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What FoodieS Eat: Demitria Dana Paramita

What FoodieS Eat: Demitria Dana Paramita

Auli Cinantya
10 December 2023

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From her favourite city to eat to the latest street food gems in Semarang, get to know Demi's picks on her top bar destinations

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In the bustling world of mixology, Demitria Dana Paramita, affectionately known as Demi, has emerged as a trailblazing figure, making a mark as one of the most sought-after bartenders and becoming a symbol of empowerment in this niche industry. Hailing from Medan, Demi has globally shaped her unique bartending style through a passion for continuous learning and an unwavering commitment to bringing fresh and innovative experiences to the cocktail scene.

Demi’s journey began in 2015 at the now-defunct Lou Shang Bar & Cafe, where she quickly made her mark by winning the Best Belvedere Martini Competition in Kuala Lumpur. Her bartending prowess reached international acclaim, earning her the Championship title in the Bacardi Legacy 2020 Singapore competition and securing a spot in the Top 5 for The Blend Scholarship in 50 World Best Bars in June 2023. After a series of successes worldwide, Demi returned to Indonesia in 2022, taking the helm of the beverage division at Tavern Group Semarang’s latest venture, People of the Sun Bar, a tequila-focused establishment with a Latin American touch.

Demi’s culinary adventures extend beyond her craft, and she graciously shares her gastronomic stories, from her top three bar destinations to her street food discoveries in Semarang. 

Hi! Please tell us a bit about yourself and your day-to-day activities.

My name is Demitria Dana Paramita, although most people call me Demi. I was born in Medan and have been working in the bartending industry since 2013. Currently, I hold the position of Head Mixologist at People of the Sun Bar in Semarang. 

My bartending career began in Malaysia and Singapore. In 2022, I was offered a position at Tavern Group in Semarang to set up the bar at POTS as part of the core opening team. I was fully in charge of creating the cocktail menu book and developing the bar concept and programs. Currently, I am responsible for the concept of the cocktail menus and the Research and Development of our upcoming new bar under our company, Tavern Group. 

My day-to-day activities involve researching and developing new ideas for the upcoming bar. I usually come to our preparation room at Wishbone Bar at around 3 pm and then head to P.O.T.S to supervise the operations.

What do you love the most about what you do?
I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Culinary Arts and have always had a passion for exploring different ingredients and baking methods. I have previously worked in a pastry kitchen as well as a barista. However, I realised that I could combine all my interests by pursuing a career in bartending. This profession allows me to continue exploring my love for baking while also meeting a lot of great people through bars.

What is your favourite type of cuisine and what is the food that you love the most?
I have loved Chinese cuisine since I was a child. It is my favourite type of food.

Do you have any memorable food trips?
Ma La Xiang Guo, which I always had in Singapore, serves my favourite Taiwanese Oyster Mee Sua, which is my go-to comfort food.

 What are your favourite classic drinks?
Classic cocktails I enjoy include the Bloody Mary at Last Word Singapore. They use fresh tomatoes, making it particularly comforting for me. Alternatively, I opt for the Mezcal Paloma.

Where do you usually hang out with friends or go for special occasions with family?
I rarely go out in Semarang. However, when I’m in Medan, there’s this legendary place called Tabona. They serve Beehoon Curry with a light broth, and we usually go there for breakfast.

What is the most unforgettable food/drink experience you have had?
During my guest shift trip to Guangzhou at Hope and Sesame, the host took me to Xin Ji, an old restaurant recently awarded a Michelin star. They served a dish of fried bean curd marinated in pork with condensed milk on the side. It was simple yet mind-blowing.

Which drink concoction is the most unique, and where did you try it?
I can’t recall how many cocktails I’ve tried, but I vividly remember the ones I’ve made, hahahaha. There’s this cocktail I created called Assam Laksa, which became popular in Malaysia from 2016-2017. People still ask me to make it whenever I guest shift overseas. You can easily find it by Googling “Assam Laksa cocktail.” Another recent creation is Pinata on the POTS menu. It features an edible bath bomb, transforming the cocktail-drinking experience. I brought it to guest shifts in Hope and Sesame, Guangzhou, and Stay Gold Flamingo Bar, and it disappeared within an hour. It’s a total bomb, hahaha.

Name one of your favourite cities to eat and tell us why.
It might sound biassed, but in Indonesia, Medan is a food heaven. Traditional and modern cuisines are all packed into one city. Kuala Lumpur is special to me as I lived there for 5 years; they have amazing Nasi Kandar and Nasi Lemak. Penang is a must for the oyster omelette and Assam Laksa. And having spent 4 years in Singapore, you can’t miss the Chili Crab and Chicken Rice.

What is your most recent dining destination that left a good impression? What was it that managed to impress you? Can you recommend to us what to get from that place?
I recently visited Taipei for a guest shift trip at Bar Mood Bar Anniversary. We went to a dessert and cocktail pairing restaurant called AkeruE. My favourite was their Olive Tree dish, served as their Amuse Bouche. It consists of a green olive, bottarga, and pickled radish coated with olive caramel sugar, perfectly paired with their Martini. The locally made gin, distilled with Taiwanese tea by the owner Nick Wu, adds an extraordinary flavour dimension. The combination is undeniably amazing.

Is there any food you can eat every day without getting bored? Do you have any place you frequently go to for it?
I finally found a great Satay Padang in Semarang, located on Jalan Gajah Mada right in front of the Honda Dealer Building. The guy is originally from Padang, West Sumatra. He also serves Chicken Satay, which is my childhood comfort food, and I can eat it most days without getting bored.

What are your favourite local dishes, and where do you usually go to eat them?
In Semarang, I really like the Nasi Gandul at Pak Memet’s. I brought my parents there once when they visited, and they loved it. If anyone comes to Semarang, it’s a must-visit place.

Where are your top three dining places always on your favourite list? And which food do you recommend getting at those places?
You should go to Pak Memet; of course, try the Nasi Gandul. In Malaysia, Fifty Tales is a must-visit; they serve amazing Sourdough-based noodles (it’s a semi fine-dining restaurant with a local touch). Reservations are needed. In Singapore, there’s a restaurant called KEK Seafood; you have to make a reservation to eat here. They started as a hawker centre but have become a full restaurant. My favourite there is their Signature Chilli Crab.

What are your top three bar destinations, and which drink do you recommend getting from each place?
My top three bar destinations are Side Door Bar; you have to try their “Just 3” martini-style cocktail served with homemade langoustine oil. They also serve amazing food. The bar is owned by the lovely husband and wife, Bannie Kang and Tryson Quek. Bannie is the winner of Global World Class 2019. Last Word Bar in Singapore is also a must-visit, opened by Colin Chia and the lead team Shelley Tai, a legendary figure in the Singapore bar scene. You must try their Last Word and Bloody Mary; they are mind-blowingly nice. And, of course, you have to visit People of the Sun bar in Semarang and try our Pinata cocktail and Bloody Nice. It’s my personal favourite. Haha.

Any upcoming projects we could look forward to?
Our upcoming project is a collaboration with Spiegel in Kota Lama. I’m working on the cocktails, so please stay tuned for our new cocktail styles, wine, and great food!

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