Beef Rendang @ Padi, College Ave, Berkeley
2012 has been wonderful year for me and it was appropriate to end it with a nice Indonesian dinner that hit close to home with my beloved friends. For appetizers, we had Otak Otak Panggang (BBQ fish cake wrapped in banana leaves) and Tempeh Goreng (fried soy bean cake).
New Year’s Eve Dinner @ Borobudur Restaurant, San Francisco
My friend ordered Beef Rendang, which is a rich beef stew made with coconut milk. I did not try it but it sure did look and smell good.
I ordered the Nasi Uduk Lengkap, which consists of rice cooked with coconut milk, fried chicken, beef, crisps, strips of fried egg and tofu in not-so-spicy sauce. Out of all the sides that came with the rice, I liked the chicken the best.
Other dishes that my friends ordered were Mie Tek Tek (spicy fried noodles) and Ayam Bakar Cabe which is supposed to be spicy BBQ chicken.
Great way to conclude an amazing year and to welcome the start of 2013!
Mee Goreng @ Jayakarta, Berkeley
There are times when I greatly miss Malay cuisine and fortunately for me, there is an Indonesian / Singaporean restaurant not too far from my college campus. While it may not be the best out there, it does rid me off that sense of deprivation from time to time. There is one dish that I do think is pretty close to the real deal, and that would be their Mee Goreng (Fried Noodle), which is what I will order without fail every single time I go to Jayakarta.
Asian French Toast with Cheese @ Universal Cafe, Seria, Brunei
This has everything I like – egg, carbs, molten cheese sandwiched in the middle and sugar on the side. This soft and fluffy french toast works well when dipped in sugar or ketchup — you can’t go wrong either way.
Keropok @ Soon Lee Mega Mart, Kuala Belait
Locally made keropok (crisps) with peanuts and dried anchovies. I was hoping to buy one of those bitter crisps, the name of which I can’t remember at the moment, but the store ran out of them I got this instead. I actually dig local Malay crisps more than stuff like Doritos or Lays.
Nasi Goreng Hot Point @ Hot Point, The Mall, Brunei
I did not order this but some of my family members did and gave their vote of approval. They especially liked the fried chicken.
Laksa @ Hot Point, The Mall, Brunei
Satisfied my cravings for laksa with this humongous bowl of noodles drowned in coconut milk goodiness. That said, I did wish that the soup was spicier because I found it extremely mild. I will forever be haunted by the laksa I had in Singapore.
Food, food everywhere.
The Stadium is simply food galore at this time of the year and if it were not for the heat, I could spend ages oogling at the hundred things that I want to eat but cannot down all in one night. Gotta say that I respect the food vendors who cook and sell food under the blazing sun while fasting — that takes great willpower and tolerance. Here are few of the sights at Stadium; few because I was too preoccupied hunting for food and deciding what to have for dinner:
Gerai Ramadhan @ Stadium Hassanal Bolkiah, Brunei
Tungking ayam, which is quite literally chicken butt. This is a uniquely Malay appetizer that is savoury,chewy and like many delicious food, full of saturated fat. Most non-locals will display signs of aversion to this dish upon hearing the description of tungking ayam so it is recommended to let the unsuspecting tourist experience the fleeting joy that this sinfully savoury appetizer brings before breaking the news to them that they just ate chicken butts on a stick. At least, that is what I plan to do if my friends from college do come to Brunei 😀
Deep fried goodies of all types such as popiah ayam (chicken egg roll), popiah pisang (banana egg roll), cucur udang (battered shrimp) and bergedil (deep fried potato and beef patty). Even looking at them creates a wave of nostalgia in me. Burgerdil brings me back to my primary school days, when I would push my way to the front of the hungry mob at the school canteen to secure my daily dose of bergedil. Cucur udang brings me about ten years back to the days when my mom would regularly cook them for meals. And popiah pisang simply reminds me of a phase that I went through a few years ago when I was obsessed with popiah pisang from Sumbangsih and could not stop eating it (or thinking about it for that matter).
Sambal stingray, something that I hardly eat but should probably eat more of since they don’t have stuff like this in America. My friend shared some with me and it was delicious!
In the end, I found myself truly torn between two items: nasi ayam penyet and beef kebab. I ended up getting both. However, I felt guilty at the thought of consuming two meals for dinner so the little voice in my head convinced me save my kebab for lunch the next day. Yay me for exercising some self control.
There are a lot of stalls selling burgers at Stadium, including the famous Taty’s burger which I have yet to try. There is also a stall that sells burgers that were originally from Kuala Lumpur and one of the items on their menu was the Tower burger with nine patties, priced at BND 50. Definitely the most expensive burger you can find in Brunei.
The grilled satays and honey chicken wings were also very alluring but I was satisfied with my nasi ayam penyet and kebab. I recently found out from a friend that Brunei made it into the Guinness World Record in 2009 for “The Largest Serving Grilled Satay in the World”. 1,184kg of chicken meat was used, and this number was not arbitrarily chosen. It signifies the date of Brunei’s independence which was on 1st January 1984. More details here.
I am proud to say that I fared pretty well at Gerai Ramadhan by not completely caving in to all of my cravings. The Malay kuehs (cakes) such as tapak kuda were extremely tempting but I refrained myself from getting some, having had kek batik for the past two days. Speaking of kek batik, I plan on making some when I’m back at the States — both for my own gastronomic pleasure and to introduce my college friends to the awesomeness of Malay cakes. Looks like I am going to have to pack some Marie biscuits in my luggage!
328 Katong Laksa @ Changi International Airport
I have gotten too used to expecting food with rip-off prices in airports, thanks to the likes of SFO and Heathrow. At SGD $7, this Katong Laksa is a relatively good deal for ‘airport’ food that is not fast food.
This laksa was joy in a bowl to me; the noodles were nice and thick and there was a decent amount of seafood, although I have to admit that the cockles were too fishy for my liking. However, the best part was the soup and its coconut milk goodiness. Perfect way to conclude my four day layover in Singapore!