March 28, 2017

Sour Sally Frozen Yogurt & Marugame Udon @Grand Indonesia, Jakarta

Ok, gonna introduce what I had most frequent at Grand Indonesia, Jakarta. You have seen frozen yogurt in white, how about if the colour is black? I am in love with Sour Sally's Black Sakura frozen yogurt, and it tastes marvelous with the matcha latte sauce. A regular size of Black Sakura with two toppings costs around RM15, Rp 44,545. Luckily my mum didn't know how to convert the Rupiah, else she would stop me from buying it. She seemed enjoying it too. I had bought the same item with same toppings three times on different days. I was so tempted to have it again on our last day. But controlled myself hard not to have it. Until now I still can't forget how good taste it is.

Sour Sally Froze Yogurt is only available in Indonesia at the moment. It's open for franchise. I doubt if anyone is interested to bring it into Malaysia in near future. I hope it will be available in Kuching too. (*I am quite puzzled why hand-mate not hand-made too).

Assorted crunchy toppings, 5 different flavours of cone, fresh fruits, and sauces.

This is how the regular cup of Black Sakura with matcha latte and watermelon toppings looks like. Costs Rp 44,545. The black colour is not the result of artificial colouring. It is actually induced by the natural activated charcoal. I love it, love it, love it!

Another outlet I had observed with the most patrons at Grand Indonesia is this: MAGURAME UDON. It is only available in Indonesia also. The udon noodles are freshly made and cooked, you can watch them processing the noodles from glass window. Most importantly, it is certified halal.

Queuing up, read the menu first and decide what you want to order. Tell the staff the number of the menu you want to order. They will process it swiftly and you can choose the fried tempura while waiting for your turn to check out at cashier. The order process is fast but comes with one drawback. Without the order chit, the cashier might overlook what you have on the tray. I ordered two bowls of udon, but he only registered one bowl. I didn't take notice at first, sat down and found it unbelievably cheap. Checked the receipt, only one bowl of udon was charged. After some rounds of inner struggle, I went back to the cashier and told him he has overlooked the other bowl of udon. I have to be honest  because I take full responsibility of my integrity.

This place is always full house during peak hours. We went earlier before dinner time so we were still able to find a seat.

Beef Curry Udon, Rp 53,000, about RM17.60.

Nikku Udon, Rp 53,000.

I ordered ice lemon tea and ocha, both drinks are free refill. I refilled my cup for 2 times because the soup was quite salty. Overall I like its taste but I am not into udon. I hate it slips and drops when I place it on to my spoon.

March 19, 2017

Jakarta Street Food & XL Prepaid Card

On 19th February, on the way to have breakfast at Grand Indonesia, we found no cars on the road. Everyone was free to walk on the road, any direction or any lane you want. Free from heavy traffic, and we enjoyed the breeze and fresh air. I just googled online, and found that it's their car free day on every Sunday. Sudirman Road and Thamrin Road are closed from 6am - 11pm, no private cars allowed to drive through, except public buses.

On the road side, there were vendors selling food. Many choices that I couldn't really decide which one to try. I skipped fried food, so I decided to try the bubur ayam since the food served for a customer looks yummy.

My bubur ayam (chicken porridge). Crackers, youtiao (Chinese cruller) and shredded chicken meat on top. Sprinkled the chopped coriander and fried onion, followed by sweet soy sauce and chili sauce. The taste was really good.

There's one stall selling bubur ayam in front of Liberty Hotel too. But it tasted slightly salty and not as good as the first one I had. I calculated this bowl of bubur ayam (Rp. 10,000) cost around RM3.50. This is the cheapest meal I had in Jakarta.

The portion of bubur ayam didn't fulfill me. I wanted to get something different. Walked around and I stopped by this 'Mie Ayam Ceker' stall. The lady was preparing the noodle and a bowl of soup with something looks like wanton in it. Hmm.. looks enticing. I asked for chicken noodle. Had a peep at how it was prepared. She scissored the small packet of seasoning mix, threw a handful of noodles into boiling water.

This is how the chicken noodle looks like. It was soooo yummy, may be because of the seasoning mix? Haaa.. But it is seriously tasty. I let my mum to have it first, she resisted at first. Then I waited and waited.. she had it more than I expected. Ok, no regret to have this. Thumbs-up!

This is the ayam penyet I had at Tanah Abang market. After the long walk, my mum agreed to have lunch at random stall. The environment is not hygienic. The stalls selling nasi campur (mixed rice), ayam penyet, satays, and etc. I ordered nasi ayam penyet, as shown below. Judging from the picture, it looks not so delicious.. well.. yeah, the taste was just average and the portion was rather small. I don't think the chicken drumsticks were freshly prepared, suspect it should be the leftover from previous business day. They deep-fried it again that caused the texture of the meat turned out harder and drier. Anyway, I didn't experience diarrhea after the day.

This is otak-otak (grilled fish cake). I was attracted to the price, one piece at Rp. 1,000 (about RM0.35). I bought 3 pieces. Gosh... I was stunned to see when the hawker unwrapped and exposed the size of it. Very tiny indeed, just like the size of my pinky finger. Haaa.. no wonder it is just Rp. 1,000.

I bought this triangle pastries at Tanah Abang market. A vendor with tricycle, a glass cabinet showcasing the pastries. I didn't intend to buy at first, had a glance at the menu. Hmmm.. it has durian flavour too. Interesting.. I asked the guy what's the filling. He said "daging", which should be the beef meat. I bought three flavours, durian, banana, and I forgot the other flavour.. strawberry?

I was quite puzzled with the taste. I couldn't identify which one is the durian flavour because all of the three flavours taste equally the same. Slightly sweet.. didn't taste like beef too. Erm.. not so impressive.

I bought this XL prepaid card at a small convenient store at Soekarno Hatta airport. The staff was helpful, helped me to register and get it activated on my phone. If not mistaken, the package comes with 20GB internet, 30 days validity. It cost me Rp 200,000. Quite expensive actually. The coverage was alright... but poor signal when I was inside the premise at Tanah Abang as I couldn't load the Google map.

March 15, 2017

Jakarta Public Transport & Sightseeing

I did not do any study on the public transportation in Jakarta. I did not know if there's any bus station or train station nearby our hotel prior the trip. I only searched online on the first night in our hotel room, and read some customer reviews in to get more information on the public transportation available in neighbourhood. I used Google map, got to know there's a train station not too far from hotel. It is still within walking distance, Stasiun Sudirman. The next morning I asked the hotel staff for the direction and asked him how far is the station. He said it's less than 10 minutes walk. Actually it's really not that far but I must say... the pedestrian way in Jakarta is poorly done, and many occupied by either hawkers or ojek (motorbike taxi).

Our activities on the second day, sightseeing. The top tourist attractions in Jakarta are quite centralized. Itinerary of the day: Istiqlal Mosque, Jakarta Catheral, National Museum, National Monument.

Jakarta commuter route map which I obtained online from here.

Reached Sudirman station, we planned to head to National Monument as our first stop. I asked for tickets to Gambir station. The guy replied "no Gambir station". I puzzled because obviously I saw there's Gambir station in the route map. I asked which station is nearer to Istiqlal Mosque, he told me Juanda station. But we have to make a transit at Manggarai station. Later I found out that Gambir station is closed. Those stations with red dot mark are actually not in service.

This is the commuter card provided. I can't remember how much is the deposit, Rp5,000?

The interior of the first train we embarked. Anyone notices the ceiling fans?

The Manggarai station is quite confusing. I had no idea which platform for Jakarta Kota, we sat in a train with a few guys inside too. It remained stagnant for long time until we felt something is not right. I asked a local but he did not bother to guide. So we left the platform and entered another one which had more crowds. Found the LED screen showing Jakarta Kota. 

We walked from Juanda Station to Istiqlal Mosque. Forgot how to get there, it was a long walk under the rain. We didn't enter Istiqlal Mosque, not sure if non-muslims are allowed to enter.

Jakarta Cathedral is located right opposite Istiqlal Mosque. Looking at the building, I was so impressed. Feel like I am situated in Europe, not Jakarta. But crossing road in Jakarta is a major problem. No pedestrian signal, no zebra crossing, no sky bridge. Hmm.. We walked further down and tried to look for way to cross the road but gave up. Didn't manage to visit the church. I hope their government can make these places more tourists friendly.

On the way to Istiqlal Mosque, I found there are a number of double-decker buses on the road side. We detoured back to the bus stop and found the city tour is completely FREE

There are 3 routes of city tour bus:
BW 1 the green line is the History of Jakarta route. Operating from Monday to Saturday 9am - 5pm; Sunday 12pm - 8pm.
BW 2 the blue line is the Art & Culinary route. Operating on Sunday only 5pm - 11pm.
BW 3 the red line is Jakarta Modern route. Operating from Monday to Saturday 9am - 5pm; Sunday 12pm - 8pm.

The double-decker bus is new but if the passenger in front of you has bad odor, it will be quite torturing.

On the bus. There will be a person comes to distribute ticket. No worries, it's 100% free of charge. I am not sure if you are not allowed to stay in the bus more than 1 full circular ride but you are allowed to repeatedly hop on and off.

We got off the bus at National Museum. The entrance fee to National Museum is Rp 10,000. This is the old museum, closed for renovation. We went to the new wing instead. The museum features the history of Java man, early years of Indonesia and their culture.

A guy demonstrates the making of Batik.

The group is playing music with traditional music instruments.

After museum, we stopped at National Monument. The entrance to National Monument is located outside the building, you will pass through a tunnel to the building. There's a tent with police officers guarded, that's the entrance and you'll have to open your bag for inspection.

The entrance fee, splitted to two groups: Goblet or Top. For adults, entrance fee to goblet only is Rp 5,000 while top is Rp 10,000, both Rp 15,000. I wanted to visit the top, unfortunately the guy informed that we might have to wait more than 1 hour because of the long queue. Ended up we settled with the goblet floor only.

On the goblet floor, it's all about the history of Indonesia and the revolution war to independence. Outside the goblet, you can take a seat any place you like and enjoy the scenery. This is the long queue for lift to the top.

After National Monument, we tried to look for the direction to bus station. It was a long walk, we kept walking in the circle of the same area. Then we decided to stop by this market, fill stomach first.

Saw this interesting one. Ordered one to try it out. I just googled and got to know it's called "Kerak Telor Betawi".

Kerak Telor Betawi, a Indonesian traditional spicy omelette dish. Made from glutinous rice cooked with egg, and served with fried shredded coconut, fried shallots and dried shrimp. It was not bad actually.

I ordered a coconut for my mum, and pointed the cup with fruits, I have no idea what's the name of the drinks.

This is the drinks with assorted fruits. Tastes good!

Ok, we have done with sightseeing for the day. Figuring how to get back to Grand Indonesia. Walked to the bus station, and asked the staff which stop at Grand Indonesia. She told me I can use the city tour bus and stop at Plaza Indonesia. Oh, how convenient it is! National Monument is also called Monas. Refer to the above city tour route map, take BW 3 to Plaza Indonesia.

March 7, 2017

Grand Indonesia, Jakarta

After checked in our hotel, we walked to Grand Indonesia for dinner. Can you notice the people standing across the road? That's the bus station between the highways, Halte Tosari ICBC. Taking bus in Jakarta is a better option compared to taxi because there's a lane specifically assigned for bus which means it's unlikely buses will be stuck in traffic jam.

Menara BCA and Grand Indonesia. If you want to go to Grand Indonesia by walk, do not enter Menara BCA. Have to walk further up.

Grand Indonesia. The security here is quite strict, everyone has to open their bag for inspection. Even vehicles to enter, the drivers have to open their car boot.

On our first night, we had chicken rice for dinner. I didn't explore further in the mall, we entered from the west mall and went up to third floor. Mum wanted to have the chicken rice, we settled our dinner at Wee Nam Kee Chicken Rice. It was pricey.. A meal with chicken rice for two pax and a plate of veges cost us about RM70.

After the first night, we explored further on second visit and found the food court is actually located at the skybridge. Price here is cheaper, wide variety but the food tastes average. We settled our dinner mostly at Grand Indonesia on our first few nights. My mum is not keen to try the street food, she claims not hygienic.

Soto Betawi. The soup tastes good but portion is quite pathetically little. No wonder the guy asked me if I want to have a bowl of rice.

Mum had Vietnamese pho.

Other day, I had Petai fried rice for dinner. Quite oily.

After sightseeing on the second day, we were exhausted after the long walk. Sat here to cool down ourselves until the band started to perform. It was really relaxing by listening to the love songs in Bahasa Melayu.

Adjacent block is Plaza Indonesia. We did not go there as we noticed the luxury shops from outside.

There are hawker stalls along the road outside Grand Indonesia. If you are adventurous or want to have cheapest meal, you can search it here.

On our way back to hotel. This was the road traffic condition on M.H. Thamrin Road. Luckily the hotel we chose is within walking distance.

Next post I'll blog about the sightseeing and the public transports we used in Jakarta. Stay tuned.

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