Amsterdam view from Amsterdam Tower

Amsterdam view from Amsterdam Tower
The view from Amsterdam Tower

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Dining in the Air (1)

This posting is nothing but for fun.. There was time when I preferred to skip the airline meal. As many of them is just “eat-able”... If I am really hungry, I prefer to eat in the airport as the taste is more to reality.  

Anyway, I have been doing this fun observation based on the airlines that I had taken in the two years. Some other airlines that I had taken are either too short (for food serving) or no food is served anyway... 

Even though the passenger sitting next to me gave his strange look every time I took pics of my food, the show must go on... Let’s start with Garuda Indonesia, the national carrier of Indonesia. The country of where I was born.

Garuda Indonesia (GA)

GA, is among the two airlines I know, distributes a list of menu to all economy class passengers during international flights (at least for Jakarta – Hong Kong route). Other international airlines do it verbally; “Good morning Sir/Ma’am, would you like to have Beef with Rice or Chicken Noodle?”  

During my flight between Hong Kong to Jakarta, the choices were between the Beef Rendang (Indonesian beef curry) and Sweet & Sour Dory Fish for main course. Ehem… prior to lunch, juices and peanuts as snack were distributed.  

About the meal, it was a regular lunch tray of beef rendang with steamed rice and green veggie, beef salad as side dish, and bread and butter. As for dessert; vanilla panna cotta and one chocolate bar biscuit.  

GA (Denpasar - Jakarta)

Good karma happens to good people. One day, I was upgraded to business class from Denpasar to Jakarta and I enjoyed beef pasta, bread, fruit and Haagen Dazs ice cream.

China Southern Airlines

Somewhere in between Ho Chi Minh City and Guangzhou, my choice went to Beef Noodle instead of Pork with Rice.

China Southern Air (Saigon - Guangzhou)
Thanks to the way it is served “warm”, the food was okay. They were soft noodle, beef with dark sauce (it could be soya sauce), and steamed veggie. The side dishes were bun and butter, Vietnamese salad, and sweet dessert.  

Most of the time, the bun is served cold. I like to put it on top of the warm main course to warm it up. Microwave ala kadarnya!

The sweet dessert was not sweet or tasteless. This Vietnamese dessert is similar to Thai; sago pearl dessert with chickpeas and coconut milk.
Air China

It was between Beijing to Shanghai, I chose a package of Seafood with Rice instead of Beef with Rice. 

The most interesting part is the liquid yogurt-oat-yellow peach. Stab the straw and enjoy the tasty peach yogurt until I tasted the oat, slurppp...  

Air China
The seafood was served warm, it was a mixed of shrimp, fish, squid, crab stick (surimi), veggie in sweet and sour sauce. The salad was fresh celery with peanut. The bun is served with no butter.  

The plastic transparent cutlery is specially designed with airlines logo. Some airlines use regular plastic spoon as if it is purchased from any supermarket. The food tray is made from melamine. The wet tissue smells soft.
Air France

It was a long haul flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Paris. Supper was served around midnite local time (Saigon time) as soon as passenger boarded.  

Between two choices of Chicken and John Dory fish, I chose the chicken as its name looks delicious already, burgundy wine? Chicken was served with steamed baby potato and veggies – it was tender. Burgundy sauce is a bit sweet but tasty. What I like the most is it was served hot. It was really hot so I had to wait to eat it. Which is good, I could put the cold baguette on top of the aluminum foil cover to warm it up. 

AF Supper (Saigon - Paris)

As to test my French ability, I also mentioned to the steward that I would like some wine with the chicken: le vin rouge, eerggghh... Pardon, le vin blanc s'il vous plait. Having wine in the plane has two silly reasons; it helps me to sleep, I found the packaging of in-flight small wine bottles is cute. 

Walnut chocolate cake and three slices of fruits for dessert were fine.
AF breakfast (Saigon - Paris)
Well, in a long haul flight of 12 hours, breakfast is also served. However, the timing is actually the most convenient time to continue sleeping – anyway I woke up when we were approaching Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris.  

A few slices of beef and pork, sliced cheese and pickles, cold buns, pastry with pineapple jam, yogurt, orange juice and of course tea or coffee. 

Charles de Gaulle is huge! I was so nervous to find the right gate for my connecting flight to Nice in an hour transit...

In a short flight between Paris to Nice (Air France), we were served with a very simple French breakfast; tea/coffee with croissant. Simple and chic. The tea bag is customized to fit the paper cup, it looks cute, I had never seen this packaging before. 

…. Bonjour la Cote d'Azur!
Next posting: more airlines food…

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Celebes, Sulawesi

This island used to be called Celebes, now we call it Sulawesi. 

Thanks to my geographic class at the elementary school, I still recall that it is one of the five biggest islands in Indonesia, listed in alphabetical order below:
  • Jawa (Java)
  • Kalimantan (Borneo)
  • Sumatra
  • Sulawesi (Celebes)
  • Papua

Among those five islands, I had lived in Jakarta (in) Java for many years... A few years ago when I still worked for a mining contractor in Jakarta, I had traveled to Kalimantan-Sumatra-Sulawesi for work only.

Soroako (Sorowako), south Sulawesi

This plane took me to Soroako (Sorowako), south Sulawesi

Here's the short memoire with limited pics. As at that time I didn't know that I would be a traveler and blogger -:)

Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport, Makassar

Makassar – Ujung Pandang in the South

It used to be called Makassar, and the name was changed to Ujung Pandang and now it is back as Makassar again.
Mandala Monument, Makassar
These days, this city can be considered as the gateway as this capital city of South Sulawesi is often used as transit of planes flying within Sulawesi or to further areas in eastern Indonesia.
Fort Rotterdam, Makassar
Look at Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport that has been re-opened, after renovation in 2008, how ready they are…  The airport is named after the Indonesian national hero, Sultan Hasanuddin, who was the ruler of the Sultanate of Gowa in 16h century. I had to remember his name for history lesson at school!

Pantai Losari, Losari Beach, Makassar

Unfortunately, my trip to Makassar a few years ago was for business reason. There was not enough time to explore the city, except a few hours driving around down town and back again to the airport.

It is a good reason to come back!

Typical of post office building around Indonesia
China Town, Makassar

Manado in the North

If someone mentions about Sulawesi, first thing comes out on my mind is Manado. It is the capital city of North Sulawesi. Once we talk about Manado, we talk about Bunaken which is known as favorite for diving and snorkeling.

Airport in Manado

Once people talks about Manado, I recall my Manadonese friend, Gustaf. Biar eksis gue tulis lengkap nih. He speaks Manadonese local language, so it is always good to go to Beautika, the Manadonese restaurant in South Jakarta with him. Plus his knowledge about Manadonese food is excellent!

Yummy Manadonese Food @ Beautika Restaurant, Jakarta
Shame on me, I had never been to Bunaken for diving. I went to Manado for work!

A view from the hill - North Sulawesi

At that time, we were working on a tender for a mining company in North Sulawesi and therefore we had to visit Manado. There were not many things that I could explore within such a short period… 


Complete details on Sulawesi as travel destination, just click Sulawesi Experience

Indonesia is huge big country… Many things to explore…

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Semarang, City of Spring Rolls

Semarang is the capital city of Central Java province, Indonesia. I remember it by heart, thanks to geographic class at elementary school. The nickname of this city is Kota Lumpia or literally translated as the city of spring roll!

Lawang Sewu building, Semarang

Lumpia or spring rolls is originally made by Chinese immigrants settled in Semarang.  The specialty of this lumpia is the filling; bamboo shoots, dried shrimp, chicken, and/or prawn. It is served with a sweet chili sauce, chili and baby shallots. It is served either deep-fried or un-fried, as the filling is already pre-cooked.

Other than latter reason of having lumpia, my main purpose of ‘mudik’ returning home to Indonesia  was to attend a cousin’s wedding. It’s an occasion when the big family get-together. Big family means nine uncles and aunties (including my mom), cousins, nieces and nephews!

Konde - common hairstyle of Javanese Traditional Wedding
Our blended family is very Bhineka Tunggal Ika, berbeda-beda namun satu  - Unity in Diversity! It’s a mixed family of Indonesian Chinese descendent and Javanese. Some of my cousins have fair skin, some others are darker skin - purely like Javanese, and some is totally mixed. Cool, huh -:)

French twist is also possible for Javanese Wedding

Despite the busy schedule of this ‘family events’ following the traditional Javanese wedding i.e. serial of ceremony, such as;

  • Siraman: the ceremony of bathing the bride prior to the wedding. PS.: my cousin is the bride,
  • Midadoreni: the night of reading Al-Qur an prior the wedding at the next day. It is also bringing the Mahar (bride price) at this ceremony; jewelries, clothes, etc.,
  • Ijab Kabul (matrimony ceremony – morning time): signing the wedding papers in front of the minister,
  • Wedding Reception (evening time),...

Two cool cousins and I have planned to go around the city.

Lawang Sewu building, Semarang

Lawang Sewu – Pintu Seribu - Thousand Doors

When the sun was on top of our head, we visited Lawang Sewu. This old building was completed in 1907 while the rest of the complex was finished in 1919. It was initially used by the national railway of the Dutch East Indies.
Thousand doors

Are they thousand doors?

After the Japanese invaded Indonesia in 1942, the Japanese army turned the basement of B building into a prison, with several executions taking place there.

Old equipment - Lawang Sewu museum

The Indonesian army took over the complex after the war in 1945. It was later returned to the national railway company. In 2011 the newly renovated complex was inaugurated, even though some part is still closed. 

Both sides are the roof top of Lawang Sewu (different side), Semarang

Closer look - one side of roof top of Lawang Sewu

My cousin Billy who lives in Semarang has warned me and Diana (my cousin from Jakarta), about this ‘spooky’ old building. The ex-prison at the basement and the roof top are known as the areas where ‘penampakan’ happened i.e. ghost appearance, hiks.  

Ex prison, basement, Lawang Sewu - Can you see the water?
Rubber booth for rent
to the watery area in the basement

Did we dare taking the challenge to take ‘day tour’ walking the ex-prison at the basement? Thanks, but no thanks! We were sweaty enough because of the sunny and humid weather! But for sure we enjoyed walking around this old Dutch building. 

Old wagon at Lawang Sewu

Tugu Muda - Youth Monument

We ticked the box for Lawang Sewu, and next we crossed the busy road to the monument in the roundabout in front of it...

Tugu Muda, Youth Monument, Semarang

Tugu Muda is a monument to Indonesian heroes who have fought for freedom.  This symbol of Semarang is situated in a large roundabout in front of Lawang Sewu, nearby the Semarang Cathedral, and Jalan Pemuda (everyone in Semarang knows this road!).

Asli panas banget nyebrang jalan ke Tugu Muda pas tengah hari bolong, tapi gue ama Diana ngak patah semangat. Tetap eksis…

Sam Poo Kong Temple, Semarang

Sam Poo Kong (Gedung Batu) Temple

When the cousin’s wedding reception was done, the next morning we went to visit the oldest Chinese temple in Semarang. Sam Poo Kong was built in honor of the Chinese Great Admiral Zheng Ho who visited this area in 1405. There is his statue of about 10 meter tall and made of bronze.

Statue of Admiral Zheng He
Was I in Semarang or Hong Kong?....  It is a big complex over three hectares consisting five temples in a mixed Chinese and Javanese architectural.

Sam Poo Kong

Sam Poo Kong

Renovation/expansion at Sam Poo Kong

This temple is always busy in every lunar year, the anniversary of Admiral Zheng He's arrival in Semarang. Parade statues of Zheng He, Sam Poo Kong, etc., is held during this festival.

Culinary Experience  – Oen Restaurant

Every time I go to Semarang, I always want to dine at Toko Oen & Restaurants. People say it is the oldest restaurant offering Dutch, Indonesian and Chinese cuisines. Billy commented; “you are so tourist!” Still he comes with us to dine there, LoL… 

My favorite menu is Bistik Lidah Sapi or Braised Beef Tongue! Unfortunately, this menu was not available when I was there.
There are many typical Dutch cuisine on the menu, such as kroket (Dutch variety of the croquette), bitterballen (bitterbal; a savory Dutch meat-based snack)… Those typical snack that my mom or grandma used to make when I was a kid… The cake shop offers many types of yummy cakes and snacks too.

Chicken Gordon Blue, Toko Oen & Restaurant, Semarang
The above pic was what Billy had for his lunch… Thanks for taking us around and being such a nice photographer too!

Thanks for the wonderful time Semarang! Till we meet again! Sampai jumpa lagi!