The buzz on Jakarta
Whether you’re into trendy restaurant-hopping or taking in a country’s culture through orthodox fare, Indonesia’s capital got something for everyone, says chef Samdy Kan.
Jakarta is a city that never sleeps – it is always buzzing with activity, culinary or otherwise. Its rich colonial history brought about the melting pot of Indonesian cuisine that we know today, which is as varied as the country’s culture. It has a rapidly growing economy and thriving dining scene – I go there quite often as a business consultant for a multinational F&B group. The metropolis has a multitude of dining options to explore, from traditional Indonesian specialities to more new-fangled gastronomic experiences.
One of my favourite hangouts in Jakarta is the chic bookstore chain Aksara, stylised as (ak.’sa.ra), which has branches all around the capital. I love going there to browse for literary treasures, such as the latest gourmet tomes and fiction releases. They usually have an eclectic mix of background music and offer creative lifestyle gifts and homeware. Attached to the store is their popular café Canteen, where you can enjoy unfussy gourmet European and Asian food, a cup of coffee, and even a cocktail. I dine here occasionally after buying magazines or books, and flip through them while I snack on nachos with jalapeno and chilli con carne, a classic caesar salad with grilled chicken, or a cured meat platter of coppa di parma and serrano ham.
Excerpt from the October 2014 issue of epicure.