Special Events, Travel

Visited Chinatown, Jakarta

I hope it is not too late to wish Gong Xi Fa Cha for those who celebrate Chinese New year. Some weeks ago, when friends from a journey bespoke (www.ajourneybespoke.com), Liz and Jo asked for some ideas to visit a “pasar” (traditional market) for their blog, I suggested a visit to Chinatown in Glodok, West Jakarta. Particularly as the coming week was when the Chinese there were busy preparing for the New Year. I guess it is not only my western friends who wonder what things were sold for the “preparations” beside vegetables and fruits, I too wanted to know what the atmosphere would be in Glodok. I had imagined that the pasar would be dominated by all things red. The traffic en route was OK, although it still took over an hour from Kuningan, South Jakarta to Pancoran, Glodok, West Jakarta. The place exactly as I had imagined. Red lanterns were hung everywhere, and they looked beautiful. Many vendors were selling red ornaments for house decorations.

Here’s the story of the red colour and Lunar New Year. According to tales and legends, the beginning of the Chinese New Year started with a mythical beast called the Nian. Nian would come on the first day of New Year to eat livestock, crops, and even villagers, especially children. To protect themselves, the villagers would put food in front of their doors at the beginning of every year. It was believed that after the Nian ate the food they prepared, it wouldn’t attack any more people. One day a villager decided to take revenge on the Nian.  A god visited him and told him to put red paper on his house and to place firecrackers everywhere. The villagers then learnt that the Nian was afraid of the colour red. When the New Year was about to arrive, the villagers would hang red lanterns and red spring scrolls on windows and doors. They also used firecrackers to frighten away the Nian.   From then on, Nian never came to the village again.

Isn’t that interesting story? I truly enjoyed my first visit to Chinatown in Jakarta with my friends. We were delighted to see what was happening before the Lunar New Year. We were like bunch of kids in a candy store. We discovered so many thing that we had never seen before. What a trip we had.  As usual, I am sharing the photographs I took during my visit.

Gong Xi Fa Cha!!!

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Food, People, Personal, Special Events

Cooking Class

SieMatic collaborated with Petty Elliott to present an interactive cooking class recently. Petty demonstrated how to make a simple yet healthy meal quickly. The recipes were from her cook book (salad, main course and dessert all wonderfully presented). Here’s the menu; Beetroot Carpaccio with Griddled Chicken and Feta Cheese salad; for the main course, Tagliatelle with Padang Pesto and pan fried Barramundi, this is Italian twisted with Indonesian style pesto “sambal hijau”  (green chillies) and; a dessert of Strawberry Semifreddo. All delicious and surprisingly easy to make.  My favourite was the dessert, it was delicious. I really enjoyed it.  Here is a little  story about Petty Elliott: she’s an Indonesian who found her passion in cooking and has spent years in the UK where she participated in the BBC’s Master Chef competition in 2001. She recently published her first book, “Papaya Flower”, on Manadonese Cuisine and is a contributor to Miele Guide, a restaurant guide for Asia and to the Now Jakarta magazine.

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Special Events

Effortlessly Simple

I would like to say thank you to Mrs. Nino Riphat, the wife of the Indonesian Ambassador to Australia and Vanuatu.  Ibu Riphat invited me to her house after her husband officially presented his Credentials. She showed me around the preparations including the table settings for formal receptions.  As you can see here, all the plates have the emblem of the Republic of Indonesia. I wonder what Indonesian dishes they serve at those formal dinners. Humm … I am sure its something delicious!
© Nita Strudwick Photography© Nita Strudwick Photography

Special Events

Christmas lunch

This was the second year our family was invited to Christmas lunch at the De Schutters’s home.  Just like last year Ayu, the hostess, surprised us by creating something really special.  This year she prepared Spanish dishes and served a refreshing sangria (unfortunately that was finished before I took these photos).  The day was so special as friends have become “family” over the years and we all really enjoy celebrating together.  Aren’t the holidays the best time for sharing with your nearest and dearest? Merry Christmas everyone.