross bad of soggy dough in the changing room. End of flashback.

Our fried siowmay followed. Instead of a fried meatball, it tasted like turnip cake. I felt like sobbing over the meal (mostly caused by caffeine induced overdrive of emotions).

We had to order another glass of avocado juice and pangsit or fried wonton to get the taste of noodles out of our mouths. The pangsit was ok with the meat as sidekick to the fried dough.

Overall, it was not a good meal. I’m sorry for being disappointed.

Can you share locations of good eating places in Jakarta? I promise to write them down when I visit next time.

More about Liau Yun Qing

Yun Qing is a writer, improviser and curious person. She loves finding little adventures in life. In 2013, she went on a 130-day round-the-world trip. She wrote a book to help those who also want to go on a career break.

3 Comments

    1. * Mie Aceh Seulawah @ Rumah Makan Seulawah, Bendungan Hilir, spicy noodles with meat or prawns.
      * Mie Kering Titi @ Rumah Makan Pelangi khas Makassar, Wahid Hasyim near Jaksa, crispy noodles with veggies and seafood
      * Ketoprak Ciragil @ Dapoer Ciragil, Kebayoran Baru, Blok M. rice cakes with peanut sauces and veggies
      * Nasi Goreng Kambing @ Kebon Sirih, near Jaksa. Fried rice with lamb meat, order extra pickles.
      Hope you can try all :)

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