Thursday, October 30, 2014

Savoring authentic German cuisine in Bandung

October is a month full of celebrations.

Across the globe, festivals are being held, from the Ghadames Date Festival in Libya, Diwali in India and Jidai Matsuri in Japan to one of the largest folk festivals in the world, Germany’s Oktoberfest.

The annual festival began in 1810 to celebrate the marriage of Bavaria's Crown Prince Ludwig (later King Ludwig I) and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. As a tribute to the princess, the festival site, located in the heart of Bavarian capital Munich, was named Theresienweisse, or the fields of Therese.

Joining in the party, Trans Luxury Hotel Bandung on Jl. Gatot Subroto is hosting Oktoberfest in their third floor restaurant, simply named The Restaurant, piloted by executive chef Michael Deutsch, who, as his name might suggest, is of German descent.

An array of Bavarian beers and delicacies, such as white fish poached with Riesling butter sauce, beefsauerbraten, kummel kops and kohlrouladen can be enjoyed in an all-you-can-eat buffet dinner, says the hotel's F&B marketing & promotion manager Melody Siagian.

When I met Chef Deutsch himself last week, he talked about the dishes served at Oktoberfest.

"It's all about comfort food to accompany the overflowing beer. Nothing complicated, really," he said during dinner.

But some dishes, he added, despite the simplicity of the method, took a longer time to prepare.

Take sauerbraten, for example. It takes around two to three days just to marinate the beef alone before cooking.

The end result, I must say, was really worth the time. The thinly sliced roasted beef was so tender and tasty. The marinated sauce covering the beef also tasted subtle, yet juicy.

I also sampled the restaurant's chicken dish, which was equally delicious, as well as a German-style potato salad, pickled asparagus, potato rosti, braised red cabbage, an array of salads and the sour cabbage dish sauerkraut.

"Most of the dishes have a hint of sourness due to the addition of vinegar. In the old days, before the invention of the refrigerator, vinegar was used to preserve the food," explained Chef Deutsch.

The chef added that he stuck to the dishes' original traditional recipes rather than trying to customize them for the Indonesian palate.

"I only added chilli to my asparagus pickle because I know you guys love spicy food. I know I do," he laughed.

The joy of savoring authentic German dishes was capped with delicious German desserts such as traditional cakeklugehopf, a sweet cake with sweet white icing.

Oktoberfest at The Restaurant at Trans Luxury Hotel is available throughout October on Thursday to Saturday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Tastemarket Bandung: A feast of unique and innovative cuisines

Upon entering the venue of Tastemarket Bandung at Paris Van Java Mall in Bandung, one will immediately feel refreshed by its all-natural, mostly wood, decorations. There was even an inviting green artificial grass laid in one corner, transforming the area into a lush meadow -- suitable for the event's theme: “Picnic in the greens.”

This second installment of Tastemarket's three-day culinary festival, starting Aug. 29, was initiated by Trademark, the organizer of the annual fashion event Trademark Market.

Trademark Market basically gathered young and innovative local designers and fashion entrepreneurs to sell and introduce their products to an equally young market.

According to Tastemarket spokespers
on Decil Prapanca Ikranegara, Tastemarket is the culinary version of Trademark Market.

"This year's Tastemarket offers a total of 104 exhibitors; only around 40 of them are from outside Bandung," said Decil.

"This is where young ‘foodpreneurs’, who mostly don't yet own a store, usually introduce their products to segmented larger markets and gain more popularity through social media like Instagram."

In addition to the market, live music and DJ performances also enlivened Tastemarket with today's entertaining indie music.

"Tastemarket is such a young, unique and innovative event: a must visit!" said foodie Nurul Wachdiyyah, who attended the entire three-day event.

Nurul got to watch the performance of Mustache and Beard, which played romantic folk tunes, and commented that the band had indeed instilled a romantic mood in the air.

She also found enjoyment in many of Tastemarket's food stalls that offered unique and delightful dishes.

She mentioned Teppanice as one of her favorites: a unique ice cream vendor from Bandung with a display that allowed visitors to watch how the dessert was “cooked” at the ice cream grilling station, starting from the original milky dough.

"It was fascinating to see ice cream prepared in the Japanese teppanyaki-style. It successfully made the stall really popular and caused a long queue," said Nurul.

Fatbites, another stall from Bandung, also stole Nurul's heart because of its refreshing Summer Fling, a beverage consisting of milk, yogurt, dragon fruit and a large chunk of mango.

Other food stalls that attracted long lines included Greenlab (a smoothie stall selling healthy fresh juice from fruits, vegetables, cereal and honey), Dr. Freeze (a stall selling ice cream made with liquid nitrogen), Karokun (a delicious sate stall that sold wagyu beef skewers), Ima Mobs Kitchen (a stall operated by a young male crew that offered infused vodka and a Dutch menu item called Blinde Vinken that tasted amazing) and Jago Warung (a stall that offered chic and well-designed food packages as souvenirs).

Other than being the most “happening” event last weekend in the West Java's capital city, Tastemarket also had its flaws.

According to one of the tenants Royal Stag Bistro Citra Sadiqah, although the culinary festival successfully featured a merry and joyful atmosphere and indeed offered a great way to boost its brand awareness, the venue was rather small and thus was quite uncomfortable to visit, especially during peak hours.

On Saturday night, for example, Tastemarket reached its peak with more than 10,000 visitors attending, making the place too crowded and too hot to stroll around in comfortably.

The lack of signage placed around the Paris Van Java Mall was also an issue upon which many visitors commented. The mall is famous for its hard-to-reach location and is surrounded by congested streets, especially during weekends.

However, all agreed that Tastemarket was a unique and attractive event and must be repeated annually to help boost the city's creative industries and its young food entrepreneurs.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Matta Fair September at PWTC Kuala Lumpur (5-7 Sept 2014)

Bandung Anniversary: Bigger, merrier

Bandung celebrated its 204th anniversary on Sept. 25 this year. A series of festive events was held to commemorate the occasion.

Bandung mayor Ridwan Kamil stated previously that the celebration would be spectacular. "The fireworks will be conducted by firework artists from Singapore," the mayor said.

During the D-day of Bandung's anniversary, celebrations took place at the city’s official offices, where citizens dressed in traditional Sundanese clothing to hold traditional games and art performances.

The celebration also made a buzz on social media channels, with thousands of account-holders participating on Twitter, using the hash tag #204thnBdg to express their love for the city.

Public account @mimpiBdg (Bandung's dream) was also established to accommodate citizens’ wishes and dreams for a better Bandung.

The celebration continued last Saturday. It began with a parade of vintage bicycles known as "sepeda onthel", Bandung's Harley Davidsons and a large motorcycle community, as well as the city tour bus, "Bandros".

The parade went from Jl. Gatot Subroto to the Asia Africa Museum on Jl. Asia Afrika.

At night, citizens were gathered around the Dago and Gedung Sate areas.

The Dago area was closed for a nighttime festival, enlivened with live musical performances, including from the Mocca Band and Payung Teduh, which were among the most awaited acts.

At Gasibu field, in front of Bandung's landmark Gedung Sate, people gathered with much anticipation for the fireworks.

People cheered happily in awe when the fireworks show began.

"It was very crowded. Young and old were gathered there to see the fireworks. It was amazing because it really brought people together and everybody seemed to enjoy the night, despite the crowd," Findhika Putra, one of the attendees, said.

Despite the merry celebrations, according to the mayor, the peak celebration will take place later on Oct. 18, with a bigger parade of lantern vehicles and moving stages adorned with decorations.

Resourses : JakartaPostTravel

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Tea time at Bandung's Oza Tea House

Those visiting Indonesia's main cities will find an abundance of local and international coffee shops to choose from. The same cannot be said of teahouses.

Though Indonesia is one of the world's top 10 tea-producing countries, with 65% of its total production exported abroad, teahouses serving flavors of Indonesian tea are still far from popular.

Fortunately, for those longing to enjoy delicious Indonesian tea flavors in style, one teahouse in Bandung, West Java, provides both high-quality tea and classy surroundings.

Opened for business in January 2014, Oza Tea House, located at Jl. Diponegoro No. 25, greets visitors with tastefully packaged tea arranged on a table and cupboard near the entrance. Inside, visitors find homey wooden chairs and tables, a black piano, framed photographs of tea plantation owners and outdoor furniture painted white that blends well with the green atmosphere.

According to owner Oza Sudewa, Indonesians rarely enjoy their own country's high-quality tea, which is why he opened the teahouse.

“There is a long history behind Indonesian tea. Since 1835, before Indian tea and Chinese tea were popular, Indonesian tea was sold at auction houses in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Sadly, now most of our high-quality tea is exported and thus Indonesians rarely get to drink it," he said.

However, when TWG Tea, a Singapore-based tea company, opened a branch in Jakarta last year, Oza observed an opening in the domestic market.

"Tea as a global trend began in Europe in the 1980’s, followed by the United States in the 2000’s. In Indonesia, the same trend started when TWG launched its first branch in Jakarta," said Oza.

Optimistic about the growing market for tea, Oza decided to open a teahouse that would serve high-quality tea that struck a balance between pure, unmixed teas and blended concoctions.

“In Oza Tea House, guests can enjoy tea beyond their imagination. Other than flavored tea from Europe and China, we use local tea from a plantation in Ciwidey, West Java,” said Oza.

"Since 1835, before Indian tea and Chinese tea were popular, Indonesian tea was sold at auction houses in Amsterdam"

Signature offerings include the Silver Needle white tea, which is a premium selection of light, white tea served in a porcelain cup. Priced at Rp 55,000 (US$4.69), the antioxidants in the tea offer many health benefits, making it the right choice for those wanting to relax after just a few sips.

Sparkling aged tea is said to be favorite among customers preferring a cocktail-style tea experience. A mix of three-week fermented teas, lemon and sparkling water, the tea is served in a flute glass and is priced at Rp 33,000.

Those looking to sample Indonesian-style tea can try Hugo Victor (priced at Rp 33,000) which is inspired by a popular local beverage called STJM -- an acronym for the Indonesian words for the ingredients inside: milk, egg, honey and ginger. The tea is served in a cocktail glass and the beverage consists of morning spirit tea from China and egg yolks stirred with sugar into a foam.

A mixology concept called sutra ungu (purple silk) is also appealing due to its purple color. Priced at Rp 29,000, sutra ungu is a mix of chamomile tea and syrup, with a slice of floating orange and cherry added as garnishes.

In addition to sipping tea on site, Oza Tea House welcomes customers to buy packaged tea to take home. With prices ranging from Rp 39,000 to Rp 89,000 per package, premium selections include Silver Needle white tea, Dewata TGFOP, the exquisite blend Morning Spirit and Fruit Dream.

Oza Tea House also serves light meals to complement its selection of teas.