Jakarta 9-12 May 2014

Finally back to Jakarta for our vacation after a 3 years break. I used to fly there every May to spend the weekend with my Jie and her family. One of the things that kept me flying back is actually the food. However, you need the locals to bring you around to enjoy tasty local food. I actually flew to Jakarta when I was about 6 months’ pregnant just because I had craving for the specific indonesia cuisines (exactly 3 years back).

If you are in Jakarta, you can consider to hire a chauffeur to drive you around as it is much more convenient than public transports and affordable. I am lucky that whenever I am in Jakarta,my Jie will always arrange her chauffeur to drive us around and it is so convenient when I have them to plan my itinerary since there is the language barriers with the locals.

We tried a new hotel known as Aston Pluit Hotel & Residence for our recent stay. According to the locals, we paid a pretty high price for a hotel around the district (Approx. SGD$85.00 per night) as the norms is approx. about SGD$50-70 / night. Anyway, the hotel amenities are pretty basic and it is nearby to SOGO so not too bad a location. As it is a pretty new establishment in Pluit, the traffic is better than the previous hotel I used to stay.  If you are taking children along, the hotel does not have much activities for them so I’ll recommend the malls as their amusement playground for children are gigantic and I am totally in love with it even as an adult.

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My vacation did not really turn out too well as I was suffering from severe diarrhoea and vomitting even before I took off from Singapore. Before the end of Day 1, I had to be driven to the Accident & Emergency department of the local hospital in Pluit for 2 injections and oral medications to be taken till I am well. I am thankful for my Jakarta family who rushed me to A&E, otherwise I think I’ll probably be in an unbearable state for the next 3 days of my stay. This is so memorable since it is the 1st time in my travel history that I fell sick and have to be admitted into a foreign hospital. Something that puzzled me was the medical personnels/ doctors / pharmacists in Jakarta could not speak English. I have previously worked with doctors during my career in the aesthetics medical field in Singapore and the doctors could speak languages like dialects, bahasan, chinese, Japanese other than the basic english. So my impression of doctors are they should know english since the medications are normally in english although I know that they work and reside in Jakarta, Indonesia. However, it turned out otherwise in Jakarta. Luckily, I have my Jakarta family to translate and explain on my behalf. Otherwise, I am so lost since I cannot understand a word of Indonesian Bahasan. It also means time for me to learn and understand Bahasan Indonesian if I am flying over every year.

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My all-time favourite and must eat snack whenever I fly over – Martabak Telok. It is similar to the Chinese Pancake except that they are so much tastier with the generous spread of chocolate, cheese, margarine and peanut fillings. They have quite a variety of filling options to select from. Thanks to Jie & Husband for buying it for us on the 1st night although I cannot eat. So happy when Jie’s husband actually bought Martabak for me to bring back Singapore just before I depart.

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Doctor had given specific instruction to take only plain porridge for the next few days, so I ended up sleeping my 2nd day in the hotel while Jie & family took Husband & Daughter out for lunch with Jie’s 2 kids. Woke up to a bowl of warm porridge brought by husband. Somehow with the Nasi Ayam Singapore imprinted, it made me feel more comforting.

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Feeling better after my rest so decided to bring daughter out to meet Jie & her 2 kids for some playtime at Lollipop Playground located at Lotte Avenue Shopping Mall. This play land was simply gigantic. The picture taken only reveal the exterior and as you walk deeper, there were more fun area, including an internal water activity area, a moving train and children go-kart. Wow!! I can never find such huge playground in Singapore and it is simply delightful to be inside. The height of the playground is adult-friendly so you can actually have fun with your child.

Most playground would expect you to wear sock. Butif you did not have socks (expected in Singapore playground to have socks worn all the time), they actually provide bathroom slippers for you to wear. How considerate can that get? In Singapore, the vendor will expect adult to buy their socks imprinted with the awful logo which most people will either throw away or hide in somewhere in the wardrobe, never to be worn again.

Entrance Fee:

Children

  • $100,000 ruppiah (weekday)  per child
  • $150,000 ruppiah (weekend) per child

Adult

  • $25,000 ruppiah (weekday) per adult
  • $35,000 ruppiah (weekend) per adult

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Day 3. Feeling more alive than the past 2 days so went out with Jie & 2 kids for some fun at One Pacific Place. My daughter is pretty selective on her choice of food. She enjoys noodle, especially lamien (typical cheena little kiddo). We manage to find Din Tai Fung (Jakarta) and we settled for lunch there since they have such an extensive menu compared to Singapore version.  We were too hungry so I forgot to take some pictures. Nonetheless, the food were pretty tasty, even though I order a plain porridge.

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One Pacific Place is more of an eateries mall so we ended up letting the children spend approx. 30 minutes in the small arcade for some childhood fun when I caught sight of this candy scoping machine which was once very popular in Singapore. In Singapore, it cost approx. S$1.10 per game whereas it cost us only S$0.30 per game which was more reasonable. Now you know why I rarely bring the children to the arcade back home.

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Ariel recognised the hazgen dazs ice cream outlet so we returned here for a fondue for the 3 children & 3 adults after their short playtime / lunch. If you think service is very slow in Singapore, it is at least 10X slower in Jakarta. Even Jie had to repeatedly “question” them on the whereabout of our order.

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Next, we decided to change to another location whereby the kids can have proper fun within a bigger space. So here we are at Metropolis @ Plaza Indonesia. The picture is only showing one section of the playland occupying an entire level. Wow!! The entire level consists of different playland such as rock climbing, choo-choo train, shopping departments, and others for the list to go on.

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Fun time always seems so short for the children. After nearly 2 hours of fun, we headed for dinner since it was pretty late. As usual, we had to trouble Jie & family to eat chinese food with us since Ariel does not favour other type of food. Here we are at Imperial Treasure, Lamien & XiaoLongBao (Dumpling).

I love the food at Imperial Treasure, both in Singapore & Jakarta as they take the effort to present their culinary skills in terms of sight & taste for the pleasure of diners. We ordered the Stir-Fry Kailan. Nothing fanciful but the kailan was cooked till crunchy & soft.

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Spinach Tofu & Shrooms was uniquely tasty. You can simply order this dish with perhaps a meat and it will goes perfectly well with a bowl of white rice. The broth was tasty enough to be drizzled over the white rice, accompanying it with soft & crunchy spinach, savoury spinach tofu and chewy shrooms.

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Jie ordered the oxtail noodle which she requested for them to separate the oxtail. This is the first time I am trying oxtail and honestly, it is not my cup of tea as there are not much meat, simply collagen alike tendon. But I like the sauce which looks spicy but they tasted savoury instead.

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One of my favourite dish/ The Gong Bao Chicken which I can eat it simply with a bowl of white rice. It was not too spicy and the generous portion of cashew nuts and chicken were addictive. I shall attempt this dish someday.

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Departing Jakarta, Indonesia in approx. 5 hours time on 12 May 2014 (Monday) at 1505h. Hence, we did an early checkout around 10.15am and waited for the driver to pick us up for lunch with Jie before heading for the airport which was about 20 minutes drive away. We visited one of my favourite restaurant, Padang Bistro which was about 10minutes drive from Aston Pluit Hotel & Residence. Finally I get to enjoy a proper Indonesian cuisine after being on a porridge diet for the past 3 days.

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Fried Tofu with Prawns & Vegetables Filling.

I do not remember trying this item the last time I was here but it tasted delicious and crispy. The uniqueness of indonesian food is that their dishes will normally come with a chilli sauce that goes well with the dish.

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Curry Kampong Ayam

Their curry are mild yet savouryand the kampong chicken is tender. Really yummy!! Jie got takeaway for us to bring back Singapore.

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Curry Fish Head (White Snapper)

I love curry fish head and this item is so good that I can’t resist it. There seems to be a few types of curry fish head available but Jie ordered the white snapper as the meat is much more tender. I can actually finish an entire curry fish head with a bowl of rice on my own.

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Fried Kampong Ayam

This is my daughter’s favourite item as it is really well marinated and fried till golden brown. I like eating kampong chicken as they do not have a lot of fats like the regular chicken we buy from supermarket. Instead, due to their activeness, their meat are usually much more tender and chewy. We also bought some of these back to Singapore. Yummy!!

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Stir-Fry Vegetables

I cannot recall the name of this dish as it is not available in Singapore. Something unique and tasty. In Indonesia, you can tell the server if you want an item spicy or non-spicy and they will add in chilli padi accordingly. Jie ordered it mild spicy but apparently, it was way too spicy for me to stomach down. Hence, I only took a mouth full. Nonetheless, this dish is tasty and the next time I order, I’ll definitely forgo the chilli padi.

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To sooth the stomach, we ordered 2 bowls of cold desserts. This is a coconut dessert which consist of jack fruits, avocado, coconuts strips drizzled with gula melaka and coconut milk. I love the strong taste of gula melaka which makes any dessert simply delicious and sweet. The generous serving of avocado will make any avocado lover fall-in-love with this dessert.

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Next, this is known as Chendol, which is also a very popular dessert found in Singapore and Malaysia. The Indonesian version of chendol consists of the green jelly, gula melaka and coconut. Unlike the Singapore version which has red bean added into it.

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I also ordered a glass of Iced lemon tea which tasted like sour plum juice instead. I guess hubby is right when he says that wherever we go, the safest drink to order is Coke as it taste the same wherever you are. (Lovely picture of my Jie’s youngest daughter in the background.)

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I did not manage to taste the local Indonesian food during my 4D3N trip which was such a regret. Nonetheless, I shall return in good health in 2015 for my tasty food exploration which I miss this time round. So remember, must always get the locals to take you around to try the authentic Indonesian cuisines and you will no longer say Jakarta is boring!!

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