59′ Lunch at Bengawan -Keraton

dscf9511Ambience inside Bengawan Restaurant

“Bengawan is the signature restaurant at Keraton at The Plaza, providing an authentic five-star dining experience. Located on the seventh floor with spectacular views of Jakarta, the restaurant provides a respite from the bustling city below, wrapped in lush foliage and surrounded by soothing water features. Open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner, including Keraton Sunday Brunch.” -Keraton Website

dscf9515Appetizer bar in Bengawan Restaurant

Living in the heart of Jakarta, every week I went to Plaza Indonesia at least twice, either for lunch, dinner, or watching movies. But for 8 years, I’ve never enter Keraton, until last week. My mother had been asking for my schedule to take me to Bengawan Restaurant for the 59′ lunch. What is 59′ lunch?

“Experience Bengawan’s latest semi buffet lunch package that comes with unlimited appetizers and dessert spread – chef’s special selection of main courses and first drink (coffee/tea/mineral water) for IDR 258,000 nett/person. All completed in 59 minutes. 59′ lunch package is available from Monday to Friday: 12.00pm – 02.00pm” -Keraton Website

The entrance to Keraton is located near AMKC, the new fancy restaurant across Bistro Baron (which has been renovated recently). There is a small door guarded by a security guard, entering to a hall leading to the lobby and escalator. Dumb founded and amazed by the structure of the building, we have to ask the reception where the restaurant is. Up on the seventh floor, there is a swimming pool, gym, and Bengawan Restaurant.

dscf9470Table decor at Bengawan

After being shown to our table, the waiter asked us our choice of drink (included in the package). We asked for a sparkling water, and to our surprise, instead of equil or aqua panna, they served us aqua ( no complain though).

Appetiser at Bengawan

The selection of appetiser is dominated with various type of salad, and assorted chef creation on the day. There are quite a selection of bread as well, but don’t expect much variety as in their buffet program. I tried the chicken salad, vegetable soup, and chef’s creation. They are good and certainly up to the standard of 5-star hotel.

There are eight variety of main menu, ranging from Indonesian to European foods. I ordered duck a l’orange, pictured below. It is served with sweet potato and vegetables. The meat was tender and juicy, the overall taste is great.


Now is dessert time! Luckily they stocked variety of cakes and mousse, which I found to be delicious. Since we are not limited for appetiser and dessert, I ate lots of the dessert! The chocolate mousse is a must try, I ate two glass of it and could actually ate two more had I not been ashamed of myself!

dscf9492The delicious chocolate mousseDSCF9491.jpgVariety of cakes

After finishing my lunch, I take a walk to the terrace and took few pictures of it and the swimming pool. I could imagine it as a convenient place for an evening tea.

dscf9507Terace outside the restaurant

keraton1Panorama of swimming pool taken from Bengawan terrace

Overall, I’m satisfied with the service, foods, and ambience of the restaurant. For the price of Rp 258k nett, I think it was fair priced. Who is the place for? I see some businessman, and certainly a couple could have some great time at Bengawan as well.

Monday to Sunday:

6 am to 10.30 am (Breakfast)

12 pm to 6 pm (Lunch)

6 pm to 10.30 pm (Dinner)


12 pm to 3 pm (Brunch)
Phone: 021-50302993

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Fiesta Restaurant at Sari Pan Pacific

Tables at the left side of the restaurant

“Indulge in a range of sumptuous buffet and à la carte menus from the East and West amidst a comfortable setting at Restoran Fiesta. Enjoy a taste of the local classic Indonesian dish ‘Nasi Goreng’ – fried rice served with a sunny side-up egg, beef ‘satay’ (dice skewered spiced meat) as well as chicken fried with traditional spices. Or, try the Authentic Hainan Chicken Rice, consisting of fragrant rice and aromatic chicken served with a savoury chicken broth.” -Sari Pan Pacific Website


Lobster cooked with black pepper sauce, teppanyaki styled chicken and muzzle, lamb chop with black pepper sauce

After quite a while only visiting Signature at Kempinski Hotel and The Cafe at Mulia Hotel, last week I tried Fiesta Restaurant at Sari Pan Pacific Hotel. There was a program using BCA credit card, where buy 1 get 1 is valid from Monday to Thursday, meals for two person cost less than Rp 500k. There is a caveat though, drink is not included, and they charged a glass of ice tea for Rp 50k. I leave that for your judgement whether it is expensive or not for a hotel in such class (I didn’t mind paying Rp 50k for a huge ice tea in Mulia Senayan).

dscf9440Sushi and salad section

dscf9441The limited assorted sushi

When I saw the entrance of the restaurant, I had a low expectation for it, the name and logo looks cheap to me. I think they will benefitted from rebranding the restaurant. The low-ceiling was also a factor that makes the restaurant feels dense. The good thing is they have a glass ceiling and wall at the left side of the restaurant (pictured above), where I asked to be seated. It could get hot at noon, luckily it was cloudy that day.

When I started my lunch at hotel, usually I ate sashimi and sushi first, so that I’m not full before trying everything out. There is quite a selection of sushi, but there is not sashimi at all. Japanese food isn’t their specialty though, they are focused more on Indonesian food in general. The sushi taste good, but when the stock is depleted, I didn’t saw anybody refilling it.

dscf9442Abundant raw seafood

dscf9443Salad toppings

dscf9444Main dishes

dscf9445Indonesian traditional food (ketoprak)

dscf9446A cart that serve soto betawi

dscf9447Choice of satay (lamb, beef, chicken), onion, meats. It will be cooked by the chef

Assorted meat and satay for cooked, foods from Italian section

The chefs cooked the meat well, however when I was waiting at the side, they are confused about which food belong to whose. I would rate most of the as good, with very good rating on the lamb chop. They didn’t put on display the lamb chop, but we have to order it to one of the employee. The lamb chop tastes very good and certainly makes the buffet worth the price, considering the sub-par quality of the food in general. The lobster was good as well, but they could have cooked it more tender using bbq sauce or teppanyaki sauce instead of offering the black pepper sauce.

dscf9449Dessert section

I can’t comment on the dessert though, as it wasn’t my kind of dessert. I prefer chocolate cake and mousse, which they didn’t have. But generally, they have lots of variety for dessert.

dscf9450Dessert section

dscf9439Fruits selection

In general, there is a wide variety of foods (especially Indonesian) and dessert in Fiesta Restaurant. For the price they charged, I felt it was worth it. It is even more worthy of praise if you like lamb chop. I would recommend Fiesta Restaurant, but compared to Signature at Kempinski it was lacking in term of decoration, foods and ambience.


Price starting from IDR288,000 per person

Breakfast (Monday to Friday) – 5:30am to 10:00am

Saturday to Sunday – 5:30am to 11:00am

Lunch (daily) – 12:00pm to 3:00pm

Dinner (daily) – 6:00pm to 11:00pm

Telephone+62 21 2993 2753

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Myanmar Trip Day 9: Boat Ride To Heho, Flight to Yangon, Circular Train, Rooftop Bar at Yangon, Singapore, Home

I woke up with the bird chirping outside the room, I can’t see one, but they are hiding somewhere in the bushes. At 5.30 am in Inle Lake, the sky has slightly turned blue from the darkness of night. For every few minutes I was interupted by the sound of boat machine, fisherman going to the lake to fish. Laying on the bed lazily, I checked on emails and social medias update. I took a shower, packed my luggage and ate breakfast at the hotel lobby facing the lake. GIC serves a delicious pancake but they made a terible omelette.

DSC07243Landscape at Inle Lake in the morning, Myanmar

Our boat was ready at 7 am, so we quickly started our one hour boat ride back to Nyaungshwe before it was raining. We saw beautiful landscape of mountains and fisherman, with wind blowing on our face the whole ride. At the dock, a car was ready to take us to Heho airport, one hour away. Our plane departed in 10.30, leaving us plenty of time in the airport since we arrived there at 9 am.

DSC07224Boat ride back to Heho from Inle Lake

The flight from Heho to Yangon took 65 minutes, and this time we departed on time. The airport in Heho is small, the waiting room is just a bunch of seats arranged horizontally and everyone goes to the plane by bus. When we landed in Yangon our car has been waiting. We went to a railway station located 10 minutes away from the airport to take the train to central railway station in downtown.

DSC07254Train Station near the airport, Yangon

The train was quite dirty and locals are getting in and out the train on the 12 station we passed by. Sometimes it smells in the train, luckily there was a fan on the locomotives. I took several decent shots, but nothing extraordinary. Since we had lunch earlier in the plane, we weren’t hungry even though it was 2 pm, but we ate shan noodles anyway.

DSCF9202Circular train in Yangon, Myanmar

DSCF9235One from many train stops from airport to Chinatown

We have the whole evening free because we already did the Yangon city tour at our first day, we decided to have a massage at the 1st rank parlor by tripadvisor. A head and body massage for 75 minutes cost 18000 kyat ($16), which is reasonable for the quality of the place and the massage itself.

DSCF9251Yangon Central Railway Station, Myanmar

Walking at the street from Chinatown to Sule Pagoda is quite far and took around 25 minutes, cars are honking from behind and few people apit on the ground. Yangon isn’t the best city to take a walk in Asean. After taking photos of Sule Pagoda we went to Sakura Tower, a building in front of Shangri La Hotel. Our guide tells us that there is a rooftop bar called Yangon Yangon at the 20th floor, that was where we spent our evening until sunset. The bartender and waiter are not very friendly, the drink is good though, but certainly there could be some improvement made. They could allow customer to take 360 degrees view of the city instead of allowing only 200 degrees of it, chairs and table looks and feels cheap, and the staff could smile a little bit.

DSC07258Yangon Cityscape from Sakura Tower in Yangon, Myanmar

DSCF9269Sakura Tower, Yangon

DSCF9296Sule Pagoda taken from Sakura Tower, Yangon

DSCF9315Yangon-Yangon rooftop bar, Myanmar

We ate at the restaurant below the rooftop bar, they are serving a pork ribs for 13.000 kyat ($12), but it can’t compete with Tony Roma’s. The view is straight to Shwedagon Pagoda and we could see half of the city from behind the glass. Since we were tired and have to wake up early at 5 am tomorrow, we took a taxi for 3000 kyat ($3) to our hotel, Grand United Chinatown.

DSC07312Shwedagon Pagoda at evening twilight in Yangon, Myanmar

The next day we went to Yangon international Airport, a decent airport but lacking in terms of branded boutique. We headed back to Singapore before getting back to Indonesia.

-End of Trip-


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Myanmar Trip Day 8: City Tour at Inle 2

I woke up today at 5.30 am, unfortunately the sunrise didn’t turned out as we expected because of the cloud. We have a decent breakfast at GIC Hotel, where they set the table at the lobby for us. We began our tour today at 8 am, heading for Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda which we were supposed to visit yesterday if it wasn’t raining. Local people are coming to pray and stick a gold leaf on the Buddha image. We walked around the temple then took another boat ride to Indein. But we make a quick stop at a local silk workshop and umbrella production.

DSC06969Breakfast at GIC in Inle Lake, Myanmar

DSC06979Over the water village in Inle Lake, Myanmar

DSCF9072Long neck villager weaving silk, a population similar to those popular in Chiang Mai, Thailand

DSCF9076Umbrella workshop in Inle Lake, Myanmar

It took about 30 minutes to Indein, followed by 1 hour walking to the top of the pagoda. Surrounding the center pagoda is smaller pagodas with different color, most of them donated by common people. We saw shops along the way to the top, also many dogs were walking around. The stupas looks like the one in Bagan, I like it better in Bagan also due to more natural construct of the stupas. We met local people walking with cows and kids playing around. Burmese people are very nice and friendly, when they are not shy. No wonder that people always said Myanmar has the kindest people among Asean countries.

DSCF9094Shops along the road to the Pagoda in Indein, Inle Lake

DSCF9091Local kid following us around trying to sell scarf, we eventually gave her K500 to make her leave

The descent road from Indein Pagoda to our boat dock was quite long, as long as the hike to the pagoda. It was 11 am when we got near the dock, after 30 minutes ride back to the lake we have our lunch at a local restaurant popular among tourists. As usual I ordered a fried rice with vegetables and egg for only 1500 kyat ($1.5) which tasted good and looks hygiene. We were early from schedule, so after having lunch we walked to pagoda complex around the restaurant

DSCF9165Kids playing on the river in Inle Lake, Myanmar

DSC06999View from our restaurant at lunch in Inle Lake, Myanmar

One hour away from our lunch spot and across the central of the lake, we arrived at Mine Thauk to see rice fields being harvested. Our boat stopped at the front dock and we have to walk for about 10 minutes on a bridge to go to the land. Since we visited at Sunday, local city people were also enjoying the scenery im Mine Thauk. We also saw number of tourist brought a bicycle on a boat to ride it across the fields. We sat for 15 minutes on a gazebo near the land, then retrace our path before and went to the last stop for today.

DSCF9175Mine Thauk, a vast fields of rice paddy in Inle Lake, Myanmar

The photo spot is located at the center of the lake, a building from World War 2 that still stands but unoccupied today. From this building we could take photographs of 360 degrees view of Inle Lake. The mountain, boats, resorts among other things. The sky was cloudy when we finished taking photos, that was the reason we headed back to our boat and drive as fastly as the machine allowed to our hotel.

DSC07017Landscape at Inle Lake, Myanmar

Eventually we got slightly wet due to small rain on our way to the hotel. We settled an arrangement for 90 minutes massage beginning at 3.30 by two local men. After taking a shower, I looked at the time showing it was 6 pm, we walked to the restaurant in Golden Island Cottage Inn and ate the same food we ate yesterday, fish in oyster sauce and bbq prawn. The sunset wasn’t really good due to the cloudy sky, but I managed to take few good shots. After dinner we were tired and went straight to sleep.


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A Letter to My Sister

Dear Priska,

I believe you are going to read this on your way to US, perhaps somewhere in Taipei, or somewhere in Los Angeles. At last, your hard work for the last seven months paid off, those days studying GMAT and applying to universities had passed. You got accepted to all of the universities you applied to, and that is an accomplishment you should be proud of, because I know how hard you studied for it. Since early of this year you had TOEFL test, GMAT, countless e-mail to universities, finishing up your bachelor in medicine, and not to forget the CFA level 1 exam, all of them happened simultaneously. Yet, I could say that you were on the top of it all, backed by the fact that you also passed the CFA level 1 exam without having previous finance study. I believe that you could have anything you want in the world, no matter how big it is, as long as your are working hard enough for it day by day. 

The days are long, but the years are short. It amazed me how fast time goes, it seems like yesterday we were still an elementary students, you were one level above me, and we would be picked up by mom after school. We would went to a mall after school and have something to eat together, sometimes even watched a movie. Back then, I’ve never imagined that someday (today), we are going to live exactly at the opposite side of the world. Junior high school and high school also passed and we were always together, taught by the same teacher and struggling with similar issue. But it was when we were in medical school that I would say as our best period, certainly not because of the countless study hours and exam, but because of the travel.

I’ve done the counting, we traveled to 29 countries together in our life, and it was when traveling that I enjoyed our family time the most. I think we have to be grateful that our family could afford such things, seeing the landscape of the world, eating at restaurants across the globe, enjoying sunrise and sunset at every continents, even eating exotic meats in Africa. I’ll always cherish those moment, and I hope you do too. And it wasn’t always sunshine and rainbow everyday, for we grow stronger from every fall and set back we experienced. The next time you are feeling low and unmotivated, remember that perhaps you have to “tidy up” your life and prioritise things you consider important, it was at those tipping point our life turns for the better. Remember that our biggest fear in the past turns out to be insignificant today, and it will continue to be so in the future, whatever come at us will eventually pass with time.

In the last few weeks, you and mom have been busy packing the stuff you bring to US, and truth to be told, you bring way too much clothes. Now that the house is empty, I missed the quarrel you had with mom and me, things I’m annoyed with in the past. I now today will eventually come, the day you are leaving to US with mom accompanying you for a month. Today I’m dropping you off at the airport with so many thoughts in my mind, words I haven’t said, even though I have twenty two years to say it. Perhaps, it was just easier to me writing those thoughts rather than saying it out loud.

Sometimes I found you to be hesitant in rejecting another’s request, actually there are times that it is better for both of you that you don’t accept someone’s request, they may find more qualified person, you might not do your best effort should you accept it, and it may hinder your relationship with that person. Simply saying “no” today might saves you from a lot of problem in the future, and most people won’t feel hurt being rejected with appropriate reason.

Your two years MBA study is going to be fast moving, as it always does. That is why I recommend you to always make a plan for everything, today’s activities, tomorrow schedule, a plan for finishing a project, even a life plan. Most people doesn’t utilise their time effectively because they are too busy  doing daily chores (rowing the boat) and forget to think if what they do will make them closer to what they want (steering the boat). I know that life has a habit of making us busy and exhausted daily, but it pays to reflect and assess your situation at least one time a month. Know what you want out of life, and when, be reminded of that every day. Reading self help book matters too! Even though I always stressed the importance of money, yet money is only a medium for attaining something we want, not the end goal itself. So remember to pursue things that matters to you and strive for things greater than ourself, for the meaning of life is a life full of meaning.

One other important thing is to socialise more often with friends and make new friends every week or so. I know that all of our family members are introvert, but hey, it’s not a reason for not initiating a talk with new friends. Since you are going to be alone in there, I hope you are not going to feel lonely, and friends will be your first line of defence in everyday’s life. “Happiness only real when shared” ~ Christopher McCandless

If life is a book, I believed we have done the first chapter well together, and now that both of us entering a new chapter in life, be sure to enjoy every moment of it. A book wouldn’t be interesting without its moment of despair and triumph, so does life! Our life doesn’t have to be perfect, for pursue of perfection will turns us nut, but it should be full of fulfilment to ourself. At last, I hope you are going to enjoy your study in Omaha (and perhaps meet Warren Buffett) for the next two years, and don’t forget where you come from, even if everything is going to change if and when you get back.

Your brother,


DSC08303.jpgSouth Africa, July 2014



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