Saturday, September 24, 2011

Bacok (Bagus / Cocok)

Berikut sekilas percakapan teman-teman di BBM Group.

A : Guys, g lagi cari slr, yg bagus apa ya? 
B : Ada budget? 
A : Yang di bawah 4 jt lah pokoknya
B : Wah, kalo SLR di bawah 4 susah apalagi klo plus lensa
Me : Kalau bagus, semuanya bagus. Yang bener pertanyannya "Yang cocok yg mana?" Emang mau pake buat apa sih? 
A : Buat foto anak gue.
Me : .... (kriikk kriikk)

Dan kemudian pun saya menyarankan beli pocket cam, atau maksimal Olympus Pen saja. --"


Kadang bukan soal 'malu bertanya sesat di jalan' tapi 'salah bertanya salah jawaban'. Coba perhatikan seberapa seringnya 'bagus' disalahgunakan. Sepertinya tertanam dalam benak kebanyakan orang yang bagus itu pasti baik. Belum tentu loh. Karena baik itu menurut hemat saya ga selalu yang paling bagus, tapi harus yang paling cocok.

Saya ambil contoh kasus lain. Kesehatan misalnya. Karena yang menjadi taruhan adalah nyawa maka kita sebagai manusia yang takut mati selalu minta obat "yang paling bagus deh menurut Dokter". Kalau mintanya seperti itu jangan salahkan Dokternya kalau obatnya mahal. Lah paling bagus ya mahal. Tapi saya mengalami sendiri, bagus itu belum tentu cocok.

Sempat saya divonis tipes akut dan harus istirahat panjang. Yang pernah ngalamin pasti mengerti, siang riang, malam meriang. Selama seminggu saya pakai obat dokter yang 'bagus' dan pastinya mahal tapi tak ada perubahan. Seorang teman pun menganjurkan menggunakan obat ekstrak cacing tanah yang harganya jauh lebih murah. Ya iya lah, cacing gitu. Tapi apa yang terjadi? Ga disangka dua hari setelah itu saya sembuh total.


Yang menjadi perenungan saya, seandainya boleh meminta sama Tuhan, boleh sepertinya minta diberi kebijaksanaan untuk mempertanyakan cocok dulu daripada bagus.

Bayangkan berapa banyak relationship yang bisa terselamatkan dari unnecessary heartbreak. Karena kalau mau mencari yang bagus, setiap saat pasti ada yang lebih bagus dari tangan yang sedang anda gandeng sekarang, selalu ada seseorang dengan mobil yang lebih keren dari yang anda pakai malam mingguan sekarang.

Seandainya kita menimbang cocok nya dahulu. Apakah conversation kamu dan gebetan nyambung? Apakah kalian berbagi visi yang sama? Apakah kepercayaan kalian sejalan? Dan masih banyak follow up questions lainnya. Karena seberapa 'bagus' nya gebetanmu kalau tidak 'cocok' (compatible) pasti akan runtuh di tengah jalan. Daripada meninggalkan luka yang tak perlu, bukankah jauh lebih bijak untuk menimbang cocok ketimbang bagus?

Masih banyak situasi dan kondisi dimana 'cocok' perlu diadukan dahulu dengan 'bagus'. Saya rasa biar ini menjadi eksplorasi kawan-kawan semua.

Yuk bertanya!

Fellexandro Ruby
Munch on my tweets @Wanderbites

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Legendary Oxtail Soup (Sop Buntut) at Cut Mutia

As Jakartans, our culinary world is somewhat segmented into two major categories, the middle to upper class restos and the street style hawker. A true foodie will explore both with the same level of excitement. Having tasted the restos for quite a long streak, I found a liberating pleasure sneaking in a few one of these street style food or what my friends love to call Amigos (Agak Minggir Got Sedikit) =p 

I was intrigued when a friend of mine, a fellow foodie asked me to join him for breakfast in this area. I got tempted on his words as he described how good this joint is. And so off we go. I put on a lot of expectation hoping to find something better than the super famous yet overpriced Bogor Cafe's oxtail soup.

Located in a teeny tiny alley of Jalan Menteng Kecil 1, right on the opposite of Cut Mutia mosque, this place is quite hidden, yet surprisingly crowded. We got lucky having arrived here quite early, cause half an hour later approaching lunch time people started barging in adding heat and noise. 

I got myself their specialty, Grilled Oxtail and Soup with additional Perkedel as side dish. 

The oxtail itself wasn't that pleasing to my tastebuds. It was near bland. On the contrary, the soup was over the top. Savoury, rich in aroma, with a strong hint of beef broth. One sip is more than enough to hook you until the very last drip. Word on the street, since its started in 1967, the secret formula has been maintained in its original taste as it was passed down from the founder, the late Mrs. Hj. Nurjanah

My only complaint on this particular menu is the serving size. As depicted in the picture, you can see how ungenerous is the plate of rice and oxtail. I have a feeling that as hawker style food, they have been having problems with the continuously rising price of ingredients. They had to make a choice, to reduce the quantity of the food or increase the price. At 30k a meal, they are considered quite on the high end, I suppose they decided to reduce the size instead of burdening visitors with higher price. If that's the case, its an understandable move. 

All in all, in my personal opinion, eating here has more value on the nostalgic side rather than pleasing the belly. But then again, its a matter of preference. Let me know what you think. 


Fellexandro Ruby 
Food Conversationalist & Photographer

Snack on my tweets at @Wanderbites

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Bakmie Bagan - Noodle To Die For!

This is not an exaggeration. In my personal opinion (and thousand others who visited this place daily), hands down, this is one of the best bakmi (noodle) I've ever tasted among a very few special others.

The name itself is simply what I call them, because they have no brand, no logo, no banner or anything whatsoever to label themselves. Bagan is a short for Bagan Siapi-Api, the little town in Riau, about 5 hours by car from the nearest airport, Pekanbaru. In its local language though, they are called "Wan Than Mie".  

I have no idea where it came from or what it means. If I translate it in parts, Wan Than = hardwork / hard-knock-life, Mie = noodle. In one piece, they might mean a bowl of noodle coming from hardwork, or maybe a meal for the hardworkers (labors / bluecollars)?

Word on the street, they were very popular in their hometown and as the family migrate in search for better days, they decided to start from zero in Jakarta. In no time, people, mostly Chinese and Baganese who lived in Jakarta became their regulars. This joint flourish simply from mouth to mouth, tongue to tongue, one person sharing their secret to their friends and acquaintances. Exactly what I'm doing right now for you Biters.

They're an epitome of traditional Chinese family business, serving only one kind of noodle. Straightforward. Hassle free.

If you notice, the size of this home made noodle is considered thin, even thinner than instant noodle I suppose. That makes the very first differing aspect in the mouth. And texturewise, its in a good balance between soft and somewhat elastic. Topped with a good amount of savory chasiew (barbequed pork) and fish meatballs, Bakmi Bagan is one bowlful of pleasure for your tastebuds.

Me, myself I love to pour a lot of chili sauce to add flavor. Something mesmerizing happen in my mouth when salty, sweet, oily, porky, and spicy-hot melt in one bite. Their chili sauce is one a kind too. They grind and formulate their own chili sauce, that's what makes it special. Its hard to find one that equals to their taste. I think they are quite proud with this that they become really generous with their chili sauce. Every table will have one full can of chili, and a spoon as big as a soup spoon.

Just don't expect the place to be crystal clean. Its basically a small humble office/house (ruko). They make a living downstairs and live upstairs. You'll find it messy most of the time, with plastic chairs, fans, a huge red table, and religious incense on it as a means of praising the gods.

I find all those stuff exotic. I mean, I once considered taking this upscale, putting it in malls and food courts, but after a few thoughts, it will lose its romance. I also find that the harder, the more uncommon a foodplace is located, the more effort to get something, the more you appreciate it, and in turn the higher amount of satisfaction ended in your face. Don't you agree? Imagine if you can easily find Pia Legong in any malls in Jakarta, would it taste as good as it is now with three weeks advance order and many other hassle?

In that spirit, I'd like to keep the location of this place in partial secrecy. I'm not going to publish it here. I'm not going to slip the map to you that easily. Just as the name of this noodle suggest, you just have to find your way. Be creative!

Oh, they have delivery too. But, naah, I'm not giving you the phone number. Make an effort will ya? And also guess how much they priced each bowl of Wan Than Mie? 12k. A very affordable price for a happy belly.

One final thing. Here's a little local Baganese language to help you order in a fancy way.

"Wan than mie, ...... ua ya." 
Fill the blanks with the amount you like, one = ce, two = neng, three = sa, four = si, five = go, six = lak, seven = chit, eight = pue, nine = kau, ten = cap.

Waiting for you to get creative. Cheers.

Fellexandro Ruby
Food Conversationalist, Photographer, and a Proud Baganese

Monday, September 5, 2011


To take an analogy of movies. Its always fun to watch a straightforward romantic comedy with one message as the focal point, but usually they're good for one time viewing. Me myself, I'm inclined for distinct movies with diverse missions and messages hidden that took repeat exposure to discover one revelation at a time. 

In that same perspective, for fellow Biters who has been used to mouthwatering writings, let me take the example of Onions! If I were a vegetable, that's probably what describe me best. With layers of skins, you have to slowly peel each one to discover me as I'm discovering you Yes, I'm so much more than just a avidly starved foodie, and I bet you too, Biters.

Its the very reason why 'wander' came after 'bites'. So the mind travels for ideas while at the same time the taste-buds seek for indulgence.

I've had enough of being blunt, and truthfully, shallow. I tweeted a few weeks ago that I'll be back posting my thoughts in between food photos and reviews. I invite you to seek your place among some of my previous wanderings below, discover your layers as I lay out mine.

Happy Peeling.

Fellexandro Ruby
A happy Onion


Photography : Billy Simpson Live at 107.9 FM, 40th Jakarta Auctions , Supersampling Europe

Poetry : Poof, Renounce, Berjib-aku, Time is Your Answer, While in Between, Green Blue, I'm Not An Option - You Are

On Business : If I Had My Own Food Place, Pay Your Employees To Walk Away, Kolaborasi Ayah & Anak

On Love : Love is An Action

On Life : iCompare, Bisa / Biasa, Plum, Battles & Wars, Prosperity, Occupational Hazard

On Wisdom : Remember The Best - Forget The Rest

Original Recording (Yes, I sing!) : God Forever

Inspiring Book : War of Art

Jokes : Love - Seperti Tabungan Berhadiah

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