Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Pasar Raya Indonesia 2016

Last month on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of September the Embassy of Indonesia in Netherlands held Pasar Raya Indonesia 2016 - an Indonesian festival in celebration of the country's independence and a fun fair in the middle of the summer. This year event is hosted in Sekolah Indonesia Nederland and I went for a visit on it's second day which is a Saturday. The school ground is crowded with tourists and locals visiting for a good taste of the Indonesian cultures: Indonesian songs, food, souvenirs, clothing and memorabilia can be found in multiple stands on the ground. Coming to the grounds, I was instantly reminded of Gelora Bung Karno on a Sunday -- the people, the pace, the environment were sooo similar.

I went to the ground by a bus from Den Haag Centraal. It was a special bus that goes directly to the event venue, I remember it reads 'Pasar Raya Indonesia via Wassenaar' and really the bus was filled with Indonesian filling in the vehicle. It literally doesn't feel as if we're in Netherlands - it takes me back to the days I spent riding the bus around Manggarai. It was definitely a fun sight and I immediately feel as if I'm back home (but with more 'bule' -- how the Indonesian refer to foreigners). Surprisingly, there were people of various background coming to the event and I'm really happy that people all around the world are interested in Indonesian culture or even engaging themselves in it.

But actually, what we're really about is, of course, the food! It was one month since I last have an Indonesian food and as I am writing this one month later I feel like crying because I'm really missing these foods so bad. Many of the food available for purchase are those of Sumatra and Java origins, but that doesn't make me any less excited. I walked in with 20 Euros and have got plenty of food but I wish I would've bought more to take home hehe. And a bit of a notice, I'm sorry that I don't remember the names of the seller or the booths during the day but I hope this post can give a good guide to the general pricing of the food and a little more insight about the event.

Pempek Kapal Selam (EUR 6.50)
Pempek -- fried fishcake made with tapioca, served 'kapal selam' style which means submarine style as the round pempek filled with a whole egg is cut and drenched in the sweet vinegar sauce that is served with egg noodle and cucumber. Other types of pempek were also available on the grounds but I didn't find any pempek kulit -- fried fishcake made of fish skin, which I wanted at the time. Regarding the fish, I don't have any idea of what kind of fish is used with this one hehe but I wish it is saltier as it got pretty bland after a few bites.

Sate Padang (EUR 6.00)
This is honestly one of the best Sate Padang I've had in my life and it is surely one of the spiciest I've had. Maybe it's the vibe, maybe that I miss it too much, maybe it's my well-adapted tongue, maybe it's just that this is one amazing dish. The sliced beef and tongue is cut into dice-sized cubes and were grilled in their marinade. It was served with rice cake, drizzled with the turmeric-gingery-spicy sauce and topped with fried shallots. One thing they did differently is that this was added with a spoonful of yellow gulai curry and green chili sambal. It was so spicy and delicious, it was also life-changing. I might start to add green sambal and a dash of gulai in the future.

Tahu Isi (EUR 1.50)
This one piece of fried stuffed tofu is about the same price as the ones sold in the first-tier Indonesian restaurant back home. Good thing it packed a good flavor and it was filled with the typical filling of mixed vegetables and ground chicken. Fried until golden brown, this is sure an Indonesian street food staple. Served with birds eye chili, a classic.

Es Cendol (EUR 2.00)
The es cendol is typically made with a paste of rice flour and pandan leaves that are cut into bite-sized pieces served with coconut milk and palm sugar that is served cold. The rice flour 'jelly' was chewy and the drink is supposedly almost overwhelmingly sweet -- but this one I got, in particular, is just so-so. Now as I am writing this, all I want is a glass of ice cold cendol from Restaurant Sunda Kelapa in Ancol, North Jakarta where you can get the best serving of es cendol in Jakarta.

Sosis Solo (EUR 1.50)
This is one thick Sosis Solo! Sosis Solo translates into Solo (an area of the greater Central Java) sausage but it is not necessarily formed like a typical sausage. This is actually a fried dish with a crepe-like skin that is filled with grounded beef. The beef was cooked with spices and also a good dose of sugar that gives it a signature sweetness. The fried dish is not usually crunchy, instead, it was wet and rich and typically served with birds eye chili. My favorite dish out of the typical Indonesian party snacks and this one did it justice -- in even bigger size than what sosis solo is usually served back home.

Sticky rice cooked in palm sugar. Loads of it. Also cooked with coconut milk and pandan leaves. Super sweet dish that got its name due to its four-sided diamond-like shape.

Jamu Beras Kencur (IDR 3.00)
A serving of jamu -- traditional Indonesian herbal drink in a glass is served at 3 Euros while one shot of jamu is priced at 1 Euro. I ordered jamu beras kencur for its milky and gingery sweetness but instead I got a mix of jamu beras kencur (galangal) and jamu kunyit asem (tamarind-turmeric). Still, it is one nostalgic concoction. 

Batagor (EUR 6.00)
Batagor stands for bakso-tahu-goreng which means fried meatballs and tofu. It is usually sought as the fried version of siomay. A pack costs 6 Euros alongside with a condiment of a ground peanut sauce. I was so happy of having a proper peanut sauce as many common ones I found in the Netherlands (usually called satesaus which tastes too much like a pindakaas - peanut butter) were too sweet and thick for my taste. This is one good batagor and it smelled so good that I ate it only a few hours later by the Scheveningen beach (another post on that soon!) and the fish still remains gragrant and the skin of the batagor remained crispy. 

I was pretty impressed of the whole event and I hope that the next Pasar Raya Indonesia can be even bigger and better. It is unfortunate that we only stayed here for the food but the place got too crowded and we were interested in discovering more of Den Haag. Next post will be about the continuation of our short visit to Den Haag and a bit more about the capital city of South Holland and the country's center of government, so stay tuned! :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Prost to Oktoberfest 2016


I visited the Oktoberfest ground at Therensienwiese, Munich the venue for the annual biggest beef fest in the world. I went for two days during the second week of the three weeks celebration - one on a Sunday and the other on Monday, only to be stunned by the number of people going in and out of the ground. During my first visit, my friends and I decided to wake up at 4 a.m. in the morning and got there at 7 a.m. only to see the ground is still closed and there were not many people around. At first we were afraid that we're gonna be late and lose any seatings on the tents but it turn out the Sunday crowd is not crazy as the Saturday one was and we were sort of relieved.

8 a.m. and the entrance to Oktoberfest is finally open for public. We decide to look around the big tents which are building that each represent a brand of German beer. Pick a tent, come inside, and order some beer of the same brand name of the tent and enjoy your day. Every tent has its own unique decor and it attracts a different kind of visitor.  As for the food menu, every tent pretty much offers similar items -- but many other foods at available outside the tents for a better price.


The Hacker Festhalle tent is our pick of the day as it was both popular for locals and tourists. Practically there's a queue forming by the second the gate is open. The tent is sponsored by the Hacker-Pschorr Brewery and it is notable for its dreamy decoration with clouds all over the room and beautiful scenery painted on its walls designed by Rolf Zehetbauer, an Oscar-winning set designer that beautifully showcased the Bavarian lifestyle through history. As we arrive early into the tent, the bands have yet to perform but many people were cheering and chanting as they were enjoying their beer - and then singing the hook from Hey Baby (If You'll Be My Girl); even we joined singing after catching up to the lyrics over and over again.

All of the tents offer their beers by the litre. The Hacker-Pschorr beer is sold at the price of EUR 10.60 including all tax and services, but tipping is customary. A good way to calculate it is to round up the money to the nearest whole number. When you get seated, an assigned waiter/waitress will come to your table and let you order things off their menu. They will firstly ask how many beers would you like, serve it, and then you can proceed with your other order. Enjoy your beer by cheering 'Prost!' as you're toasting.

Münchner Weißwurst (EUR 7.20)
We got ourselves a plate of Weißwurst that consist of white sausage of veal meat that is boiled in its encased closing alongside with a pretzel (German: Brezen) with a sprinkle of salt. It is also served with a sweet mustard sauce named Weißwurstsenf. You typically don't eat the sausage case as you suck the meat separately. It is also usually served with a soup but I guess for practicality the serve the links as it is. The dish was delicious and a good breakfast meal -- and the menu is only available until 14.00, per the breakfast tradition!

 There's a non-alcoholic beer option, too in every tent.

Käsespätzle (EUR 12.50)
The Käsespätzle is a dish consisting of pasta-like German noodles served with cheese and fried onion. This cheese spaetzle is served with salad on the side and is sort os a macaroni and cheese dish. This is a good side dish (or even mains, really) as it is salty, cheese and rich but the price is pretty hefty for this one.

At a random split-of-a-moment there might be a person or two who will stand on the benches and try chugging their whole glass of beer in one 'standing' as the crowd cheer for them. If they are successful, they will be cheered by the whole tent (in this particular, a tent of 6900 people or more!) and you get to lead a chant and just made the whole tent more cheery and spirited. But if you fail, prepared to get booed... hard. That's what you get when you go into a tent with a fully spirited crowd.

Candied Apple EUR 3.00 

Candied Apple (White Chocolate) EUR 2.5

Gingerbread Heart Cookies  EUR 3.50 - 7.00

The things that are happening outside the tent is more fun, if not as, than what was happening inside. It was also more family friendly with tons of food sold on the streets and amusement park rides available for the public. I didn't expect Oktoberfest is similar to a fun fair, but turn out it really was -- only with more beer. 

Pretzel (Brezen) EUR 3.50 - 5.50 

You can purchase tickets for every ride individually. We rode the ferris wheel and 1 round goes for about eight spins with a great view across the city. The ticket price per person is EUR 8.00. Not good for the acrophobic.

 Ice Cream Cone EUR 3.00

 Candied Fruits EUR 4.00

As we finish our first day in the early in the afternoon, we have another visit on Monday. Per the suggestion of our Airbnb host, we tried out the AugustinerBrau - Augustiner beer tent that he said to be the best producer of beer in the world. I don't really care much for the beer but we got excited to visit a different tent and see the different vibes. The AugustinerBrau was pretty crowded when we came, at about 1 p.m. in the afternoon. The place is filled with mostly locals who are enjoying beers that are served on their 1-liter glass (or Maß - read 'Maass') right out of the wooden barrel. The order method is pretty much similar to what I've explained before, but the price of the beer is slightly cheaper with EUR 10.40 per glass.

 Apple Cider EUR 4.95

Zitronen Limonade EUR 4.95 

 Mixed Cola EUR 4.95

1/2 Augustiner Wiesn Hendl (EUR 10.70)
This is a classic Oktoberfest dish -- grilled chicken seasoned with simple salt and pepper but is grilled on a rolling stick and resulted in juicy chicken and crispy skin all around. You can buy this similar type of chicken outside the tent for a cheaper price but you won't get the experience of being seated in one of the best crowd, having fun.

1/2 Schweinshinterhaxe mit Rohem Kartoffelknödel (EUR 19.50)
Pork knuckle with a side of kartoffelknödel.

Kartoffelknödel (EUR 5.50)
Kartoffelknödel can be somewhat translated to potato noodle, a mixed of potato and noodle dough formed into a ball  that is boiled until it becomes chewy and cooked through. This one, in particular, is served with gravy-stock sauce.

Kaizerschmann mit Apfelmus, Marillen o. Zwetschge (EUR 6.95)
Kaizerschmann is some sort of German dessert with 'scrambled' pancake that is drizzled with sweet toppings. It is served on a plate of cone 'plate' so that the Kaizerschmann and the serving plate is all edible.

Kaizerschmann mit Eierlikór oder Baileys (EUR 7.95)
Similar to above, this eggy and fluffy pancake bites is served on an edible cone plate but is drizzled with syrup and concentrated Baileys. Sweeter and milkier than the tart Kaizerschmann that was served with apple.

 Chicken Schnitzle (EUR 4.00)

As we were walking around, there are parading horses on the ground - promoting each beer brands and became a crowd attraction. The rest of the grounds were also really fun, you can sight different things all over the corner and you'll see the crowd in traditional costumes either drinking or eating something while enjoying the fun fair. I was really happy for this experience and as I went early in the morning to the afternoon, the crowd had yet to become too crazy and everything was pretty orderly. But be mindful of your expense as everything is so inviting here. A good tip I got off the net is to prepare EUR 50 per day and to always bring cash as it is the only accepted payment around the Theresienwiese ground. The food was nice, the people were fun, the toilets are clean, the company is good, it was all a good experience that is way more than what I was expecting. Prost for an even better adventure in the future!