Thursday, June 18, 2009

I miss nasi gudeg

There is so much good food in Hong Kong, but what I really want right now is nasi gudeg. Bu Lasmi's nasi gudeg, to be exact.

The primary ingredient in nasi gudeg is green jackfruit that is cooked until it is soft, pink and velvety. Gudeg has the look, texture and taste of shredded meat. Aside from the all-important gudeg, the rice is also accompanied with hard-boiled egg, shredded chicken, chilli paste, rambak - beef rind that is cooked till golden, soft and spongy, tofu, spicy potatoes, and all of that is doused with thick savoury coconut cream.

You can ask to 'tambah'/add any of the stuff you like. I always ask for more spicy potatoes, gudeg, and chicken.

This is Bu Lasmi's daughter. Her warung is not as atmospheric as her mother's house. But I seldom wake up early enough to eat at Bu Lasmi's place where everything usually runs out by 8.30 am. But everything at her daughter's warung is cooked at Bu Lasmi's and brought fr there every morning, so it's really the same.

One of the many calendars in the warung.

A wall of calendars is a pretty popular form of warung interior decor. The more the merrier! The sexier the better too! We are not prudish here in Semarang.

If you ever find yourself in Semarang, and crave for gudeg (and you should!), head to:

Gudeg Abimanyu
Jalan Abimanyu VII no. 6
Tel: 024-3542100

If you are planning to go after 9am, save yourself the disappointment and go to the daughter's:
Jalan Kimangun Sarkoro no. 15
Tel: 024-8453309

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Back to the blog - Hello Summer!

After a long hiatus, I've decided to return to my blog. It'd be a journal of my summer.

For me, summer began with blooming lilacs.

It has been my ritual for the past 2 years to herald the arrival of warmer weather in May with a trip to Arnold Arboretum to see and sniff the lilacs. This was my 3rd year, and Howie came with me this time. He laid down by a big grove of lilac bushes and took a nap.

The air was heavy with the perfume of the big bunches of flowers. Not all lilacs are lilac coloured. Some are deep purple, light pink, and some, like the prettily named China Snow, are snow-white.

There's lots to admire in Arnold Arboretum - not just lilacs.

I left Boston when the lilacs were in bloom and headed for home. More on that in another post.

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Monday, March 27, 2006

Tourist in DC

I have never been to DC so of course I had to do all the touristy stuff.

Only in America

Caroline and Bush

After I took this photo, someone told me I remind her of 'a young Yoko Ono'. I looked so stunned, she had to explain she meant it as a compliment. I thanked her. Even though she said I look like someone whom I think is fugly.

Big Abe

With Gustaf and his mother

Why pose like a happy tourist when you can be an angry one?
Art Dir: Howie
Stylist: Gustaf
Photographer: Howie
Taken when Gustaf's mother was away.


We went to DC for the wkend and had an awesome time. This wkend is also the start of the Cherry Blossom Festival because the 3000 or so cherry trees that were a gift from Japan in the early 1900s are supposed to be in bloom. But it has been a bit chilly the past few days so they are not in peak bloom but trees and trees of pink buds still made a pretty sight.

Tidal Basin

The prettiest cherry blossom view I saw in DC - a house near Gustaf's place in Georgetown.


So, of course I had to make a pilgrimage to Harvard. I've seen it a few times but I had to see it again this time. Harvard Sq is lovely but Vera says that Penn's campus is nicer and I have to agree. And our dear old Ben is definitely way cooler than John.

Confession: I bought a Harvard T-shirt. I had to. They didn't have any funny ones though so I had to make do w/ a kid's T-shirt that says "Future Harvard Graduate."

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Adriane Goes To Semarang

Adriane came to visit last wkend. She came bearing a little duffel bag because I told her to pack light and that there's no need for her super hairdryer, changes of pretty clothes, heels and accessories. When you come to visit me in Smg, you just need to pack a couple of loose T-shirts and comfy drawstring pants and you'll be all set. According to Adriane, you also need to bring an empty suitcase because she went home lugging easily 10 kilos more than what she came w/. It was all food. Everything from the usual suspects - lumpia (spring roll), wingko babat (coconut cake), milkfish - the 3 big Semarang specialties - to honey, homemade kaya and lots of gudeg. I can't give gudeg an English name. I don't know how to describe it. It's rice w/ lots of stuff at the side, including cooked young jackfruit that tastes meaty.

I don't think 3 hrs went by without us eating something. Here is an abbreviated photographic recap:

Nasi Ayam.

All the soto that Adriane demolished. Soto is different in every part of Indonesia; in Semarang, it's clear chicken soup w/ bihun and fried garlic and served with fried tempe and bergedel (potato fritter). The second bowl fr the left is where Adriane hoarded her fried tempe. The people sitting at our table had to fight to get their share of tempe because Adriane was hogging the tempe tray all to herself.

Dawet, a dessert w/ sticky dark brown syrup made fr the flowers of aren palm, avocado, jackfruit, coconut, palm seeds, agar-agar and Adriane's deluxe version had durian too.

Dawet fr another place. Adriane showing her knack for multi-tasking. Lekker in one hand, dawet in another. Lekker is good stuff. It's banana and choc crepe, super crunchy.

Death By Kue Bandung.

Kue Bandung just defies description. There's no good reason to consume so much BlueBand margarine and chocolate and peanuts in one bite except when you are having Kue Bandung. A friend of mine ate 2 slices of Kue Bandung every night (it's an evening snack) and at the end of his 1-month holiday, he had gained 8kg. Not an urban legend.

The army of workers who had to keep up w/ Adriane's monstrous, incessant appetite for chilli. ok, actually, this photo was taken at the gudeg stall after hours. It was sick how the sight of all that chilli made Adriane salivate.

Hanging out w/ my cousins.

When we went to his hse, Richard was doing his abacus assignment, so that reminded me that he's my little freak show. I made him compete w/ Adriane on mental calculations. How did the former valedictorian compare w/ a 7-year old? Not bad. It was a tie. Richard was bewildered by this big adult who was shouting, super competitive and who refused to continue playing after she outscored him by 1 point. He was very gracious and tried to teach her the abacus too, but his student was too thick. They both gave up and we all decided playtime was more fun. Look at the expression on his face. He's like, 'omigod, why do I have to do this?'

Then we hit Brux, the bar up the street fr my cousins' place. It's a casual establishment in a beautiful old house w/ a big garden. We went in our shorts & slippers and since it was raining, my Hello Kitty umbrella. We were cool. Adriane had a Corona and because I am weird, I ordered Bir Bintang w/ Ribena. It was lurid purple.

I wish I could say that Adriane and I did other things aside from eating, drinking and hanging out w/ my cousins. But we didn't, really. My mum asked Adriane if she wanted to see the old part of town. She said ok, but old buildings don't interest Adriane as much as food so she took like 2 pictures from the car window and asked what's for lunch. Karen visited the market when she was in Smg and Patrick explored the old town on foot and gamely tried jamu (herbal concoctions), another Semarang specialty. Howie just sits in my house, playing X Box, eating food we buy back for him and ordering room service pisang goreng (banana fritters). My maid makes the best pisang goreng.

Everyone shld come and visit me in Semarang! Just bring drawstring pants and a good appetite!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

About A Boy

I'd like to introduce to everyone my favourite boy in town: Enrico!

Enrico is my favourite cousin. He's 5 and oh so cute! He likes to be taken to Bandungan, a hill station 45min away fr Semarang, for horse rides. Enrico is a total poser. When he sees a camera, he'll be snap-ready with a pose.

Unfortunately, Enrico likes joget ketek, monkey performance that's a traditional form of entertainment in these parts. I find it horrid horrid horrid. Look at that poor monkey in that little cage!

That's him and his brother, Richard, playing piggy back with my big bear.

Enrico has the cutest dimples. And he knows it.

That's us playing Hijackers of the Carribbean.

That sums up my social life in Semarang.