wok this way.

Growing up, I was not a fan of Chinese food or almost any Asian food in general. Except for Indonesian. I didn’t even like Yum Cha with my family every Sunday morning. But going to Sydney helped me appreciate Asian cooking. Thanks to the ubiquity of authentic, scrumptious Thai food. The depth of flavour and the amount of spices blew me away.

Then I started appreciating Indonesian cooking more. The difference of Asian cooking to any other type of cooking is very distinct. You can tell by the length of a recipe of one dish. Long list of spices and traditional method produce great flavour that’s worth the effort and time. And it has a nostalgic feel to it. Using pestle and mortar still produce better sambal than food processor. Gotta do it the way our grandmas do it.

One of the many purposes I was doing this pop-up was to introduce Indonesian flavour to Australia. Again, not doing it super traditional or super modern with fancy techniques. I’m keeping it simple, flavourful and rustic. Still grasping on the sharing style to create that sense of being at a dinner party.

Starts with one of my absolute favourite Indonesian dish was this Grilled King Prawn on a bed of Potato, Quail Egg and Balado Sauce. Although the colour might look scarily spicy for some, this dish was actually not too spicy according to most of the diners. Especially having the side of rice really neutralises everything.

Second dish to come out was our signature Sticky, Succulent Lamb Ribs. The falling-off-the-bond lollies were a crowd-pleaser. 

This grilled beauty is Grilled Barramundi with Green Chilli Sambal and Fried Enoki. Remember the green chilli sambal from our previous pop-up at KIN by US? Last time we did the sambal with Duck Confit, this time I thought it would be amazing to introduce Ikan  Bakar to Sydney. This is how Indonesian love their seafood, grilled, glossy from the sticky sauce, and with a side of good sambal. In Indonesia, you would find this type of dish as a whole fish.

To balance out all the meaty dish, as usual we need a good plate of salad. Me and my sister were so proud of this dish. So a little back story about this salad. Traditionally from a city called Bangka in Eastern Indonesia, this salad is our grandma’s favourite. Every time she’s having a house party, this salad would always be on the buffet table.

Grandma’s Salad: Carrot, jicama, grandma’s secret dressing & prawn cracker. 

It was a pleasant surprise to us, a lot of the diners gave a really good feedback on this salad!

The memory of a dining experience will be wrapped up well when it’s finished with a great dessert. Another traditional flavour of an Indonesian dessert called Jongkong is a combination of coconut, palm sugar and pandan.So to finish of the night I served this Pandan Pannacotta, Salted Palm Sugar Ice Cream, Coconut Sago, Coconut Crumble, Meringue and Freeze-dried Raspberries.

Pretty sure everyone wok away with a full tummy! x

high expect-asians.

I had gone with an Indonesian inspired menu at the last pop-up. So this time I’ve decided to do a menu with influence coming from Asia in general. Inspiration mainly comes from flavours you can get in Thai food, Indonesian food and Singaporean. 

Let me take you on a little journey around South East Asia through the menu!

Concept for this pop-up dinner was to provide all diners with the sense of being at a dinner party, which is kind of my mission statement. So it only makes sense that I create a menu that is ideal for sharing. This menu was shared between 4 people. And South East Asian flavours wouldn’t be complete without having a side of white rice. A selection of wine was also available during the day, and by selection I mean you either choose White or Red. I need to get myself a sommelier!

  Photo credit: Andrew Nguyen (@asianfoodninja).
Photo credit: Andrew Nguyen (@asianfoodninja).
  Photo Credit: Daniel Mui. (@dmui).
Photo Credit: Daniel Mui. (@dmui).

Salted egg is huuuuge nowadays, or at least it is in Singapore. I’m guessing that the trend was started by this restaurant in Singapore in Sim Lim Square. They basically serve salted egg chicken with rice and a crusty sunny side up. It’s the most simple looking plate of food, but probably the most comforting for those who love salted egg. If this is the first time you’ve ever heard of salted egg, it is basically salted duck egg. Where the yolk is used as the base of a sauce.

What I recreate here is Fried Chicken Tenders sautéed in Cereal Mix then drizzled with the glorious Salted Egg Sauce. Honestly I’m salivating a little as I’m typing this. This is probably one of my favourite dish out of all.

  Photo Credit: Andrew Nguyen (@asianfoodninja).
Photo Credit: Andrew Nguyen (@asianfoodninja).

I’m a big sucker for Thai Curry. Green curry, red curry, I love them all. This Salmon Red Curry with Charred Babycorn was deeeeelicious. The salmon was crusty on all sides that it soaks the curry beautifully. Charred babycorn was also great to add a bit of crunch. 

  Photo credit: Daniel Mui (@dmui).
Photo credit: Daniel Mui (@dmui).

I’ll take you to the lamb-y shop. I’ll let you lick the lamb lollipop – 50 Cent. Hopefully you know the song Candy Shop to be able to sing to this.

Another favourite of mine that will be our signature is this Sticky, Succulent Lamb Ribs. Rubbed and glazed with Indonesian spices, these ribs were falling-off-the-bond tender. Lamb-lollies tender. 

  Photo credit: Lilo Peng (@lilopeng)
Photo credit: Lilo Peng (@lilopeng)

To balance out the richness of all the meat dishes, a fresh, tangy salad is very much needed. Hence the traditional Thai Green Papaya Salad is in order, but fear not there’s pork crackling on top of it!

Indonesian salad usually has cracker to eat the salad with, so for this traditional Thai salad we added pork crackling as the cracker. Yumm-o!

  Photo credit: Daniel Mui (@dmui). 
Photo credit: Daniel Mui (@dmui). 

A beautiful mound of White Rice topped with Fried Shallot as a side!

  Photo credit: Lilo Peng (@lilopeng).
Photo credit: Lilo Peng (@lilopeng).

My panna cotta don’t want none unless you got buns, Hun!

To me, this Coconut Panna Cotta with Coconut Crumble and Passionfruit Sorbet was the perfect finish to a very South-East-Asian meal. It’s tropical, fresh and zingy. It can almost pass as a palette cleanser. The creamy and coconut-y panna cotta was wobbly and paired with the passionfruit sorbet and coconut crumble, everything just makes sense.

  Photo Credit: Andrew Nguyen (@asianfoodninja).
Photo Credit: Andrew Nguyen (@asianfoodninja).

Sticking with the sharing concept, the last dessert was this bowl of Black Sesame Baileys Bingsoo with Red Bean Paste, Black Sesame Mochi, Corn Flake stabbed with Red Bean Popsicle. I agree with the majority of the feedback though, the popsicle was a bit hard to share. But receiving empty bowls from every table was very, very satisfying. I can just imagine people digging into this dessert with their group. Chatting and having a good time. After all that’s what dinner party is all about besides the food, right?

Till next time! Keep that high expect-asians!

indo-xicated.

If you’ve ever heard of Martin Solveig, then you’ve probably heard of one of his popular mix Intoxicated. And that’s the origin of the title. I’d like to intoxicate my guests with Indonesian cuisine in dishes they’ve never seen before.

Indonesian cuisine is much more than Nasi Goreng, Chicken Satay and Beef Rendang. It is greatly varied by region and has many different influences. We’ve got influence from the Middle East, India and even China. I was born in Indonesia and I grew up in the capital city, and even I don’t know the whole picture of Indonesian cuisine.

Collaborating with KIN by US, owned by a couple (the Mrs., half-Indonesian), I tried to create a menu that is inspired by Indonesian flavour. It’s not necessarily traditional Indonesian dishes done with modern techniques, but some of it has totally different ingredients from the original recipe.

  Photo credit: Daniel Mui.
Photo credit: Daniel Mui.

I’ll take you to a short journey around the menu.

It was a great Friday night up in Macquarie Park, Sydney, Australia. Weather was warming up as it was approaching summer. There was a long communal table in the middle of the cafe where 30 guests sat down for the first seating of the dinner service. There were two services in one night, both full with 30 hungry diners.

When you dine out in a Chinese restaurant in Indonesia, most of the places would give out pickled vegetables and peanut as an appetiser. Quite surprisingly it does fulfil it’s purpose to increase your appetite. So as an appetiser I’ve decided to put together Salmon Gravadlax with Edamame and Spiced Pumpkin Seed.

Beetroot cured salmon and the lemon vinaigrette dressing served as the tangy element of the dish. Spiced pumpkin seed was dotted around to add crunch. Along with avocado puree and edamame bean to balance everything with their neutral, creamy flavour.

When diners were busy enjoying their first dish, me and the team were plating our second course that is the Beef Rendang Croquette with Aioli and Rendang Spiced Jus.

I wanna give all the diners the feel of eating in a traditional Indonesian restaurant too. Usually what comes to be the table first is the rice dish. It’s usually steamed white rice, coconut rice or yellow rice (cooked with turmeric).

So as my “rice dish”, I served Turmeric Garlic Couscous with Sliced Almond, Roasted Carrot with Fried Shallots, Coriander and Chilli. I personally think that it’s great on it’s own (biased, lol), but this serves as a side to the main meat dishes.

  Photo Credit: Daniel Mui.
Photo Credit: Daniel Mui.

Plating the pork belly was a lot of fun! Cutting through the big slab of crispy pork belly was surprisingly therapeutic. When you get to the crunchy bit and you here the crack, with juices running inside the meaty part you know everyone’s in for a treat. Vegan scroll waaay down!

 Thick slabs of Crispy Pork Belly on Fresh Balinese Sambal Matah and Apple Puree to balance the dish. 

Another dish I did was a take on Bebek Cabe Ijo (Green Chilli Duck), a dish originated from Bali. I put together Duck Confit with Indonesian fragrant Green Chilli with Grilled Spiced Pumpkin and Duck Crumb. Confit duck was falling-off-the-bone tender. The green chilli was amazing paired with the turmeric couscous. Definitely a dish you’ll want to eat with your hands.

  Photo Credit: Daniel Mui.
Photo Credit: Daniel Mui.

Now a meal wouldn’t be complete without a salad. I’m pretty sure people who’ve had Indonesian food would have heard of Gado-gado. Traditionally, it’s steamed vegetables (usually green bean, potato, cabbage, beansprout, and the list goes on) with peanut dressing. My take on Gado-gado was this Roasted Red Cabbage, Green Bean, Charred Corn, Mashed Potato with Romesco Sauce

  Photo Credit: Daniel Mui.
Photo Credit: Daniel Mui.

It’s time to clean up the bench and prepare for the dessert! Have I mentioned that I collaborated with a good friend of mine? She’s a very talented pastry chef currently working with Gelato Messina whipping up amazing product for the stores. She is none other than Gabriela Harianto. She created all the dessert for this pop up dinner.

Her first dessert was Pandan Pannacotta, Sago Pearl, Mango Gel, Coconut Sponge and Coconut Crumb. To me this plate looks absolutely beautiful. 

  Photo Credit: Daniel Mui.
Photo Credit: Daniel Mui.

The last dish of the night was a board of Toasted Bread Gelato with Kaya Custard, Coffee Crunch and Dulce de Leche. We added some dry ice in the middle as an additional effect to notify the diners that they’re closing with something cold.

I mean who wouldn’t love ending their meal with a stick of delicious popsicle? 

  Photo Credit: Daniel Mui.
Photo Credit: Daniel Mui.

All in all it was a really good service and I enjoyed working together with Gaby and Shannelle. I just hope that all the guests were properly indo-xicated!