Saturday, October 22, 2016

Lost in Bangkok 2016 - Part 1

This is a VERY LATE post of my Bangkok trip in June 2016. Yes I'm back in Bangkok babyyyy

Bangkok is one of my favorite destination. First, it is quite affordable there. In some areas, it is cheaper than Jakarta. Transportation is cheap and easy, locals are very tourist friendly, hotel price is cheap and I loveee the food.

Long story short, let's begin the food parade...

First stop in Bangkok, Terminal 21

 This pork satay (10 THB) is located on the basement near the main lobby. TO DIE FOR! Thai's pork satay is tender, flavorful and not the tiniest foul pork smell ever occured. Love love love

Oyster omellete, my favorite food court item in Bangkok. The best I've tried so far is the one at Platinum Fashion Mall food court. The watermelon juice (30 THB) is like drinking sugar water, SUPER SWEET yet no sugar was added, yummmm

This time, I stayed at Movenpick Hotel on Sukhumvit Soi 15. It was a very pleasant stay! I love the hotel. The room is spacious, modern yet homey. Location is great, along the super busy Sukhumvit Road and there's a shuttle to Terminal 21 (5 minutes walk). BTS Station is located at Terminal 21 so it's around 3-5 minutes on foot. The breakfast spread is quite good. Pastry station needs some improvement but Egg Station and Cheese/Salad Station was yummmm

Next stop is The Common. The Common is an open air/mini mal consisting of many many restaurants and bars. A very hip and cool place in Bangkok. Went there quite late and were very hungry. I took the BTS and get of at Thonglor Station. IMO, it was still a loooonggg walk. Tips: Stick to taxi not BTS. Just in front of Thonglor Soi 17 where The Common resides, there's a noodle stall. It was very tempting so I decided to give it a try, the right decision.

Noodle (50 THB) was warm and flavorful. Fragrant soup, umami bursting on every sip. Thin noodles with explosive soup, perfect.

I finally reached The Common and very confused, too many options. Decided to try Pepina, an italian restaurat recommended by many food blogger. Well, pasta and pizza never fails right?

The pizza dough was different than any other dough I've tasted before. It was rather chewy. Strangely, it goes well and tasted gooddd. Love the pancetta and the mozzarela and some other cheese which name I forgot. 

The baked rigatoni was divine! Creamy silky gooey cheesy.... YUMMYLICIOUS!!!

SabX2 Wonton Noodle

A very famous noodle joint in Pratunam Area. U could easily search google maps and find its location. From Fashion Mall Platinum, go across the road (Petchaburi Soi 19) It's the small alley next to Shibuya Shopping Mall. Just ask around where Soi 19 is, walk for around 100 M, the restaurant is the one on your right. I found it strange since the place is full of tourist that the waiter can't communicate in English. Using hand gestures, I managed to order a bowl of noodle. The noodle is good, but nothing really special IMO. It's a hongkong style noodle, thin long yellowish noodle with many toppings (pork included) I just don't get the hype but well it is good and worth trying.

So that's all people, will tell you more on my next post... Hint: BEST authentic thai dish I've ever tried

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Duel - Crematology VS Tanamera Coffee VS St. Ali

Let's have another duel!!! Or in this post, maybe a menage a trois ....

Coffee, especially hipster coffee shops are still one of Jakarta Foos Scene trending topics. Started in the southern part of Jakarta, nowadays it's been spreading to the suburbs of Jakarta. I am not a coffee geek, I don't understand how to describe coffee note or taste, whether it is fruity or nutty, hell I don't get it when a coffee geek said that this cup of coffee has medium acidity with chocolate note at the end (are we still talking bout coffee? Or chocolate?)

Well what I know is whether it is good or bad. period. Please don't kill me

Now, The first one is St. Ali

St. Ali is a famous coffee shop in Melbourne (maybe the place where all this coffee hype is coming from) Finally opened it's first outlet in Jakarta a couple of months ago, this place is flocked by Jakarta's A listers and coffee geeks.

I haven't visited this place for a very long time (aside from repeated visits to Tanamera, I rarely come twice to the same coffee shops) so I don't know if it's still opened only until around 6 PM. Weird huh?

The place is typical hipster coffee shops, bricks and woods, black and white dominated decor, bright white walls with the coffee bar as the main attraction. Simple small flower vase as the table centerpiece and that's it. Met a couple of celebs when I went there, lots of southern Jakarta crowds and less of those engkoh2 encik2 flocking the PIK/MK area coffee shops.

Coffee... Well it was nice and somehow similar to Common Grounds. The coffee is mild and mellow with a crisp aftertaste and a light nutty end. (I googled "how to describe coffee" before I wrote this) I like it!

I haven't had the chance to try the food. FYI, the food is expensive... Why do u guys have to sell expensive food on a place to enjoy coffee, come on...

Next! Crematology

Crematology is a household name. It's a very popular local coffee joint where many many coffee geeks come and grab a cup of coffee. The place is very cozy, a bit dark and masculine with all the heavy wooden furniture. The place has the exact opposite feel to St. Ali. If St Ali is a chic city girl, then crematology is your next door beautiful neighbour.

Crematology serves a nice coffee and great selections of foods. The coffee is not a crisp as St. Ali.. The coffee is has lower acidity and also has a burnt taste to it. Tried some of their snacks and toast, all is good. A great place to chill after a long day at work.

Last but not least... Tanamera Coffee!

I fell in love with this place since it first outlet in the middle of thamrin city. A small place that serves my favorite coffee in town. Well quality never fails and I heard they will open their next outlet in PIK, YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Their coffee is greattt, it just feels right. Medium body, bold flavor, chocolaty note and smooth as sin. The food, nothing disappoints (tried several of their cakes) service is good, casual but get you everything you need. The instagrammable red cup doesn't hurt too

Verdict: Out of the 3 places I mention earlier, Crematology and Tanamera are the only coffee shops which I made repeated visits to. all of them serves good coffee but my personal fave is Tanamera Coffee

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Lost in Japan: Osaka - Part 4

Back to another post of my Japan trip on March-April 2016 :) This post is about my last day in Osaka and the trip back to Tokyo. When this day came, I was kinda sad. Somehow, I fell in love with Osaka. No, Tokyo is still my fave place in Japan so far but Osaka is very comfortable. It's not as crowded as Tokyo, the food is nice and cheaper and most of all, it's more laid back compared to Tokyo. 

Since the check out time from the apartment in 12 PM, we decided to get up earlier and visit Osaka Castle before taking the shinkansen back to Tokyo. We took the train and get off at Osakajokuen Station (again, just follow what hyperdia told you). The castle is just in front of the station. When we got there, it was raining boohooo, making it a bit harder to enjoy the beautiful scenery.

The Osaka Castle is one of the most beautiful place on my short trip there. It's HUGE. Gosh... First, entering the castle area from the gate until you find the castle will take you approx 15 minutes of leisurely walk. It's a huge complex consisting of restaurants, gardens, water canal and the castle itself. No wonder ancient people rides horse all the time --"

After we found the castle and snapped some pictures, we just walked pass the gate and didn't enter the castle since it was raining and we only have a short time. Then we just walked along the canal/river and take more photos. The sakura trees are blooming over the river, the weather is cloudy with light drizzle and a bit windy. Call me weird but I thought it  was very romantic... 

Decided to go back to apartment and guess what? Took us an hour or maybe more to get back to the train station. That place is HUGE!!! Don't miss it when you visit Osaka :) 

The shinkansen back to Tokyo was 3.5 hours long and most of the time I fell asleep. This trip to Japan is quite tiring, we have to walk everytime and everywhere. So when there's spare time, sleeping is the answer. 

Arriving in Tokyo Station, we went straight to the next Air BnB apartment. This property is owned by a charming japanese girl name Luna. She picked us up at Akasaka Station exit 6. It's a 3 minutes walk from the station to her apartment building. The place is small but very neat and clean. The apartment is in better condition then the one in Osaka but smaller. I'd recommend this place since it's affordable and close to the subway station. It's not crowded like Shinjuku or Shibuya but you can still find many many interesting places around the apartment. 

We were kinda tired that day so we took a short break before continuing the journey to find dinner started. Decided to explore Shinjuku, a commercial area in Tokyo where the salaryman and salarywoman gathered. Shinjuku is also where the red light district of Tokyo resides *wink

After wandering aimlessly around Shinjuku, We decided to splurge and get a taste of authentic Japanese BBQ, all you can eat style! Woohoooo !!!!! Looking around and find this building where people line up. From the billboard, this building has like 10 restaurants in 10 different floors. The BBQ one is at the 9th floor I guesses. Judging from the queue of the elevator, I bed it was nice. So in we goo

The place is typical japanese restaurant in Tokyo. The place is quite big but the tables and seats are not as spacious as the restaurants in Jakarta. They don't have many waiters but the waiters work like really really fast.

The place serves beef obviously, don't know what kind of beef but I assume not the best kind of wagyu since after I converted it into IDR, costs around 400K per pax, not much of a different from Jakarta right?

I love the BBQ!!! The beef was oh so goooddd, go karubiiiii. It's not melt in your mouth kind of beef, you still need to chew the beef but that was the beauty of it. Damn... One of the best BBQ I've ever had. For 2500 JPY per pax, I wanna go backkk

That sums up my day. Next is the visit to the happiest place on earth :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Lost in Japan : Osaka - Part 3

Hello again! Please please don't be bored with my endless bragging of my Japan trip last April, it was soooo good I missed it already.

On the third day in Osaka, the itinerary is to spend the whole day in Kyoto. Kyoto is a short train ride from Osaka, just punch Kyoto Station in your Hyperdia and get on the train (shinkansen and local) using JR Pass or IC Card.

Upon arriving in Tokyo Station, we go straight to Arashiyama. Using the JR Sagano (or any other train to Arashiyama Station) you will arrive in a country side suburb of Kyoto. It was really nice and calm. I kinda love this small town vibe of Arashiyama, serene and beautiful.

You can get the Sagano Scenic Rail Train or Boat Tour (just go to the building behing train station) but it'll cost a fortune. So.. We look for a bike rental and rent a bike for 1000 JPY for the day. Arashiyama is not big, within less than 3 minutes of biking, we reached the main street. Man... It was packed! It's kinda hard to bikin the uphill slope full of tourist and busses but we made it! First stop.. Tenryuji Temple!

Tenryuji Temple is the biggest Zen temple in Arashiyama and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As I've said before, I am not a temple kinda tourist. Just went there to find this huge empty building which was THE all glorious temple but found nothing interesting aside from the beautiful scenery.

Going uphill from Tenryuji Temple, you will find the entrance of Bamboo Forest. The path is small but very crowded. Note: You can bring your bike through the path. It was a short walk to the instafamous bamboo groove. I didn't find it beautiful but it is indeed very instagenic!! In the middle of the way to the Bamboo Groove, you'll find a small temple where you can write prayers on a small piece of wood. It's kinda cute, just like those manga or anime kinda thing.

Oh yes, rent a kimono!!!! Along the main street of Arashiyama, find stores that rent traditional japanese cloth. I think it cost me around 2500-3000 JPY for a complete head to toe transformation. Seriously guys, forget about how expensive it is, just do it. It's very cool and comfortable although the footwear (wooden clog) kinda hurts a bit when you walk. Take a picture in the kimono, super cool!!!

The scenery there is very beautiful. I walked towards the Togetsukyo Bridge (just go straight toward the mountains) in search of the Monkey Park but the clog hurts so much, I decided not to proceed. Just enjoy the cherry blossom along the bridge, take a lot of photos since every angle is so beautiful. I don't know why but any random pic in Japan is beautiful. Grab some snacks (tsurimi wraps, soft ice cream and yakitori) and be japanese :)

We headed back to Kyoto around 3 PM and managed to visit Fushimi Inari. It is located just in front of JR Inari station (use hyperdia app) Only one station from Kyoto Station. Fushimi Inari is a shrine with many Inari Gates, orange wooden gate place through hundreds of steps, climbing to a hill/mountain. Just went there and snapped some mandatory photos and went down. I didn't find it interesting at all (aside from the fact that it is very instagenic) The temples of Kyoto closes down around 5 PM so I didn't visit anymore temples. Went back to Osaka for last minute culinary exploring in Dotonbori area!

Back to Osaka, we couldn't decide what to eat so we wandered around Dotonbori and Namba area, hoping to find something interesting to eat. After a while, we found this restaurant called Yokozuna, serving Osaka's signatur kushikatsu and yaki soba.

Kushikatsu is a deep fried satay/skewer. They served everything from meat to veggies to meatballs, kushikatsu style. I also ordered yaki soba for carb loading. The kushikatsu was just okay (what do u expect from deep fried food?) but the Yaki Soba was awesome!!!!

The noodle was smooth and sweet, perfectly cooked and fried without losing it's moisture. The bonito flakes is so fragrang and somehow moving on it's own, blown away by the noodle's hot steam. Very appetizing. We also ordered omelette and it was creamy and soft, perfect!

Ended the journey that day with a midnight snack of instant noodle, discounted salmon teriyaki from a supermarket and beef burger from 7/11, yummmmmmm

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Lost in Japan : Osaka - Part 2

Astagaaaa dah bulan Juni ajeeee --" Setelah bersemangat update blog di April, gw mulai kembali dengan kemalasan tingkat dewa di bulan Mei. Well life kinda sucks at May :( Anyway, mari kita lanjutkan Japan travel post series nyaaa

Hari ke 2 di Osaka schedule nya adalah ke Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan dan ke Nara. Abis itu as usual kulineran ajee. Nah karena super pemalas, kita baru bangun jam 8 trus beres2 keluar apato jam 9 an. Ke Osaka Aquarium ini agak ribet dan cukup jauh, lokasi nya sih di pinggir laut gitu... Dari apato kita yang deket Shin Osaka Subway Station naek Midosuji Line turun di Hommachi trus ganti Chuo Line turun di Osakako Station. Perjalanan kurleb 25 menit naek subway. Abis itu jalan kaki yang lumayan jauh menurut gw ke Osaka Aquarium nya, lempeng doank sih dari Osakako Station itu dan ga bakal nyasar karena banyak sign dan rombongan orang-orang mengarah ke sana.

Begitu sampe ke ujung jalan baru deh keliatan itu gedung nya yang gede dan kerennnnn! Karena blm bfast, kita makan dulu di mal kecil sblm masuk ke aquarium nya. Yah, ada kaya food court gitu deh yang penuh sama turis2 yang mau ke aquarium. Pesen KFC dan seporsi katsudon. Berhubung foto KFC nya blur jadi tidak diupload yaaaa. Oh ya, tiap kali ke luar negeri, gw usahakan untuk makan KFC atau McD buat bahan perbandingan aja sama yang di Indo :p Norak ya? hahahah Anyway... KFC nya ga enak, enakkan indo jauh! Dan mahal, 1 paket 70-80 ribu

Nah begitu ampe depan Osaka Aquarium, langsung cari aja counter buat beli tiket masuk nya. Harga tiket nya 2300 JPY atau kurleb 300 ribu rupiah, agak mahal sih tp worth every penny! I do love this kind of place. Ga tau kenapa demen aja gitu ngeliat binatang, apakah itu aquarium atau kebon binatang.

Seperti aquarium laennya, masuk nya ada jalur nya dan kita bakal muterin exhibit sesuai area asalnya. Misal nya pas pertama-tama itu ada exhibit otter (berang-berang) yang area nya dibuat serupa aslinya. Trus masuk lagi ke dalem dan ada exhibit amerika utara misalnya, nahhh segala macem ikan yang aslinya dari sana ada di situ. Tempatnya sangat rapih (maklum deh ya Jepang gitu) dan info nya cukup jelas. Petugas2 yang ada juga cukup informatif dan full of smile. IMO lebih bagus dari S.E.A Aquarium nya Singapore. Service bagusan ini jauh, ukuran juga lebih gede dan somehow lebih menyenangkan gitu atmosfirnya.

Exhibit utama nya adalah tank super besar di tengah2 yang kalo diputerin mungkin tinggi nya ada kali 4 lantai. Isinya hiu-hiu, ikan gede gede, manta ray dan pari pari lainnya sama... Whale Shark! Yessss people, whale shark yang gede itu, so majestic. Hypnotizing kalo liat aquarium kaya gini tuh, kinda makes you realize that you are just a small person in this huge world :)

Oh ya, jangan lupa check out souvenir storenya, bagus2 dan ga tralu mahal kok hehehe

Next... Himeji!

Awalnya sebenernya gw pengen ke Nara, kan lucu ya liat2 rusa gitu... Tp akhirnya setelah ada info kalau di Nara kurang bagus, akirnya kita ke Himeji buat ngeliat the most beautiful castle in Japan. Jalan ke Shimeji... Cek aja hyperdia deh untuk tujuan Himeji Station, gw juga blindly follow hyperdia. Bisa naek local train bisa naek shinkansen. Waktu pergi nya sih gw naek local train sesuai arahan si hyperdia hehehe

Sampe di Himeji Station, udah keliatan di kejauhan tuh castlenya. Himeji sebenernya kota kecil yang relatif lebih damai dan tenang dibandingin Osaka apalagi Tokyo. Suasananya santaiii banget dan banyak turis yang mau ke Himeji Castle ini. Kita bisa jalan kaki lurus doank ke arah Himeji atau bisa naek bus yang muterin Himeji Castle dengan harga 100 JPY. Tentu saja kita naek bussss, pegellll Naek busnya tinggal liat aja deh dari depan stasiun nya byk halte bus, liat aja bus yang tulisannya Himeji Castle, busnya ga tralu gede dan keliatan kaya bus turis gitu.

As I mention earlier, gw ga suka ke castle atau kuil sebenernya, jadi tujuan utama ke sini adalah liat dan foto doank. Masuk ke dalem ada taman yang mengelilingi castle dan foto2 di lapangannya. Abis itu pulangggg :p

Bagus banget sih castle nya, putih gitu. Menurut info, castle ini awet dari zaman dulu karena tidak pernah kena serangan atau diancurin, jd utuh lah dia dari zaman dulu.. Banyak sakura blossom disini yang membuat view nya jadi makin bagus.. Kinda romantic seeing the white castle and the white-pink cherry blossom, only in Japan.

Pulang dari sana, kita jalan kaki karena mau santai2 aja.... Setelah jadwal yang cukup hectic dari tokyo, di Osaka lebih nyantai dan menikmati Jepang. Jalan-jalan eh nemu oma-oma jualan steam oyster yang satu nya 500 JPY. Behhhh enak benerrrrr, fresh seafood really is the best! Ternyata sepanjang jalan ke station itu byk toko toko kecil yang isi nya lucu lucu. Blm lagi banyak jajanan (ini yang paling penting) jd nya banyak stop nya ahahaahha Sampe sampe di station udah jam 6 sore dan langsung mengarah ke Osaka.

Bingung kan ya mau makan apa... pas ngelewatin Kobe, mikir apa mampir Kobe makan kobe beef... Dah lah ntar ntar aja mudah2an next bisa balik ke Jepang dan mampir Kobe :) The cool thing about travelling to Japan is u can hop off on every city and explore. Karena transport nya yang gampang dan murah, kalo mau pindah2 kota yang tinggal naek kereta apa. Bisa ke Kobe, Kyoto, Nara, Himeji atau ke kota-kota laen di deket2 Osaka, asik kannn. Coba di Jakarta... Mau ke Depok ato Bekasi gitu??? Keburu jenggotan baru nyampe

Terdamparlah kita akhirnya di Osaka Station. Osaka station atau Umeda ini adalah salah satu city centre nya Osaka selaen Dotonbori atau Namba. Jadi make sure to visit these two place when visiting Osaka. Umeda ini lebih kaya CBD area nya, byk high rise building dan mall. Jd turun dari Osaka Station kita bingung mau kemana, akirnya karena sudah cape dan dah malem juga, kita memutuskan masuk mall dan makan di resto di dalem aja. Mall di Jepang kan ga gede gede banget ya kaya Grand Indonesia tapiii lantai nya banyak. Bisa 10-20 lantai tergantung mall nya. Terus semua mall terhubung sama station, jd mabok gitu hadeh mau ke mall yang mana ya, dikelilingi mall kan bingung yaaa

Masuk lah kita ke salah satu mall di situ yang namanya gw dah lupa dan naik ke lantai berapa belas nya buat ke food area nya. Oh ya, biasa nya area restoran di mall ada di lantai atas dan 1 lantai isinya restoooo semua. Dan gila nyaa ngantriii semuaaa. Gw ga ngerti lagi deh sama orang Jepang, kok dimana mana ngantri gituuuu. Dan makanannya ga murah, rata-rata gw liat bisa 2000 JPY seorang... Setelah bingung makan apa akirnya kita makan buffet namanya Platinum kalo ga salah dan seorang kena 2500 JPY. Abis nya dah eneg banget sama japanese food, we need french fries asap!

Well that's the end of our second day in Osaka, see you againnn