Amsterdam view from Amsterdam Tower

Amsterdam view from Amsterdam Tower
The view from Amsterdam Tower

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Young Single Indonesian Working Women in Ho Chi Minh City

When I was a kid, I used to hear teachers or parents said "Gantungkan Cita-Citamu Setinggi Langit".  Unofficial translation is saying that we should have a sky-high goal/ambition.  So I did, I had a dream to work and live overseas.  I think I was so much influenced by Hollywood movies whereby many working women work in big cities such as the big apple, live in apartments, work hard till late of night trying to catch deadlines, etc, etc...

During college times, I envied friends who got the opportunities to study overseas.  Later on when I started working, wow,..... if I heard friends got overseas job offers, I supported them to take the chance and go!! 

Now here I am living, learning French & Vietnamese languages, blogging and writing in Vietnam... I met three great ladies from my country, they are adventurous to work and live in Ho Chi Minh City... Young Single Career Women who Go Global for International Career

Reference link: Women in Business Website

Friday, March 16, 2012

Let's get healthy!

One morning, I woke up at 5.40 am...  As from my balcony, on the right side, I could see some high rise buildings and at the back of those I could see the top floors of the 68 storey Financial Tower.  The view in front of me to the left, I could see the Saigon river... Beautiful...

Still the gorgeous sunrise view has not swiped away my laziness.  I tighten up my shoelace then went downstairs to meet my neighbor by 6.20am.  Voila, we walked toward Truong Dinh park. 

Waking up early morning, walking to the park, looking at other people doing their exercises and these two ladies are going to burn calories by attending aerobic class...!

A mixed group ladies gathered when the female instructor started the music.  "I'm coming up so you better get this party started......"   It is not Pink who sings this song, but still everyone is motivated to move their legs, hips and hands.

This group finished exercise at 6.30am. What time did they start?

Participants are different age, postures and they can wear whatever comfortable for this exercise.  Some wants to take it easy, others are more energetic...  Just follow instructor's movements.  I don't understand her anyway, except when she says "tám, chín, mười.."  Every time after she says that, we change direction of our move i.e. from shaking our hips to the right, we move to the left. Then before starting a new move, she says: "chúng ta đi bộ..."

I was telling myself that this aerobic class reminds me of SKJ (Senam Kesegaran Jasmani)When I was at school, SKJ was a well known mass exercise for all school students in Indonesia.  I still remember its soundtrack "teng... teng teng teng teng teng! teng teng.. teng teng.. teng teng teng teng teng teng teng!!"  

Green fresh garden in the morning
I moved my hips as if I did "Goyang Inul - Ngebor" (Inul's move - drilling).  Alamak, her dance moves is incredible.  When she does her wiggle-waggle moves, I like to look at men expressions.  Normally I see their eyes sparkling and lips smiling!   Inul is one of the most famous Dangdut Singers in Indonesia.  Dangdut is a genre of Indonesian popular music that is partly derived from Malay, Arabic and Hindustani music.

Each lady has their favorite spot to stand.  They stand up in a line...  Why?  They want to avoid the sun, therefore they stand up behind the tree shadow!

These guys are getting ready to practice Karate?
"Tám, chín, mười" - eight, nine, ten - "chúng ta đi bộ..." - let's walk... All right ladies, let's get the six pack..!!

Beautiful building among the people doing the morning exercise

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I can write.... I can share my experiences...

There is always the first time for everything...

As encouraged by my college friend, I took her offer to become one of the contributors to Thanks to her trust, my first writing has been published in this women website.

My personal goal is to share my own experience to everyone, so they can learn from it, have I made mistake in the past, others can learn from it and make a difference. It it not my intention to show off, as I am realized that I am nobody, there are others out there who have done more and achieved more things that I do.

I say that this is an easy reading. Read it when you are free during the weekend, sit on your couch, a warm cup of tea on your right side plus some cookies - LOL

This is what happened in my previous work, should you are interested.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Gado-gado in Ho Chi Minh City

In culinary world, gado-gado is vegetables salad with peanut sauce. It can easily be found almost everywhere in Indonesia. 

In day-to-day world, the word of “gado-gado” is sometimes used as an adjective.
1) “How do you feel about it?” Gado-gado
2) “What have you been doing lately?” Gado-gado

Unofficial translation is below:
1) Mixed feelings
2) Lots of things to do

Left bowl: peanut sauce. Right place: cooked vegetables.

Gado-gado is a mixed of cooked vegetables and peanut sauce as dressing.  Whatever veggie we want to put in this dish, it is up to us.  Whatever side dish we want to have with it, it is also up to us.  It is normally either rice or lontong.  I prefer this second one which also rice but compressed and wrapped inside banana leaf that is then cut into small cakes.... Whenever we want to eat it, it is up to us: breakfast, brunch, lunch or late lunch.  Preferably, I do not eat it for dinner - it is as strange as if I have to eat omelette for dinner.

The common boiled veggies in gado-gado are such as spinach, morning glory, bean sprouts, pare (it is also called paria/bitter melon).  In some gado-gado, I can find boiled long beans, carrot, potato, sweet corn, egg and raw cucumber.  Non-boiled stuff can also be added such as fried tofu and/or tempe (fermented soy product).  As for condiments, krupuk/kerupuk (deep fried crackers) and fried shallots are perfect for gado-gado.

Indonesian eats kerupuk in almost every meals. Vietnamese eats kerupuk with salad.

Because the ingredients are so simple, I made my own gado-gado with the peanut sauce that I brought from Jakarta!  Voila this is the “gado-gado made in Vietnam”....!!!

Home made "gado-gado a la kadarnya" in Vietnam

There are other dishes that are similar to gado-gado, such as karedok, pecel, lotek or selada pengantin.  I like the name of the last dish ‘selada pengantin’ which blindly interpreted as ‘bridegroom salad’. LOL… There is another similar dish called ketroprak – however ketroprak does not have as much veggie as the others.  Still, all of these dishes is using peanut sauce as dressing.

There are real stories of my two Indonesian girlfriends who used to eat ‘salada pengantin’.  Years ago, we liked to go to hang out in Plaza Senayan on Saturday afternoon.  We often ate at the Sogo food court.  One of them got married and now lives in the US.  Another one got married later on and now she lives happily with two kids in Jakarta.  So ‘selada pengantin’ is proven as its name. LOL

The peanut sauce can be made easily.  The easiest one is to purchase it at the supermarket!  We can also use “bumbu pecel” (pecel seasoning) instead of “bumbu gado-gado” (gado-gado seasoning).  I could not differentiate the taste between the two.  We can choose either non-spicy or spicy sauces too.

Gado-gado & pecel seasoning

Gado-gado is easy to find in almost everywhere in Indonesia.  There are many streets in south Jakarta which are famous for its gado-gado: Kartanegara, Sriwijaya, Kartika in Pondok Indah and the one near to where I used to live is in Ciranjang. My mom used to bring an empty lunch box in her car. If she passed this street and the seller was not busy, she stopped and bought gado-gado for us.

Price varies from around Rp 10,000 (US$ 1.1) in the streets and up to Rp 80,000 (US$ 8.8) or perhaps Rp 100,000 (US$ 11) in the 5 star hotels.  There is one gado-gado in Jakarta that is very famous with its ‘cashew nut’ sauce. This sauce makes its price more expensive comparing to other gado-gado in town.

One says that the best gado-gado is at ‘gado-gado Cemara’ in Wahid Hasyim street-central Jakarta, where the first Indonesian President (President Soekarno) used to eat there often. 

Complete portion of gado-gado: veggie, peanut sauce & kerupuk

It is my coming eight month stay in Ho Chi Minh City.  How many times I made my own gado-gado?  A few times already….. How do I feel about living in this city?  How do I like it?  Gado-gado…

These links maybe useful:

List of Gado-gado restaurants in Jakarta: