Bring an empty stomach and get ready to take notes, because Thailand’s Tom Yam Kung, the Philippines’ Tagalog steak, Japanese’s Takoyaki and sushi, Indonesian’s Kerak Telor and Sate Ponorogo are among the delicious menus available at the ASEAN Plus Culinary Festival at La Piazza shopping mall in Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta.
The event not only features various foods from ASEAN countries, but also other delicacies from the bloc’s dialogue partners such as Japan, Pakistan and the European Union.
Visitors can also meet a number of local and foreign chefs showcasing their skills and sharing their knowledge to spice up the event.
“We love to attend culinary events because we like eating and cooking. We just tried takoyaki and the Philippine’s cake,” Noviana, a resident of Duren Sawit in East Jakarta, told The Jakarta Post on Saturday.
She eagerly strolled from one booth to another, trying various foods and wines and collecting brochures about cooking utensils while her mom quietly sat listening to a cooking demonstration by two Cambodian chefs in the multi-purpose hall.
The two chefs, Sopheak Pov and Kompheak Seng from Topaz Malis restaurant in Phnom Penh, flew from Cambodia to cook three original dishes — beef sour soup with thnoung leaves, phrohok ktis chicken and amok fish.
The three-day event, which runs until Sunday, is held in conjunction with Indonesia serving as ASEAN chair this year. The Foreign Affairs Ministry appointed the Indonesian Chef Association (ICA) to conduct the event.
Live cooking demonstrations attracted the most people on Saturday. Chef Yongki Gunawan generously shared his tips in making soft and juicy beef satays while cracking jokes with the audience.
Previously at noon, celebrity chef Ragil Wibowo cooked giant bakpao (steamed chinese cakes with fillings) for visitors in the outdoor venue as a part of Makan Besar (eating big portions), a culinary program on Trans 7 television channel. Dozens of visitors swarmed for his chocolate, meat and chicken bakpao right after he finished steaming them.
The culinary outdoor area, which has tropical nuance, is decorated with Javanese wooden gazebos, bamboo, batik and haystacks. There are 34 booths featuring various delicacies. Some booths have ready-to-eat dishes, while others, such as the Penang restaurant, perform live cooking shows.
Many visitors lined up dutifully to buy German curly cakes at the European Union stall. Yohan, a resident of Kelapa Gading, said that the sweet cake was nice, but that the original he ate in Germany was better.
“Somehow, I felt a slightly different taste. Maybe there are some certain different ingredients,” he said.
If you come to the venue in the blistering heat of the afternoon, the recommended beverage is Thai tea from Suan Thai, a Bangkok restaurant that is open daily in Cideng, Central Jakarta. The sweet and fresh taste of the beverage, which has similar color to carrot juice, will quench your thirst.