Japan in a dash

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A week ago I just finished a Kaizen healthcare tour in Japan. It’s not a holiday event, It’s a business trip. But, I managed to take a few of quick shots of food collages we’ve been tasting.

Unfortunately some of my foodgasm experiences I couldn’t get my phone fast enough because it reached my mouth  first. I tasted some of the best sushi in my life from just by the corner cramped between offices building at Shinagawa. The sushi master served me the best eel sushi I’ve ever tasted in my life. I usually think of eel as a so so dish. And some of japanese restaurant in Indonesia served grilled unagi that are good. But this mind blowing-ly excellent. I didn’t remember if what I eaten what fresh water eel (Unagi) or sea water eel (Anago). I’m sure the waiter told me in Tarzan style sign languange (she didn’t speak english. But said yes when I ask “Is this eel?”), or but maybe I’m too hungry to listen. Okay, back to the Unagi/Anago suhi I had. The eel flesh is so fluffy, not oily at all (It usually is at regular sushi in Indonesia) and the most important thing the seasoning was so mild and balanced (usually it will be too sweet for me). Oh my God! It’s like eating cloud on the bed of vinegar rice. Totally foodgasm experienced. And I went there twice, still forgot to click my phone. The tuna, salmon, shrimp and octopus sushi also very very good. When I told the other tour participant about this, some of them said they also experience A++ sushi at other neighbourhood at Shinagawa. So, look for teeny tiny sushi restaurant when visiting Shinagawa for mind blowing experience. Oh the price isn’t that expensive either. My colleague and I ate a big plate of assortments sushi, plus two extra shrimp, a grilled tuna cheek, a bowl of salmon sashimi and four extra eel sushi and I payed for both of us for 4800 Yen.

So here are some pictures of the other food experience I had while dashing through Japan in between heavy schedule of the tour. Enjoy!

1. we had vegetarian lunch

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The veggie appetizer

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veggie main (rice with veggie croquet and salad)

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veggie dessert (rather awesome sponge cake with ice cream)

2. Izakaya style dinner

 

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Appetizer 1 cold tofu with dressing

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appetizer 2 tuna and white fish (forgot the name)

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tapas style main 1 a little of everything from fish, egg to seaweed. The main 2 course is mushroom rice, forgot to photo but it’s the best food for that night

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forgot what it was

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roasted tea ice cream for dessert. like a frozen smoke but sweet.

 

 

Don’t miss the King while you’re in Medan

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Who’s the King?

I don’t mean the royal. I mean the King of fruit, Durian.

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The King of Medan; Durian Medan

I know that Durian is an acquired taste. Even the mighty Andrew Zimmern felt weak in the knee facing this amazing fruit. But if never tried it, how you know you don’t like it? Don’t judge food from it smell. Hey, if this javanese girl can take the smell of blue cheese and grew to like it, you can do the same with Durian.

Durian Medan will not be the same like those jumbo fruit on steroid stuff you might find at Singapore or Bangkok. Most of Durian Medan came from the forest, or forest like farm. It flesh won’t be as thick as Singaporean or Bangkok’s but the taste ….oooh…. so good. It got more depth, layers of different sweetness and texture.

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These ones were on the bittery sweet side because it contain more alcohol in the fruit.

The most famous durian eating joint in Medan will be Ucok Durian. I personally won’t recommend this place for you if you came alone without the locals, because they unfortunately less friendly. I prefer to look for other Durian joints, that you can see a mountain pile of durians but less customer.

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If you saw a huge pile like this, that means you have lots of option to choose from. So anywhere in Medan with mountains of thorny balls, you’ll be fine.

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These were my favorite, so buttery with mild sweetness.

Why is that? Because most of Durian Medan are great, you won’t be difficult to eat deliciously. But you can have more attentive vendors that spent time to explain things for you, ask your preference of the fruit (mild sweet, very sweet or bitter sweet), provide you with water to wash your hands and other tiny extra services that you most likely won’t get it at the popular joint. Besides, you will be eating it on the spot. If the vendors gave you the bad fruit, ask them to replace that for you. Or if you don’t like the taste, not to your preference, ask them to replace it. Remember, only pay for the fruits you agreed on and eating. Don’t pay for the bad stuff. Whenever I come to Medan, I just stop by to any Durian joint crack one or two for my self, and I never disappointed.

Dude, please try some when you come to Medan. If you like it, that’s great! You’ve experienced one of the most intoxicating beauty of fruits in the world from my perspective. But if you didn’t like it, well at least you know for sure.

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My mom just can’t wait me to take more pictures.

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Oooh, she’s loving it. Don’t worry about funny face or a bit mess, every good food always like that.

Cool your self from the sunny Medan with old school home made ice cream

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Yes, I agree with you that Medan sometimes can be super sunny even for equator-born gal like me. I often seek for small restos or tents that offers not only cool remedy for my sweaty body but also some history for my mind.

One of my aunt’s favorite is Ria ice cream at Surabaya street, Medan.

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Watch carefully for this non-challant sign. Psst, I always missed it and make our driver took another turn. it happened every time.

You must look carefully for not so obvious sign board at noon. The sate padang and martabak carts displaying their food in front weren’t helping the store to be easier to find either. That’s how old school they are. My mother in law and my aunt said that the store had been around since their teenagers. Wow, that’s like 25-30 years ago!

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My aunt’s fave combo; choc-orange with lychee.

The selection of ice cream flavours really describe their glorious history at the 70’s and 80’s. Sweet corn, oranges, very light chocolate flavor (back then, chocolate and milk were expensive), light strawberry and durian. They also mix the ice cream with fresh or canned fruits, like lychee, palm fruits, papayas. My mom’s favourite is the ice cream soda, with plain soda water and sliced fruits. Oh so vintage but yet so appropriate with the Medan vibe and repelled the heat effectively. We don’t want heavy milky ice cream on a very hot and humid day, we just want cold freshness that light and easy breezy like the long waited wind on summer days.

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My 1st try was the sweet corn and kopyor (or young coconut) with palm fruits condiment

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Hmm mommy with her ice cream soda, but her eyes wandering to the martabak vendors at front. They also great, but I recommend to eat separately from the ice cream to be able to appreciate each dish better. PS: I eventually bought her one portion of martabak (savoury pancake made from plenty of eggs, mince meats and green onions) to go for her late snack at the hotel.

Sunday morning breakfast at Medan? Soto Udang Kesawan

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Medan is the paradise of delicious food, with an array of simple Chinese cuisines to heavy on spice Keling (Indian descents community), or ‘make your taste bud dancing’ malay delicacies. Breakfast is no different. You can find so many variety of breakfast in Medan, just ask around. One of my favourite is Soto Kesawan.

Soto is basically coconut milk based soup, completed with all kind of Indonesian herb and spices. It served piping hot with plain rice or lontong (rice cakes made in banana leaf) or ketupat (rice cakes made in coconut leaf).

Kesawan in the street name where the humble resto opens.

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Don’t be alarmed by the humble fasade, this resto served the best Medan style Soto. They sold out pretty quick specially in Sunday morning; you better get up fast.

Sumatran’s culture created hundreds of Soto varieties, and Soto Kesawan is characteristically Medan style Soto. Light coconut broth, the colour will be greyish due to loads of coriander seeds and cumin with less fresh tumeric in it.

You can choose the topping (or filling) of your choice; chunks of pre-fried chicken, cubes of boiled then fried beef, slices of deep fried cow’s lung or other inerts.

My lethal combo usually beef’s meat and lung. But whenever I’m in Medan at Kesawan street at 7 am in the morning, I have to order the shrimp.

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Look at this; they have the protein toppings of your choice (mine were shrimps and lungs- yumm), sliced potato fritters, sliced green onions and fried onions with that finger licking broth.

Yes, this is one of the great thing of eating Soto Medan at Medan. Specially at Kesawan street. They have the shrimp as the topping for your Soto. And those juicy big chunks of huge shrimps were so sweet and jolted millions of electric joy to your taste buds in the morning. Don’t forget to add their condiments which are sambal (chutney like- green chillies, splash of soy sauce, fried onions and lime).

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This is how most people ate the Soto with plain rice; my husband’s forever toppings is chicken (big chunks of them), he spooned the Soto over a plate of plain rice. I did the other way around with half a portion of rice but loads of broth every spoonful.

If you having a heavy drink night out before, this Soto Kesawan plus rice will cure any hang over. It’s savoury, its hot and its filling. Hmm, your tummy will immediately felt warm and fuzzy.

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My mom, hubby and the inlaws enjoying sunday morning breakfast at Kesawan, Medan

Welcoming Ramadhan, another The Buchari’s Gathering

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This time, the Bucharis held meet and greet at the youngest; our beloved Aunt Upah.
The location maybe different, but the taste and dominant color in dining table stay the same: Red.
We love our balado! (Spiced Chilli paste)

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Shrimp Balado

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Tambuso (Veal’s intestine stuffed with whipped tofu and eggs) in coconut milk broth

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Rendang Jengkol (Dogfruit), bigger size than stinky bean but has similar left after smell

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Crispy beef Balado

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We called it Springbed-Ommelete (Deep fried heavily-whipped egg and sambal)

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Young generations of Buchari: Amy, he’s a newly wed dentist and the family’s religious leader

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Young generations of Buchari: Andra, neurosurgeon from dokterandra.com and balado aficionado, he said Ramadhan is about positive thinking and be with the family

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Young generations of Buchari: Iqbal, the eldest and one of beurocrate in the family

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Martabak, much beloved salty snacks while waiting the meal cooked

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Lepat Sogan, heavy snacks made from sticky rice, fresh coconut shreds, banana and a little bit palm sugar. Savory and sweet filling treat.