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How I Became Fat in Indonesia

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
One thing I didn't expect would happen in Indonesia was that I would get fat. I come from France, a country where we use sugar, syrup, butter, cream, sauces or oil in almost every single dish. And yet, in Paris my weight was a steady 70 kilograms. While in Indonesia, I reached almost 90 kilos within a year, even though I was eating less. I tried to understand how it could happen, and I came up with a few possible explanations. Here is the 6-step story of how I became fat in Indonesia: Step 1: Eating Indonesian Food All The Time I love Indonesian food and I think it is one of the most underrated cuisines in the world. Needless to say, when I'm in Indonesia, I eat Indonesian food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The problem is that most dishes are extremely fat. Ingredients are rarely boiled in water, they are fried, sautéed, stir-fried or cooked in coconut milk, for instance Beef Rendang or Gulai.

10 Worst Restaurant Chains in Indonesia

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
The restaurant chains listed below are on my personal blacklist. I consider they are the worst in Indonesia when in comes to the quality of the food they serve. They are also among the unhealthiest you'll find here. If you care just a little about your body, you should avoid them by all mean. Most of them serve industrial, frozen food heavy in salt, sugar and fat. Ingredients are rarely authentic, especially those that are expensive in Indonesia like cheese or beef. They will always use the cheapest stuff, regardless of the taste.  Cooks rarely have any background in cooking. They are often just high-school graduates with little training who only know how to stir-fry, deep-fry and pan-fry. It's not their fault though, the culprits are the bosses who decide on the recipes and one the ingredients used. If you work for one of these chains, sorry about this post, it's not personal. I have nothing about the service or the staff. As far as I know, you do a great j

12 Delicious Indonesian Soups (and Where to Eat Them)

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
A common mistake of foreigners visiting Indonesia is to limit their knowledge of Indonesian cuisine to Nasi Goreng and Nasi Padang. Few will taste one of the dozens delicious soups that you can try everywhere, from classy Indonesian restaurants to popular food courts. Indonesian soups are typically made from some of these ingredients: turmeric, garlic, lemongrass, onions, potatoes, coriander, ginger, galangal, tomatoes and of course, coconut milk. Chicken is the most common type of meat, followed by beef, mutton and fish. Pork soups are very rare outside of Bali. Sop or Soto? It seems that even Indonesians are not so sure about the difference between "soto" and "sop". Some friends told me that "sop" are clear soups while "soto" are mixed with coconut milk. Wikipedia tells a different story: It says that traditional soups are called "soto" while modern, western-inspired ones are called "soup". If you know the differ

Eating Dog Meat in Jakarta

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Contrary to what many could believe, most of the restaurants serving dog meat in Jakarta are not Chinese, but Manadonese (North Sulawesi). Just to clear any confusion, I am not talking about hot dogs/sausages, but the meat of the following animal: One of the best locations in Jakarta for Manadonese cuisine is the food court of the mall Ambassador, on Jalan Prof. Dr. Satrio. Dishes are usually so spicy that you'll have a hard time eating them if you are not so used to it. Another particularity is that they serve some rare animals including wild pigs, bats and dogs. In the food court, the cleanest and best restaurant serving dog meat is called Ragey. They have a huge buffet with no tags so you'll have to ask the waiters for information about the food displayed. The prices are cheap, you can choose several items and you won't pay more than Rp50,000. My advice is to take a lot of rice to limit the feeling of spiciness.

25 Best Markets and Shopping Streets to Visit in Jakarta

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Apart from the ubiquitous malls, Jakarta is filled with traditional markets and shopping streets. This review covers all the shopping areas to visit as a tourist. Some of them are very famous and some completely off-the-beaten track. I've listed them in 4 different categories: Traditional markets used by Indonesians for their daily household needs Interesting shopping streets for the tourist or the urban explorer Low-cost / wholesale shopping centers and malls with fake goods and great bargains Specialty markets (Precious stones, birds, flowers, fish, etc...)

21 Best Weekend Brunches in Jakarta

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Sunday or Saturday brunches in Jakarta are one of the best things you can do here during the weekend. The prices are usually very reasonable without alcohol, starting 30$ per person. I only listed here information about the weekend brunches available in luxury hotels. You also have many brunches served in independent restaurants, but they generally do not have as much choice and they are not served as buffets. You can try those in Loewy or Koi for instance. This is the list of the best weekend brunches in Jakarta, ranked in no particular order. Please leave a comment below if you think I forgot a great address.

Why Restaurants in Jakarta Should Serve Free Water

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Do you know that restaurants make their highest margins on bottled water? Very few restaurants in Jakarta will offer free water to their clients. And even if you are willing to pay, more and more venues will only give you a tiny 330ml bottle instead of at least 500ml so you may need to buy a second one to quench your thirst. I've promised myself to boycott any places using this trick  as I believe it is an indication of poor customer service. Unfortunately, it is so common that I may have to blacklist all the restaurants in Jakarta if I want to abide by that rule. Would you pay to use a restaurant's toilets or parking space? I don't visit restaurants to buy water. I have water at home or I can buy it easily in any convenience store. I go to restaurants to eat food that I cannot cook myself. Incidentally, I need to drink because that's a natural and healthy part of any meal. It is not a choice but a necessity.  It is the same reason I would not pay

24-Hour Restaurants in Jakarta

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
In this article, I will give a short description of restaurants opened non-stop 24 hours in Jakarta. I will update it regularly with new venues I discover. Late Night Cravings? 24h Fast Food Service Phone numbers: McDonald's: Call 14045 Burger King: Call 500025 KFC: Call 14022. Domino's Pizza: Get delivery from their website Domino's Pizza Delivery It is well-known that Jakarta never sleeps, and this is particularly true in nightlife areas such as Sarinah, Senayan, Kuningan, Hayam Wuruk, Lokasari, or Kemang. If you are clubbing there and feel hungry, you may find the following places open 24h, 7 days a week (click on the link to see the full blog review). In Kemang: Dim Sum Festival is THE meeting point for everyone once the clubs in the area close. They serve Chinese and Indonesian food at affordable prices, but no alcohol. People in Dim Sum Festival are usually quite young, in their twenties. Another famous 24-hour restaurant in South Jakarta is Aneka

3 Reasons I Don't Read Indonesian Food Blogs

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Before criticizing Indonesian food blogs, I will criticize myself first. Hopefully it will spare me the whataboutery comments: - My blog is visually not appealing. - I make grammar and spelling mistakes. - I don't always take pictures from the places I visit.  - There are some types of food I don't have much knowledge about (Korean, Japanese food).  - I make review of restaurants I have tried only once. - I don't update as often as I should my older reviews - Etc. That being said, I will allow myself to look at the work other bloggers are doing in Indonesia. I am impressed by the number of food and restaurant review blogs existing in the country, particularly in Jakarta. Many of the people behind them are really dedicated and I am sure they spend hours preparing their articles every week. I also find that in terms of design, some blogs are absolutely stunning. 

The Best Chinese Restaurants in Jakarta

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
There are probably as many Chinese restaurants as there are streets in Jakarta. To guide you through this maze of culinary delights, we made this list of what we consider are the best in the city. Of course we have forgotten some, so please help us keep this page updated by adding your comments or your suggestions at the bottom. Many thanks, Thibaud. Note: You may also be interested to read: The Best Dim Sum in Jakarta . Ah Yat Abalone in Golden Boutique Hotel, Jl. Angkasa St, Central Jakarta, Ph: +62-21 612-8833 in Mid Plaza 2, Jl. Sudirman Kav. 10-11, Ph: +62-021/570-7333 High-end dining popular with the older generation. Known for pricey delicacies like abalone, scallop, and  sharks' fin. Dimsum on weekend is quite good but not really worth paying the full price (look for discounts offered by various credit cards instead). Angke in Kelapa Gading Square, Ph: +62-21 458-66333 in Ketapang, Jl. Zaenal Arifin, Ph: +62-21 634-3030 The undisputed darling of the

Circle K vs. 7/11: Which Take-Away Food Tastes Better?

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
I could have called this article: Circle K vs 7-Eleven: Which take-away food will not make you sick? At the bottom of my residence, I have a Circle K on my left, and a 7-Eleven on my right. Both about 100 meters away from each other and they didn't exist just 1 year ago. As they are open 24/7 and serve some take-away food, it can be quite convenient for everyone from the busy executive to the reveling expat. For that reason I decided to make a food trial to compare which one you should prefer for take-away food. The first item I tried was their Spaghetti Bolognese. Eating the Spaghettti Bolognese of Circle K (21,500rp) is probably the closest you'll ever come from eating actual plastic. The sauce was ok, even though it is hard to see any meat from the Bolognese (at most you'll notice some bakso crumbs). The ingredients mention "daging" on the box, which means "Meat". We don't know if it is beef (as it should in a Bolognaise sauce) or chicken

Jakarta Restaurants: Why Are They So Bad?

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
I may have tried about 400 restaurants in Jakarta, and I would say only 25% of them taste good enough. Restaurants with Asian food are usually better, especially Indonesian, Chinese and Japanese ones. For Western food, it is very rare to find a restaurant that serves good food unless a westerner is involved at some point (as a manager, chef, owner or consultant). My most common criticisms: Low-quality ingredients, over use of industrial cheese, sauces too salty or too greasy, no real butter, too much sugar, absence of taste, over or undercooking, etc... Only when eating in the most expensive places (usually in 5-star hotels or reputed chains), the standards are satisfactory, though fast to deteriorate. Very few venues in Jakarta, to my knowledge, offer constant good western food at reasonable prices. For Asian food, I consider that most restaurants serve street food quality at best. If you do not mind the hygiene and hot weather, you'll eat better sitting on a bench in M

Top 10 Coffee Shops in Jakarta

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
In a hedonistic city like Jakarta, having a cup of coffee is more than just personal sensory indulgence. People go to cafés and coffee shops to see-and-be-seen, meet the celebrity owner, or even to get free WiFi. With such diverse consumer demand, no wonder many of these places got lost in fancy décors, so-called seasonal blended beverages and artisan-desserts, and forgot the one thing that (should) really matters : a proper cup of coffee. Amidst all the craziness, here are 10 places where you can still be sure your coffee does not come from a sachet (in no particular order, except perhaps the possibility of you ever being there before you read this). Anomali Let’s start with the easy one. With 6 locations in Jakarta and Bali, Anomali is probably Indonesia’s answer to the invasion of foreign chains like Starbucks. And the good news is, they are selling real coffee – not milk/dairy creamer based beverages disguised as coffee. It’s a one-stop shopping for single-origin Indone

What is the "Tax and Service Charge" on restaurant bills?

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
You have probably noticed that the prices in Indonesia in restaurant and bars are often accompanied of a "++" sign. For instance: "Sunday Brunch Rp350,000++" . The plus plus sign means that you will have to pay an additional charge for tax and service .  The tax  is a regional tax called PB1 or PHR (Hotel and Restaurant Tax) of 10%. It is collected by a Kabupaten (Regency) or a City, like Jakarta DKI. Technically, it is not a Value Added Tax (VAT) but it looks like it from a client's perspective. A regency like Badung in Bali, where Nusa Dua, Jimbaran, Kuta, Legian, Seminyak, Canggu and Uluwatu are located is extremely wealthy. In this area, they have 2000 hotels currently listed on Agoda and even more restaurants. Each of them give 10% of their revenue to the regency. A quick calculation: 30,000 room nights at 70$ on average X 70% occupancy X 365 days X 10% = 53,655,000 USD per year for the hotel tax only for this small regency. It makes me

The Best Spanish & Mexican Restaurants in Jakarta

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
In just a few years, the number of Mexican/Spanish/Latin restaurants in Jakarta has exploded. 5 years ago, to my knowledge there was only Amigos, and now I counted over 10 of them. I know it doesn't really make sense to mix Mexican and Spanish food into one single review as they are not related at all but I think they are part of a similar trend.  Jakartans are craving for convivial ways to eat: Restaurants that are modern without being uptight and where the food can be shared with friends. Latin countries also have a positive image in the mind of many. Tell them Spain, and they think Party, Sexy, Friendly or Fun (and probably Soccer). Most of those new Spanish/Mexican restaurants are located in the expatriate areas of Jakarta: Kemang, Cipete, Sudirman/Thamrin. Only Caliente (Mexican) has a branch in Pantai Indah Kapuk and Tapas Movida has one in Cilandak (CITOS). I ranked the restaurants according to several criteria: Food, authenticity, value for money, atmosphere, co

Eating Snakes in Jakarta

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
During a trip to Mangga Besar, I found those restaurants serving cobras in different forms (Sate Cobra, Cobra Soup, Grilled Snake, etc...). I was not really in the mood for trying but I took a few pictures... If you are interested, they are quite easy to find, on the main street, approximately 2 kilometers east of Jalan Hayam Wuruk. You call also try this one more particularly: King Cobra

Good Japanese Restaurants in Jakarta

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
In four years of blogging, this review about the best Japanese restaurants in Jakarta was probably the hardest I ever wrote. I wanted to give the most accurate information as possible, so I did a lot of research, some visits, many phone calls, and spent a week on it. I hope you can help me with your comments if you find any errors (wrong phone number, restaurant closed, etc...). It would be great if you can share your best venues as well. Almost all the good Japanese restaurants in Jakarta are listed here (as of November 2011), by alphabetical order. I will also post separate reviews about the best shabu-shabu, best sushis, most expensive restaurants, best all-you-can-eat, etc... Here are all the Japanese restaurants you should know about in Jakarta: Ajihara (Jalan Melawai "Little Tokyo", Blok M ; Tel: +62-21 7201340): Authentic izakaya, popular with expats, with a karaoke above. Big portions, do not hesitate to share. Recommended dishes: Sashimi, teuc

Top 10 Arab & Middle Eastern Restaurants in Jakarta

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Surprisingly for the capital of the largest Muslim country in the world, the number of Arab or Middle Eastern restaurants in Jakarta is quite low. I've counted about 25 of them, and I've tried 15. It may seems like a lot, but since Jakarta is so spread, you're not likely to have more than just a few near where you live. The good thing is that within these, most of them are decent and affordable. In particular, I advise you to try one of the Yemeni restaurants which offer the best value-for-money and the most authenticity. As of October 2011, here is my Top 10 for my favourite Arab or Middle Eastern restaurants in Jakarta (you can click on the link to read my personal review): 1) Maroush (Morrocan Restaurant) 2) Al Nafoura (Lebanese)

My Favourite French Restaurants in Jakarta

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
The overall quality of French restaurants in Jakarta has improved over the past few years, particularly with the openings of Lyon , Amuz and Orient8 . Still, I think the options are limited, and most of the best venues are too expensive: Take the first six restaurants of my list, they will all cost you around Rp1 million for a 3-course meal. Some more affordable options exist, for instance Java Bleu , Le Bistro or Escargot . In those restaurants, the cuisine and the setting remain simple, but it is authentic and you eat well. A full meal in those should cost you less than Rp450,000. At last, you have a third category of French restaurants, in which you have great design and atmosphere, but average food. Among those, Bistro Baron , Loewy or SHY are the most happening. A full meal will cost you almost the same as in fine dining restaurants .