All posts filed under: Eat

Drool Over Us

A Must-Eat Street Food in Xi’an: Crispy Crêpe (煎饼)

Xi’an may be most well-known and visited for its historical sites. But naturally, somehow, we find ourselves gravitating towards edibles. For instance, this popular street food equivalent to a crêpe (煎饼). Between the hot steam rising from the pan and my hungry eyes, I couldn’t resist. It was to be my breakfast. We intently watched as the youthful merchant skillfully poured the batter to form a crêpe circle, added what looked like fried wonton skin, an egg, some lettuce, and scallions, and wrapped it up the way one would a murtabak. I took my first bite (even though it was burning hot). The softness of the skin, the crunch of the fried fritters, the savoriness of the egg – I melted inside. I made a mess around my mouth but I didn’t care. Tempted? You’ll find crêpe carts like this one all over the city in the mornings. And guess what? One crêpe only cost CNY 3.5 (USD 0.57 or Rp. 7.000)! Need I say I recommend it? I’d say it’s a must-eat!

Craving Americanized Chinese? Come to Cha’s Restaurant

I love Chinese food. As a family, we eat it on a regular basis. But equally, I love Americanized Chinese food. Think Panda Express and the like. Think General Tso’s Chicken. Walnut Shrimp. Crab Rangoon. Egg Drop Soup. Simple, comfort food that’s sure to fill me up. Or what my Dad would call “fake Chinese food.” Alas, since I don’t live in the US anymore, not every day can be orange chicken day and egg foo young day. Needless to say, cravings are a part of my daily life. And while I haven’t found a worthy equivalent of Americanized Chinese in Jakarta, Cha’s in Shanghai was sufficing. Seeing the restaurant packed with mostly youngsters, and having to wait in line for about 10 minutes, we couldn’t wait to have a taste! Pineapple Bun with Sliced Butter | 8 RMB We opened with a little something sweet and warm: the Pineapple Bun with sliced Butter (you absolutely cannot go wrong with this pairing) – perfect to enjoy with some hot milk tea: Cha’s Milk Tea (Hot) | 16 RMB The …

Tredici Ristorante: An All-Italian Goodness

I think we’ve already established, firmly, my soft spot for Italian food. Have I ever said no to Italian? Nope. Will I ever say no to Italian, ever? Would you stop loving your puppy? I didn’t think so. Having just returned from my jaunt to China and Hong Kong, I was so ready to fill my days with anything other than Chinese food. And what was my first choice? You’ve guessed it. And I was in luck. Tredici (meaning thirteen, because exactly 13 people co-own the establishment) Ristorante was due to be checked off my list today. I took my cousin, with whom I’ve shared pretty much a lifelong voyage of making a pig of myself (it’s mutual and we feel no shame). The gracious Stella, one of the active owners of Tredici, welcomed us into the back end of the restaurant which felt like the cozy outdoors, without the hullabaloo of mosquitoes. If the view from your seat reminds you of Italy (or at the very least Olive Garden), it’s because it’s supposed to! I loved the …

Shengjian at De Xing Guan: A Shanghai Must-Eat

Yesterday’s Xiao Long Bao was rewarding. Today, we were eager to have another bite. But instead, we found an equally mouthwatering treat: Shengjian Bao (生煎包), a Shanghainese breakfast favorite. Shengjian is a small, panfried and steamed bun filled with pork and gelatin that melts into a soup when cooked. Among the soft top, savory and juicy middle, and crunchy bottom, it’s no surprise that this little delicacy is a commonly loved breakfast item among Shanghainese. Can I say that it’s also become mine? We just couldn’t help ourselves. Another round of xiao long bao? Why not? And although these ones were decent, yesterday’s at Lao Sheng Chang remained our winner. And of course, the mandatory noodle soup… The shengjian is decidedly one of my absolute favorite breakfast food in Shanghai. And while cha siu bao, xiao long bao, and other dim sum tidbits are easily available in Jakarta and all over the world, one would not find shengjian just anywhere. And boy have we landed in the right place! Since we didn’t get to take home our xiao …

For a Solid Xiao Long Bao, Come to Lao Sheng Chang

Shanghai is known for many things. Chief among them: Xiao Long Bao! And even though most shophouses may claim to serve the best xiao long bao, being discerning eaters, we know better, right? This soup-filled steamed bun is so delicate, I will say the making of it is an art. Or at least demanding a remarkable skill only few have mastered. Early this morning, our taste made no complaints whatsoever. How could they? Lao Shang Cheng’s xiao long bao was solid! Lao Sheng Chang was just a few minutes away from our hotel. Strangely, the first thing that caught my eyes was the busy staircase written with menu items. Be careful not to get too engrossed – watch for your steps! Champignons on a Fish Noodles  | 19 RMB Yukina the Braised Pork Noodles | 18 RMB Soup Bun with Pork and Salted Egg Yolk | 18 RMB/4 Going crazy over noodles! It’s interesting to observe that noodle soups in Shanghai and many parts of China are cooked with a milder broth, compared to those in Jakarta. I never worried about something being too salty, which I …

Eat with Noodles Flying over Your Head at Hai Di Lao Hot Pot

Not a prank or gag. Just a stunt (and we suspect a little mischief) on the part of the noodle whisperers at Hai Di Lao. Hai Di Lao is no ordinary hot pot restaurant. In fact, it’s no ordinary restaurant. Really, it’s no ordinary place. I can’t think of another restaurant where you can eat with noodles flying over your head. Or get a manicure and pedicure while waiting in line. Get this: waiting tables are converted into game tables. And enjoy some milk tea while you’re at it. Your kids throwing a temper? Let them throw their temper at the kids’ playground. Heading for the washroom? Feel free to take your time and enjoy its amenities including a toothbrush, toothpaste, toothpicks, cotton buds, mouthwash, hand lotion, hair ties, bobby pins, hairspray…oh the few gazillion little things women need. And don’t be surprised when your personal washroom butler stands right next to you at the sink to pump your soap, hand you a towel, and squeeze a dollop of hand lotion to make sure your hands have just the …

Le Café Gourmand

I know I’m a little late on the train to Le Café Gourmand, despite having passed by it countless times. This Saturday morning I finally decided to temporarily brush aside my qualms about cute, fancy places. The first thing that surprised me was the size of the café. Somehow I always pictured it to be bigger and with more seating capacity. What caught my eye next were the art-filled walls illustrating a busy restaurant/bistro with bartenders and saxophonists diligently doing their thing. The ambience was calming and pleasant, garnished with bright hues here and there. But the interior aside, does the food hold up? We shall see. Matcha Latte (Iced/Hot) | 40K Japanese green tea made with shade-grown tea leaves. Rose Cronut Even though a cronut is both a donut and croissant, this rose flavored one passes for neither. The problem? Dryness and lack of flakiness. Sad tale. Croque Madame | 65K Smoked beef and cheese sandwich topped with a fried egg, served with a spinach salad and fries. To be frank and blunt, many homemade sandwiches fare much much better than …

Blue Monkey

If you’re not quite familiar with the Foundry 8 quarter, you may have passed by Blue Monkey without noticing it (housed on the second floor of Kei and Chopstix – open 24 hours). Located within the same complex as Wilshire, just to the left of Empirica, Blue Monkey serves a medley of Western, mainly Italian, grub, to be enjoyed alongside its one-of-a-kind, unique cocktails concocted in-house by manager Yannick who is without question au courant with the latest trends in food. But despite being well acquainted with the dining scene in Jakarta, he is not a big follower and is intent on making the most of his creative command to bring a little something different to each cup and plate served. We were first entertained with two of the restaurant’s most favorite cocktails. While we chatted over our refreshing spirits, I began to notice the interior, a dimly lit space with lights that one would see in a park. It was subtle yet visible that their interior was intended to feel and appear like the outdoors. In addition to …

Kupat Tahu Pelopor

Speaking the truth, this is agonizing. Having to review and revisit every color and pixel of this nothing but tempting treat. Only to inspect it from outside looking in. Like an abandoned stray cat straggling around the bushes hoping a stranger would pick it up and take it home. If only I could relive the experience right this instant… To expound (and justify) my attachment to this particular fare, long story short, let’s just say I never thought I could relish and respect food I have just met as much as I do kupat tahu. It’s like meeting someone, falling in love at first sight, and knowing you’re going to be with that person for the rest of your life. Although nothing about this humble setting says “romantic,” I’ve developed my own not-so-secret romance with it. Kupat Tahu is a traditional Indonesian dish made up of ketupat (a type of dumpling made from rice packed inside woven palm leaf), fried tofu, bean sprouts, cabbage, with a peanut sauce and sweet soy sauce. And if Kupat Tahu is what you seek, …

Pecel Solo

After resting our legs at the hotel, we were so ready for a traditional Javanese breakfast at Pecel Solo, recommended by a local friend. Pecel is one of the simplest traditional Indonesian food originating from East Java (Madiun). Having made its way throughout the country, you’ll find pecel at most Indonesian warung and kaki lima stalls. Pecel Solo was neither. Quite the opposite, it was a fancy yet humble and not-over-the-top restaurant where the decor was very much traditional, ornate but in a natural way. Right by the entrance, you’ll see and hear a musician jamming on his traditional instrument. The first thing that caught my eye after was the gigantic table of what seemed to be an endless assortment of rice, noodles, vegetables, meat, crackers, and more. It was indeed a buffet! You’re free to pick your rice of choice (white, red, liwet, rames, gurih, kabuli), combined with any meats and veggies of your choice. Or if you’re indecisive or plain clueless, the menu is available for viewing. We ordered a little bit of everything …