By Thomas Andrikus
The Asian Food Fest came to Downtown Cincinnati, Ohio last weekend. The festival brought together various Asian booths from the Greater Cincinnati region (which includes Southern Ohio and Northern Kentucky) to serve up taste samples of their best dishes. There was no admission charge for the visitors, but donations were accepted to help Care2Share build village and school facilities in Pleiku, Vietnam.
The festival featured 13 food vendors with a delectable array of dishes. There are those showcasing Thai food, Indian curries, Vietnamese rolls, Filipino barbecue, and Thai bubble tea. Most of them have restaurants in Ohio, while a few others (including Indonesia’s own House of Sate) only have small catering businesses which they run from home.
Due to the low prevalence of Asian restaurants, Americans in the Midwest tend to have little idea of what Asian cuisine is like. When they think of Asian food, the only things that come into their mind are the meals in a Chinese restaurant or Japanese’s sushi. The Asian Food Fest aims to change that perception by introducing the less-popular Asian cuisine into the general American population.
This was the third time the festival is conducted. However, for the Indonesian American community in Cincinnati, it marked something else altogether. It was our debut in representing our ancestral cuisine to the festival. Ria Fariani Ellison and her partner Ake Nurita Langlois opened up a booth called The House of Sate, where they showcased chicken satay accompanied with yellow rice and ‘acar’ (pickled vegetables). For dessert, they served ‘bolu kukus’ (steamed cupcakes).
A resident of Sacramento, California, Langlois visited Cincinnati to help her childhood friend Ria in organizing the Indonesian booth. The pair then invited several of their Indonesian friends to help out with grilling the satay and serving the customers. I was privileged to be one of them.
Unlike Indonesian communities in coastal states like New York and California, those residing in the Midwest tend to be sparse and rare. We do not advertise our existence through the internet, nor do we have many Indonesian restaurants to cater to our longing for Indonesian food.
It was to our delight to find that there are a lot of Indonesians coming to the event, specifically to check out our booth. Some are friends and acquaintances, but most are those who are unaware that Indonesian community around Cincinnati has gained stronger foothold over the last couple of years.
Apart from fellow Indonesians and Asians, there are also other Americans coming with keen interest in Indonesian culture, checking our booth with bits of salutations, “Apa kabar?” and “Selamat siang!” Some were curious of what yellow rice is made of, asking questions like, “Do you mix the rice with saffron like the Indians do” to which we answer that it is rice mixed with turmeric. Some others were peculiarly delighted to see that there is such a thing called “steamed cupcakes.”
There were some concerns among booth participants that it might rain during those two days of the event, since rain has been falling quite sporadically over the last several weeks. Thank goodness, the sun shone brightly and the air was dry, contributing to the larger turnout of the crowd.
A notable visitor was an old lady who came in saying that she had spent a year working in Fatmawati hospital, South Jakarta in 1962. She then told us that she still remembered some folk songs such as “Nona Manis” and “Si Paku Gelang,” and asked some of us to sing with her. We were more than happy to oblige. After 50 years of leaving Indonesia, she had a fairly good command of basic Indonesian, and left us impressed. For the whole weekend, we tried our best to become the first ambassadors of Indonesian food and culture to the region.
According to the festival’s marketing director Bao Nguyen, an estimated number of 10,000 people was expected to come to the event. To accompany their enjoyment of the food, there were several live entertainments at the centerpiece including Japanese pop singer, aikido performance, and a Polynesian dance.
One performance which quickly became the main highlight of the event was the Balinese dance of Panyembrama, performed by local dancer Jeanne Speier and her Indonesian partner Kamelia Smith. It marked the first time a Balinese dance got performed on the Asian Food Fest. Soon enough, a lot of passersby and visitors alike huddled in front of the stage, forming a crowd enthralled by the beauty of their movements.
After the festival concluded, booth owner Ria said, “It was a challenge, but I am glad everyone seems to enjoy working in our booth! It is not too profitable this time around since this is our first time doing this, but I am pretty confident that we can do much better next year. I have received suggestions that the booth can be more attractive by including more variety in the menu such as pisang goreng (fried banana) and traditional drinks such as “cendol” or “es teler”. Also, some gamelan music can attract more attention”
It would definitely be something we are going to look forward to in 2013.
(The Jakarta Globe)
Thomas Andrikus is a student in Northern Kentucky University. His blog is at http://foreignprophecies.blogspot.com
In 1990, Irish journalist Susan Jane-Beers noticed an herbal-medicine clinic in the corner of a hair salon in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, her adopted home. A victim of age-related chronic knee pain that conventional pharmaceuticals couldn’t numb, let alone heal, Jane-Beers decided to try jamu — traditional Indonesian medicine.
The results astounded her. After three days of taking only one-third of the prescribed dose of herbal pills, the pain had vanished, making her wonder if she’d found “the magic bullet of all time.”
Jane-Beers spent the next decade researching the origins, myths, tightly guarded recipes and commercial applications of herbal medicine in Java, where plants have been used for medicinal purposes since prehistory. Her 2001 opus Jamu: The Ancient Art of Herbal Healing remains the only definitive English guide on the subject. It’s also the most widely read outside Indonesia since Herbarium Amboinense, a catalog of plants completed by German botanist Georg Rumphius in 1690 — more than three centuries earlier.
A holistic therapy based on the notion that if disease comes from nature, then so must the cure, jamu uses a dazzling array of teas, tonics, pills, creams and powders to cure — or prevent — every ailment imaginable. The ingredients are by definition cheap, widely available and simple: nutmeg to treat insomnia, guava for diarrhea, lime to promote weight loss and basil to counter body odor.
Jamu has also been used to treat cancer. In her book, Jane-Beers writes of a traditional healer in the city of Jogjakarta who apparently cured what had been diagnosed as a terminal case of cervical cancer with a tea made of betel nut, Madagascar Periwinkle and mysterious benala leaves. By combining the tea with a strict soybean diet, the patient was said to have made a full recovery in 18 months.
Sound far-fetched? A 2011 study by Virginia Tech’s Department of Food Science and Technology on the soursop tree — whose leaves are used to relieve gout and arthritis in Indonesia — found evidence showing that extracts from soursop fruit inhibit the growth of human breast cancer. Vincristine, one of 70 useful alkaloids identified in Madagascar Periwinkle, radically ups the survival rate of children with leukemia, while turmeric is being looked at as a treatment for Alzheimer’s.
“Western medicine tries to destroy cancer, but at the same time it destroys elements of the body. Jamu helps the body produce its own antibodies to fight the cancer by itself,” says Bryan Hoare, manager at MesaStila, a wellness retreat in central Java that serves jamu shots with breakfast and employs a tabib, or indigenous healer, for private consultations. “Coming from the earth, jamu also makes you feel good. When you take it you experience a positive feeling.”
But if jamu is the magic bullet, why isn’t it better known in the West, where natural Asian medicines like India’s ayurvedic system and Chinese herbal healing have been growing in popularity for years?
The answer can be found on the streets of Indonesia, where jamu is consumed regularly by 49% of the population, according to the country’s Ministry of Health. Valued at $2.7 billion annually, the industry covers an incredibly wide gamut of products and regimens, including homemade tonics sold by street hawkers, slimming powders, cosmetics and jamu for babies and postnatal care. Yet the best sellers in terms of value are invariably the dodgiest: those claiming to boost sexual performance or suppress appetite.
“Indonesians may well have been amused when Viagra was released in 1998,” Jane-Beers says, noting the popularity of brands like Kuat Lekali (Strong Man), Kuku Bima (Nail of God) and Super Biul Erection Oil. “They have had their own remedies for years.”
Then there’s the association between jamu and white magic. Many indigenous healers insist on dispensing jamu on auspicious dates or in conjunction with animist spells that predate the arrival of Islam in the archipelago.
Mbah Ngatrulin, a Buddhist tabib I met in Ngadas, the highest village in Java, told me that spells are the key and that jamu may as well be “mineral water.” It’s the kind of comment that prevents many physicians across Southeast Asia from endorsing jamu lest patients take them for quacks.
According to Charles Saerang, head of the Indonesian Jamu Entrepreneurs Association, the primary impediment to a worldwide jamu craze is that locally produced jamu products don’t meet international manufacturing standards. That hasn’t stopped entrepreneurs from buying raw herbal materials in Indonesia, processing them in India and Malaysia and selling them in the U.K. — a market Indonesian-made jamu products can’t access. That’s a double whammy for Indonesia, which loses out on value added by third parties and the chance to promote the jamu brand name abroad.
It’s impossible to say when, or even if, jamu painkillers will be stocked at supermarkets and convenience stores in countries like the U.K. Yet inroads are already being made by small businesses like the Origin Spa in Melbourne. There, highly skilled practitioners apply massage techniques developed by 16th century Indonesian royalty — the founders of modern jamu— using creams and oils containing turmeric, betel leaves and crushed eggshells. There’s a minimum two-month waiting list for Origin’s five-day post-pregnancy treatment that is said to help women regain their figures quickly, improve lactation and dispel wind, dizziness and aches and pains.
“It’s surprisingly popular with the Asian mums throughout Australia,” says partner Jessica Koh. “But it’s still unfamiliar to most of the locals.”
— With reporting by Theo Manday / Ngadas
The Bandung Tourism Institute (STPB) is set to open the first Culinary Research Center in the country to indentify and compile the wealth of food presentations across the Indonesian archipelago, then innovate to create Indonesia’s finest authentic cuisine for the international world.
Deputy Director of STPB, Anang Sutono, explained, that for the first step, the Research Center will release 25 sets of Indonesia’s best menus to include appetizers, entrees, and desserts. The sets will be the result of identification of various traditional cuisines in the country, that will be tastefully and elegantly presented to meet international standards. “The taste itself will not be altered, only food presentations will be re-invented to meet global demand”, added Anang.
The Culinary Research Center aims to make Indonesian Cuisine an inseparable part of the top products to promote Indonesia’s Cultural diversity in the International world, thereby strengthening Indonesia’s culinary competitiveness in the international scene” added Anang as quoted from Kompas.com.
Cooperating with the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, the Research Center in the cool mountain city of Bandung, in West Java, may also recommend menus at official banquets at the State Palace, presenting various traditional cuisines.”Official state banquets should represent the character of Indonesia through menus of traditional cuisines”, suggested Anang.
Aside from the technical aspects, the research center will also delve into the philosophical meanings behind every menu to reveal their cultural and historical aspects.
According to Anang, the Culinary Research Center is expected to start operating in December 2012. With close cooperation between academic institutions, the government, culinary associations and businesses, Anang is optimistic that Indonesian cuisine can go global and eventually become one of the icons to represent Indonesia in the International world.
Among the world’s top dishes, CNN viewers have last year chosen Indonesia’s Rendang, Nasi Goreng and Satay among their top favorites.
Photo Courtesy: Kompas.com
Disaat anak – anak lain seumurannya masih sibuk bermain Barbie, tidak demikian dengan Nadja Azzura Tohir. Putri Pasangan Nato Prabu Tohir dan Ine Hakim Tohir yang berusia 13 tahun ini lebih suka bekerja di dapur, mencampur bumbu dan memasak sesuai seleranya.
Nadja memang gemar memasak sejak Ia masih duduk di bangku taman kanak – kanak. ia sangat menyukai bereksperimen di dapur, karena dengan begitu ia jadi bisa menyalurkan ide – ide kreatif yang berputar dalam kepalanya. Ide – ide tersebut Ia salurkan menjadi resep ciptaannya, seperti Boneless whole chicken stuffed creamy spinach dan roast beef canape with blow torched bearnaise sauce.
siapa sangka, kegemarannya memasak dapat mengantarkannya menjadi salah satu wakil Indonesia dalam konferensi chef internasional di Napa Valley yang diselenggarakan oleh Culinary Institute of America. di hadapan puluhan cooking expert dari berbagai negara, Nadja, satu – satunya peserta anak dalam tim Indonesia, berhasil menunjukkan cara memasak rendang dan sate padang.
setelah sukses menjadi wakil Indonesia, Gadis cilik yang bersekolah di SMP Global Jaya International School ini bercita – cita menjadi chef kepala di restorannya sendiri. Mimpinya ini telah dirintis sejak 2 tahun lalu, dengan menerima pesanan masakan dari teman – temannya. dari usaha masaknya ini, Nadja sudah bisa membeli komputer tablet lho. hebat sekali bukan?
Nadja merupakan contoh lain dari banyak anak Indonesia inspiratif yang tidak hanya bermimpi, tapi juga berjuang keras menggapainya. Dari Nadja kita juga bisa belajar bahwa bila serius menekuni hobi, kita bisa jadi berprestasi. jadi, tunggu apa lagi?
sumber: Intisari Extra
ditulis oleh Farah Fitriani (firstname.lastname@example.org / @farafit)
As the train rolls into the station in Madiun, East Java, a cacophony of shouts erupts from the vendors on the platform: “Pecel, pecel, pecel Madiuuuun …”
They balance plastic baskets full of banana-leaf-wrapped bundles on their shoulders and cluster around the open train doors. I buy a packet as I disembark, the first of many portions of nasi pecel in the coming 24 hours.
Madiun lies in the basin of flat green land between the towering Lawu and Wilis volcanoes, and few travelers stop off here. But for many Indonesians, mention of Madiun brings only one thing to mind: Pecel, for this is the home of this quintessential East Java dish, and I am here on a culinary pilgrimage to seek out the very best.
The key component of pecel is a spicy sauce made from a paste of peanuts, red palm sugar, lime leaves, chili, tamarind, garlic, and any number of secret extra ingredients. A good pecel sauce manages to be sweet, sour, creamy and spicy, all at the same time. It is served over rice and fresh greens, and topped with peyek, crispy crackers studded with peanuts or anchovies.
Several towns claim pecel as their own, such as Ponorogo, Blitar and even Klaten in Central Java. But as the banners above street-side stalls all over Java make clear, Madiun is the one true pecel capital.
The train station vendor’s pecel isn’t the best, but it’s enough to whet my appetite. Outside the station gates, I ask a becak driver to take me to the best pecel in town. His choice, Depot Bu Wo, is hardly controversial, and is a locale that I was already familiar with from both friends and Internet searches.
Depot Bu Wo is a simple building with an open facade marked by a flapping yellow banner on Jalan S. Parman, across the street from Madiun’s branch of the French hypermarket chain Carrefour. I tell the staff that I’m hunting Madiun’s best pecel, and they say I’ve come to the right place: “There isn’t anywhere else; we’ve been on television!”
Bu Wo herself, a chain-smoking 65-year-old matriarch who’s been selling nasi pecel for 40 years, is a woman of few words. When I ask what the secret of her success is, she snorts and flicks her cigarette. “It’s a secret.”
It’s time to test the wares. The pecel comes served in a basket of pinned banana leaves with two kinds of peyek and a selection of greens.
The sauce is creamy and sweet, and the peyek suitably crispy. But as a true pecel aficionado, I’m somewhat underwhelmed. The flavors are a little flat, and the greens could be fresher. I’m too intimidated by Bu Wo to tell her, however.
My second stop stands right next door in an identical open-fronted warung, another suggestion from a friend. Mbak Yayuk is a younger upstart snapping at Bu Wo’s venerable heels. The eponymous Mbak Yayuk herself is not on duty, but the two women in charge, Narti and Wati, are delighted to hear of my search, and dish me up a prime portion.
The price is the same as next door, and my pecel and iced tea comes in at a princely Rp 6,000 (70 cents). Once I’ve eaten, they ask for my verdict, and with Bu Wo in earshot, I have to whisper it: Mbak Yayuk ’s pecel gets my vote. The sauce here has a cleaner, fresher taste, and a spicier kick from the chili. And the peyek is perfect — rumpled leafs of crispiness with a salty, oily taste.
After three portions of pecel I’m beginning to feel a little full, so I lumber off to take a look at the town. Between the ubiquitous concrete shop fronts, I spot fine old Dutch-era villas with crumbling dormer windows and mildewed roofs.
I check into a guesthouse near the station and quickly resume my mission, querying the receptionist for his personal pecel recommendation. He sends me in the direction of the alun-alun, the town square, to visit Mbak Lina.
The sun has set, and the sky behind the minarets of Madiun’s blue-tiled Grand Mosque is smeared with fiery light. The palm-studded alun-alun is busy with courting teenagers and gamboling children. I ask a parking attendant for directions to Mbak Lina, and he points me to the northern side of the square. But he’s not convinced of the quality of her pecel.
“To be honest, it’s just standard. The really delicious one is Pecel Rahayu on Jalan Haji Agus Salim,” he says. But I’m duty bound to make the rounds.
Mbak Lina herself, a cheerful woman with cropped hair, presides over a low table loaded with pecel add-ons including fried eggs and hunks of chicken and bean curd. She’s doing a roaring trade, but I’m inclined to agree with the parking attendant. Her pecel is decent enough, but nothing special.
Deciding that four portions of pecel is enough for one day, I walk back to the guesthouse and fall into a heavy sleep, full of peanut-flavored dreams.
Pecel can be eaten at any time of day, but it is particularly popular as a breakfast food. The next morning there are stalls open all over town, with office workers and students hunched over plates of pecel to start their day.
On Jalan Agus Salim, however, neither Pecel Rahayu, nor another recommended spot, Pecel Murni, is open for business. I head instead to a souvenir shop to pick up some packs of pecel spice.
The sauce is made by pounding the various ingredients into a thick, sticky paste that is let down with warm water. I ask the checkout girl to suggest a place for breakfast pecel, and she sends me to a spot called Warung Pojok. If I ever want to get out of Madiun, I need to stop asking random strangers where to find the best pecel. Everyone, it seems, has their own personal favorite.
Warung Pojok, however, turns out to be a good call. It’s a little corner cafe with pale blue walls on Jalan Cokroaminoto, and has been in business since 1967. The breakfast rush is over, and the staff are watching television.
There’s a choice of “spicy” or “medium,” and this early in the day, I go for the softer option. It’s fresh and creamy, and I can taste the lime leaf and tamarind. One point counts against it, however: The peyek (which turns out to be very average) is not included with the meal and has to be bought separately.
I promised the staff at both Bu Wo and Mbak Yayuk that I would report back when my journey was over. I am beginning to feel like I’m drowning in peanut sauce by now, and can only manage a half-portion at both places. Bu Wo is in a cheerier mood and asks for my verdict.
Yesterday, I was convinced that Mbak Yayuk had the edge, but now I’m not so sure. The sweet creaminess of Bu Wo’s sauce seems better suited to the morning. Bu Wo takes this pragmatically, as do her neighbors.
“If you want spicy, come to us,” says Wati, who’s busy frying peyek in Warung Mbak Yayuk. “If you want sweet, go to Bu Wo.”
And I think she’s right. These two neighboring warungs are, in the end, the twin queens of pecel Madiun.
I bid the pecel ladies goodbye, clamber into a becak (no doubt heavier than I was 24 hours ago) and head for the station, feeling like I never want to see another portion of pecel in my life.
The vendors are waiting for the incoming train in the shade of the platform. “Pecel Madiun, mister?” they ask. I pause for a moment, and then reach for my wallet: I might get hungry on the journey, after all.
The TV show opened with Indonesian culinary expert Bondan Winarno and his youngest daughter, Gwendoline Amanda Wirastari, standing in front of Prambanan Temple on the outskirts of Yogyakarta. The morning sun filtered though the temple towers, creating a serene, majestic tableau.
The father and daughter scoured the temple and briefly explained its history. Afterward, they went to Pasar Lempuyangan in Yogyakarta to enjoy jadah manten, a traditional sweet and savory snack made of cassava, brown sugar and coconut.
“I love this so much,” Gwen said, smiling at the camera.
Father and daughter were filming an episode for the first season of “Taste of Indonesia,” a TV program that showcases the riches of Indonesian cuisines on the Asian Food Channel.
Based in Singapore, the AFC is a 24-hour cable and satellite TV channel that features Asian foods and lifestyles.
In Indonesia, AFC is broadcast by major cable TV providers, including First Media, Indovision, Aora and Telkomvision.
Through AFC, the “Taste of Indonesia” is being aired in Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Brunei, Hong Kong, Mongolia and Indonesia.
“It all started five years ago with a chat between friends at a studio in Jakarta,” Bondan said. “It occurred to us that we could actually promote the country by featuring Indonesian cuisines in a regional TV show.”
Bondan and his friends then raised money to make a demo videotape, which they shot in Bali, focusing on street foods. They offered the tape to several TV stations in Asia.
“Many of them were interested in putting the show on the air but we couldn’t find a sponsor to produce it,” he said.
The project was shelved.
In early 2010, the deputy minister of trade at the time, Mahendra Siregar, called Bondan to his office.
“They were launching a program, ‘100% Cinta Produk Indonesia’ [‘100% Love for Indonesian Products’],” Bondan said. “And they asked me what I could do to support the program.”
Bondan then showed Mahendra his demo videotape and explained his idea of promoting Indonesia with a food show. The deputy minister was interested and agreed to finance the show.
“Why does the Ministry of Trade promote Indonesian cuisines?” asked Mahendra’s successor as deputy minister, Bayu Krisnamurthi. “Because it’s an extremely big business. Just imagine, Indonesians consume 40 million tons of rice per year. And that’s only rice. We haven’t taken into account the beef, chicken and eggs being consumed by Indonesian people.”
According to the deputy minister, 90 percent of Indonesian culinary products are produced by small-to-medium enterprises. And 64 percent of all small-to-medium enterprises in Indonesia are food-related.
“Thus, by promoting Indonesian cuisines, we promote the economy and trade of the country,” Bayu said.
The production funds were allocated for the show on the condition that the entire 12-episode season was produced and aired by the end of 2011.
“We had to finish filming 12 episodes in only six weeks,” Bondan said. “Our schedule was terribly hectic.”
Because of the time constraints, Bondan did not have time to cast for co-hosts, so he asked his youngest daughter to present the show with him.
“I was both surprised and ecstatic,” Gwen said.
But her surprise and delight did not last long. Both Bondan and Gwen had to rush to finish the show. “We filmed in three different regions in a week,” she said. “It was terribly exhausting.”
But Gwen, who spent most of her youth in the United States, said she discovered a lot about her native country during the filming of the show.
“We traveled a lot with the crew by car,” she said. “It really opened my eyes. Indonesia is indeed very beautiful. I wouldn’t have seen it all with my own eyes if I weren’t on the show.”
An unforgettable experience for Gwen was when she watched a group of women cooking rendang (caramelized beef curry) in front of their houses in a village in Padang Pariaman, West Sumatra.
“They appeared to be very happy when cooking rendang for us,” Gwen said. “Their village was small, yet very beautiful. It’s located at the foot of a beautiful mountain amid lush green paddy fields.”
Rendang takes more than six hours to cook. An international survey by CNNGo.com in July 2011 ranked the dish among the top 50 most delicious foods in the world.
“We’re very happy with the partnership,” said Derrick Foo, deputy director of partnerships and campaigns at AFC. “The show gets very good feedback from our viewers.”
The first season of the show went to air last November and December.
“A survey showed that AFC beat all other channels when the ‘Taste of Indonesia’ was aired in prime time,” according to Foo.
The research, conducted by AGB Nielsen in Malaysia, showed that approximately 3.2 million viewers watched the first screening of the show in that country alone.
“It shows that our viewers are enthusiastic to see more and more Indonesian [culinary] programs,” Foo said.
Reruns of the show are now being aired on AFC in eight countries on Fridays at 8:30 p.m. Jakarta time.
“The program improves awareness and appreciation for the cuisines of Indonesia both domestically and internationally,” said Bayu, the deputy minister. “I’m sure that if we continue this program, it will create a positive impact on Indonesia’s trade and tourism in the near future.”
“Indonesian cuisine is one of the most obvious and important tourist attractions in the country,” he said.
“If you go to Semarang [Central Java], what are you going to see?” Bondan asked. “You may go to the ancient Sam Po Kong temple or Lawang Sewu [old building] in the city for a couple of hours. Or you may come to see the Tugu Muda [war monument] for 15 minutes. And then what?
“But if I give you my list of Semarang’s culinary delights, you can sample the suggestions for three days and three nights and still not finish it.”
According to Bondan, there are at least 20 cities in Indonesia with rich culinary histories, including Jakarta, Bogor, Bandung, Manado in North Sulawesi and Pontianak in West Kalimantan.
“Food is a slice-of-life experience,” he said. “Through cuisine, we can learn the ways of life of the people and appreciate their traditional cultures.”
As for Gwen, she said she hoped the show would inspire a sense of love and pride for Indonesian cuisines in her two children, Saffron, 10, and Gael, 5.
“They love Western foods now,” she said. “But when they see the show, they’ll see how varied and delicious Indonesian cuisines are. Hopefully, they’ll try to love Indonesian food, too.”
taken from The Jakarta Globe
Jakarta will be a center of the world’s halal food as headquarter of the World Halal Food Council (WHFC) that will be officially opened in January 16 2012.
“The office, located in the MUI (Indonesian Ulema Council) Building, Central Jakarta, will be inaugurated concurrently with the opening ceremony of the WHFC annual meeting,” the Director of MUI Food and Drug Analysis Agency (LPPOM) Lukmanul Hakim said in a release received here, Thursday.
Indonesia as a world’s halal food center is supported by some international halal certification agencies such as those in United States, France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Australia, Taiwan and Singapore.Last year, Coordinating Minister of Economy Hatta Rajasa has signed the declaration that established Jakarta as the head office of the World’s Halal Food Council. and supports from the international keeps coming to Indonesia.
Lukman said the annual meeting of WHFC in Jakarta would be a great and strategic momentum for Indonesia as a country which had the largest number of halal products consumers.With a great number of Muslim consumers and the various industries of food, beverages, medicines, and cosmetics, Indonesia should be a leader in the world’s halal products competition,” Lukman said.
The Annual General Meeting of WHFC will be held in Jakarta on January 16-18 and will be opened by Indonesian Vice President Boediono. The meeting will be attended by Ambassadors and commercial attaches from other countries, observers, directors of halal product industries, and at least 25 world’s halal certification agencies.
The agenda of the meeting would be a discussion on the work program, standardization, socialization, and education of halal products all around the world. WHFC was established in 1999 in Indonesia and Prof. Aisjah Girindra was elected as its president.
On June 23 2011, members of WHFC agreed to reactivate the WHFC and elected Lukmanul Hakim as its president as well as Jakarta as its headquarters.
News Source: Kompas
(The Jakarta Post) : The Netherlands will become a center for promoting Indonesian cuisine in Europe, according to the nation’s new top envoy to The Hague.
Retno Marsudi said after her swearing in on Wednesday that she would use the best of local cuisine to enhance the relationship between the two countries, antaranews.com reported.
Culinary diplomacy would also improve the Indonesian economy, Retno added.
Several other Indonesian embassies have also held culinary festivals to promote traditional dishes.
In Dubai, for example, a cooking demonstration in Grand Millennium Hotel featured gado-gado, karedok and urap as appetizers with a main course of tongseng kambing (lamb curry in soy sauce), ikan bumbu pesmol (fried fish in yellow sauce), fried rice and fried noodles.
Martabak asin egg pancakes, bubur sumsum (coconut rice pudding with palm sugar syrup) and es cendol (drink made from rice flour served with coconut milk, palm sugar and ice cubes) were served as desert.
Further, the Indonesian Embassy in Moscow cooperated with the Association of Russian Gastronomic Observers to hold a garden party where dabu-dabu from North Sulawesi was served.
[The Jakarta Globe]: On the last day of a recent business trip to Kupang, in East Nusa Tenggara, I had some time to travel around the city before my afternoon flight back to Jakarta.
The night before I had arranged for Geby Djari, a local woman I met earlier in the trip, to pick me up in the morning so I could join her at the local fish market.
Geby, 31, runs a small business in Kupang selling ikan bakar , or grilled seafood. After living in Jakarta for more than 10 years, she returned home and is now a vendor at the famous Kampung Solor night market, where my travel group ate dinner one evening.
The Kampung Solor market occupies one of the city’s main streets, which looks completely different in the morning. At the night market, vendors sell incredibly fresh fish, crab and squid.
Locals suggest that you check the vendors’ prices before you decide to sit and order. The seafood in Kupang is generally of much higher quality than it is in most Jakarta restaurants, and it’s also a lot cheaper.
“We have a great selection of seafood, especially fish. The most popular thing here is red snapper, I think,” Geby said. “We locals eat fish every day, so we know what’s good and what isn’t. You can never fool us with fish that isn’t fresh.”
Located on the western tip of the island of Timor, Kupang is one of the province’s busiest cities. Its airport, El Tari, welcomes flights from other major cities in Indonesia as well as the neighboring countries of East Timor and Australia.
“Flights to Australia are around Rp 1 million [$110] from here,” Geby said.
The city is a melting pot where people from outside the province, mainly from Bali, Java and Sulawesi, have come to start businesses. It even has an area called Kampung Bugis, where Bugis people, one of Sulawesi’s main ethnic groups, have settled.
Beaches are also less than an hour away by car, and they become more beautiful the farther away you get from the city, Geby said.
“If only you had more time, my dad and I would take you on our boat to Pulau Kera. Although it’s not big, it is the most beautiful island, with white-sand beaches,” she said.
December is the best time to travel to Kupang for many reasons, she added. The temperature is more bearable then, usually about 35 degrees Celsius, which is below the year-round high of about 39 degrees. Because the weather is so nice, she said, sailing is also a breeze.
“That’s why fish are generally cheaper starting in September, because fishermen catch more thanks to the good weather,” she said.
At the fish market near Oeba, hundreds of vendors sell a wide variety of fish and other types of seafood that they purchase directly from fishermen. Every morning as early as 3 a.m., boats arrive at the small port near the market, bringing fishermen from Kupang, Ende, Sulawesi and elsewhere to deliver their catch.
“While local fishermen from Kupang go to the sea at around 3 o’clock in the afternoon and return the next morning, Bugis [fishermen] from Sulawesi spend weeks at sea and bring tons of fish. That’s why it can take up to three days to unload the boats,” Geby said.
When it comes to food, she added, Kupang’s specialities include seafood, se’i (smoked pork or beef) and bose (corn-based porridge).
“Pork se’i is especially popular here,” she said. “Tourists will look for it when they’re in Kupang.”
Indeed, in Kupang, pigs are just like dogs, walking freely in the streets, near the market and in the yards of local homes.
Although people from across Indonesia live in the city, Catholics and other Christians make up a majority of the population. Churches are easy to find and images of Jesus are everywhere, including on murals, on public transportation and on the outsides of homes.
“People are very religious here, so you won’t find any open shops on Sunday mornings because everyone goes to church,” Geby said. “Shops typically open at four in the afternoon on Sundays, but you can still go to the market.”
One of the most interesting sights in Kupang is the city’s notorious public transportation system of bemos . These minivans are decorated on all sides with large stickers, which usually include some words in English and sometimes don’t make sense.
The bemos were designed to attract attention, a fellow journalist from Kupang told me, and they have been dubbed “moving discotheques” because the drivers often blast disco and rap music.
“The local administrator has even issued a regulation capping the maximum volume of the music played in bemos,” the journalist said. “It’s annoying, but school kids won’t ride a bemo that doesn’t play loud music.
“A lot of young men from Kupang have failed the test to join the military because they have hearing problems. How can they not, when they’ve been abusing their ears since they were very young?”
In order to go deeper into the island of Timor, travelers can ride buses, which run frequently, Geby said. Some go as far as Atambua, the city closest to the border between Indonesia and East Timor.
Geby said it was her love of Kupang that brought her back home from Jakarta. “No matter how poor we are here, there is no place like Kupang in Indonesia.”