The day before I left Singapore for Jakarta I tried to book a shuttle to CHANGI airport for my flight. My hotel had a shuttle service that cost $75, but after some research online I found a shuttle for $9! The next day the shuttle bus came on time to pick me up. I was the only passenger! See my purple bag in the picture below. My lucky day had started.

The plane arrived at SOEKARNO HATTA airport in Jakarta, Indonesia on time but it took a long time to go through immigration. Unlike other countries that I visited, they ask travelers to buy a foreigner visa in Indonesia. They accept cash only, either $25 USD or Indonesian rupiah. The immigration line was very very long and I was worried about Mariska waiting for me outside the airport. Mariska would cook and film with me and organize my Indonesian meetup.

When I got out of the airport I was looking for Mariska and a lady approached.

“Maa~ngchi?” she asked.

Automatically I said “Mariska?” but soon noticed that she wasn’t Mariska.

“Yes, yes!” she said.

I thought no way, she is not Mariska. I know what Mariska looks like. I said “No, you are not Mariska?” Still raising the tone of my voice at the end, as a question.

She laughed and said “I’m Mariska’s mom. Mariska and her dad are over there.”

Mariska and her father came to me. I was very happy to see Mariska. Her eyes were full of tears when she saw me. She said “I can’t believe I’m meeting you!” Writing this now makes me emotional and my eyes are full of tears. From that moment on Mariska looked after me and her parents gave me a ride whenever I met Mariska. Her whole family joined my Gapshida project.

Mariska’s mother said they would like to take me to their favorite restaurant. I was already excited to see the it. It was a unique seafood restaurant: all the fish, shell fish, lobster, clams, and shrimp are alive and swimming in aquariums. Mariska’s mother picked a few fish, squid, shrimp, and lobster. An employee of the restaurant gathered all of them into a bucket. Then Mariska’s mom told them how she wanted the seafood cooked: fried or steamed. We went upstairs and sat down. Soon the seafood dishes were served to us with rice.

It was a very interesting system: no wonder the restaurant was crowded with so many customers. The restaurant’s name is Bandar Djakarta and it’s located in front of the Living World Mall, Alam Sutera, Tangerang. If you’re a seafood lover and have a chance to visit Jakarta, a visit here is a must. But they don’t speak English, so you’ll need a local’s help.

View from upstairs in the restaurant

Live seafood in a plastic bucket, waiting to be cooked

Cold coconut juice mixed with orange juice

After dinner, Mariska’s mother said, “You should try our durian. The store is right next door to this restaurant.” My stomach couldn’t afford even 1 sip of water at the time, so I had to refuse. We said goodbye after planning to meet the next day to shop for Korean groceries.

It was about 10 pm at night when I went to my hotel. When I checked in, the hotel concierge said: “We can upgrade you to a suite with 2 bedrooms and a kitchen.” I was puzzled because I had booked a small studio. I thought they meant I had to pay more.

So I said, “No, I reserved a studio.”

They said with a smile: “It’s a free upgrade, you don’t have to pay any more.”

Oh no! I felt like my jackpot burst! What a lucky day it was! Once I saw the kitchen, my heart was beating koong koong vigorously. “Ya ya! I can cook!”

Complimentary basket filled with cookies, a cup of ramen, fruits, and a welcome note

The next day, Mariska, her father, and I met to go shopping at a Korean store. I was very surprised at the size of the store and the variety of Korean ingredients. Mariska said the owner was Korean, but the day I visited, she wasn’t there. I found good quality water dropwort called minari. The stems were long, plump, and tender. So I decided to make minari muchim with squid for the potluck party at Mariska’s house later.

Our filming and meetup date came. I woke up early in the morning to prepare some of my ingredients. I peeled the garlic and onions and washed all the ingredients and put them into plastic bags so that I could cook right away when I got to Mariska’s house. After all the preparation was done, I decided to cut the 2 chickens that I bought to make spicy braised chicken. If I washed them and cut them into bite size pieces, it would save time preparing for the meetup.

So I opened one package and give the chicken a nice bath under running water in the sink. I thought, “Hmm, this chicken is small and cute.” And then I opened the second package and put it under the faucet. “Hmm, this guy is skinny.” Then something dropped out of the package with a “ddoop.

Oh my god! That’s the chicken’s head! This ended up being the most shocking and scary moment of my entire Gapshida trip. I screamed “Ahhhha!” and sat down on the floor.

The water was still running in the sink and I took another look.

The head of the chicken had been tucked inside the package, and once the package was opened the head had flopped out, attached to a long stringy neck.

“How come the other one has no head?” I wondered. “Oh, they are 2 different kinds of chicken. But why does the store sell different kinds of chicken in the same section? And why didn’t Mariska tell me about this?”

Ok, after analyzing what happened, I thought, “This is a dead chicken! No need to be afraid. Who am I? I can cut fish heads easily!”

As long as I didn’t have anyone else in the hotel room with me, I had to solve this by myself. I stood up and approached the chicken again but I was still nervous. Even at that moment I thought, “I should take a photo of this for my readers.”

I lifted up the chicken and now I could see her feet and toenails. I decided to put the chicken into a plastic bag and bring it with me instead of chopping it up. Later I gave this chicken to Mariska’s mother to chop, and she gave it to her maid. But again I was startled when the maid brought me the chopped chicken as well as the head and feet., “Can you please remove the head and feet?” : )

Shooting Mariska’s delicious recipes went well. We had a big audience for the shoot: her parents, her brother, her brother’s girlfriend, Mariska’s mom’s friend and relatives, and 4 maids. So many people got involved with the whole shoot. It’s amazing, isn’t it?

I doublechecked all the ingredients for the shoot. In any minute we were going to film but I found that all the vegetables were washed and cut and displayed on a large platter. You won’t be able to know which one is bay leaves, chinese spinach, lemon grass, long green beans, or chayote because they were all were chopped. Whose idea was this? Mariska’s mother did it to help us and save time! I understood and thought she was cute, but I had to say: “I’m sorry to tell you that we need uncut vegetables. We need to show the audience the chopping, and show what each ingredient looks like.”

Mariska’s mother smiled and said, “I’m sorry, sorry!” and she brought new vegetables from the local market. The cameraman was a little late, so I was teaching Mariska’s father how to hold my camera and giving him some tips. : )  Then cameraman came, one of Mariska’s relatives.

Our cameraman Reginald Evan

Mariska’s mother brought theses kebaya the night before the shoot. Sure, why not! Cheers!

We filmed 2 recipes: traditional Indonesian soto bandung (beef and radish soup) and gado gado (vegetable salad with peanut sauce). The recipe videos will be posted later. Delicious!

Mariska and her brother David and his girlfriend

Mariska’s family has 6 dogs, loved by everybody. These cute dogs had to be confined to somewhere upstairs during our shoot. Later they ran around the house and looked like rolling balls of wool yarn. Cute! : )

After the shoot, we prepared for the meetup party scheduled at 6 pm. It was raining heavily. Who would come to our party in this weather in rush hour? Everybody told me that Indonesian traffic jams were horrible. I felt sorry for my readers coming through the rain and heavy traffic. But my concern turned out to be unfounded: one by one they showed up with beautiful dishes to share. What made them  make such a huge effort to come to the meetup? I think it’s all because of their passion for cooking. As was the case in meetups in other countries, they started talking each to other and soon became good friends.

Silvia Limanta, a queen of desserts. She is living 2 hours away in Bogor. She said: “I love to make sweet desserts!”

my ojingeo minnari muchim (spicy water dropwort with squid). Delicious!

In a Korean table setting, unsalted steamed rice is very important. I made multi-grain rice and I’m sure it provoked our appetites for the side dishes. Just looking at this rice makes my mouth water because I can imagine how delicious it will be with side dishes.

Check out all this amazing food. Some are Korean dishes and some are authentic Indonesian foods.

sagu keju (tapioca cheese cookies) made by Silvia


Spicy rice cakes on skewers

Hoddeok filled with lots of brown sugar syrup. “Maangchi, your hotteok recipe is very delicious!” yum!

Korean seasoned fried chicken called yangnyeom tongdak. Mouthwatering!

“I can’t wait to eat all of this!”

“We can become good friends!”

“It’s very natural to smile in front of such delicious food!”

Amanda gave me a bag of cassava (yucca) chips. She said there is spiciness level from 1 to 12 and she brought level 10 for us. How spicy were they? They were endurable. : )

My favorite time: Q and A (questions and answers)

Brian took my camera to film us. “Hey guys, look here!”

Leftover food is shared to take home. Mariska is wrapping her homemade kimchi for the meetup attendees.

The next day I invited Mariska’s family to my hotel room for dinner. I had to make food with limited kitchen utensils: only 1 pot and 1 frying pan. Besides that, the knife was very dull, so it was impossible for me to cook at my usual cooking speed. But this simple dinner turned out great.

Mariska’s mother brought some fruits: from the left snake fruit, longan, mangoes and peeled pineapple on top

One day before I left, I realized the belt fish I bought from the Korean grocery store was still in the freezer. I made braised belt fish (galchi jorim) for myself. Indonesian belt fish is delicious.

I made this rice with my travel cooker and the bottom of the rice was slightly burned. Scraped burnt rice on top of my rice, belt fish, and steamed perilla leaves, delicious!

The night before I left Jakarta, I invited Mariska to stay with me at my hotel. Eventually I had the chance to my second room! I woke her up next morning and we went for breakfast in the hotel.

It was time for us to say good bye! I don’t know when we’ll meet again but I’m sure we’ll meet up someday. In the taxi to the airport, all I could think about was the warm hospitality of Mariska and her family, my passionate readers who came to the meetup in the heavy rain, and their great homemade dishes. I loved Jakarta, but it was time for me to go to the next destintion: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Yay! Gapshida! : )



  1. Maangchi-ssi, could you please tell me where the big grocery store was? I don’t know much about the big one, I usually shop at Lotte Mart and Mu Gung Hwa only.. I need to know soo bad please reply ^^

    Me coming to a Korean grocery store is just like a kid on a candy store haha u can tell how much I love to cook Korean dishes ^^

  2. Hermin Brussel,Belgium joined 11/13 & has 1 comment

    reading your journey to jakarta, make me missed indonesia……..what a wonderful journey you have!!!!

  3. Cutemom Indonesia joined 3/13 & has 82 comments

    Can I have the recipe for galchi jorim please?

  4. DominiqueEchard North Carolina joined 5/09 & has 36 comments

    The Gado Gado makes my mouth water soooo much! I want to make it at work and introduce my customers to Indonesian food!

  5. chef Benedict Manila, Philippines joined 11/11 & has 45 comments

    indonesia, i havent been but i can still know some of those things… like when i was 4th yr HS here in the philippines, my school organized the exchange student program and i gain some of indonesian friends and also to the biggest loser asia show… but i didnt join exchange student program but my friends did… its intercultural and interfaith… but one thing that i can say about indonesia… diverse culture! :D

  6. m312c3 joined 2/11 & has 4 comments

    Hi Maangchi…..It was a great meet up, I’m glad i came…..can i have the recipe for the multi-grain rice?

  7. jierui Detroit joined 8/10 & has 7 comments

    I can’t wait for Gado Gado Maangchi-style!

  8. ISHA KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA joined 12/11 & has 5 comments

    Hi maangh,
    i you will be heading to Kuala Lumpur.Wow that`s great. It`s my hometown.Where i can meet you in KL? aWESOME!!

  9. korea4me South Korea joined 10/09 & has 55 comments

    That chicken! UGH!!! Poor Mangchi. I think I would have thrown up if I saw that. Haaaaa!!!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

      lol, actually Mariska said she told me when I bought the chicken. : ) The chicken withe head and feet is a free range chicken. “I would have thrown up..” oh yeah? cute! I thought you are one of tough ladies! haha!

  10. Lovely photos and great blog post! Merry christmas and wishing you all the best for the new year, maangchi!

  11. scarryvictoria Singapore joined 2/11 & has 13 comments

    Gosh!!! Food food food!!! Maangchi, please make me your PA for next Gapshida. I’m drooling;D

  12. MariskaLim Jakarta, Indonesia joined 2/11 & has 55 comments

    WOW! You update in Christmas Eve! I consider it as my personal Christmas Gift from you.. *teary eyes*

    Later when i read the blog, i found out i must take a serious diet… first came to my head was, “Omona… my Tummy…” hahaha LOL. I met lots of wonderful people at the meet up, met my ex-classmate (Amanda), and learnt so many things from you. Its all thanks to you.. Thank you.. Thank you Maangchi. You’re like my second mommy. T-T *cries*

    I wish you staying in Jakarta little longer so I can learn lots of thing from you again. :D I wishing you a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year Mommy Maangchi~! XD~

    P.S: Sorry ’bout the chicken thing… -_-” i think i got misunderstanding at that time. T-T..


  13. beewax Tangerang, Indonesia joined 12/11 & has 1 comment

    nice story maangchi.. :D too bad i don’t have the chance too meet you …

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