Saturday, June 28, 2014

Indonesia-Penang Trip V

31 May 2014

One might think of visiting mall during a trip is the most unexciting activities, but no - it was far from it. Everything was relaxing and comfortably slow paced until we saw Giant. Yes, Giant, the same Giant we had in Malaysia and Singapore, only - this is so much more interesting.

For me, this is an opportunity to dive into immersion of the local lifestyle, from their grocery.

First we passed by loads of snacks. The problem here isn't just about the amount of snacks the mart could provide, it was about the what-on-earth prices too. It is definitely affordable to eat snacks. Not just that, there are several brands that we never get to see, some of the local brands and some with special flavours. For example, we found barbeque flavoured Hello Panda.



It would be disgraceful if I didn't at least try to find Teh Botol in an Indonesian mart. And I didn't have to. Just down the aisle, there were piles and piles of drinks, different brands of jasmin tea - until I found my favourite Sosro. And they were sold at around 50cents SGD per bottle, putting all vending machines in NUS to shame. 


Look at how happy I was when I found them.


Other than the usual jasmine tea, the mart do sell different things too, such as coffee. We realized they sell quite a variety of coffee, and the Kapal Api probably was one of the local's favourite, since it was displayed in large quantity at a side. There was even herbal tea which they called Liang Teh, same as how Singaporeans pronounced (Penang Hokkien would usually call it Leng Teh).


As we swayed across the dairies, this was what caught my attention. You might be thinking about Japanese beancurd, which they do sell it as per Malaysia/Singapore. But these packages over here were soy bean milk! If I were not careful, I might have bought one and thought they were beancurd. But to think of it, this packaging probably ease the drinking process since you just need to cut the tip and start sipping.


Another interesting part was the milk section. Instead of UHT milk, they sell sterilized milk! And the Nestle bear canned milk was probably one of the famous milk drink over there. The one on the right could be opened like a normal canned drinks as well.


Indomie Section. Nah, Indomie was in fact only one of the brands selling indonesian noodle. One of the common food you could find in a warung, was Indomie. They were dried noodle mixed with sauces. Here, there were different brands with different flavour. This is me posing with a trolley of instant noodles. It was not my trolley. The trolley just happened to be there and I thought it was fun to take an exaggerating photo with it.


Anyone named Amanda would probably been reminded along the trip because this was also one of the frequent word appering everywhere. Apparently, that was a famous brownie in Indonesia.


Another section which we spent quite a lot of time in was probably the toiletries - of all sections. Yes, the products were very cheap. From what we gathered, the manufacturing factories were mostly based in Indonesia, resulting in cheaper prices here because of lack of transportation cost and everything. However, the prices were ridiculously cheap that we were wondering whether Singapore was charging a little too high for let's say - sanitary pads? It could have save so much more if they were selling at the Indonesian price!


And in the end we bought half a trolley of stuff, spending quite a long time in a mart. It looked like the most boring thing you would do, but it turned out to be filled with so much excitement and happiness. Great grocery shopping indeed!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Indonesia-Penang Trip IV

31 May 2014
From the market, our friend has some errands to run while we chillaxed in a supermarket. On the way, we passed by this very humble shop. Just to give an idea of how some warung looks like. They were just set up beside the road. And sederhana means 'medium'. We called it a humble shop because usually shops name will indicate they were the best or nicest, but not average, unlike this one.


Of all things in Indonesia, we decided to revisit our childhood fast food, A&W. See, we were even taking photos with the mascot bear.


However, we ordered something more unique to Indonesia, such as rice and soup. It doesn't look like fast food now, does it? And of course, how could we came to A&W without ordering root beer float, right?


Look at how the rice was served, like a burger.


After the main meal, we decided to try their ice cream cone It was a mixed flavour, chocolate and vanila. But most of all, note the generosity of the staff of the ice cream. Most of the McD I visited in Singapore can't even achieve half of that!


After A&W, our friend went on with errands while we went for a second round. This was what happened when you have people with big appetite. It was a japanese stall but used to be our friend's high school hangout place. The price was unfortunately increased, according to our friend. We tried the meat and the spring rolls. Mainly, this was to fill up our tummy and rest. The shop was pretty quiet, hence a good place to chill.


Indonesia-Penang Trip III

31 May 2014
After breakfast, it was our market time. We were given a task to buy something back from Indonesia so we decided to have a look at the wet market. We stopped at a distant away and had the driver wait. I was, again, amazed by the parience and professionalism of the driver for waiting in the car. We passed by rows of shops that sell tidbits and fruits. I was dehydrated and due to my love for teh botol (a brand of sweetened jasmine tea I was fond of since introduced years before this), I bought this teh kotak(right). We misread it as teh botak at first. I had my first time paying the money, nearly ended up paying more than I should - still trying to get use with the zeros.


Before we entered into the wet market area, there were parts with proper stalls and buildings first. At the kaki lima, there were people everywhere, selling and buying things. I saw this one that sell hamsters, tortoise and sea turtles. I do hope this is legal and wondered how did the person know how to take care of a sea turtle. Since I was not very good at taxonomy, I couldn't identify if these were of endangered species. Besides, they do sell magazines, and guess what, photocopied version of magazines. I guess the proper magazine might be too costly and a cheaper version is needed for knowledge to be more affordable.


Bananas everywhere! One thing that I noticed was the bunches of banana. They were displayed along the street in almost every stall. They were big and most of them were ripe. I called it 'Excessive Banana Production'. Judging by the amount of banana in the market, it was no surprise many processed banana to dried food.


Next, we entered the real market. They sell things in bulk. There were a lot of sea cucumber, shell fish, and frog. 


They do sell a lot of pineapples too. The intereesting part was the way they cut and sel them. They were peeled nicely and sold readily to be eaten. We bought some and they were sweet.


Because that weekend was also Dumpling Day, the stalls were selling leaves for dumpling and even dumplings.


Left was the amount of atap seed they sell - massive, huh? And on the right, a stall selling sea coconut. It was different from how we used to consume sea coconut after they were pickled with honey. These were fresh and not so sweet.


This is a cincau stall. Yes, they sell the same cincau we ate here, but they have another kind of cincau as well. The latter was a herbal cincau. It has a bit of grassy taste but otherwise was refreshing.


The kind of bridge they used between stalls over their longkang.


There were lots of stray cats everywhere too!


Along the road, one can see this driving around, no matter it is a street, road or main streen. It is called Becak, same as what we called Beca in Malay, except this newer version of beca was sheltered and motorized. According to the local, the fees were almost same as a normal taxi.


Part of the trip, we passed by a temple. Outside of the temple stood a little stall selling cages of birds. In some of the temple culture, they think it is good to free the birds, but most of the time, they ignored what kind of torture the birds were going through because this has become a business. There were kids buying the birds just for entertainment purposes, tying strings on their legs, making them struggling while flying, hoping for freedom but most of the time resorted to fatigue and loss of the ability of flying and in the end, death. By that time, the kids would feel bored and get themselves occupied with another entertainment. It was heartbreaking.


We passed by some more chinese shop which sells angpau and materials for chinese weddings. 


After all, we returned to the tidbits area and bought some snack. I got a giant pack of green peas.


Before we head back to the car, we bought ourselves this dessert. One of the interesting ingredient in it was the Tape Singkong. It was pretty common to see packed rectangular yellowish stuff in the market, and it was fermented cassava/tapioca. They were used in many of their food too, with some alcoholic taste. The other thing that you might noticed was the word 'Es' and yes, it means 'ais' in Malay (ice in English). So this is basically something like ais kacang only smoother and different ingredient. Plus, it was really sweet, a plus as a dessert.


Indonesia-Penang Trip II

31 May 2014
We woke up late, to bright and sun shining day. In Jakarta, the midpoint of the whole place was west to Singapore, the timezone was later than Singapore while the actual loaction of Jakarta was east to Singapore. Hence, we experienced sun rise very early in the morning and a very quick sundown in the evening.

We were brought around by the driver and headed towards our breakfast location. It was a slightly better built warung in a house unit. And we get to order Bakmi. Mee Bakso was the popular mee in Indonesia but because most of us don't consume beef, so we opted for Bakmi, which came in the choice of chicken, beef and some others.


Other than noodle, there were some other delicacies sold too, like a usual breakfast stall. We also found out they called dumplings and suikau differently. One of them is basically wanton.


This is Bakmi with the special noodle. You get to choose different kind of noodles but this is by far my favourite. The noodle was nicely done with pepperish plus oil kind of mixing. It reminded me of kolo mee, but slightly different.


Together with it was this fish cake-like snack and keropok. It was delicious especially when eaten together with the chilli provided and bakmi.


And check out how their tin containers looked like. It was good in the sense that you don't need to find a spoon or key to open it like those in Malaysia/Singapore, but this also means it is not air-tight and might be prone to air-leak (lau hong in hokkien).


On top of that, of course, we were served with jasmine tea again, which helps when we were eating a lot of the chilli sauce.

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