Less known delicious Thai foods you should try

Before living in Thailand, what we know about the country's culinary scenery is very limited to Pad Thai, Pandan Chicken, Thai Mango Salad, and surely the superstar Tom Yum Goong with its sibling Tom Kha Gai. 

After arriving, we discovered early on that most locals don't eat Pad Thai, they're more prefer a dish called Pad Kra Pao. Khao Man Gai (chicken rice) is everywhere and ridiculously cheap, most of the street food lunch spots provide free drinking water, there are tons of variants of Som Tum, and the street food on most parts is well thought out and managed.

After one and a half years of discovery, we strongly feel that there are traditional Thai foods that needed more exposure due to their amazing taste, so be sure to include these foods in your eating itineraries.

Halal-wise, all options mentioned here are non-pork, though cross-contamination might occurs.

1. Pla Dook Foo

This is a "cotton" crispy fish made of ground catfish meat deep-fried in batter. The result is a texture play that begins with crispiness as you bite the dish, but then after some while, turns into a pleasing chewy texture, packing a punch of umami from the fish meat and the batter. Depending on the variant, you would either get a Pla Dook Foo with sweet and sour sauce, Nam Pla Dook with fish sauce and mixed with raw shallots and raw mango, or Yum Pla Dook with raw mango salad on the side.

2. Som Tum

This dish is so amazing that Red Hot Chilli Peppers made a song about this, ",,, Som Tum I feel like I don't have a partner, som tum I feel like, my only friends..." 

Joking aside, what's commonly known as Thai Papaya Salad, turned out to have endless variety. Everything can be turned into Som Tum, from raw papaya (i.e. the original version), green mango, sweet corn, fermented crabs, seafood, salted egg, and century egg. If you can think about it, then there's probably a Som Tum version of it.  

Our favorite version is the Som Tum Mamuang (green mango) for the contrast of spicy savory sour taste, and Som Tum Khao Pod (sweet corn) for its sweetish flavor.

3. Larb

Imagine Som Tum but done with meat instead of vegetables. A definitely must ingredient of Larb is khao kua, or toasted sticky rice. It adds a crunchy texture to the dish, moderating its spiciness, and adds a nice roasted aroma.

The most popular version of Larb is definitely pork, however, the chicken version is also very popular. Beef and lamb version is quite rare, while the less common version but definitely worth trying is Larb Ped or Duck Larb (left one on the previous photo).

Don't be discouraged by its pale looks, because the taste is definitely awesome. So awesome, KFC Thailand decided to have their own version of fried chicken larb, sold as Spicy Chicken Rice Bowl, another definitely must try if you ever encountered one.

Breakfast and Work From Anywhere (WFA) recommendations in Bintaro, South Tangerang.

As my youngest is now enrolled in an elementary school in Bintaro, both me and wifey have been doing a couple of explorations of the neighborhood. 

The goal is to find a comfortable place for me to do a couple of works while waiting for my boy to finish school at 11 am. Not too far from Bintaro Plaza so we don't get stuck in traffic, also as his school starts at 7 am, then we need options that are already open by then. As for food, we'll be opting more for coffee, but good food wouldn't hurt.

Turned out it was quite hard.

Most coffee shops in the Bintaro open after 9, and the fancier ones at 10, which doesn't fit our needs. Meanwhile, those that open early are quite far away. 

After seeing we have very few options, we found it's better to reduce the requirements to open at 8 am instead of 7 am, thus we're able to expand our list a little bit. Here they are: 

  1. Kedai Kopi Kani (Sektor 1)
  2. Pigeonhole Coffee (Sektor 1)
  3. Stuja Coffee (Sektor 1)
  4. Omnikopi
  5. Blue Korintji
  6. Kopi Manyar
  7. Dandy Bakery 
  8. Dua Coffee @Bintaro
  9. Kedai Western
  10. Alaric Coffee
(The third one is not a coffee shop but it opens early). 

So what should we do between 7:15 and 8:00? We figured we'll just look for breakfast. 

In the next post, we'll be sharing snapshots of the places on the list. Do you know other places we should explore?

p.s.: You can also find the updated list here: https://goo.gl/maps/wXdsLFSEYTt9xGw86

Halal Thai Cuisine at Home Cuisine Bangkok

While Tom Yum could be considered as the face of Thai food, along with Pad Thai, personally I found Tom Kha more exciting. It's a creamy sour soup with a strong hint of galangal and usually served with chicken. It's delicious, refreshing, and fits really well to be labeled as comfort food.

A big surprise I later discovered was to find this shrimp version of Tom Kha, in Home Cuisine, one of the oldest halal Thai restaurant in Bangkok. It has all the goodness of Tom Kha Gai, plus the sweetness of the shrimps, a must try for shrimp lovers!

Home Cuisine,
Halal Indian and Thai Cuisine,
In front of the French Embassy,
186 Charoen Krung 36 Alley,
Bang Rak,

Mid-Eastern Halal treats at Al-Hussain Bangkok

A Mid-Eastern/Indian food festivities at Al-Hussain near Nana, Sukhumvit.

The restaurant location made me feels like being teleported into "Arabic Kuta", due to the narrow alleys and the presence of small restaurants and cafes, just like Kuta, Bali. The difference is that instead of westerners and Balinese, here you have Mid-Eastern patrons and visitors.

As with the quality of the food, the mutton Kabuli is to die for, and other dishes we ordered was simply gorgeous. The whole eating experience itself made me feels like singing that Lego Movie song, "Everything is awesome..."

Sukhumvit Soi 3 ("Soi Arab")

Foodscape & Food Tourism Blueprint di Indonesia

Berikut ini sedikit catatan mengenai draft dari blueprint pengembangan foodscape daerah tujuan wisata Indonesia, sebagai hasil diskusi kelompok dalam acara Dialog Gastronomi Nasional 2017, yang mengusung tema “From Food to Root – The Rise of Gastronomy Tourism” diselenggarakan 29 Maret 2017 oleh Akademi Gastronomi Indonesia (AGI) bekerjasama dengan Kemenpar:

  • Di dalam blueprint pengembangan foodscape, perlu ada strategi yang tepat untuk memposisikan millenial customer dalam konsep bisnis suatu usaha makanan, mengingat potensinya di masa mendatang, sekaligus tantangan-tantangan yang muncul di masa kini (cenderung pelit, banyak tuntutan, dll.).
  • Sebelum bicara foodscape lebih luas, perlu dipikirkan bagaimana cara supaya makanan Indonesia kembali dikenal dan digemari oleh konsumen Indonesia, misalnya jenis inovasi yang bisa dilakukan, pengemasan, branding, dan pengubahan persepsi secara nasional oleh Kemenpar.
  • Dalam pembangunan foodscape, perlu ada program yang jelas untuk mendapatkan feedback mengenati motivasi, pain points, dan trigger dari sasaran pelanggan, sehingga bisa dijadikan insight untuk mengubah kebiasaan konsumsi mereka, sekaligus memperbaiki kualitas layanan suatu bisnis makanan.
  • Diperlukan adanya pengikutsertaan kaum millenial dalam promosi foodscape, misalnya menjadikannya agen promosi foodscape melalui kapasitasnya sebagai Key Opinion Leader (KOL). Usaha juga perlu ditargetkan kepada para idola kaum millenial (penyanyi, bintang film, atlet), untuk berpartisipasi aktif sesuai bidangnya, misalnya menciptakan lagu pop bertema makanan tradisional.
  • Dalam melestarikan foodscape perlu diadakan pembakuan formula untuk menjaga otensitas suatu masakan, konsistensi kualitas, serta cara untuk memodifikasinya menjadi hidangan yang disukai masyarakat luas. Misalnya: SOP, standardisasi, serta sertifikasi berjenjang yang dikeluarkan lembaga kredibel.
  • Untuk mendukung pengembangan foodscape, pengusaha bisnis makanan memerlukan panduan untuk brand identity, service model, hygiene, dan product development. Product development termasuk bagaimana caranya memanfaatkan bahan pangan lokal, serta mendorong terciptanya sinergi antara stakeholders foodscape di suatu daerah tujuan wisata.
  • Dalam menciptakan kenyamanan bagi pelanggan, perlu ada pendekatan holistik dengan memperhatikan panca indera, misalnya: faktor ergonomis untuk kursi dan meja makan, jenis lagu yang cocok untuk diputar sesuai jenis masakan dan selera pelanggan, suhu ideal dan cara menciptakannya, cara mengeliminasi bau yang mengganggu, warna lampu dan ruangan yang memberikan rasa nyaman, dll.

Digital Marketing for Branding Semarang National Seminar Semarang

If you're in Semarang on Saturday, 9 September 2017, head over to IMA Undip's event where I'd be presenting about Digital Marketing for Semarang Branding on Food and Tourism. See you!
INDONESIA MARKETING ASSOCIATION (IMA) sub chapter Universitas Diponegoro proudly present:

"Digital Marketing for Branding Semarang"


1. Trenggono, S.IP, M.Par
Kepala Bidang Pemasaran Pariwisata Dinas Kepemudaan, Olahraga dan Pariwisata Jawa Tengah

2. Hero Wijayadi
Founder Herosoftmedia Digital Agency

3. Bayu Amus
Food Blogger and Head of User Experience OLX Indonesia

Date and Place:
📅 Saturday, 9th 2017 September
⏰ 8 a.m
📍 Telkom Building, 8th floor Semarang
⚫ Student : 45k
⚫ Public : 55k
- Knowledge
- Seminar Kit
- Lunch
- Snack
- Sertificate
Registration Format:
Registration and Contact Person:
📞 Mirza (085733123159/Line: mirzarahmaniar
📞 Sindy (081327140928/Line: nursindyoktavia)
More info:
Instagram : @todays_marketing
Line Official : @zvm9215h
#visitsemarang #exploresemarang#semarang #semarangevent#epicurinaSMG

3257 Traditional Indonesian Dishes Discovered

On her latest research on Indonesian Gastronomy, Prof. Dr. Ir. Murdijati Gardjito managed to discover 3,257 traditional dishes!

She also identified 34 culinary regions in Indonesia, which are based on ethnic similarities instead of provinces.

The 3.257 discovered dishes are consisting of 208 main dishes; 1,805 side dishes; 1,013 desserts; and 147 drinks.

As with Indonesia's 34 culinary regions, Sumatera has 9, Java has 11, Sulawesi has 6, Kalimantan has 3, and the rest are Bali, NTB, NTT, Papua, and Maluku.

The result is a whopping update to previous Indonesian Culinary Bible "Mustika Rasa" which managed to document 1,600 dishes back in 1967 after a 7 years research.

Initially, there's Groot Nieuw Volledig Oost-Indisch Kookboek by JMJ Catenius van der Meyden, which was published in 1902. It documented 1,300 dishes of Dutch-Indies targeted for Dutch women.

As presented at Dialog Gastronomi Nasional 2017 in Jakarta.

Lunch at Restaurant 1953 Indonesien Jakarta

Restaurant 1953 Indonesien enchanted me from the very beginning. I found the concept of serving classic Indonesian food in a house built during the Dutch Colonial era exciting.

The well-furnished interior and cozy atmosphere remind me of chic semi fine dining restaurants in Bali like Sarong.

During our visit at lunch hour, the place was not crowded. Besides our group of 8, there's also a group of young ladies in what seems like a class reunion setting, judging from all the laughs and similar ages.

Upon our first interaction with the waiter, I was quite impressed by the gesture and professional but relaxed manner. Fits nicely with the chic elegant setting.

Upon selecting our food we have several recommendations from our waiter and decided to order them all.

How was the food? Here we go:

The restaurant's highly recommended menu was Tongseng Iga Kambing (199K) that served with medium hot spicy broth, and three full sized lamb chops! While the broth was fine as it resembles a slightly toned down street food version, I found the meat felt significantly fatty hence it tasted quite strong. The cooking level of all three lamb chops was also not equal, as one was still rare compared with the somewhat medium well two others. Not something I'd recommend for the lamb-shy foodie.

The Mixed Satay Plate was gorgeously presented and the satay variants tasted pleasing. I did find the Sate Lilit Bali a bit weak, strong on the herbs but lacking the significant taste of the fish.

On the other hand, the Wagyu Rica Rica was good. The meat melted in my mouth oozing that buttery meat juice, and it pairs beautifully with the rica rica sambal provided. I'd highly recommend this menu, though it's not something traditionally Indonesian.

If you enjoy eating with rice, there's different kind of rice to choose, and one of them in Nasi Kencur, steamed rice seasoned with campfera galangal, aromatic herb with mellow ginger flavor and significant umami flavor.

In the drink department, I found Bir Pletok is on the menu, among other traditional, and popular contemporary choices. While the Bir Pletok tasted authentic, I did find the sweetness level overwhelming, hence I ordered my second drink a fresh juice without sugar.

On the overall, the service was prompt and friendly, and the elegant laid back ambiance fits nicely small gathering, semi romantic dinner, or arisan.

Restaurant 1953 Indonesien
📌 Jl Panglima Polim 3 No 93
🌐 Jakarta Selatan 12160
☎ 081387773177

#jakartafood #jakartadining #indonesianfood #kulinertradisional #kulinerjkt #jktfoodies #epicurinajkt #lambchops #tongseng #1953restaurantindonesien #flavorsofindonesia #tasteofindonesia #restaurantreview

Membawa Cita Rasa Indonesia ke Ranah Internasional - Ubud Food Festival 2017

Empat minggu sebelum berlangsungnya Ubud Food Festival (UFF) di pusat seni dan kuliner pulau
Bali, Ubud, tim UFF membawa sepotong kelezatan dari meriahnya perayaan kuliner ini ke hadapan
para pencinta kuliner Jakarta. Berlokasi di Plataran Menteng, Jakarta Pusat, puluhan awak media
dan bloggers, serta beberapa pembicara yang akan hadir di Ubud pada tangal 12-14 Mei mendatang
berkumpul untuk mengenal UFF lebih jauh.

Salah satu program andalan dari UFF adalah forum diskusi yang membedah industri kuliner, sebuah
ruang di mana para pelaku industri kuliner dapat berbagi ilmu. Program yang dinamakan Think,
Talk, Taste ini dihadirkan di Jakarta mengangkat tema diskusi “Bringing Indonesian Cuisines to
the World” atau ‘Membawa kuliner Indonesia ke dunia’. Founder & Director UFF, Janet DeNeefe, duduk bersama celebrity chef Farah Quinn, penulis kuliner Petty Elliott, dan chef Ragil Imam Wibowo yang berada di balik Nusa Gastronomy.

Selama ini kuliner Indonesia kurang mendapatkan apresiasi yang sebenarnya pantas didapatkan.
Tersembunyi di balik ketenaran kuliner Asia lainnya seperti Thailand, Vietnam, Cina, Jepang, Korea,
dan India, makanan Indonesia masih kurang dikenal di ranah internasional. Pertanyaan seperti
“Mengapa masakan Indonesia kurang dikenal di dunia?” sering dilontarkan oleh banyak penikmat
UFF. Beberapa jawaban seperti kurang besarnya penyebaran komunitas Indonesia di negaranegara
lainnya dan kurangnya dukungan pemerintah dalam mempromosikan kuliner nusantara
dianggap belum dapat memuaskan rasa penasaran tersebut.

Namun mungkin jawabannya terletak pada begitu banyaknya jenis dan cita rasa masakan
Indonesia. Seperti kata salah satu figur kuliner Indonesia, Bondan Winarno: “Satu bangsa, jutaan
cita rasa”. Jenis kuliner Indonesia dari Sabang hingga Merauke begitu beragam dan dipengaruhi
oleh latar belakang sejarah yang panjang, mengakibatkan jenis kuliner dari setiap daerah dan suku
berbeda antara satu dengan yang lainnya.

Setiap pembicara dalam diskusi ini berasal dari latar belakang yang berbeda-beda, dari beberapa
daerah di Indonesia, membuat diskusi berlangsung seru. Namun mereka semua setuju bahwa
keragaman kuliner Indonesia dari Sabang hingga Merauke adalah kekuatan utama kuliner
Indonesia yang membuatnya menjadi unik. “Sebagai orang asing, saya merasa masakan Indonesia
layaknya masakan Italia. Jenis masakan yang masuk dalam kategori comfort food, dapat dinikmati
kapan saja dan di mana saja.” ujar Janet DeNeefe yang berasal dari Australia namun telah tinggal di
pulau Bali selama 30 tahun.

Petty Elliott sendiri menyatakan bahwa masyarakat internasional sudah siap menerima jenis-jenis
masakan dengan cita rasa yang rumit dan perpaduan bumbu yang melimpah, seperti masakan
Indonesia. “Sewaktu saya berada di London, saya melihat bahwa ramen dari Jepang sedang banyak
digemari, dan ketika saya mencicipinya, bumbu dari ramen tersebut tidak main-main, alias begitu
kental dan pedas. Berarti orang Barat sudah mulai terbiasa dengan masakan pedas dan berbumbu

UFF, yang dilangsungkan selama tiga hari selalu mampu menarik pengunjung yang datang dari
berbagai macam negara, dan seringkali UFF menjadi kali pertama mereka mencicipi masakan
Indonesia. Keempat pembicara yang hadir di acara ini setuju, bahwa dengan hadirnya para juru
masak dari penjuru Indonesia yang tampil berdampingan dengan juru masak dari beberapa negara
lainnya, tidak diragukan UFF adalah satu-satunya Festival di Indonesia yang merayakan kuliner
Indonesia sekaligus memperkenalkannya ke hadapan masyarakat Internasional.