More Bandung experiences12 September, 2011 by Chad
Breakfast was provided by the hotel, so the second day in Bandung began with an intercontinental styled buffet meal at the restaurant in the hotel lobby. Today was going to be another day of meetings and business stuff.
The large restaurant downstairs holds breakfast from 6 to 10 AM daily. There’s an admirable selection of food to choose from as far as complimentary breakfasts go, including waffles, pancakes, pastries, salads, fruits as well as more substantial rice and dishes. There’s even a selection of cereals for younger guests.
The place was mostly empty by the time we came down at 9. There are some outdoor seats facing a small children’s pool here too. Morning temperature in Bandung was still pretty cool.
After breakfast, it was off to the offices again. We were much appreciative of our hosts taking the trouble to ferry us between the hotel and the different offices. They warned us that the streets outside were pretty dangerous at night and told us not to roam outside past 10.
Fast forward to lunch. We stopped by this shop just beside the office that was literally called “Duck Fried”. It was a franchise chain that came highly recommended by some of the office staff. Their signature dish being this fried duck thigh, it also came in a extra fried variety. Somehow it seems that most local food here are fried.
The duck was fried to a crisp, tough but tasty. We also got some tofu and complimentary greens. One of the great things about countries that have their own agriculture (i.e. pretty much anywhere but Singapore) is how fresh the vegetables are. Greens are actually crunchy, unlike the ones for sale in our supermarkets, that are often in varying states of decay by the time they reach local shores.
Asked for a bottle of whatever the bunch of young women at the opposite table were drinking. Teh Botol (literally Bottle Tea) looked like a pretty common drink here, in fact different kinds of tea are generally popular.
The bottled jasmine tea was not too different from tea you’d find in Singapore, just sweeter and more concentrated. At least from the few meals we’ve had so far, the trend seem to be that Indonesia food tended to be saltier, their chili spicier and their beverages sweeter.
Went back to our hotel after work. Weren’t feeling too adventurous so we looked around the hotel for food but it turned out that all the other restaurants there had already shut down (permanently?) so we had no choice but to brave the streets outside.
It was pretty dark outside. Most of everything had already long closed. Between this and the cold weather, the evening was actually pleasant. About the only things open were cafes and Bandung had a lot of those.
Traffic was pretty heavy out here but no where as bad as Jakarta I’m told. There are countdown timers at the traffic lights. They stay green for 60 seconds and then turn red for the same amount of time.
We passed by many cafes with small round clay pans, wasn’t quite sure what these were at this point but there were many young people inside. Must had seen 4 or 5 of those shops in total.
Neither of us were too keen on attempting to cross the language barrier at our current levels of fatigue and hunger, so we decided to have a dinner at this large bar called “7 Cafe”. Despite appearances, the cafe was all sold out on alcohol after Ramadan, much to the boss’s disappointment. Like many other Japanese, he was a pretty heavy drinker and haven’t had his fix in two days.
Steak turned out to be hawker food quality at best, though I guess you couldn’t expect much more given that we were paying hawker prices. The meat was incredibly tough and the sauce, strange. But at least the environment was better, or so we thought. Turns out that we weren’t the only ones having dinner here, as all the mosquitoes had visited for some exotic cuisine.
Thankfully the fried noodles were better and prices in Bandung were generally affordable. Not amazingly cheap as you would think but somewhat like Singaporean prices in a better decade. At least you don’t get that overwhelming sense of disappointment like when culinary experiments fail in pricy Singapore. In fact, the biggest gripe this evening (and until now) was probably the mosquitoes. The bites still itch, more than two days later.
So far, one of the things that bug me about Bandung is definitely the transport system, or rather lack of. While no two points in Bandung are more than 10 km apart, it’s nearly impossible for non-natives to get around.
The only form of transport here apart from taxis are small mini-vans called angkot. There are no known maps or indications where these privately owned vehicles travel, making usage by us impossible.
This is heightened by the fact that walking on the streets here is pretty uncomfortable. Perhaps I’m spoiled by both Singapore and Japan, which the boss pointed out were possibly the only two cities in Asia where one could walk around safely at night.
But I do enjoy roaming city streets at my own pace. Most distances in Bandung would be easy to cover by foot, but not without feeling awkward by the constant stares of the locals. Granted, you get this a lot in Singapore too, just not quite as much. Perhaps with familiarity, things might be different but I highly doubt it.
On the plus side, definitely the cool mountainous weather.Planning your holiday? We recommend visiting Agoda for a full list of hotels with early bird specials.