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12 Delicious Indonesian Soups (and Where to Eat Them)

By Tibs →
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

What is the "Tax and Service Charge" in Indonesia?

By Tibs →
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