Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wanderbites! Pay It Forward : Win A Food Photography Session!

Remember Uncle Scrooge?
No matter how filthy rich he gets, there's this one day he set aside particularly to be 'poor' again. He'll dress in his ugliest wardrobe, beat-up shoes, and stroll as 'commons'.

As it reminds me to be thankful, it took me back to the earlier days I'm doing food photography. There was nothing but the love and the thrill of capturing the sexiest angle of a meal. All passion and money was not even in the equation. As I work my way to get where I am today, I can recall helping hands that gracefully support me.

With the kindness that I received, I'm paying it forward to one lucky small biz. One complimentary food photography session. No charge. I simply hope that you, the lucky one, will pay this random-act-of-kindness forward to someone else too.

Oh, and if you wonder what sort of food photos I took for my clients. Other than the photo below, here's a few of my recent portfolio : Wanderbites!

I tweeted it for fun last night, and turns out 4 smallbiz has submit in. I can see the excitement there, so I crank it up a notch. Here are the OFFICIAL details:


Fellexandro Ruby
Food & Travel Photographer / Storyteller

Snack on my tweets @Wanderbites

Monday, February 18, 2013

Pho Hoa - Wisma Metropolitan : Vietnamese Noodle Fling

Who believes in love at first sight?

I don't really, but I do believe in love at the first taste. The latter is much less complicated compared to the earlier. Ehm. Let's not get drifted away. 

Pho, this Viets-pride noodle has been on the top of my mind lately. "Rubs, what would you want for dinner?" ask a colleague and instantly my nervous system will react "I'm feeling for something soupy." Didn't know how the thought manage to park herself in the subsconcious real estate of mine, but she's slick. In the past two weeks I've savored as much as four bowls of pho goodness. 

Pho Hoa here was an adventurous attempt. Hearing its reopening from a friend of a friend of a friend who knows the ... You know where this is going, scratch that. Plus when I tweeted it, a few friends confirmed that it was once a hit in Jakarta. Google maps still put its previous location in Barito, Wijaya, and BEJ. They are now reopening Pho Hoa in Wisma Metropolitan I, Sudirman. 

I like how the menu is presented. Straight up, no hassle. Your eyes will be directed into the selections of pho, from the simplest (IDR 45k) with just meat, to the ones with the most variety of toppings (IDR 55k) with meat, tendons, and whatnot. You can pretty obviously guess which one I put my choice into. 

Yes, the top of the line. Pho with steak, brisket, tendons, tripes etc. 

Pho with Beef Brisket, Beef Steak, Tendon, Tripes (IDR 55k)

As I sipped the broth, there's this slightly bitter taste that gets annoying after a while. Adding a few aromatic basils helps to distract it, but not for long. The only way to get away was to munch in the extra sweetness from the beef together with pho and soup. 

Jamie Aditya Graham was dining a few table for us! =D

The Fling. Sexy isn't it? But sexy is just barely what we want right?

Physically I enjoyed the meal. But mentally, I couldn't help to compare it with Will Meyrick's pho at Mama San. It was as if it has a few layers that waited to be uncovered, and with every addition of ingredients, it gets better and better. I know it's probably a different playing field here, but I need to point out that once you've tasted the superior the other becomes mediocre. It is human, and I'm sure you've had that moment too at least once for one particular food. 

Should I admit my love to pho? Absolutely. For this particular one though, I'd say a mild liking is probably at best. Or for the lack of a better word, ehm ... a fling? ;)


Fellexandro Ruby 
Food Photographer / Storyteller

Snack on my tweets @Wanderbites for #Livebites and more food / travel stories ;)


Pho Hoa
Wisma Metropolitan I
Office Tower 
Jalan Sudirman Kav. 24
(Left side of the road, heading Blok M) 
Ph: 021-5228970

Opens weekdays only. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Cooking With Chef Bara Pattiradjawane

Hi Chef Bara, pardon this non-tv-watching guy, sir. I have no idea who you are prior to the event, but now I have a newfound respect for ya.

It's a whole different thing watching a cooking show on the screen and actually being in one. The tension of having to finish in an hour. The awkwardness of cooking seriously for the first time in four years. Remember chopping the onions? Not! And have I mention the heat? Bloody awfully hot.

Despite all the drama and the amateur bloopers, I was super lucky to share the kitchen with Febee (Ingredients of Life). I couldn't imagine the mess I would end up with if I was alone. We named our rendition of the recipe : Ikan #AsliCabeIjo Rock & Roll. Chef Bara's only comment was that it was more on the salty end. I was happy just being able to complete the challenge in time (while videotaping in between). There were about ten pairs of us, both food & travel bloggers competing for the prize. Arie Parikesit of Kelana Rasa and his team mate ended up bringing home the jackpot.

I'd like to stop at this point to avoid spoiling more of the fun, because I've personally curated the moments and compiled it into one video for all of you to enjoy. This 4 minutes highlight will tell you so much more of the story.

Oh, and while we're at that, I'd like to welcome you to my YouTube channel : Wanderbites.
I hope you enjoy what you find there. If you do, share it, and I'd like to hear some love from your likes or subscriptions.

There you have it. Thank you Indomie (@IndomieLovers) for hosting the event.


Fellexandro Ruby 
Food / Travel Photographer & Storyteller

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Ngo Hiang : The Legend from Gang Aut Bogor

Almost every time I mention Bogor as a culinary spot, the name Suryakencana pops up as well. This street remains attractive after so many years, thanks to a few eateries that preserve it's local taste. They should've got legendary medal of some sort.

One of them is Ngo Hiang Gang Aut. I recall coming here more than five years ago on a food-safari date with a friend who must took anti-cholesterol pills before she swallows these pork delicacies. It was a bit nostalgic when I got back here last December. The thick muddy brown sauce that covers the pork roll is still of the same smell. Mildly sweet, savory, and would only make sense if you eat it with the ngo hiang. You'll find it weird the first time, but after a while you'll get used to it.

Being an easily bored person as I am, I was not satisfied with one meal. The catchy name Pangsit Pengantin won my attention. One bowl after, I discovered it was nothing more than rice noodle soup with slices of chicken rollade and fried pangsit. The urban legend tells that it is usually served in weddings, thus the name 'pengantin'. Worth trying but not revisiting.

These are just two of oh-so-many gems that you could try along Suryakencana. I myself has been coming back to the next door Sotomie Agih for a few times. It also won appraisal from a few of my good friends. But everytime I got there, I was never with my SLR. Too bad, that review has got to wait. Before that happen, you might also want to visit a few recommended spot as laid out by our senior food blogger, Kang Banyumurti here.

Bogor is less than an hour away. With the extra of cool windy fresh(er) air and great food, it's worth escaping every once in a while. Oh, you could drop by Ah Poong, Sentul on your way there too.

I'm down with flu, but that doesn't stop me from writing. Stay healthy. Stay smileful.


Fellexandro Ruby
Food Storyteller & Photographer

Ngo Hiang Gang Aut
Jl. Suryakencana No. 309A
Ph: (0251) 328749

Friday, February 1, 2013

New Dim Sum Menu at Xin Hwa (Mandarin Oriental Hotel)

I've been a fan of Xin Hwa for quite some time. It was only last September when a new chef, Jeff Lee was appointed to head the restaurant and now they are revamping the kitchen again for the addition of another new chef, Lie Wing Ping specifically to take care of their dim sum menu.

It amazes me sometimes how these hotels and eateries eagerly better themselves to keep ahead with the eclectic tongue of Jakartans. Words on the street they'll have another Michelin star chef this year. Let's see if that come to pass. For now, let's talk dim sum! 

If you've dined in Xin Hwa you'll find major changes in their dim sum menu. I personally find it pleasing to the eyes.  I find the chef is pivoting to show his personal craftsmanship. They are colorful, bright, and playful with the addition of uncommon ingredients. From the taste department, it appears that the authentic chinese influence is at play. Out of so many that we tried, most of them reveals a rather mild seasoning and more attempts on bringing out the ingredient's natural flavor. Indonesian tongue that are not accustomed to embrace foreign cuisine, might prefer stronger tasting options. Well, you can always add some 'sambal' whenever it please you. =p 

A few of the highlights are: 

Netted rice crispy turn over, stuffed with prawn, mango & apple slices (IDR 22k) 
I'd have to say this dish stood out the most that afternoon. The fresh bulky prawns provide the sweets, and the fruits blend in with the sours. Let's not forget the crunchy layer that added the texture. We had (ehm) three plates of this.

Wasabi mayo prawn with roe
This is actually taken out from the dim sum menu, and moved to the regular ala-carte menu. They were being kind to serve us this as well. A big fan of wasabi, this has slowly moving into my comfort food category. I know how it'll taste and I know I'll get what I wanted. The more kicks it sends to the nose, the better it gets. 

Scallop and shrimp dumpling with X.O sauce (IDR 32k)
Mighty combo. 

Oven baked fluffy pastry with black pepper fungus and goose liver terrine (IDR 28k)
Speaking of uncommon ingredients. Where else you'd find a foie gras in a chinese dim sum? This is Jen's (from Shoegarmama) favorite. What's not to like when the texture, flavor, and ingredients mix well and complement each other. 

Egg yolk custard bun (IDR 28k)
It used to be really difficult to find this in Jakarta. I don't know why, but recently I've encountered it a lot. From May Star to Taipan and now Xin Hwa. My only wish is that they keep this in their menu. Out of the three I still favor Taipan because of its crunchy texture (yes, it's not a bun). But for the bun, this one is on par with May Star's. I love to have this as dessert. A perfect sweet buttery close is all we need, isn't it? 

Dumpling with shrimp, crab meat, truffle and water chestnut. (IDR 28k)

Crystal dumpling with assorted Mushroom & Asparagus  (IDR 22k)

For IDR 138.000 ++ and a bottomless amount of order, I personally think its quite interesting to visit this spot again. Maybe just for the foie gras? (That's the chinese mind talking). Well, if your thinking of dim sum and you haven't tried Xin Hwa, give it a shot and let me know what you think. Tweet me @wanderbites. Beware though, I've hid clues all around the post, make sure you read it with care. ;) 

Until my next post. Have a jolly weekend everybody and a happy February. 


Fellexandro Ruby
Food & Travel Photographer / Storyteller


Xin Hwa 
Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Level 2
Jl. MH Thamrin
Ph: 021 - 2993-8888
Real Time Analytics