“Their names roll off the tongue savourly, crowding the imagination with sunshine, strange sounds and a multi-coloured activity” wrote Somerset Maughham, the 1930s playwright and novelist, travelling in the region. His journey covered Bombay, Madras, Calcutta, Singapore, Penang, Bangkok, Saigon, Rangoon, Hanoi, Hong Kong and Shanghai—a Grand Tour—along the shipping routes to colonies and foreign entrepots alike.
All these cities are still top Asian destinations these days, including Yangon, the renamed Rangoon, former capital of Burma, now Myanmar. After many decades, the country retreated into a self-imposed isolation and considerable internal unrest—the subject of international media coverage and even the Hollywood film industry. Only in recent years has it opened up to outside visitors with rapidly growing interest from investors and travellers alike. From the very moment I set foot on the ground in Myanmar I knew I was in for a truly unique experience.
I was hosting soup lunch event at Leipzig book on Thursday 12 March 2015. It seems everyone enjoyed the soup – spinach and grated carrot soup with a touch of coconut, lemon grass, ginger and basil inspired from Sop Bobor from central Java.
The rich diversity of Indonesian cuisine is an intriguing assembly of influences that crept into the world’s largest archipelago from near and far, resulting in some interesting variations, province to province. The impact of historical trade with China, the Middle East, India, Spain, Portuguese and the Netherlands and a colonial past have played a role in determining our culinary palette today.
Spices or rempah-rempah refer to dry spices such as cloves, nutmeg, coriander seed, cinnamon, fenel, candlenuts and many more. Bumbu is a mixture of more than two ingredients that refer to spices or fresh root spices, herbs, soya sauce, peanuts, shrimp paste or fruit.
Petty Elliott meets a woman on a mission to promote Indonesia’s agrarian heritage.
Helianti Hilman, an Ambassador for Organic Goodness
It might come as a surprise to many, but buying organic food has never been easier in Jakarta.
The choices range from sublime specialties such as locally grown strawberries to, well … rice. However, although the growth of the organic farming industry in Indonesia has been gaining momentum over the last decade, currently there is no formal organization to supervise standards and establish the provenance of local organic produce.
While there are requirements laid out under the Indonesian National Standards (SNI) for running an organic farm, some
70 percent of such farms in Indonesia lack the necessary certificates proving their products are actually organic, according to the director general of stan- dards and consumer protection at the Trade Ministry.
With a little imagination we can create variety and introduce fresh ideas using familiar and local ingredients. Replacing rice, pasta or potatoes with sweet potatoes or corn as an alternative carbohydrate is one. Another is to incorporate local tropical fruits and vegetables into European dishes, for spectacular results. Exploring new ideas with local ingredients will surprise your guests – and the preparation is not difficult.