Hi! Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your day-to-day activities?
Hello! I am an amateur/seasonal home cook who loves to eat, and my day job is as Head of Communications in Museum MACAN. My day-to-day activities revolve around communications, media, and marketing strategy for the museum, while in my spare time, I like to cook or bake and practice yoga.
Do you have any go-to venues for hanging out with friends or maybe for special occasions with family?
Hanging out place would be Akar Jakarta and my own apartment (because we can chill for as long as we want to). If it’s family, we usually go to Pu Tien and Hokkaido Izakaya because my mom loves them.
What is the most unforgettable food experience you have ever had?
When I was in Tokyo a few years ago, I was invited to an omakase dinner in this tiny and nondescript place, somewhere in the Ebisu area. The host ordered sake, and we (the guests) got to pick our own glassware to drink it from. The colorful and intricate cups were handmade of Edo-kiriko (Edo-style cut glass); they were some of the most amazing and beautiful glassware I have ever seen. After everyone picked their cups, the sake was poured, and we all cheered to drink. Oddly, the host didn’t drink with us.
After a few rounds of “kanpai!”—and us as the guest feeling a bit confused because they just smiled when we asked them to drink with us—I finally poured them the sake to “force” them to drink with us.
Well, turned out that was what we were supposed to do from the start. Tradition says that one cannot pour sake into their own cup, so it has to be done by the dining companion! Aside from that small cultural shock (sort of), the food served was incredible. It was springtime, so the chef cooked fresh produce from that time of the year, from delicate absolutely vegetable shoots tempura to sashimi assortment (including fish sperm sack, which I did not touch). There was a lot of food, and we even went home with the rice dish leftover (rice cooked with bamboo shoots and soy sauce—very delicious), which the chef turned into onigiris for us. No one was drunk (this was maybe a bit unusual by Japanese business dinner standards), and no one smuggled the pretty Edo-kiriko cups home.
What is your most recent dining destination that left a good impression? (high-end, upmarket, and street food)
High-End: Belcanto by José Avillez in Lisbon.
Upmarket: A Cevicheria by Chef Kiko, Lisbon; Habitual by Ricard Camarena, Valencia; Mil’s Kitchen, Jogjakarta, and Thien Thien Lai in Glodok, Jakarta.
Street Food: Gudeg Ibu Kota, Jogjakarta; Pecel Balqis, Jakarta (this was ordered via gojek)
What usually attracts you to visit a place to eat?
I like low-key, hole-in-the-wall places. For more upmarket/contemporary restaurants, I love places that use fresh local ingredients more. I am always eager to try plant-based/vegan places (or catering like @plant2plate) and small pastry places/bakeries.
After a busy day, what drink do you choose for a relaxing time? And why do you prefer that drink?
Water? Hahaha. I used to drink more but lately, I save it for special occasions. But in the past years, I have been very into natural wines, especially orange wines, for their funky characteristic.
What are your favorite local dishes, and where do you go to eat them?
Too many to mention; I love Indonesian food. But if I have to choose, it’s Nasi Ulam, Pecel, Karedok, and Bakmi.
For Nasi ulam I ordered from Alice (@alicecookiesncakes), they also make great bihun kangkung and killer gemblong pandan. I have nowhere particular place to order Pecel, but I often order from Nasi Pecel Mandor, Thamrin, because it’s very near to my place. My go-to for Karedok are Karedok Mak, Sang Timur (found it on gofood). And for Bakmi, there are too many to choose from; I can’t point to just one place, hahaha.
Is there any food you can eat every day without getting bored?
Maybe Pecel Sayur and Nasi Ulam. A good bread. Blueberries and cantaloupe. Can I also say Nasi Uduk and Nasi Campur or Rames Medan because of the variety of condiments? Haha
Where are your top three dining places that you will always be on your favorite list?
Bakmi Akong, Muara Karang. Beautika. Hokkaido Izakaya.
In the past few years, we have seen a lot of unique food trends; which food trend do you like the most, and where do you usually get them?
I hardly follow these trends because I don’t really like queuing for food that I don’t know if I will like or not. In my opinion, most trending and “grammable” food places offer more style than substance. I liked croffle, although I hardly ever buy them from “famous” places because they’re usually covered in a crazy amount of sugar. Frankly, the best croffle was the one I made using fresh croissant dough from a friend’s bakery (I refuse to make croissants from scratch, which is too much work, haha). I basically love pressing anything in my waffle machine, really. The best ones so far are the PB&J sandwich and kimchi cheese sandwich.
What is your go-to recipe for a busy day?
Instant noodle with A LOT of fresh veggies, or sandwich (PBJ or cheese or whatever I have in the fridge), or simply just a toast—a good one.