Archive for May, 2011

We were too early for the next appointment and so it was suggested that we have an early and leisurely lunch- which was also the smokers excuse to having their ciggies fix.We stopped at Wong Art – a bakery cum cafe / restaurant .

We ordered ala carte meals, there were orders for Ikan Asin fried rice ( salted fish fried rice), Singapore fried rice, soup buntut ( Oxtail soup) and I decided to go for Rawon Iga- which I didn’t for the life of me know what it was but made the decision because the company said this was a specialty for Jawa and it came with rice.

Turn out that what I ordered  was beef rib stew/soup accompanied by rice,  some fritters , a few pieces of bean sprout and chili. The soup was rather heavily flavoured, and the ribs were soft and well marinated. I wasn’t sure to drink the soup or to pour bits of it over the rice pyramid , so I observed the soup buntut fella on what he did and he was slurping the soup while gesturing ‘good’ with his free hand. The Malaysian follow suit and found that the soup was too salty to be sipped like regular soup, so I decide to treat that as gravy rathe that soup lahh .Yum…

The fresh fruit juices in Malaysia are usually watery and one might get more ice than juice and in comparison the fruit juices that I had in Indonesia are usually very concentrate / thick . And the mango juice that I had at Wong Art had an almost  mash potato kinda consistency. Nice…

This was what the Ikan Asin fried rice looked like – was told that it taste pretty good too.

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Too soon, it was time to say goodbye to Semarang, we had nasi padang at the airport ..hmm…I like nasi padang…

 My fellow travelers from Jakarta said that the bandeng presto ( smoked fish ) was a specialty and they bought a few boxes of them, I worry about bringing animals ( although dead) back to KL and the chances of having them confiscated so I refrained. The specialty of Semarang is lumpia and thinking that this might be my last chance of buying some souvenirs from my trip , I decide to get a basket of lumpia. This was the ‘special’ version and costs me Rp80,000 ( about RM30)  for 10 pieces

 In case you are wondering what lumpia is – it’s popiah /spring rolls, these were already fried. If you are interested to make it, you can try out the recipe by clicking here   

Tastewise, pretty good. plenty of filing which include :  meat , dried prawns, eggs, bamboo shoots etc. the bamboo shoot gave it that pungent-ish smell which I am ok with /I found to be yummy but turn out that the smell was an acquired taste and the people back home refuse to go near these lumpia…even the better, I got to finish all 10 of them !! buwahahahaha

Apart from the rolls,  tucked snugly  at the side of the basket were packets of garnishing  to go with the lumpia : spring onions, garlic, chili padi and some brownish sauce.

If you get to Semarang, don’t miss out to visit the Cheng Ho temple , extracted from

: In Semarang, there is a Sam Po Kong Temple which is known to locals as Gedong Batu Temple(Kelenteng Gedong Batu). According to one story, during one of the Admiral Zheng He’s expedition, one of his trusted lieutenants, Wang Jing Hong, was taken suddenly ill. As a result, the fleet stopped at Semarang and they found a cave and use it as temporary shelter. Later, people built a temple to commemorate Zheng He at that site and it was known as Gedong Batu or Kedong Batu meaning ‘piles of natural stones used for damming a river).

 I had a chance for a brief stop at the temple and it was huge ! ( had to keep on reminding myself that  I am in Indonesia where ignorant little me would not have associate this country with  having  Chinese temples.

And while I am on the subject, I was amazed/ appreciative that for such a populus muslim country , the Indonesians I met were rather liberal, one could go to a Chinese restaurant which serves pork and find muslim patron having a pork free meal, or muslims eating their pork free meal at a kopitiam where there were  other stalls selling pork dishes, this was to me like a breath of fresh air (view in contrast to the situation in my own country).

When I was in Semarang, I got to know who was  the most famous ‘icon’  from our  Malaysian shores  to this neighboring country . Datuk Siti Nurhaliza? No….Datuk M…No….the answer Upin dan Ipin, if you don’t know of them, please click here. These characters  have a good following in Indonesia, the customer’s we met automatically  associate that I am from Malaysia to- oh,,this was where Upin and Ipin are from.

When I heard the name –Pesta Keboen, my head was filled with images of an open field,  lighted with coloured light bulbs, plastic chairs and hawker stalls so it was a surprise when we drove into a compound housing a bungalow-liked building.

There were two types of seating arrangement – indoors or alfresco we had  2 smokers with us, we chose to dine under the open sky.

While waiting to be waited on, I wandered around the well decorated place filled with curios including old irons, telephones, pictures of film stars of bygone era including one of Amy Pichard..

It was very pleasant to sit outdoors, the night air which was heavy with the aroma of flowers intermitted with that of cigarette smoke..cough cough cough…

We were offered some chips in a pretty ancient looking container  and a jamu drink each –the drink taste like assam plus tumeric and not sure what else..

 It was too hard to please everyone, so we decide to save our gray matters from the workout and ordered one of the set meal R. Tanjung Emas ( Rp 210000) without sapi (beef) as we had non beef eaters amongst us.

Drinks- the waiter suggested something something with young coconut- I was expecting to sip on a a young biji of coconut , but the drink  turn out to be scraped young coconut on top of flavoured shaved ice, this was quite nice .The portions were big and  it took me quite a while to clean it all up. This was called Es Kopyor ( Rp 23500 which is ~RM8.50) Es = iced

 Kangkong belacan- from  the leaves and stems, these seemed to be smaller than the usual kamgkong I find on my plate back in KL. The aroma of belacan was rather ( too) pungent and sharp, a bit of  amonnia-ish

 Ikan gurame bakar – the fish didn’t have the ‘earthy’ taste like the one we had yesterday. This was meaty and although deep fried, some sweetness can still be tasted in the fish.

Prawns – the prawns on skewers came with a nutty-ish peanut ( satay sauce ) dip. This was niceeeeee

Soup – this was a bit sourish and umm..a bit different la..

 Overall, a good meal, top marks for ambience ! I must say that the price Rp 330000~ RM117 was rather reasonable

 Location  : Jl. Veteran No.29 Semarang, Jawa Tengah Telepon : 024 8310620

Semarang is about an hour by flight from Jakarta, distance is about 400km. Semarang is the capital of Central Java and the fifth largest city in Indonesia. After a day of hard work : pen pushing and winning at staring contest with customers, it was time for dinner . Huuurrahh…

Destination : Kampung Laut ( translated to mean Sea village). There were a few choice in seating areas / settings , sitting cross legged on the raised wooden platform , or on the chairs, under cover or no covers. As it was a breezy night, we chose to sit by the river ,  or was it a lake ? can’t tell really as it was dark and I could only tell that the boardwalk was above the water . To get a better idea, you can view pictures of Kampung Laut by clicking here  

What we ate that night :

Grilled fish paste. This was yummy-licious, the fish paste had a  firm and springy texture and the fragarant of the banana leaves penetrated  the fish paste making it so aromatic .Do we have fish paste cooked this way in Malaysia ?

Fried gurame – the fish was deep fried and part of the flesh was thin and crunchy, the fish had a ‘earthy’ kinda smell which I do not particularly like. And being deep fried, it was a bit hard to try to  tear / break off a chunk of fish meat  without causing too much of commotion at the table.

Prawns in sweet and spicy sauce – the gravy was very good, thick and sufficiently sweet and not overly sour. I had an extra prawn just so that I could taste more of the gravy. The prawns were fresh and sweet too.

Stir fried kailan- this was a bit overcooked for my liking, the kailan were too soft and lost it’s crunchiness. So so la

Overall, food wise an average meal, great ambiance though