More culinary adventures13 September, 2011 by Chad
It’s was my third day in Indonesia and starting to make sense of this foreign land. While some things took longer to discover, others were definitely more apparent. Had kind of figured by yesterday that this was one of those countries that didn’t use toilet paper, since the only place that did have any was our hotel. Instead, a shower was provided in most cubicles, which arguably might even be better.
Learned from some of the staff that all the cafes we passed by last evening were selling a kind of local specialty dessert. The telltale sign were the dozens of youths chilling inside. Good thing we didn’t enter any looking for dinner, or it might had been rather embarrassing. Took a mental note to try it some other time though.
One of my Indonesian friends back in Singapore tweeted that I ought to try some Gurame fish before I left, so had the hosts take us to a nearby shop specializing in that. We stopped by Ikan Pesmol Cianjur (Cianjur Spiced Fish) for lunch.
The Gurame seems to be a local species of gourami, a kind of freshwater fish. The boss wasn’t particularly looking forward to trying it. Guess he doesn’t like fish. But after trying some, he remarked that it was better than expected. The Gurame were surprisingly meaty, their flesh a tough, chewy texture.
The shop sold the gurame in halves, each costing about 40,000 Rupiahs or approximately SGD$7. Quite a bargain when you consider a small pomfret would set you back at least $20 in Singapore. Whereas, the two half-gurame were meaty enough to feed a group of 4.
At the waiter’s suggestion we tried the pesmol gurame, which was smothered in a mixture of nuts and spices as well as another grilled gurame. From how fast the later cleared, I would say that everyone preferred the grilled gurame.
Ended up working till nearly 9, so fast forward to dinner time again. This evening, we took a 30 minute drive up the mountains to Maja House, a popular restaurant and bar in Bandung.
Maja House immediately stands out in the otherwise pitch dark mountain roads. It’s location, overlooking Bandung city makes it a popular date spot. The lower levels serve as sort of a restaurant and function spot but the upper balcony was where everyone was at on a Friday evening. Apparently the whole place turns into a nightclub on weekends too.
Great ambiance and definitely a nice place to chill. The temperature was much lower up here too which might explain the lack of mosquitoes. Many couples and families came up to the balcony to laze around the mattress seats while gazing across at the city lights.
The only light source was the single candle at our table, so I couldn’t capture our orders except with an iPhone’s flash. Apologies for the less than glamorous photos.
After last night’s dinner, wasn’t exactly looking forward to more steak but it was the restaurant’s specialty. Had the Mozzarella Tenderloin, one of their recommendations. It was sinfully good. But I must warn ye, since between it or the Thai tea (or possibly the combination) I ended up with a tummy ache after.
Also, had more tofu. We ordered a second round of drinks while enjoying some conversation with our hosts. The boss was most glad to have found a place with alcohol for the first time in days.
Eventually, we made our way back down to return to our hotel. All the houses we passed by along the way were all pitch dark, which lead me to wonder if they were abandoned or if many had gone to a different city to work. But it turns out that like in the residential areas in Japan, the people here just sleep early.
The next morning had us waking up extra early to catch a cab to the airport for the return flight to Singapore. Traffic was definitely a concern, having experienced it over the past few days. But for some reason, the streets were pretty empty (by Indonesian standards) and we ended up at Bandung airport with 2 hours to spare.
After getting our boarding passes, we left the airport (to the annoyance of the customs) to get some morning coffee across the street. They didn’t have much in choice on the menu and my stomach wasn’t feeling too well either so decided to give breakfast a pass. Killed some time here chatting with the boss before finally clearing customs (again) and checking in.
Departure at Bandung International Airport was fancier than the arrival in the sense that there were actually 3 shops here, which also made up the entire departure hall. Beyond this is a waiting room with a staircase down to the airfield.
Our flight was delayed by about half an hour. A queue had formed earlier which we assumed was to board the plane but it turns out that the airline staff were giving out food, a box of MacDonald’s chicken and a cup of water. Not sure if they were giving it out as a service, in apology for the delay or to those who had opted for an inflight meal since all of the announcements were in Bahasa. But again decided to pass.
We got a newer plane and better seats this time so he return flight was more bearable. With what little interaction on board, the flight crew seemed friendly, more so than Delta’s. Nearly every other airline has better looking cabin attendants than Delta too.
The flight was delayed another 15 minutes or so due to bad weather in Singapore. But even then, the pilot must had been pretty skilled as the landing was nearly unnoticeable. The rain in Singapore meant that I wouldn’t recognize (and dread) the terrible heat until much later.
Overall, this first trip to Bandung wasn’t bad. But it was quite impossible to get a clear impression given the nature of this trip. Pretty much nothing but food over the few days. I’ll save any judgement till I learn and experience some of the other things that Bandung has to offer.Planning your holiday? We recommend visiting Agoda for a full list of hotels with early bird specials.