Jakarta. Foodies in the capital have lots to look forward to this month, including the Jakarta Culinary Feastival, presented by event organizer Ismaya Live at Senayan City shopping mall next week.
"The event will be an exciting culinary adventure for foodies of all ages," Ismaya Live assistant brand manager Sarah Deshita said during a press conference in Jakarta on Nov. 1.
The Ismaya Group presented the annual event, previously known as the Jakarta Culinary Festival, from 2009 to 2012.
"Previously, the festival was held for one full month in a shopping mall [in Central Jakarta]," Sarah said. "But now, we're going to condense it into four days, without reducing its essence."
"We want it to be a feast, [with a] lively, young and super relevant environment," she added. "[It is] going to be something fun and very close to our hearts."
This year's festival will be held in two huge white tents in the mall's parking area and feature creative innovations by 13 restaurants, 14 coffee shops and 10 dessert brands in Indonesia.
Online-based ride-hailing service Go-Jek will also feature 20 of its best-selling food outlets during the event.
"The concept of the event is very exciting," said Pingkan Irwin, Go-Jek core products marketing vice president. "We're so happy to be able to participate in it and feature our top-20 culinary merchants."
The festival, which will kick off on Thursday (16/11) and end on Sunday, will be open between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. daily. Entry is free and visitors only pay for food and drinks.
There will also be a series of cooking demonstrations, cooking classes, beverage tasting and talk shows during the event, featuring local and international culinary stars, among them, chef Chris Salans of Mozaic restaurant in Bali.
"I will cook modern Indonesian cuisine during the event," the American-born chef said. "It's my version of Indonesian cuisine."
He will also introduce the menu of Spice, his other restaurant in Bali.
"I'm going to ask Jakarta's foodies of their feedback [on Spice's dishes]," Salans said. "I'm planning to open the same restaurant in Jakarta."
Indonesian culinary expert Sisca Soewitomo will also showcase her cooking skills during the festival.
"I'm going to present classic Indonesian dishes, such as brongkos [beef-and-vegetable stew from Yogyakarta] and lodeh [vegetable soup from Central Java], in simple, modern and easy-to-do cooking methods," Sisca said.
Her daughter, Novi Soewitomo, will also present a cooking class during the event.
"I will introduce Indonesian cooking to children between 8 and 16 years of age and break the stigma that Indonesian cooking is difficult, complicated and takes a very long time," Novi said.
In the children's cooking class on Saturday, Novi will teach children how to cook Indonesia's celebratory dish, nasi kuning, or yellow rice.
"The event is going to be massive," said Sarah of Ismaya Live. "And we're planning to present the Jakarta Culinary Feastival annually from now on."
Flavours of the World
Plaza Indonesia shopping mall in Central Jakarta is also presenting a culinary festival during the whole of November.
The culinary festival with the theme "Flavours of the World," features 33 food and beverage outlets in the mall.
"We've chosen the theme because we can find cuisines from many different parts of the world in Plaza Indonesia," Zamri Mamat, Plaza Indonesia general manager for marketing and communications, said during a press conference on Friday.
Each participating outlet is challenged to create something new and creative for the special event.
"The culinary industry is very competitive," said Stella Kohdong, Plaza Indonesia general manager for tenant commercial relations. "Therefore, we challenge our tenants to innovate and create new dishes [for the festival] in order to maintain their loyal customers and attract new ones."
Sushi Tei restaurant presented its new bento creation, "Unagi Meshi," consisting of a rice box served with grilled unagi (eel), a Japanese omelet, salmon roe and shrimp, on the opening day on Nov. 3.
Taste Paradise, a Chinese restaurant on level four, featured jellied lobster soup, topped with black caviar, as its new appetizer. The unique dish has a delectable combination of sour, savory and spicy flavors.
Samwon Garden, a Korean restaurant on level three, presented its new dish, "Beosot Croquette," consisting of a deep-fried cream croquette filled with shiitake mushrooms. The sweetness of the mushrooms blends well with the savory taste of the cream.
The mall is also presenting a series of cooking masterclasses, hosted by the head chefs of the participating restaurants.