One week I didn't touch my blog ... and somebody commented it's already growing fungus! Hmmm... that bad meh?
I was away on a shopping & eating trip in Bandung last weekend. That's basically all one does in Bandung. With the cheap AirAsia tickets, I had no hesitation joining a group of friends on this trip.
A mere 2 hours' flight time away, we landed on time at their tiny airport. You really have to be verrrry patient here waiting for your baggage because their Customs's checking of hand luggage and baggage conveyor belt take up the same space - yes, go figure that out!
We were all pushed into this tiny little corner waiting for our bags to topple over their one-way conveyor! Then, once you've got your bag, you gotta push your way out of that tiny little space with a whole village of people jamming up a space barely measuring 6ft by 6ft!
After that ordeal, in the van going to town, when the driver suggested going straight for lunch, everyone quickly nodded. So we ended up at a restaurant selling Nasi Padang.... and this was the array of dishes we had! Food was cold and rather unappetising but because everyone was famished, I didn't hear any complaints. We paid about RM11 per person for this meal.
As we walked along the streets, there were many many hawkers selling all kinds of food, ranging from noodles, rice, fried stuff, siomay (which is actually "siew mai"), durian ice-cream, corn etc etc!!
When we were tired from all the endless shopping, it was nice to take a rest at the little gardens and courtyards housed inside the factory outlets...
On the first night there, we had dinner at Karamba - a pretty high-end restaurant serving Sundanese food (West Java cuisine), a la carte style. This was by far the most expensive meal we had - RM28 per person.
Be warned - their sambal belacan is fierily hot but it's very addictive! The hotter it was the more you wanna eat, aikkks!
Their chickens are all of the "kampung" breed - small, lean (no fat at all!) and very tasty.
Bumbu Desa is a popular chain of restaurants and this was recommended. Their interior's very pleasant and service is excellent. Everyone smiles and calls you "ibu" or "pak".Again, this is Sundanese food. The food is all laid out on woks - you just point out your choices and tell them for how many people. The food will be reheated and served at your table. Sambal and ulam are FOC - unlimited portions too!
Generally, Sundanese dishes are on the dry side - we hardly found any dish with curry or lots of gravy. Most of it are fried or just cooked with very little gravy. Ohh... and we also noted that the cooks in Bandung tend to be heavy-handed on the salt - their food are on the saltish side! So be prepared to drink lots of water!
Sambara was another restaurant recommended to us and we found this to be better than Bumbu Desa. Again, same type of food and same excellent service!
These baby green brinjals were part of the ulam-ulam...
If you're looking for Indonesian kuehs and cakes, Kartika Sari is one of the more popular chain of shops. We saw lots of passengers in the plane (on the return flight later) carrying Kartika Sari bags, holding them preciously!
Do try their steamed Brownies - they are yummy, especially the tiramisu ones!
Their local kuehs are also good - very fragrant and surprisingly, not that very sweet! I love their kueh bika - all the many variations of it!
I got my Indonesian Layer Cakes from Holland Bakery - you can spot them with their unmistakable windmills on top of their shops. I find their layer cakes very rich, very moist, not very sweet and very heavy! The fullsize cake weighs more than 2kg... so do consider that in your baggage allowance, hehe! Not cheap also - be prepared to pay about RM110 per cake.
If there's one place I'd like to re-visit in Bandung, it's Kampung Daun! It's located up in the hills and it's about a 30-minute drive up there. We were there for dinner so I can only show you the night scenes here. The next time, if I ever come here again, it must be in the daytime so that I can enjoy the beautiful vast greenery of the place.
Their dining tables are housed in individual charming little huts complete with comfy cushions for you to sit bersila to enjoy your meal. Do note that it's extremely chilly up here - they even have open bonfires everywhere for people to warm up!
Hot tea was served in these cute ceramic pots...
Their menu consists of both local Javanese and western items. Of course we had to have the local food! The huts are all sprawled over a huge area and I was thinking it would take a long time for dinner to be served. How utterly wrong I was!
All our orders were served under 10 minutes, by a smiling cute little waiter!! Impressive leh!
I love their Nasi Liwet - a very yummy fragrant flavourful rice - you can just eat the rice on its own! I first ate this nasi at Kambara and couldn't have enough of it!! Here my nasi liwet was served with acar, fried tofu, fried chicken, a stick of chicken gizzard+liver, raw salad and the requisite kerepek.
Fried rice (not Thai-style) served in a pineapple - very delicious...
Ahh... their satay is a bit different from ours - less spicy with none of our lemongrass & kunyit flavours. Theirs tasted more like with BBQ-sauce! Food is not expensive here - most sets were in the region of RM12-15 each.... and you get to enjoy the beautiful ambience and fresh cool air!
On the way back from Kampung Daun, we stopped by a kerepek & snacks shop to stock up...
I only bought a 500g packet of kerepek emping... none of these for me - no baggage weight to spare lah!
So that was how the 5D 4N trip went - purely shopping & eating! The weather in Bandung is very cooling and low humidity, so it's very pleasant to walk around without sweating. At night it gets pretty chilly, so you do need some warm clothings then.
The people in the service sector are humble and courteous, from hotels to restaurants to drivers. The rich live in huge mansions in an upmarket part of the town while some of the poor & homeless can be seen living on the streets and under bridges. It was also sad to see little child beggars roaming the chaotic streets - I saw a tiny toddler (she couldn't be older than 4 years old) stumbling along the busy streets, weaving her way among the vehicles. I don't think you can even spot her from inside the car - so so dangerous!