[food review] (porky) ramen in Jakarta

In the past 2 years, there are a lot of ramen (Japanese noodle) restaurants opening in Jakarta. While many people in Jakarta are moslem, these restaurants serve pork ramen openly – some also provide separate cooking pots and serving bowls too (between halal/non-pork and non-halal/pork menu).

Here are the ranked list of my favorites (opinions may vary):

  • Ippudo. What I like the most about Ippudo is the authenticity of the way they serve their customers – to the point that the waitresses would kneel when taking orders. What’s more is the soup they use (pork and seafood broth that is just right – not too thick, not too thin), the mildness of the noodle, and the toppings. My favorites are shiromaru motoaji, pork bun, and lasagna gyoza (Japanese-style dumpling). (Reference: Ippudo Ramen Indonesia)
shiro

Shiromaru Motoaji

  • Ikkudo Ichi. Out of all ramen restaurants in my list, I think this is the most popular one with the most branches. The typical interior of the restaurants is false pinkย sakura (cherry blossom) and paper lanterns on the ceiling, with yellowish lighting. Compared to Ippudo, the soup is thicker. What’s more is that we can choose from 2 noodle options: curly and straight/mild, and 3 mildness options: hard, medium and soft. My favorite is Ikkudo Buta Kara (topped with boiled egg, pork loins and spicy sauce). (Reference: Zomato)
ikkudo

Ikkudo Buta Kara

  • Hakata Ikkousha. I tried this ramen because many friends are recommending it. I don’t really like it, though. The soup is not so thick, which is nice, but it is also a bit bland for my taste. The favorite menu there is ramen babi spesial/special pork ramen. (Reference: Ikkousha Ramen Indonesia)
ramen babi spesial

Ramen Babi Spesial

  • Ramen 38 (Sanpachi). This might be the oldest ramen restaurant available in Jakarta, and in fact, it’s not so famous as it was, say, 8 years ago. I guess to play it safe, the management of this restaurant only opens the pork-contained menu in a restaurant separated from shopping malls, which is not so necessary nowadays, given that many other restaurants would carelessly (well, they always inform upfront that they serve pork and people will be OK with that) open about serving pork, regardless of whether it is located in a shopping mall or not. My favorite menu in Ramen 38 is Chashu Ramen, which is topped only with pork loin chops and spinach. (Reference: Zomato)
chashu ramen

Chashu Ramen

  • Menya Sakura. The special thing about this restaurant is they only use high quality pork bone for the soup base – hence creating ‘umami’ taste. However, I don’t really like this ramen so much. The best menu available is the kangkung. The tsukemen is also quite special, with thick seafood soup. (Reference: Menya Sakura Indonesia)
  • Bariuma Ramen. This one is, in my opinion, the worst of all ramen restaurant listed here. The soup somehow tastes a lot like Indomie soup with additional salt. The noodle is also not so special. It’s still edible, though, but not recommended if you have other choices. For non-pork eaters, this restaurant is quite recommended, though, since they separate all pork and non pork dishes and cutleries: red for pork menu and black for non pork. (Reference: Zomato)
ajitama uma

Pork Ramen in Red Bowl

[Japanese Noodle] differences of ramen, soba, udon, and somen

Working in an office building where a lot of Japanese companies are stationed, I got to visit an authentic Japanese restaurant (located in the building) frequently. Thus, getting to know about the food is just natural. What’s interesting is the noodles.

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There are 4 common Japanese noodles that I become familiar with so far:

  • Ramen. Out of the 4 types, I think this is the most widely known type. Ramen is like Chinese-made wheat noodle, served with meat-based broth/soup (either chicken or pork) or miso/shoyu soup. As for the topping, the normally used ones are spring onion, seaweed (nori), and the meat itself.
151010_Sapporo_ramen_at_Susukino_Sapporo_Hokkaido_Japan01s

Ramen (picture from Wikipedia)

  • Udon. Udon is the second most popular noodle. Thicker than ramen, udon is also made from wheat flour, served with milder soup of soysauce base. It is usually topped with fried dishes (tempura).
Kitsune-Udon-II

Udon

  • Soba. Soba is Japanese noodle made from buckwheat flour, with or without the mix of wheat flour. What’s unique about soba is that it can be served both hot and cold, normally depending on the season. Both hot and cold soba are served with mild soysauce (shoyu)-based soup and topped with spring onion and nori.
  • Somen. Somen is also made from wheat flour, but with very thin diameter (it’s very soft structured like vermicelli). It is more common to find somen served cold, but I tried the hot version and I like it. Like soba, it is normally served with mild shoyu-based soup.
Somen

Somen

to the broken-hearted 25s ladies (P.S: happy ending is for everyone)

Dear Beautiful Ladies,

I am writing this ‘letter’ to motivate all of you who are broken hearted, especially if you are 25 years old or older. Hopefully this will help you find yourself (a) happy ending(s).

First of all, let me tell you a story about me and my ex (for privacy purpose, let’s refer to him as A). We met when I was 23, very young and pure (I didn’t even drink beer back then), and he was 27. We worked at the same company, so you can say that we had cinlok (‘local’ love) at first. Then I went to Australia for Master’s, and we somehow managed to maintain the long distance relationship until I came back to Jakarta for good.

Long story short, we had always planned for a serious relationship, so it wasn’t very shocking when we finally discussed about marriage. Being a defensive kid to my parents, I still needed (and still do) their blessings for the big step of my life. When I brought up the topic to my mom, she only replied with a question: “Are you sure he’s the one?”, which I could not answer confidently. She’d then suggested me to rethink about it, and after a careful thought, I decided to break up with A. It wasn’t an easy decision; both A and I were badly heartbroken. I never really know what happened with A, but for all I know, he’s happily married now (which was another reason for my second broken heart with him).

It’s just natural that I spent several months despairing about our break up, and another 3 years looking for the best guy. I might be a strong girl that I didn’t think about committing suicide or depending myself on drugs that might kill me as well, but I did drink alcohol (which I never did before!) and thought about smoking (thank God I was surrounded by good friends who prevented me from doing so) during the desperate times. I became a different person to my family and friends, keeping a distance from them. Oh, and I cried a lot too. Time really heals any kind of wounds.

Soon after I made peace with myself (and family and friends), good things keep coming to me: I found myself happiness, made new friends, reached a career goal, achieved self actualization, and went to amazing places that I never thought I would visit. However, I was still single; I was happy being single at first, cleansing myself from all the downsides of being in a relationship until at one point, I felt that I needed a boyfriend, so I started looking. ๐Ÿ™‚

The journey of finding the best guy was not an easy one, as I was looking for a life partner, not just a boyfriend for fun. Hence, 3 years were spent. I dated some guys and even tried online dating (which doesn’t work for me!), got my heart broken several times, and was involving myself in a drama (re: dating 2 guys at the same time) before I decided to settle with ‘the one’.

How to decide if someone’s ‘the one’:

  • Keep in mind that a perfect guy doesn’t exist (he only exists in fairy tales).
  • Keep yourself open for options before settling down.
  • Pay attention to yourself: if your heart beats faster every time you’re with the guy, then he’s not the one (and you should probably check yourself to the cardiologist :P). ‘The one’ will make you feel calm, comfortable, and at peace when you’re with him.
  • Pay attention to the surroundings: when you’re destined to be with someone (‘the one’), your surroundings will change too. This includes your family and friends support you, the universe seems to send you fortune and luck, and you just ‘click’ like you’ve known the person for your whole life, even though you just met him recently.

Ladies, I know that you might be totally heartbroken at the moment, or even decided that you don’t deserve to be happy with a significant other ever. Please feel free to think and feel the way you want to think and feel. When the time comes, all those feelings and thoughts will be over. Fill your days with meaningful things, smile a lot, and accomplish any dreams you have. It is when you’re happiest with yourself that you will find love.

Everything I write here will sound too dreamy for you, but it’s the truth – I went through it all. You have to believe that if I can, then you can too.

Be happy and love yourself.

XOXO,

Inez

[game review] Cooking Craze

When someone asks me what my favorite game is, I will probably answer Diner Dash, The Sims, or Candy Crush. During my school years, I could sit in front of my computer for hours playing games from when I reached home until dinner time, or until the mosquitos bit my legs till the blood was almost dry *exaggeration*.

Since I started working, I don’t really have that much time to play games, so mobile games with limited ‘lives’ are preferable. Last weekend I found a new game with the same theme as Cooking Dash: Cooking Craze from Bigfish Game.

Image result for cooking craze

The mission of each level is to serve food to customers, either by time or number of customers. After we finish a stage (each stage contains approximately 10 levels), we will go on to another stage and restaurants. Each restaurant will serve different kinds of food, hence different upgrades will be required. In order to upgrade restaurant utensils, we will need to collect certain amount of coins (collected through serving customers and some daily bonus), and to advance some harder levels, we might need spoons for additional time or customers. Spoons are collected by passing a level and from daily bonus.

I have only played this game for 3 days, but I love it the way I will start playing after the lives are filled up (like Candy Crush, it takes 30 minutes to collect a life). This is a fun girl game which requires multitasking and might last for a couple of months (for me, until I get stucked in a certain level).

on sharing

Being an introvert when I was at school (I’m best described as an ambivert today), you can always be certain that I wasn’t one of those students who would proactively ask and answer the teachers in class. Of course, the bigger things like me presenting in front of class are more unlikely to happen.

I had always felt like I was the most inactive student in class until I got into college, where apparently students from other schools were even more inactive than me, and I became one of the most active students then. One thing that I’ve been facing in many organizations since my college time is sharing in events. The skill of sharing is one of the life survival skills in any organization. I’m not an expert myself, but there are certain things that you must master to be a good sharer/speaker:

  1. Be confident. You’re the one who understands the matter best out of all the people in the room.
  2. Be prepared. Prepare the meeting agenda, know what points are to be presented and to which depth.
  3. Know your audience and deliver the contents with their capabilities/expertise.
  4. Speak at the correct speed. That is, not too fast nor too slow.

Anyone want to add some points?

on honeymoon period

As I reached the end of my first month in the new company (yes, again), I came to my boss and asked if he can assign me with something. The problem is I had become idle while others were very busy. I’d even felt uncomfortable leaving the office at 5 PM when everyone else stayed until late.

I talked to a senior about my idleness and he only responded with: “Just enjoy your honeymoon period.”

Recalling my experience, it’s been more than 4 years since my last honeymoon period with a company. I didn’t have one in the previous company I worked for, since the nature of the business is totally different: the previous company’s business is a highly competitive business with high-paced development, while the current one is a more long-term business with slower-paced development. I like working for both, but I think the latter suits me more in the sense that I get to have more time for play (I felt like I had no life with the highly competitive business).

Honeymoon period is actually important, since it enables people to observe and adapt to the new environment. The ideal time for honeymoon period varies depending on the pace and complexity of work. The important things are to get to know people whom you’re going to work with, and the process to make you succeed in the work. Just remember that no company is dumb enough to let its employee idle forever, especially when it’s still paying his/her monthly salary.

honeymoon

Happy honeymoon to myself!

what did I want to be when I was younger?

Since I’ve now worked and tried to keep myself on track (I’m actually not someone who believes that you can’t change career once you get in, but fate brings me back to track), I can only share this: what did I want to be when I was younger?

  1. A writer. Thanks to my high school for getting every student to journalistic training, I fell in love with writing. I used to really hate any language lesson until I joined the training and realized that writing can be fun in the way that I’m free to express my thoughts. For those of you who know me in person, I tend to be straightforward and not so expressive. Writing enables me to think more logically and elaborate things without being interrupted (even if the readers refrain from reading, I wouldn’t know).
  2. A teacher/lecturer. When I was in school, my mom would ask me to teach some lessons to my sister. I didn’t like the job back then, being the emotional me and all. Only after I was assigned as my lecturer’s teaching assistant I’d then felt that teaching is also a fun activity. I like sharing what I know and experience, so being a teacher/lecturer might also be a career choice. (I’m not interested in taking any Ph.D though, so if the institute requires the lecturer to be a Ph.D, I won’t apply.)
  3. An entrepreneur. This is my latest want, given the reality that babysitters and schools/education institutions are not reliable in making children’s mentality strong – I want to be an entrepreneur who would be able to run the business from home while I raise my children. Hopefully I will be able to make this dream come true. ๐Ÿ™‚