A Friend Who Knows No Strangers

The first time I’ve been encountered with “this friend” was at a buffet dinner in one of the 5-star hotels in Jakarta.


Who is this friend who knows no strangers?

This friend’s name is “Potato au Gratin”

Tom Hirschfeld in http://www.food52.com wrote about Potato au Gratin as follows:

“Have you ever had a friend who knows no strangers? The kind of genuine person to whom everyone in the room gravitates — someone who doesn’t have to work at meeting new people, because somehow it is coded into their DNA for others to like them? 

A potato gratin is just such a friend. A friend who hangs out with all the cool entrees too: an herb-crusted roast beef taking a bath in a platter of flavorful juices or a perfectly roasted chicken with crackly brown skin are its best friends.”

I couldn’t agree more with Tom Hirschfeld hence the title of this post.

What is potato gratin?

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Sweeten Mother’s Day with Something Sweet


All  Moms are special, including my Mom.

Every time Mother’s Day arrives, I always remember special foods that my Mom cooked for me during my childhood.

No doubt that there’s a powerful connection between my Mom and foods. After all, it was my Mom who fed me my first meal and most of the foods I ate growing up.  My Mom comforted me with my favorite soup, cheer me up with sweet treat, and made my favorite meals just because she loved me.

To sweeten Mother’s Day, I would like to share a simple sweet treat locally known as “Manisan Kolang Kaling” (candied palm fruit) which my Mom often made for me and my sisters as sweet treat when we were kids.

What is ‘Kolang Kaling’?

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Does buffalo have wings?

buffalo with wings

When I first saw the sign board of  “Buffalo Wings” restaurant in Jakarta, I mumbled “does buffalo have wings?” while at the same time I was having a wild imagination just like the picture above (found in  http://www.worth1000.com)

I was ignorant hence that ‘stupid question’ and ‘wild imagination’

Then I found out that Buffalo Wings are actually chicken wings and they taste soooo good!

For those of you who haven’t heard that “buffalo does have wings” perhaps you are interested to know “where did Buffalo Wings get their name?

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Egg-xotic Eggs for Easter


Easter is coming again………

It’s time to hunt for those multi-colored painted eggs.

Talking about egg, there’s a culinary tradition I miss quite a bit from my childhood that has to do with egg. Duck egg….. salted duck egg.


Salted duck egg?

Yes, that’s right! We, Indonesian (and also many Asian) eat salted duck egg.

salted egg step 4

The egg white has a sharp, salty taste. The orange red yolk is rich, fatty, and less salty. The yolk is prized and is used in Chinese moon cakes to symbolize the moon.

Despite its name, salted duck eggs can also be made from chicken eggs, though the taste and texture will be somewhat different, and the egg yolk will be less rich.

What is salted duck egg?

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What is it after Chinese New Year?


What is it after Chinese New Year?

Did the fun of Chinese New year celebration stop after that?

Well, guess what…….

Precisely 15 days after the Chinese New Year celebration, there is Cap Go Meh.

What is Cap Go Meh?

Cap Goh Meh is a festival celebrated in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore on the fifteenth day of the first month in the lunar calendar.

In Hokkien dialect Cap Go Meh means the fifteenth evening (cap= ten, go =five, meh=evening). It is also known as the Lantern Festival (Yuanxiao Festival or Shangyuan Festival) in China; Yuen Siu Festival in Hong Kong, Tết Thượng Nguyên or Tết Nguyên Tiêu in Vietnam; and Koshōgatsu in Japan. It officially ends the Chinese New Year celebrations.

This year, as Chinese New Year fell on 19th February 2015, the Cap Go Meh Celebration took place on 5th March 2015.

It is interesting to see how the celebration has evolved through the years and how it is celebrated throughout Indonesia today. It has become a major festival attracting many local tourists to the various cities.

Several Cap Go Meh fairs and parades (including dragon & lion dances) took place throughout the archipelago, sometimes with an interesting local touch.

In Singkawang, Kalimantan, people are attracted by Tatung performers – people believed to be possessed by the spirits of ancestors – the performance has similarities with Dayak rituals and is also performed by local Dayaks.

This year the celebration of Cap Go Meh festival in my country become very special as our President Jokowi attended this celebration in his favorite satellite city Bogor. This visit to Bogor Street Festival Cap Go Meh 2015 was to encourage other cities to do the same to attract more tourist and also for supporting pluralism.


Jokowi di Bogor Street Festival Cap Go Meh

In my country, Cap Go Meh is also associated with a very well-known dish for this festival named “Lontong Cap Go Meh”

What is Lontong Cap Go Meh?

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Celebrate the Year of Goat with Homely Chinese Food


The Lunar New Year is fast approaching and countries throughout Asia are gearing up to celebrate.

In my country, Chinese New Year is declared as a national holiday. This year it falls on 19 February and is called as the year of goat.  The goat is the lucky eighth sign of the zodiac. It’s meant 
to be a year of harmony, home comfort and abundance!

While New Year’s customs vary throughout Chinese Indonesian communities in the Indonesian archipelago, the spirit underlying the celebration of Chinese Lunar New Year  is the same; a sincere wish for peace, happiness and prosperity for family members and friends.

As Indonesia counts a large population of those with Chinese descent, most of whom have lived here for generations, Chinese New Year, also is known as Imlek is celebrated with lots of fanfare in many townships across the archipelago.

On New Year’s eve, Chinese families whose members may be living far apart, make it point to gather at New Year’s eve family dinner. The next morning they will all go to the temple to pray.

Imlek 2015 Kompas-comPicture from Kompas.com dated 18 – 2 – 2015

Although our family don’t celebrate Chinese New year but since it’s going to be a holiday, I am planning to mark the occasion by cooking one of our favorite homely Chinese Foods called Mun Tofu or also known in my country as Mun Tahu.

Why Mun Tofu? 

It’s just the right dish for a humble welcome to the Year of the Goat, with easy-to-find ingredients and a dish that is effortlessly achievable.

Here’s the recipe of my version of Mun Tofu


  • 300 gr silk tofu, diced
  • 200 gr minced beef
  • 100 gr button mushroom, sliced
  • 2 stalk of green onion, finely sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • Cooking oil
  • 100 ml water


  • 2 beef bullion cubes
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch, dissolved in 100ml water
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil (optional when desired)


  • Heat the wok until smoke out. Add cooking oil.
  • Add minced garlic, sauté until fragrant and golden brown.
  • Add minced beef. Stir fry until the color changed.
  • Add the button mushroom
  • Season with all the spices except cornstarch and sesame oil.
  • Cook until 3/4 cooked.
  • Add tofu and green onion.
  • Stir carefully until the spices well blended.
  • Pour into water, cook over moderate heat for about 5 minutes.
  • Add cornstarch mixture, mix well until boiling and thickened.
  • Add sesame oil, mix to blend.
  • Remove from the heat.

Serve warm with rice.

Mun Tahu sapi gilingGONG XI FA CAI

2014 in review

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Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 42,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 16 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

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