Sunday, September 11, 2011

Loving Indonesian fare

by Ana Valenzuela

Published Manila Standard August 24

An archipelago located south of our country, Indonesia offers the same variety in taste and flavor as the Philippines. “Indonesian cuisine is similar to that of the Filipinos—mostly in the taste and in the use of rice,” says Sous Chef Ovan Prahoro during the recent media launch of Diamond Hotel’s Indonesian food festival Selamat Menikmati: A Culinary Journey of Indonesia’s Best.

Chef Ovan, together with two patisserie chefs, Chef de Partie Asep Marthy and Chef de Partie Agus Setiadi are in the country until 28th to serve the best Indonesian cuisines. The three masters of the kitchen flew in from Indonesia specifically for the food festival hosted by Diamond Hotel. This is part of the hotel’s plan to hold an international cuisine festival every quarter. The Indonesian food fest, Selamat Menikmati: A Culinary Journey of Indonesia’s Best coincided with Indonesia’s celebration of Independence Day last Aug. 18.

“Indonesian cuisine is unique because of the rich use of herbs and spices,” says Chef Ovan. “This is also what makes it different from Filipino dishes, because it is a lot spicier. Filipinos do not like spicy foods that much.”

“Since I come from West Java I think the the mie goreng jawa, gado gado, and the rendang daging are the best,” Chef Ovan says when asked which food should we try. He assures us that these dishes would fulfill our stomachs to endless delights. Mie Goreng Jawa is fried noodles, gado gado is vegetable with peanut sauce, while the Rendang Daging is beef simmered in Coconut Milk.

As for the desserts, Chef Agus quickly suggested surubaya, “It came from Surubaya, Indonesia’s second largest city. It is a layer of Sponge cake,” the chef says and guarantees that it would bring no less than smiles as it his specialty.

Chef Ovan also said that it would be a sin for our taste buds not to try the oxtail soup. Apparently this dish is popular in Indonesia, “Go to any place in Indonesia and you will find it,” the sous chef chuckled.

“What we want the world to see is Indonesia and its cuisine,” says Chef Ovan who honed his cooking skills in countries like Riyadh, Dubai and Bahrain. “We want to make Indonesian dishes more popular. There are plenty of Indonesian cuisines. I simply cannot choose just one.”

Selamat Menikmati would be featured at Diamond Hotel’s Corniche restaurant until the 28th of August and could be availed for a buffet. Some Indonesian dishes are available at the Diamond Hotel’s a la carte menu.

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