Posts for the 'Bandung' Category


Indonesian lunch: Lake Ciburial

The tea plantation was a delightful retreat from the congested city of Bandung, with acres and acres of land lush with the green of tea leaves. Hiking through the plantation, we made headway towards this miniature waterfall. It was not particularly spectacular, but the slight splash of the water against my face on such a hot day was particularly refreshing. There were also some locals, clearly a close group of young friends, whiling away their day with laughter around the falls and it was with a little envy that I watched them. What a carefree way to spend a day!

We broke for an Indonesian lunch at a little eating spot on Situ Ciburial (Lake Ciburial) run by a mother and daughter team, and ate on the balcony which looked out onto a lake that rippled beautifully from the reflection of the sunshine. It was a buffet style meal with about 14 different choices on offer. I tried a little of each, and all the food was delicious and fresh. There were a number of deep fried dishes, which on my travels so far had appeared to be quite commonplace; two different types of fish, one chicken, battered mash potato, and one of shredded pork. There was also a beef curry and a variety of stir-fried vegetables mixed with tofu, pork or mushrooms. My favourite though was the chicken steamed in banana leaf with lemongrass and spring onions, for in the cooking process the banana leaf had ensured that the fragrance of the lemongrass was deeply infused in the chicken.

A traditional Indonesian lunch

A traditional Indonesian lunch

Next we headed to Gunung Papandayan (Volcano Papandayan). I had seen other volcanoes before – Cotopaxi in Ecuador, Arenal in Costa Rica – but nothing prepared me for the spectacle that was Papandayan. We spent some three hours exploring its crevices, and at every turn there was a new wonderment to gaze upon. For all its destructive force (it last erupted in 2002), it had also left a legacy of extreme barren beauty; mud pools bubbling away, rocks swollen yellow with sulphur deposits, cracks in the earth steaming with gas, a crater filled with cobalt blue water. It was truly a spectacle to behold.


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Business breakfast: Indonesian congee

If you’ve ever backpacked, you’ve probably had occasion to turn up at some far flung destination with no accommodation booked, to then have to search for a bed in earnest.  Such was the situation that had befallen a Swiss couple that I’d met today.

Like me they had arrived in Bandung, some three hours east of Jakarta, the night before, but unlike me they had no accommodation booked.  They searched for some two hours, and on their twelfth attempt, finally settled on their first available option.  However all was not as it seemed.  For having been allocated a room on the karaoke floor, it became apparent that whilst I was staying at a business hotel for business travellers, they were also staying at a ‘business’ hotel of sorts. Throughout the night, they were kept up by the raucous singing of the drunken men and working girls.  To add insult to injury, the room was only barely clean; the shower water was a little bit brown and only lukewarm; and the spaghetti bolognaise churned out by the hotel restaurant consisted of noodles with sliced vegetables and sweet and sour sauce.
 
We had met as all three of us were headed on a day tour of one of the tea plantations in the Bandung vicinity, to be followed by a visit to Volcano Papandayan.  On the advice of the tour operator through whom I’d booked this tour, I indulged in a hearty breakfast to prepare for the day’s adventures.  As a hotel catering predominantly to Indonesian business travellers, the breakfast was Indonesian as expected.  On the serving table were mie goreng (fried noodles), nasi goreng (fried rice) and Indonesian congee.  Like Chinese congee, the Indonesian version was made from rice, but unlike Chinese congee, this was much thicker and laden with stock.  The stock tasted as if from packet mix, but with a good quality broth, no doubt would have been delicious.  You could also garnish it as you liked, with peanuts, fried spring onions, etc.  Perhaps the idea of noodles, rice and congee for breakfast doesn’t cater to every Western palate, but I guess it certainly caters to that of Indonesian business people.

Indonesian congee

Indonesian congee


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