Soekarno-Hatta Airport breakfast

I consider myself somewhat of an expert when it comes to airport food.  If I were to generalize a description of  airport food, I could describe it as quick and overpriced food for the desperate.

I have been traveling quite a bit lately and one of my many faults of my travel regime is that I tend to arrive way too early for my flight.  I think I have developed this habit from my general experience from traveling out of my country.  I come from a country that 3 hours lead time of travel does not seem to be enough.  Something wrong always seems to happen.

I had just completed a trip from Jakarta to Singapore to Jakarta in less than 24 hours and was feeling as sick as a dog.

If this was not enough to knock you out, the usual  1 -1/2 hour journey  from Singapore to Jakarta ended up being a 7 hour ordeal.  The real travel was the 5 – 1/2 hour car drive from the airport to the hotel.  This is normally a 45 minute travel time.  But that night was special.  The travel gods were punishing me and I got to the hotel around 10:30 not too well and tired.

On top of that, another flight to Yogjakarta departing at 6am was staring me in the face.

Fast forward to 3 am, I wake up thinking it was 4 am.  I was feeling like shit and forgot to switch my time from Singapore to Jakarta time.

Jumped into the shower, dressed, grabbed my things and left the hotel.  Jumped into the hotel car and instructed the driver to break all land speed records in Indonesia.

I arrive in Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta Airport and in less than 10 minutes I was checked in.

Having no meal the night before, I headed straight to the nearest food eatery.

I walked up and searched the menu.  Like in most places in Indonesia, you walk up and your menu is staring you in the face.  All you need to do is basically point at the food and it will be served to you.

I ordered my breakfast…

Nasi means rice in Bahasa.  Goreng means fried.  I do not know what the word for egg is in Bahasa.

Rice is life in Indonesia.  People will not last long if they do not eat rice.  Rice ranks as high as water and air in Indonesia it is more than a staple. To complement my meal, I ordered coffee and aqua (botted water)

Indonesia coffee is one of the most highly regarded coffees in the world.

The Nasi goreng was nothing spectacular.  It was your regular standard fried rice.  It did have a kick to it that was distinctly Indonesian.  Finely chopped chili padi, these are the deadly chilies that I think can melt iron, was sprinkled and hidden in the fried rice.  Nothing beats chili padi’s kick to help you kick off your day.  Nothing great, but not bad.

What I was looking forward to the coffee.  Indonesia’s coffee is legendary.  Indonesia is the fourth largest coffee exporter in the world.

I am not sure what the Dutch brought to Indonesia, but one thing is for certain, they introduced this beautiful country to coffee.

From the rich flavours of Arabica coffee to Sumatra coffee to the insanely expensive kopi luwak or civet coffee,  I was looking forward to a magical and magnificent cup of black gold.

The coffee looked and smelled the part.  I was looking forward to this.

The coffee was undrinkable.  It tasted a bit like Turkish coffee.  It was bold robust, strong and good.  However it was like drinking coffee mixed with sand in the cup.  It was not the usual filtered coffee I am used to.  Maybe unfiltered coffee is an Indonesia thing.

I was disappointed.

I left not finishing the cup and head to my gate.  The gate was almost empty.  I was with 3 or 4  other people.  It was almost 6 in my watch and phone.  I was thinking it was not a full flight.  That was somewhat of a consolation.  Looking up at the house clock it read 5 am.  I was 1 hour ahead….

I still felt like crap.  I hope things get better.

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Mr. & Mrs. Bund

Let me paint you a picture.  Its 2:00 pm and I am writing this as I am surrounded by the beautiful flight attendants of  Singapore Airlines.  It has been raining heavily in Shanghai and as I look to my left I am just seeing Singapore Airlines Boeing 777 taxiing in Shanghai’s Pudong international airport.

I  just wrapped up a three day business trip and having said that I should be thinking about work. But the smell and sounds of one of Shanghai’s well known landmarks was lingering.  The Bund is ringing in my head like the ear worm that is Friday by Rebecca Black.

The Bund is where the old and the new Shanghai converge.  On one side are the magnificent vista of new skyscrapers of Shanghai.  In many ways, it is the symbol of the coming of age of China.   This of course is validated by many a fridge magnet that features this scenery.  On the other side of the bund is the old.  Where remnants of past lies frozen in the design and architecture of the buildings that have remained largely untouched.

The old buildings now house the trappings of the world. Many of the world’s top luxury brands are on display.  These are brands are the real deal and not the knock-offs one would find in some dark alley in Shanghai.  I courageously entered one of these buildings.

The pieces on display were generally uninteresting. Read:  I cannot afford them, but tucked in the corner was the lift and a building directory and  that on the 6th floor was a restaurant with the curious name of Mr. & Mrs. Bund.

I bravely headed for the lift and pressed 6.

One thing I learned in a few travels was that it is always good to ask to see the menu before making judgement.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that the menu was just a tad above what  I would be comfortable to pay.  I am not in Shanghai much so I bit the bullet and I went for it.

What did I order?

I ordered heaven…  I had an Arugula salad dressed with light balsamic vinegar, olive oil, truffle and soy sauce…. The salad is what China is all about.   A beautiful marriage of China with the rest of the world.  The portion was just right. I was a bit skeptical about the combination truffle oil and soy sauce, but it blew my mind.  It was truly exceptional.  I don’t think I can do justice to what I was tasting.  I do not have vocabulary in my arsenal to help me begin to describe it.  And this was just my starter.

I imagine this is how salads would be served in Heaven : ) pardon the blurred image...

I had paired this salad with a 1996 Côtes du Rhône.  I must say that the salad is a bit overwhelming.  The wine was like those little cut out vegetables used to decorate your plate.  It was not keeping in pace with the salad.

I wished they were served ahead of the salad. Just the same I loved it!!!

Our waiter then served us thinly sliced bread and  a tin which resembled cat food, but contained a mousse of some kind.  I saw this image as I entered the restaurant.  I do not know what it was, but it was a mousse of some kind.  The flavour had a subtle flavour of  tuna.

The mains was a mint risotto with with goat cheese and truffle oil.  The risotto  was creamy and well cooked.  Not too dry not too soupy.  It was rather uneventful.  Not that I am being a snob, but it did not blow me away.  It is pretty much like an Adam Sandler movie.  It is fun, cheerful and entertaining, but not brilliant. (BTW, the person sitting beside me is watching an Adam Sandler movie)

I had to board the plane….  I just had a big pause in writing…   But 4 hours later…  I am still sitting in the plane in Pudong International Airport waiting for air traffic control to tell us we are clear to take off…

My only consolation is that I will come back to Shanghai and I will go the Mr. & Mrs. Bund.  And yes, I  almost forgot… I will see the beautiful flight attendants. 😉

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There is no love sincerer than the love of food.
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)