Friday, December 5, 2008

Booyah! All Cubbies Need To Eat And Got To!


My weekend in Jakarta went extremely well. I mean, the business was good, the company was amicable and i had the most wonderful time catching up on my eating.

Yup. Catching up on eating all my favourite foods in Jakarta. Well, i do have a favourite on my first visit, which was the lip-smacking wonderfully huge bowl of Bakso, eaten street-style, at Plaza Senayan - (and i promise to revisit when i'm there the next time..)

Anyway, having promised myself to travel around Jakarta independently this time, i went everywhere with my trusted Blue Bird and had an excellent time doing so. Yes, i am proud of my little achievement! Hah!

First up, welcome to my lair at the Hotel Mulia Senayan. This is the aerial view from the room. See the little made-up hut with green roof (on the bottom left)? That's the security area before cars are even allowed into Mulia's lobby. Security were especially heightened ever since the repeated bombings that caused carnage all over Indonesia in 2002 / 2003.

Now, make no mistake about Mulia. It is a wonderfully rich (and i mean that, literally...) establishment with exquisite, large furnishings meant for royalties.

I am no royalty of course (except being the King Cubbies...) but the company put me up here so i relish on the idea of staying in a large room, sleeping on a HUGE comfy superduperking bed, looking at my cute paws on large mirrors and in addition to that, they have a big huge tree on the side of the room (to add the flora and fauna factor). It almost felt like i was a born royal highest-ness! ;)

OK, i'm gonna start showing off now - so don't who can't stand it, please look away! Haha!!

This is the SuperKing SuperSized SuperCOMFORTABLE bed i was talking about. You just have to try it to know what i'm talking about... It sinks. It just sinks in with you when you lie on it. Unbelievable.

Ahh.. and from the bed, you can watch all you favourite TV programs on cable, on the SUPERBIG plasma TV. As for me, the newscaster on CNN will look much much bigger and of course, all my favourite TV shows on Disney will be almost 3D to my little eyes! (OK i'm exaggerating...)

To the other side of the room, there is a study and a full-sized couch for you to R&R after a hard day at work. Sweet.. I just love it.

What did i tell ya about the mirror... Huh huh huh???

OK, we're getting a little private here... This is the shower. Haven't tried the standing jacuzzi before but from what i heard, its pretty relaxing. I don't like it when water pokes me everywhere because it hurts! I don't even like the sitting jacuzzi (because it bubbles up funny places if you know what i mean...) So yeah... And the last, is the safe deposit box, which was conveniently hung on the wall in the wardrobe. I took a picture of this because it is so convenient to have a safebox at your standing eye level. Most other hotels does it on the floor, which after frequent bending, will hurt my poor back. But this, this is eye-level baby... And me LIKEY.

Ok ENOUGH is ENOUGH ranting about the hotel. Now, let me show you what Cubbies ate in Jakarta, as she bragged about in her earlier entry.

As promised, i paid Ayam Goreng Nyonya Suharti a visit when i was there. For all you calorie-watching freaks, this may probably be the most sinful fried chicken you'll ever have... but Oooohhh.. the taste is simply divine.

Had this with rice, sayur asem, which is a simple tamarind soup, very tasty and moreish - and a cup of home-made iced lemon tea.

The Ayam Goreng... the meat is so tender and juicy... and the bones... Ohhh the bones.. you can bite through them, nibble on them and suck out all the protein from them!!!

Having said that, i found this, "camouflaged" in between its hind legs and buried deep in its mount of crusts - its tiny Chicken Head!!! BAH!!! I don't remember them being there the last time i ate this but WHY! Why do they always have to remind us that a poor innocent little chicky sacrificed a life for our pleasure and enjoyment! Bleargh!

Since the restaurant is about 15 minutes drive from Senayan, i had opted to take my Blue Bird down to the restaurant, fighting against the roaring thunder, the rain and lighting as well as the notorious Jakarta "mah-cet" - or traffic jam just to get my chicken. What's consoling was that my Blue Bird driver was willing to wait in the cab (with the meter on of course) without making the slightest complain, while i make my order in the restaurant and then happily ferried me back to my hotel. Try doing that in Singapore, people... It isn't Singapore cabbies if you don't get the angry face, the attitude, the F-Word or the Middle-Finger up yours - but like everything in Singapore, we do it with absolute subtlety...

Ayam Goreng Suharti (Jakarta Branch)
Jln Kapt. Tendean 13
Jakarta Selatan
Opens Daily - 11:00am - 10:00pm (+62-21-5206-955)

And to create the mood for Din Tai Fung...

I felt compelled to show pictures of the foods i ordered at DTF before i actually give my take of the food, ambience and overall satisfaction of the restaurant. And so here goes...

That's what i ordered... a bowl of noodles and of course, my beautiful Xiao Long Bao. There's also the duck.
Ok, here's my take...

The food at Din Tai Fung (Jakarta) was, at best, forgettable. I had a bowl of interesting looking noodles, called the Cha Jiang Noodle - which is a handmade spinach noodle topped with brown, almost tangy sauce consisting of tiny little cubes of braised tofu, meat, salted soy beans (tauco) and Japanese green pod beans. I won't say that this was disappointing... but i must stress on the fact that it was bland and ordinary.

Next i ordered the Crispy Roast Duck (instead of my initial choice of Drunken Chicken). These are basically foods that you cannot get halal back home (or at least, didn't taste as authentic). Now the Crispy Roast Duck, i have to admit that i actually enjoyed it even though i'm not a big fan of duck meat.

The meat was quite tough and chewy, but there was no foul smell or odour (meant that it was cooked well, despite the texture) which was welcomed of course. The treat was in the skin - roasted to golden perfection, crispy with every bite.

And of course, the very reason why i came to this restaurant in the first place - is the Xiao Long Bao - which is Steamed Chicken Dumpling.

While the baos tasted ordinary, the gentle excitement of having soup with every single bite i took, won me over. Yes it was mediocre, partly to blame was my acnticipation and high expectations of the poor little bun. Be careful - the soup is hot and your tongue and lips may burn!
I ordered 6 pieces - 3 of it i had it neat, while the other 3, i had it with ginger strips and soy sauce. No difference between the two but i suppose, if i really had to choose just one way to eat it, i'd say take it with the soy sauce and ginger strips. It accentuates the flavour and overall, it tasted far yummier.

To me, Din Tai Fung is like every other Chinese cuisine out there - mostly over-hyped. Maybe i'm not a champion of the art, but i do love them most (as compared to Malay, Indian or Western cooking) and to my untrained palate, i am my own guru.

The next time i'm in Jakarta, take me to an Indonesian restaurant where i can lap up sambal terasi with piping hot white rice and sup buntut (oxtail soup) - simple pleasures. Banquet chain of food courts can pull this Chinese trick off anytime but its definitely worth at least, one try.

Din Tai Fung
Plaza Senayan Arcadia
Ground Floor X 101-103
Jln. New Delhi #9
Senayan, Jakarta Selatan



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