Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Jun Njan - Timeless Chinese Cuisine

I've always been curious about this food joint. Whenever I pass by one of their many branches in Pluit, long lines of cars are always parked out front. Being in this neighborhood for a while, I know that residents from this area are one the pickiest foodie. Every year, I witnessed numerous foodplace rise and fall. However, once you win them, you own them. I kinda think Jun Njan is one of the few good ones that will last.

You can imagine then, how excited I was being invited by Jun Njan and Grand Indonesia to break-fast with fellow food bloggers. Finally, I get to taste what the fuzz is about. Eat up!

Early in the event, two chefs present their cooking technique by cutting and serving the Lobster Salad right in front of our eyes. You can tell how special these two expensive jumbo prawns are by the way they were carefully delicately treated. As special as this occasion and the food bloggers who joined, Jun Njan created this meal specifically for the night. 

I must admit, it was delicious. Its not common to mix longan fruit with lobster, however I find the taste mashup quite delectable. It adds a sense of freshness to the palate.

As we move along with the dinner, starting up with such a tongue provoking entree, you would expect nothing less than a tasteful main courses as well. To my surprise, Jun Njan successfully brought us forward, slowly but sure to a series of upward enjoyment ended in a luscious climax. Let me take you to each of the mouthwatering meals.

Fried Squid with Jun Njan Sauce (63k) - It is proven. What some of my friends eagerly proclaim as their signature dish is indeed a must try. Fried, but easy on the teeth and juicy. The sweet savory sauce is one of a kind.

Fried Chicken with Butter Sauce (49k) - It reminds me of Ayam Kuluyuk in a way, but this is like a super sophisticated luxurious mutated version of it. Don't get it? Alright, give it a try and you'll get it once the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious taste hit your tongue. I'm not helping I know. Haha.

Fried Prawn with Salted Egg Yolk (88k) - Crispy savory skin teamed up with big meatful shrimp. Nothing less than scrumptious. And don't worry, the yolk on these shrimps are plenty to keep your tongue salty enough to demand another sip of water. Me likey!

Black Pepper Beef (63k) - While many would rank this on their favorite list, I've never been a fan of black pepper. Something about it turns me off. Maybe because most blackpepper sauce is so strong smelling that it overpowers the taste and flavor of the beef. I prefer blackpepper beef in conjunction with several other dishes. As on this one, it makes a good variety filler, but definitely not as a main / single dish.

Braised Soft Tofu with Jun Njan Sauce (46k)- I always love tofu. Give me all kind of tofu, fried, deep fried, in a soup, crushed, braised, in whatever sauce, I'd eat it. The tofu itself is enough goodness in its own. For this one, I like the generous amount of mushroom, the mix of scallions and Jun Njan sauce served my tastebud well. However, a little addition of seafood would be nicer though. =p

Deep Fried Carp with Sweet & Sour Sauce (88k) // Seafood Fried Rice (35k - 75k) - There's a reason they're in the bottom of my list. Lets' just leave it at that and everyone's happy. =)

Ice Fruity Cream for dessert. Too bad they ran out of coconut pudding. I haven't had one for quite a while. It rans out in other restaurants too. Anyway, for this particular drink, while I enjoy the rich creamy soup, and the fresh fruits, it would be much nicer if its sweeter. I find it bland without the fruit.  


All in all, the dinner was lovely, Jun Njan is definitely above par with many other Chinese restaurant that I've tasted. One thing I notice and fell in love with this establishment is the respect for history. The name itself, as the owner explained,  Jun = forever, Njan = roots, together combined means "always remember your roots / background". This message is amplified everywhere. Started in 1956, I saw how the third generation raise and build it into a bigger empire, being relevant to the modern world, without losing its Chinese essence. I saw the youngs and the elderly work hand in hand. Not many family businesses could flourish and stay collected as a group as they are. I wish their culinary legacy could be long lasting and timeless. Salute.

And salute to Grand Indonesia as well for taking care of us bloggers, Adhi Tawakal their representative for being such a warm host, you make the evening pleasant with your witty sense of humor. Mbak Nuniek from Fimela.com and Multiply ID for supporting the event. You are an inspiration for serving the online world with your expertise. Can't wait until our next dinner at Tatemukai! HAHA.

Salam Mampu! (pardon for internal jokes)

Fellexandro Ruby
Food Conversationalist & Photographer
Munch on my tweets @Wanderbites 

Jun Njan Seafood Restaurant
Grand Indonesia, West Mall Level 5 No 11 A-B
Jl. MH Thamrin No. 1 Jakarta 10310
Ph: +6221 23580647/48
Fax: +6221 23580649

Twitter: @JunNjan

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Katsusei - Not Your Ordinary Japanese Cutlet

Katsu or originally Katsuretsu is an impersonation of 'cutlet', introduced to the Japanese culinary in the Meiji period, early 19th century. That's as much available in world history, but here in Indonesia, when I think of katsu, I think of Hoka-Hoka Bento or home cooked frozen-in-a-bag katsu. However, all that shatters after my visit to Katsusei. Allow me to make a statement: 

My yardstick for katsu has been raised.

Follow me along as I relive that night at Katsusei and I'll reveal it to you why.


Oriental, intimate, and exclusive are my first impressions of Katsusei's interior. The tables and chairs are less cramped than other Japanese foodplace alike. I enjoy the spacious feel it created.

Upon arrival, we were served with a bowlful of Edamame. Too bad it was cold, or was it suppose to be cold? Well, at least the presence of fellow bloggers has warmed up the night. Also adding the fun was Chef Erwin who shared with us in details the tidbits about wagyu beef.

Apparently, there's a proper way of slicing the meat, it has to be in opposite direction to the fatty lines, or what they call 'marbling' in wagyu beef. The marbling itself is a result of constant care by the very selected amount of breeder. The cows has to be pampered, fed with beers, and massaged thoroughly. They claimed these massages is directly responsible to the amount of marbling. They then graded from 1 to 12. The latter being the highest grade ever with the most marbling.
To give you an idea, here's a sample of grade 9 wagyu beef. Exquisite isn't it?

See the rootlike white lines? Without them the meat would be all stiff and hard. I can assure you, this one is supersoft it almost like it melts on the tongue.

Thanks to Toranomon, the restaurant next door under the same management, Ilham Putra Wicaksana, they were so kind to grill the wagyu in perfect composure, medium-well.

I loved it and hated it at the same time. Love it because it was delicious even with minimal spicing. Hated it because now that my tastebud has savored a grade 9 wagyu, its standard has been increased. Now, every other beef tasted ordinary.

But above all else, it was a heavenly entree. As well as these two, Chawan Mushi & Plain Udon.

I kinda like the fact that the egg custard was not that flavorful. It balanced out the udon which was too salty for my liking. If you splendor them in turns, it would be just nice. It also strikes my attention that they use what appears to be Ginkgo seeds. If I'm right, that means, their recipe is quite consistent in terms of authenticity. Katsusei have earned my respect. 
Not long after the appetizing entree, we were given a bowlful of sesame seeds. Everyone showed a blank face, until the manager came up and explained what is it for.

See the picture. The Goma (gold sesame seed) on the left had to be crushed manually using the available wood pestle, then mixed with the tonkotsu sauce (hidden inside white porcelain bottle). The tonkotsu sauce itself is a combination of 25 different spices and ingredients, creating a state-of-the-art sauce special for the katsus.

Before this, I've never encountered cutlet that has to be dipped in a sauce before. To the truth, this part of the dinner interest me the most. I took a delicate amount of time to grind the seeds into soft sands then finally pour the tonkotsu sauce. You know what? It won me over on the first try. I was unstoppable. When the katsu finally came, I just can't help myself. I went quite and was busy savoring each bite.

On my platter was the shrimp, beef, chicken, and scallop cutlet. A thick crunchy layer of Panko (breadcrumbs) along with juicy tender meat, and do you see the shrimp? It is BIG. And big is always the perfect size for a foodie. =p
FYI, Katsusei had most of their ingredients imported for maximum pleasure. The scallops come from Hokkaido, the oysters are from Yokohama, and the wagyu are all originated from Australia. So much dedication was put to keep the standard intact. They've just earned my respect again.

To end the dinner, we were presented with these two lovely desserts. The mango pudding may I say is hands down one of the best I've ever tasted. I might comeback here just for the pudding. Seriously. On the other side of the table, the matcha ice cream wasn't particularly special, but I do note the unordinary taste of the green tea on the tongue. It brings its own distinctive flavor that some might find it special to their liking.
Now that you've heard it, its time for you to prove it yourself. I myself have started looking at Katsu in a whole different perspective at a whole different level.

Katsusei's tagline "Delicious Cutlet" might be perfectly appropriate to describe themselves.

Thank you Grand Indonesia for coming up with a great idea for bloggers to meet and share, Fimela.com & Multiply for giving their support toward these events, and most importantly Katsusei for making my belly happy once again.

Cheers to all Bloggers. You rock!

Fellexandro Ruby
Food Conversationalist & Photographer
Munch on my tweets @Wanderbites


Grand Indonesia, East Mall Garden District 2, Level 5 #16
Jl. MH Thamrin No. 1 Jakarta 10310
Ph: +6221 23580060
Fax: +6221 23580059

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Now Cooking - Hungry Hiro

There is this street in North Jakarta, inside a housing complex named Bukit Golf Mediterania, that slowly emerging as a culinary haven, mimicking Muara Karang, Kelapa Gading Boulevard, Kemang, Gajah Mada and the likes. Just in this month, I've seen at least five new foodplace opening and more to come. Hungry Hiro is one of them.

It grabs my attention with it's somewhat persuasive name and reminded me of my day-to-day meal when I was in Sydney, the ultimate go-to fastfood, Hungry Jacks.

Judging from the logo, brand, and design, I've carried a decent amount of expectation for this particular foodplace. Boasting themselves as the pro in Japanese don, I finally gave up being curious and give it a try last week. 

To my surprise Hungry Hiro was almost empty, and it was Sunday afternoon, a prime time for many of it neighboring foodplace. I started to feel a bit off, cause foodie in this area are very judgmental on new restaurant, you either make it or lose it. I uncover this hypothesis to be true in the next 15 minutes when the menu I ordered finally came.

Meet Beef Bulgogi Don, served in a plastic box. I repeat, plastic box. Yeah, you heard it right. I'm not against it, but it is such a turn off. Even fastfood like Yoshinoya use a proper solid glass bowl for the food.  That was the first minus point.

Second, the portion was a joke for someone who's still in puberty like me. In my cousin's words: "Hungry Hiro.. Right.., I'm still hungry after the meal. "

And third, the meal came out cold. I'm sorry, I just have zero tolerance for food not being served hot just as any meal should be. Don't you think so?

Trying to maintain my hopes up, I looked up on the other side of the plastic box. I got the Chicken Teriyaki Don.

Good thing the taste of these two were quite okay. Not in the 'special' category. Maybe more fitted into decent or average. But I personally like the saucing on the Teriyaki. It was the right amount of sweetness for my tastebud.

Right after I finished I still have the thought of coming back to try some other meal, but after learning the choices they have in their menu, this is probably the most interesting of them all. In other words, I have nothing more to expect from Hungry Hiro.

I really hoped that people who have the money and the opportunity to start up a new foodplace really take a serious effort into executing their concept. There's still a bunch of improvement that Hungry Hiro can do. Menu variety for one, ambiance for two, and a lot more.

Until then, I wish you well, Hiro. I really do.

Cheers (and I'm still hungry),

Fellexandro Ruby
Food Conversationalist & Photographer
Munch on my tweets @Wanderbites

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Now Cooking - Ten Ten, Tasty Tempting Tempura

Holla Biters, how's your day? I've been having a series of fortunate events. It's almost as if the universe are conspiring for my favor. Its' a little exaggeration, but its close to what I feel lately. Opportunities keep coming by to do what I love, offer after offer, and to spice it all up, invitations to food tastings. =)

This one's alike. Thanks to Goorme for arranging such an intimate dinner at Ten Ten grand opening in Plaza Indonesia.

What I enjoy most from tasting is the convenience of meeting fellow bloggers. There were Jenz, Imel, Daniel, Umay, Lolo, Sara and Tommy at this particular event. It was quite a night, we had heaps of fun and ended up naming this little group of ours as Romantis (Rombongan Makan Gratis). =p

In case you're curious what we had while laughing along random conversations, here they are in one roll.

Ten Ten Hot Dog and Fried Sweet Potato as appetizers.

I remember noting down the taste in my memory as I munch on these two. The hot dog, although it appears revolutionary by the name of it, it does not adds new experience or flavor. The sweet potato however was well prepared, leaving a crispy outer texture that counter the sweet gooey interior. I like this one.

Ebi Tendon that comes with three different dressing for your liking: plain, spicy, and blackpepper. I went for spicy and blackpepper. It was again a fortunate decision. The blackpepper dressing was one of a kind. I'd choose this anytime over the other two. I also recommend this especially for those who prefer strong flavor on their meals. Go for it. 

Lemon Cheese Mouse and Ogura Kakigori. These two were the highlight of the night. I love how it was layered with soft creamy cheese and then follows with sour crumbles on the bottom. The mix of the two was a feast on the tongue.

As for you who prefers cold dessert, the kakigori or shaved ice might just fit your taste buds. It did well for me. In a way it reminded me of snow ice but a level softer.

Overall, it was a pleasant dinner. Having a handful of lovely company surely adds the flavor on each meal. I would surely come back to this place for their dessert. As for their main course, in my humble opinion, I didn't find it satisfactory other than to fill a variety gap. Maybe because I personally not a big fan of tempura. For me tempura is just another word for any-kind-of-deep-fried-stuff. And surely wouldn't pay over 40k for two pieces of fried shrimp and fried leaves on top of a bowl of rice. Other than that, I kinda prefer having tempura with the additional sauce for dipping which I didn't find here.You're welcome to disagree with me though.

Let me know what you think ;)


Fellexandro Ruby
Food Conversationalist & Photographer
Munch on my tweets @Wanderbites

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Now Cooking - Hakata Ikkousha (Rumah Bahagia Pertama)

Having lived around Pluit area have a counter effect on me. I probably know less about food in this area that most Pluitans. Its the thought that "I can always come back whenever I want to since its very close" that hinders me from trying many new places. That includes Hakata Ikkousha or Rumah Bahagia Pertama (literally translated as First House of Joy). Only after passing through this place for more than a month that my curiosity finally builds up.

I love everything in this place that mimic a Japanese atmosphere. Starting from the woody interior, the low ceiling, the real Japanese staffs, up to the lousy translation written on their T-shirts. Oh, a little hint for you Biters, the chefs are those with blonde colored hair. The owner is the one who go and talk to everybody.

I, myself had a pretty interesting interaction with him. When I took out my camera and start taking photos, he came up to me and said "Hey sir, you like photography? My two Japanese friend over there said that if you can take their photo naked, which would you choose?" I laughed right then and there. Probably they don't actually welcome cameras, but I like how they convey it in a fun un-condescending way.

We continued chatting, and when the Tam Tam Pork Ramen that I ordered finally came, he suggested me to go take a quick photo and eat right away. He said that food are best enjoyed hot, and he want me to taste the best of their ramen.  And he also against ta pao / take aways. He said, the taste would be ruined once you opened it at home. He prefers people eat on the spot. So here's the only shot I took.

On the first bite, I fell in love with it. A very thick broth is probably the main reason for my liking. You can actually taste the rich meaty flavor resulted from long hours of heating in constant temperature. This makes any other ramen I tasted like skim-milk and this one is full-cream milk.

You get the idea right?

From what I learned, they lift up to what to my expectations. Hakata ramen is originated in Hakata city, located north west of Kyushu. Its distintive feature is the white thick soup made from pork bones. Also added to their specialty is the thin noodle characteristics.

Not stopping at that, I also liked the texture of the soft-boiled egg. It is quite rare to find a restaurant that serve and cook eggs in this particular way.

I simply couldn't waste any of it. It reminded me of a scene in the movie Tampopo. It says that to respect the chef, if you like the ramen you should finish the soup as well. So, as a respect to them, I ended up drinking all the soup and left nothing behind. Haha. It was so so goood, I can't stop tweeting about it.

It also came to my attention that they pay respect to local taste as well. In most tables, they will serve a small plate of chopped chili (cabe rawit potong) for Indonesian tounge who likes it spicier. Additionally, you can also add a splash of garlic using the table garlic press available on each table. I tried adding it nearing the end of my meal and it was flavorsome. Dang, I should've added it from the start. That's a lesson for your Biters.

Now enough of these mouth-watering talks. Go and taste them yourself. Make your belly happy. A happy belly will lead to a happy mind. =) And when you do, share it with me here.

Arigato Gozaimasu,

Fellexandro Ruby
Food Conversationalist & Photographer
Munch on my tweets at @Wanderbites

Hakata Ikkousha (博多一幸舎)
Jl. Muara Karang Raya No.85
North Jakarta
ph. +62 21 66600255
fx. +62 21 66670588
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