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What FoodieS Eat: Hartono Moe

What FoodieS Eat: Hartono Moe

Auli Cinantya
21 October 2023


A daring food enthusiast, constantly seeking new and unexplored gastronomic horizons, check out Hartono Moe's top dining destinations.


Hartono Moe, fondly referred to as Ono or recognized through his Instagram persona, @gastronomoe, is the the co-founder and managing partner of TOMA Group, a Jakarta-based culinary and lifestyle powerhouse that owns beloved brands like TOMA Brasserie and Andnic Patisserie. In this gastronomic empire, Hartono’s domain spans the intricacies of marketing, where he meticulously crafts the patron’s journey, both within their eateries and through their online presence. But beyond the boardrooms and business acumen, Hartono shines as a true culinary enthusiast.

Hartono finds his culinary joy in the lively flavors of Chinese, Thai, and Vietnamese dishes. These cuisines, known for their harmonious combination of fresh ingredients, complex flavors, and diverse textures, truly captivate him. But Hartono’s tastes go beyond the ordinary. He’s a daring food enthusiast, constantly seeking new and unexplored gastronomic horizons, driven by his unwavering curiosity and a passionate quest for novel tastes and cuisines.

Hi! Please tell us a bit about yourself and your day-to-day activities.
Hi, I’m Hartono, also known as Ono or by my Instagram handle, @gastronomoe. I’m the co-founder and managing partner of TOMA Group, a Jakarta-based food and beverage lifestyle group that owns brands such as TOMA Brasserie and Andnic Patisserie. As managing partner, I’m primarily responsible for the marketing department, where I oversee everything related to the customer experience inside and outside our restaurants. I also share my thoughts on the food and beverage industry from a business perspective on my social media platforms.

What do you love the most about what you do?
What I love most about my work is the ability to bring people together and create memorable experiences through great food, drinks, and atmosphere. Seeing the smiles on people’s faces as they enjoy a delicious meal or drink is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job.

What is your favorite type of cuisine?
I’m particularly fond of Chinese, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisine. These cuisines are known for their well-balanced dishes, which typically include a variety of fresh ingredients, complex flavors, and diverse textures.

For example, Chinese cuisine features a wide range of dishes, from stir-fries and dumplings to noodles and soups. Thai cuisine is known for using fresh herbs and spices and bold and flavourful dishes. Vietnamese cuisine is known for its light and healthy dishes, often featuring fresh vegetables, herbs, and lean protein.

To you, what would make a perfect meal?
A perfect meal, to me, is one that is well-balanced in terms of flavor and ingredients. I love simple but flavourful dishes that use fresh, high-quality ingredients. One example of a perfect meal is a seafood cap cay with warm rice and an omelet. It’s a simple dish, but it has all the elements of an ideal meal: flavourful, nutritious, and satisfying.

What usually draws your attention to a place to eat?
Quality ingredients and cooking techniques: I’m drawn to restaurants that use fresh, seasonal ingredients and traditional cooking techniques. I’m also interested in trying new dishes and cuisines.

The people behind the restaurant: I’m always interested in learning more about the people who run the restaurants I visit. I’m drawn to restaurants that have a passionate and knowledgeable team.

Do you have any memorable food trips?
Yes, I do. I have had memorable food trips to Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, and Seoul.

Bangkok is a street food lover’s paradise, with everything from pad see ew and tom yum goong to BBQ pork noodles and papaya salad at incredibly affordable prices.

Ho Chi Minh City:
Ho Chi Minh City is known for its wide variety of soupy dishes, including pho, bun bo hue, and bun rieu cua. I also enjoyed the banh mi sandwiches, made with fresh baguettes and various meats, vegetables, and condiments.

Seoul is a great place to try Korean barbecue and other pork-based dishes, such as bulgogi, samgyeopsal, and jjajangmyeon. I also loved the coffee culture in Seoul, where they are heavily invested in the skill and roasting of the bean to get the best out of the coffee bean.

What is the most unique or unusual dish you have ever tried, and where did you taste it?
In my childhood days in Medan, North Sumatra, my father often took me to visit the local villagers in the mountainous area. One day, we were invited to a wedding celebration, where they served various Batak Karo dishes, including Goldfish Arsik, Karo-style Pork BBQ, and a classic soup with potato, carrot, and a bone that looked like a pork bone.

I enjoyed the soup, thinking it was pork bone soup. But on the way back from the wedding, my father told me the truth: it was dog bone soup. I was surprised but couldn’t deny that the soup tasted delicious, like pork, but with a warmer sensation.

Are there any local or foreign restaurants you want to visit but have not visited? Or are there any foods you want to try but have yet to try?
I’ve always been fascinated by Korean temple cuisine, so I’m eager to visit Dusugobang in South Korea. I’m curious to try the restaurant’s traditional Buddhist dishes, made with fresh, seasonal ingredients and prepared using centuries-old cooking techniques. I’ve also heard that the restaurant has a serene and meditative atmosphere, which would make for a truly unique dining experience.

Another restaurant I’m dying to try is Central in Lima, Peru. I’ve been a huge fan of Peruvian cuisine for years, and Central is known for its innovative use of Peruvian ingredients. The restaurant’s tasting menu changes frequently to reflect the availability of seasonal produce, so I’m excited to try dishes that showcase the unique flavors of Peruvian cuisine creatively and unexpectedly.

Finally, I’d love to give Jay Fai in Bangkok another try. I was there once before, but the queue was so long that I gave up. Jay Fai is a Michelin-starred restaurant that serves traditional Thai dishes made with fresh, high-quality ingredients. I’m particularly interested in trying the restaurant’s signature crab omelet, which is said to be one of the best in the world.

What is the most unforgettable food experience you have had?
My most unforgettable food experience was trying stinky tofu in Taipei, Taiwan. I had heard about it before but wasn’t sure what to expect. The smell is strong, but the fried version is quite bearable. The raw stew version is a bit more challenging but worth trying if you’re adventurous.

What is your most recent dining destination that left a good impression? What was it that managed to impress you?
Glou Wine & Bistro is a definite recommendation. Helmed by celebrity chef Renatta Moeloek, she combines the best Indonesian ingredients with French cooking techniques, resulting in amazing dishes. I highly recommend the Pelawan mushroom pasta, made with one of the most expensive mushrooms – the Pelawan from Bangka Belitung, cooked with creme fraiche sauce. The pasta is perfectly cooked, and the flavors are divine. The restaurant’s atmosphere is also very inviting, with dim lighting and cozy seating. The service is excellent, and the staff is very knowledgeable about the menu. Overall, I had a wonderful dining experience at Glou Wine & Bistro, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a special meal.

What is your favorite street food, and where do you usually eat it?
I love bakmi so much that I can’t resist trying new bakmi stands! Indonesia is a noodle lover’s paradise, with different varieties of noodle dishes from all over the country. Having tried most of them, I can say that my favorite is the Medan Tiongsim Style. It’s the perfect combination of chewy noodles, flavourful broth, and savory toppings. If you’re ever in Medan, try it at Mie Tiongsim, the original restaurant serving this delicious dish.

Is there any food you can eat every day without getting bored?

  1. Kwetiau Goreng
  2. Bakmi (any kind)
  3. Bakso

Do you have any place you frequently go to for it? 
I’m a big fan of Kwetiau Aciap at Jl Prof Dr Satrio since it’s within walking distance from my restaurant, TOMA Brasserie, at Chillax Sudirman. For bakmi, I love Mie Keriting Siantar Atek Puri, Bakmi Lung Kee Gajah Mada, and Bakmi Afui Ace Kerendang Raya.

Where do you usually hang out with friends or go for special occasions with family?
My go-to place for both is TOMA Brasserie, the restaurant I co-founded with my fellow partners. We originally opened the brand to serve as a place to meet with friends and family, and we’re so happy that it’s become a popular spot for others to do the same.

For special occasions, I also love to take my family to Plaza Indonesia for a hearty dinner at one of the many hotpot restaurants, such as Eight Treasures or Hai Di Lao. There’s nothing quite like sharing a delicious meal with loved ones; hotpot is the perfect way to do that.

Where are your top three dining places always on your favorite list? And which food do you recommend getting at those places?

  1. TOMA Brasserie (no joke, try it to believe it)
    I highly recommend the Karubi Short Ribs, served with sambal andaliman and crying tiger condiments. It’s a fusion dish that perfectly marries the flavors of Indonesian and Thai cuisine. The ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender, and the condiments add a delicious kick of heat and complexity.
  2. Eight Treasures
    I highly recommend the Cartilage Soup. It’s a hearty and flavorful broth packed with collagen, which is good for your skin and joints. I like to order it with various vegetables and meats, such as beef, shrimp, and tofu.
  3. Babura Dimsum
    Babura Dimsum in Medan, Indonesia, is one of my top dining places. It’s an authentic Medan Chinese restaurant that serves some of the best Kwetiau dishes I’ve ever had, especially the Kwetiau Goreng Polos. They’re also famous for their dim sum, and I highly recommend the Lee Hong Kien (fried shrimp dumplings).

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