Monday, October 22, 2012

Martabak - Everyone's Favorite #1 : Sinar Kiat


I drool just by the sound of it. And I bet a name and a place come up in your mind as you read this line. Right? It appears that everyone has their personal favorite. Usually it's somewhere near the place they live. And just as interesting, more often that not there's at least one popular martabak vendor in a particular area.

With this in mind, I tweeted yesterday and ask friends in my timeline to name theirs, thus the hashtag #MartabakJuara. Within a few minutes a lot of replies came in, and the conversation lasted for almost half a day. There's one in Rawamangun, two in Pecenongan, one in Sunter, one in Muara Karang, one in Meruya, one in Cibubur, one in Tebet, one in Karawaci, and many more. In fact, I'm kinda overwhelmed by the replies, but I'm happy that at least, I can partially conclude that my hypothesis is true. And most importantly, a lot of people can relate to Martabak.

The next question is "Which martabak?"

If this were biology, I would classify them into two different genus: Martabak Manis (sweet) & Martabak Telor (savory). Each would then spread into different species variety. You'll find martabak manis durian, martabak manis pandan, martabak telor with chicken egg, martabak telor with duck egg, and other creative incarnations of toppings. But let's not go too far.

For now, let's stick with what our kind friends on Twitter have recommended. With the kind of cravings I had yesterday, I couldn't help but pick up my bestfriend and force him along to a culinary adventure to Jalan Jelambar Baru or mostly known as Borobudur. Right in front of Permata Bank there are three different martabak vendors, I hesitated as I turn on my radar. With a few Sherlock Holmes' kind of deduction, I concluded that Sinar Kiat is the #MartabakJuara that Jenzcorner was talking about.

The Bangka looking guy dressed in polo. The striking red cutting sticker on the cart. And most importantly the long queue of people. The last being the most important clue.

I leave no time to spare. Off with camera in hand, I started taking pictures. Shutter after shutter, documenting the process. Here they are as I experienced it.


The advantage of having your friend with you is that you don't have to drive. Yes, I get to eat right away as he drove to our next destination. I must admit that the Wijsman butter made all the difference. Laid on the outer skin, it gives the buttery smell & enough oil to fuel your saliva. The choice of Kraft cheese is worth noting. Probably the only cheese that fitted well with martabak manis. On the other hand though, I find that the condensed milk does not complement the overall taste well enough. I might be biased, but it's a different kind of sweet. Still, this is one delicious martabak. I ended up finishing half of the pack by myself.

Trying it further with the chocolate martabak, I couldn't go more than two bites. The chocolate is off putting. It might be the meises or the fact that it lacked peanuts.

I would come back just for the cheese martabak or the durian, which unfortunately unavailable yesterday.

What's Next?

The quest to try and discover more martabak vendor goes on. Hopefully I will get the chance to try your favorite martabak that you have suggested. However, with all the butter, cheese, and fat juices that late in the night, pray that I'll have extra strength to do my morning jog to burn them off the next day.

In the mean time, let me know your favorite martabak in the comments below.

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Martabak Sinar Kiat
Jalan Jelambar Baru (Borobudur)
Turn left after SPBU in Latumenten, vendor is right accross Permata Bank

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Wakai B-Side Plaza Indonesia : Is It More Than Meets The Eye?

Cozy. Rustic. Youthful.

Yes, it is an extension of the shoe shop. One simple cannot walk by the fourth floor of Plaza Indonesia without noticing this new establishment. Especially now that social media hype has created the peer pressure that if you don't have a pair of Wakai shoe, you're uncool. Well, I don't give a damn. Nothing's new actually, I've got one of those shoes way back in zero-eight (see picture ;p).

Well, what good is all that, cause eventually it comes down to the food they serve on the table. In fact, what made me pay a visit was hearing that First Love Pattisserie Mille Crepes is on the menu here for IDR 35k / slice. Much better than paying for the whole cake.

Origami Cake Green Tea (Mille Crepes) - IDR35k
Origami Cake Original (Mille Crepes) - IDR 35k

Here I got the Origami Cake Original & the Origami Cake Green Tea. I still love the earlier better than the latter. The highlight of the original version was the first layer of caramel. I usually cut the slice from top to bottom, munch it slowly, and let the sweet creamy fillings blends with the comfort of rather smoky caramel flavor. I couldn't get the same fulfillment eating the green tea mille crepes. The flavor was shaky, I'm not too sure if they really want to show the tea. My benchmark would be TWG specialty macaron in Singapore. Each and every one of it really stood out with character.

Not satisfied with that, I tried to be adventurous and ordered their Baked Mochi. Why? Cause it just sounds sexy. It turned out sexy indeed visual-wise, but taste-wise, its questionable. Enlight me though, does your idea of mochi is that thick-skinned, hard to chew thing, with untasty fillings?

Baked Mochi - IDR 24k.

I've tried 3 out of their 6 dessert menu. That's half of it. And I guess half is good enough to make an overall view of this foodplace. I say yes. And if you've been reading from head to toe, I'm pretty sure the question in the title is answered.

In cased you missed it. It says: "Not Really."


Fellexandro Ruby
Food & Travel Storyteller / Photographer
Snack on my live tweets @Wanderbites


On a side note, we are happy to announce that our blog is nominated for 2012 AXIS Blog Award in the Favorite Food & Recipe Blog category. If you think Wanderbites deserve it, show us some lovebites by sparing a minute to vote at this link:

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

In The Mood For Dessert : Otel Lobby

Have you ever had that cravings for sweets? The dire needs to consume a high dose of sugar, it almost like an addiction? This is one of it. It happened on one Sunday afternoon. I don't know whether it was the pastor's preaching that provoke it, or the fact that I was having mood swings. I just needed my sugar-fix. And I needed it fast.

Otel Lobby was the first thing that came to my mind, and I'm glad to met Toblerone Puff. A well crafted choux with chocolate ice cream and vanilla cream fillings. The first dessert that made the touchdown that afternoon. The house-made ice cream with the subtle hint of Toblerone is well worth tasting, especially for those who love chocolate.

Toblerone Puff - Otel Lobby (IDR 35.000)

Toblerone Puff - Otel Lobby (IDR 35.000)
Red Velvet Cake - Otel Lobby (IDR 35.000)
Red Velvet Cake With Vanilla Ice Cream (IDR 35.000)

The second was OTL's Red Velvet Cake. It actually came in pair with Rainbow Cake, but I would rather take it out of the equation, for I subjectively loath all rainbow cake. From what I tasted, this particular RVC is a breed of its own, with a modest amount of cream cheese and a denser piece of cake. I enjoyed the addition of ice cream, but I suppose having two dishes consecutively with ice cream was a redundant choice after all. My bad.

No worries though, I got what I came here for and leaving the place sugar-high was it! If only I could show you the happy grin on my face. =)

Poke me on Twitter @wanderbites and let me know where you get your sugar-fix.

Happy weekend, Sweet-tooths!

Fellexandro Ruby
Food & Travel Storyteller / Photographer


Otel Lobby
The Annex Building of Bakrie Tower 
Jl. Epicentrum TengahKuningan
Jakarta Selatan
Ph: 021-299-41324
Twitter: @OtelLobby

Monday, October 15, 2012

Offbites : Jakarta Culinary Festival In The Words of Bloggers

Jakarta Culinary Festival might be one of the most look forward event this year especially with its absence in 2011. Jakartans & especially food bloggers have built up expectations virally on social medias few weeks prior to the opening weekend. I, myself was there for three consecutive days and couldn't get enough of it.

For food bloggers, entering the fifth floor of Grand Indonesia is probably what it feels like for the kids entering the grand entrance of Disneyland. Yes, with a light feet and a wide grin on their face. It is their epitome of heaven on earth. A monthful celebration of food and drinks. 

Now that the hype has toned down, let's hear what some of the food bloggers has to say about the opening weekend. I took the liberty to ask them two simple questions: 

1. What is your most memorable experience from the JCF opening weekend? 
2. Where will you take Mario Batali to eat in Jakarta? And why?

Here they are in their own words: 

Daniel Kaurranny
Coffee geek, F&B consultant, tweeting his pitiful life @danieldeka.

1. To meet WW in person and found out his passion to share the spirit of local cuisine to urban people, and somehow I am so excited to explore more on this "local spirit" issue! Also to found out that, at Djournal Coffee, there are SO MANY people willing to learn, to try "another level" kind of coffee. A good sign for broader coffee scene in the one of the largest coffee growing country's capital! 

2. This is hard. I want to show the local Betawi spirit. Nasi Goreng Bumen Jaya, Pejompongan or Nasi Uduk H. Zainal Fanini in Kebon Kacang. Then some kerak telor at Tm. Menteng and es campur Pecenongan in the evening!

Blogging at Selby Food Corner

1. Most memorable experience: Meeting the Bliss sister and trying the Turkish ice cream. 

2. Gado-gado, because it's an authentic Indonesian salad, healthy and delicious. 

Cindy Yusman
Blogging at My Journal, My Life.

1. Most memorable is to see in person the chefs that I usually can only see on the TV. To be able to take photo with them and try a wide variety of food samples. Oh, and one more, I finally get to taste Lickerish Delish ice cream. Has always been curious of this ice cream for so long. 

2. Hmm, if its Mario Batali, I'll probably take him to try Gado-gado / Ketoprak / Soto Ayam. Indonesian traditional cuisine. Well, actually I'd love to take him to taste street hawker food, but then, to avoid him getting stomach problem after that, probably Indonesian restaurant like Kafe Betawi is fine. 

Ellyna Tjohnardi
Blogging at Culinary Bonanza.

1. Most memorable experience from the weekend was participating as one of the volunteers for Raj Abat's cooking demo. Details have been posted in my blog. 

2. Mario Batali seems to love pork, so I'll show him to a supposedly famous kedai sate babi in Kapuk, by the name Aheng. I got the info from Dr. B, but had never been there myself. Whoever knows, if the opportunity presents itself, I'd visit the place with Mario Batali himself! :D

Natasha Victoria Lucas
Blogging at Yummy Traveler.

1. Had a lot of memorable moments, but the one that speak foremost is to taste those famous chef's cookings. Also to see how they cook. 

2. Definitely Konro Bakar. Because it's very yummy, very Indonesian, and very flavorful ! And it's not spicy, so I'm sure he will be okay with that.

Rian Farisa
Food & lifestyle contributor for several magazines. Blogging at Gastronomy Aficionado

1. Closer attachment with Indonesian food thanks to the duo Williams. It's sad somehow to see that at this level, Indonesian cuisine sometimes hardly receives good treatment or even recognition from the world. While these two Williams are now striving to make it happen and their multiple course dinner of local cuisines from all over Indonesia were indeed an eye-opener for everyone. So yes, my answer would be the Will and Will Gala Dinner at JCF 2012. 

2. I'd take Mario Batali for a fiercely fiery delicious Manado or Lombok cuisines. The term 'spicy' for him will be set on a new level. I'm sure of that!

Blogging at Jenzcorner.

1. The chance to try a lot of Indonesian food, presented very well by William Wongso & Will Meyrick. Especially WW cookings that has become quite rare to find in Jakarta food places. Also, to take part in hands-on cooking class by Sisca Soewitomo and being able to take home the finished result. I'm not really interested in overseas Chef's cooking show. I personally think Indonesia cuisine is way more complex (spices & ingredients wise). 

2. Definitely street food. I'll take him around traditional market to try 'jajanan pasar', coffee at kopitiam inside the market. What I have in mind is Petak Sembilan & Muara Karang market. 

Yours truly. 
Food & travel storyteller. Tweeting #Livebites at @Wanderbites.

1. I have to say, Will & Will dinner is the highlight. To taste Indonesian food in a way I've never tasted before. It drives me to travel and explore more of our land's culinary treasures. 

2. I'd definitely take Mario Batali to eat Baganese food! Enough said. Well since this is what I know best. He has got to taste Rujak Bagan and see how beansprouts, pineapple, tofu, cucumber, petis, grounded nut, shrimp crackers and chili can make one simply dessert dish with complex taste. 


As the first series of Offbites, I hope you enjoy this post. It will be dedicated for fun, offbeat, but still food / travel related writings. 

So, how did you enjoy Jakarta Culinary Festival? Let me know on the comment below. I believe your words will be a great input for Ismaya too. Oh, and in case you haven't, there are still a lot more interesting stuff happening until the end of the month. Check their official site here

See you around there, 

Fellexandro Ruby
Food & Travel Storyteller / Photographer

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Casa Kemang : A Home Away From Home

Imagine an intimate space resembling your living room, with the complimentary comfort of lounge sofa and eye-pleasing Herman Miller chairs. A home away from home. A place where I could sit at one of relaxing corner, and simply read, write, and get inspired. Come here in the afternoon nearing sunset and you'll get what I mean.

Casa at the top floor of Aksara Kemang has started to hold a special place in my heart after a few visit. Not only because of the creative wavelength that it conveys for photographers and writers like me, but also the selection of food that it caters. Rarely do I meet a foodplace that serves a range of culinary treat from local nasi goreng to Italian pasta and present it equally well. 

At this particular occasion, I happened to taste a variety of flavor which I find quite satisfactory. For those who love details like I do, let me take you through it. For quickie fetished, I wouldn't mind you simply drooling over the pictures. ;) 

The very first two menu that always came to my mind is their Javanese Oxtail Fried Rice (IDR 65.000) and Baked Nachos with Guacamole & Jalapeno (IDR 45.000). The earlier because of its flavorsome fried rice served at the right warmth. The grilled oxtail easily complement the rice with each bites. While with the latter, it is a perfect snacking devices while having conversation about whatever with your food safari partner. 

Javanese Oxtail Fried Rice (IDR 65.000)

Baked Nachos with Jalapeno & Guacamole (IDR 45.000)
Ice Lychee Tea

On the runner up list are Salmon Teriyaki (IDR 75.000) and Banana Pannenkoek (IDR 45.000). As a dessert, something this sweet rarely fails me, the only set back if there was any probably was the cushy texture of the pancake and the banana that makes it rather one-dimensional on the tongue. However, if you ever only needed one dessert, I would surely recommend you their Chocolate Fondant  (IDR 45000) instead. Dip in the soft choux in the depth of melted chocolate, shatter in the sugar powder. As diabetic as it might sound, it is that good. 

Salmon Teriyaki with Rice (IDR 75.000)
Banana Pannenkoek (IDR 45.000)
Chocolate Fondant (IDR 45.000)

Bitten-proved by W! 

Here goes lazy reader, to sum up: inspiration-inducing ambience, great variety of food, good music and a lot of sunlight. Happiness is that simple. Take a visit, and tweet me what you think @Wanderbites. 


Fellexandro Ruby 
Food Storyteller & Photographer


Jalan Kemang Raya No. 8B 
Ph: 021-7199289
Twitter: @casa_kemang

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Two Wills Does Make It Right. (William Wongso & Will Meyrick JCF 2012 Dinner)

For once in my writing years, I finally find it difficult to verbalize a dining experience, let alone having to manifest the wonderful taste into words. As I begins to write now, I wish with every sentence it could bring justice to what the two brilliant chef brought into the table on the opening night of Jakarta Culinary Festival. Wish me luck.

The night started quite lazy as we all get ourselves acquainted with several glasses of Cape Discovery wines and fellow diners. Somewhere among the crowd was Mrs. Mari Elka Pangestu, the current Minister of Tourism & Creative Economy. As for me, it was delightful to meet Will again after I crossed path with his San Choi Boi at the previous JCF two years ago. To add into the excitement was meeting Om William Wongso himself. They both deserve another blogpost each just to story-tell their vast experience and knowledge in the Asian culinary. I consider myself lucky to be one of the few to enjoy their co-creations.

With 5 appetizers, 9 main courses, 4 side dishes, and 6 samples of dessert, you can imagine the amount of work needs to be done before and in the kitchen. No complaints though. The more the happier I am and indeed, as the night unravel the meals in turn, I began to enjoy the slow ride of Asian delicacies.


From the line of appetizers, the ones that speak to my tastebuds are first and foremost Will Meyrick's Burung Puyuh Tangkap Aceh. The full flavor of quail meets the play of texture from the leaves are a feast in the mouth that I can overlook the extra hint of saltiness in the end. The following two is William Wongso's Slada Bangka Udang and Mentho Yogya. The earlier matches well with Deetlefts Chenin Blanc. It was my first time having bangka turnip as a cold salad and I'm glad to have Om Wongso's take as my benchmark. The latter is a comfort food for me with all the sweets of coconut and beef. They did well in kickstarting my appetite.

Burung Puyuh Tangkap Aceh (by Will Meyrick)
Aceh crispy quail tangkap with crispy curry leaf, pandan leaf and lime. 

Slada Bangka Udang (by William Wongso)
Bangka turnip shrimp salad with orange. 

Mentho Yogya (by William Wongso)
Steamed minced beef roll with sweet coconut sauce. 

Sop Biji-Biji Ternate (by William Wongso)
Ternate island soup with fish and kenari nut ball. 


Heading toward the prime time of the show, I waited expectantly for the arrival of the next mind-blowing meal. Five dishes after, and I concluded that there are three that passed the category as I personally reckon.

Will did great with Udang Asam Pedas. The spicy broth did not overpowered the prawn. Although it gave a surprise in the throat on the first bite, the following was a pleasing sip of well seasoned soup. On par with this meal was Konro Bakar Sulawesi. I'm a fan of beef ribs to start with, and Will's take on this was similar to no other. The black nut peanut sauce is a highlight of its own with one of a kind flavor. That leaves us with one more noteworthy meal, Gulai Kambing Banda Aceh. Thick, savory curry with generous pieces of lamb shank that made me happy.

The only drawback was that some of the table didn't get all of the dishes. My table for instance, we didn't see the presence of Om William's Tumis Paku Bunga Pepaya, Rendang Wagyu, & Oseng Jambal Pancing.

Udang Asam Pedas (by Will Meyrick)
Prawns simmered in hot and sour broth with turmeric leaf and asam kandis. 

Bebek Goreng Tiga Sambal (by Will Meyrick)
Twice cooked cripsy duck with trio of Indonesians sambals. 

Konro Bakar Sulawesi (by Will Meyrick)
Grilled makassar beef ribs simmered in black nut broth with peanut sauce. 

Gulai Kambing Banda Aceh (by Will Meyrick)
Aceh lamb shank curry with lemongrass, ginger flower and curry leaf. 

Tiram Goreng Tepung Pacri Melayu (by William Wongso)
Fried oysters with melayu pineapple chutney. 


Nearing the end of the dinner, I was glad having served with Kering Ubi Ungu. It was almost like a pre-dessert for me. I love sweets and the caramelized sweet potato served its purpose well. Not to mention the fact that it stays crunchy even after all the treatment.

Kering Ubi Ungu (by William Wongso)
Caramelized violet sweet potato


Good thing that I saved a space for the cherry on top, and may I say, none ... yes, none of the desserts failed me. What you see here is a plateful of tongue-pleasing, saliva-inducing treats.

Klepon (by Will Meyrick)
Black sticky rice ball with liquid palm sugar in the centre. 

Carang Gesing Pisang Raja (by William Wongso)
Steamed banana curd in banana leaf. 

Kue Deto (by Will Meyrick)
Steamed coconut cake with jackfruit in pandan leaf. 

Looking at the depth of Indonesian culinary from the creations of both Wills surely opens my eyes again. I think I owe it to myself to do more of Indonesian culinary heritage review.

All in all, it is safe to say that I went home with a happy belly. And you know what they say, after a full belly, all is poetry. It was a night to be remembered. Not only for the food but also for the wonderful people I met. Cheers to Indra & Muthi, to Ria, an old friend whom I met in the event after so long and finally to Jed and Amanda for being a great company with the stories and jokes.

To top it, Will also happened to have his first cookbook, Sarong Inspirations, launched on the night. How grateful I am for receiving one of the signed copy. Am still reading his adventures throughout Cambodia, Thailand, and probably gonna move me to start investing in those kitchen utensils. Or maybe I'll just visit Will to make it easier.

Thank you Ismaya, Dimatique, Martha Stewart Living, Dreams Magazine for making it happen. I wish to experience more of these celebration annually.

For the love of food,

Fellexandro Ruby
Food Storyteller & Photographer

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