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  • Pleasure Your Taste Buds At These 5 Cafes in Jakarta!

    Jakarta is home to various culinary delights. As traffic congestion never ends at this city, young urbanites love to spend time at cafes and restaurants to kill time. Here are my recommended cafes and restaurants that are unique, Instagrammable, historical and thick in Indonesian elements. 1. Anomali Coffee Image Credit: Anomali Coffee on Facebook Indonesian coffee beans have drawn the attention of many across the globe, including Starbucks, the world’s largest coffee chain. Far before it opened its first store in Indonesia in 2002, Starbucks has used Sumatran single-origin coffee as its staple offering since 1971. If you are a coffee addict, you need to visit Anomali Coffee, an established coffee chain known to popularize authentic Indonesian coffee. Indonesia itself has made a name for itself as one of the world’s best coffee producing regions and in Anomali Coffee, you can find and taste a variety of coffee beans from all over the country one time, such as Gayo coffee from Aceh and Toraja coffee from South Sulawesi. Established in 2007, Anomali tries to promote Indonesian specialty coffee. It provides freshly roasted coffee under home roasters’ highest standard, but they remained affordable with price ranging from Rp 30,000 to Rp 60,000 for a cup of coffee. Its headquarters is located on Jl. Senopati No. 19 in Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta, but it has six branches across the capital, from Menteng in Central Jakarta to Kemang in South Jakarta. Website | Facebook | Instagram Address: Jl. Senopati No. 19 in Kebayoran Baru               South JakartaOpening hour: 9 AM - 11 PM 2. Tesate Image Credit: Tesate on Facebook Tesate is known for offering a wide selection of Indonesian traditional dishes, from tahu pong (Rp 55,000), a crunchy tofu dish that is golden outside but silky and hollow inside with sweet sauce, sate sapi maranggi (Rp 124,000), spiced tender beef satay coated in toasted grated coconut to lonton cap go meh (Rp 111,000) rice cake served with bamboo shoots curry and chilli prawn. Tesate derives from the word sate that means satay. That is why its signature dish is various satays, such as sate sapi makassar from Makassar in South Sulawesi, an exotic combination of aromatic beef with mouth-watering, intensely sour starfruit, and sate lilit from Bali, crab or duck meat, minced with spices and herbs and wrapped in lemongrass. Tesate, which first opened its doors in Jakarta in 2008, is located on Jl. Sam Ratulangi No. 39 in Menteng, Central Java and inside two big shopping malls in Jakarta, namely Plaza Senayan and Pacific Place in South Jakarta. Website | Facebook | Instagram Address: Jl. Sam Ratulangi No. 39 in Menteng              Central JavaOpening hours: 10 AM -11 PM 3. Burgreens Image Credit: Burgreens Burgreens is Jakarta’s first organic healthy plant-based eatery and catering. It was founded by a vegetarian couple, -- Max Mandias and Helga, who both believes that what we eat impacts not only our health but also animal, farmers’ welfare and environmental sustainability. Max himself is a certified plant-based nutritionist and chef. 90% of Max’s menus are vegan. They contain natural fibers, plant-based protein, complex carbs and good fat in balance. Learning that dairy is hard to digest and may create allergies to some people, he uses natural dairy made from grass-fed, antibiotic-free and hormone-free cows. He also uses a small amount of local sea salt and liquid amino to spice up his menu. To make it taste good, he simply utilizes local herbs. His signature dish is Vegan Big Max (Rp 72,000), double patties on a whole wheat bun with homemade sauce, served with chips, and vegan ramen (Rp 75,000), organic palm noodle in sesame miso soup served with organic tofu, greens, and shiitake mushroom. In Jakarta, you can find Burgreens in six locations, such as Burgreens Menteng on Jl. K.H. Wahid Hasyim No. 47 in Menteng, Central Jakarta and Burgreens Darmawangsa on Jl. Wijaya II No. 37 in Kebayoran Baru in South Jakarta. Website | Instagram Address: on Jl. K.H. Wahid Hasyim No. 47 in Menteng               Central JakartaOpening hours: 10 AM - 11 PM 4. Giyanti Coffee Roastery Image Credit: Giyanti Coffee Roastery on Facebook Giyanti Coffee Roastery is one of the hidden gems in Jakarta. To find this care, you need to walk down a narrow alley on Jl. Surabaya No. 20 in Menteng, Central Jakarta. Having existed since 2012, Giyanti serves not only coffee but also a variety of bread that they make from scratch. Giyanti, which derives from the Javanese word Babat Giyanti, offers almond croissant, pain au chocolate, apple pie, and egg tart portugu. They all are affordable with prices ranging from Rp 37,000 to Rp 47,000. Like those puff pastries, cakes this café offers are also mouthwatering, such as bolu pandan, carrot cake and lamington. Giyanti uses organic coffee beans. To roast them, the café uses Italy-made Petrocini coffee roaster. Unlike other roasters in the market, this Italian roaster can measure beans temperature so accurately that the coffee they serve is like no others. Website | Facebook | Instagram Address: Jl. Surabaya No. 20 in Menteng               Central JakartaOpening hours: 9.30 AM - 5.30 PM 5. Maison Weiner Image Credit: Maison Weiner Bakery on Instagram Maison Weiner is a café and cake shop where you can enjoy the most authentic Dutch bread and pastries in Jakarta. Located on Jl. Kramat II in Kwitang, Central Jakarta. Maison Weiner is the oldest bakery in the capital. Having existed since 1936, the place offers cakes and bread with the same recipes enjoyed by the Dutch people when Batavia, now Jakarta, was under the Dutch rule. Indonesia gained Independence in August 1945. At Maison Weiner, you can find various Dutch cakes, such as ontbijtkoek, a soft Dutch spiced rye cake, and kerstkrans, a Dutch Christmas ring filled with fragrant almond paste and finished with a sugar glaze that resembles snow. Their prices range from Rp 15,000 to Rp 300,000. Maison Weiner was founded by Lee Liang Mey, an Indonesian of Chinese descent. She learned to bake from her boss, a Dutch baker, at a Dutch bakery in Batavia. It was her boss who motivated her to open her own bakery. The name Maison Weiner was given by the Dutch baker. Today, Maison Weiner is under the management of Lee’s grandson, Heru Laksana. He does not change the exterior and interior of the café so that you can feel the atmosphere of Jakarta old days when enjoying a cup of hot coffee with Dutch bread and pastries there. Instagram Address: Jl. Kramat II in Kwitang              Central JakartaOpening hours: 9 AM - 8 PM...

  • Jakarta, Indonesia: 5 Museums You Need To See With Your Own Eyes

    Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, is home to over 20 interesting museums you can find easily once you land in this big city. Here are five must-visit museums we recommend if you come to Jakarta to learn about its history as well as to find Instagrammable spots to take a selfie for your social media accounts. 1. The National Museum of Indonesia Credit: @adzlinaabdullah on Instagram Located along Jl. Medan Merdeka Barat in Central Jakarta, the National Museum of Indonesia is one of the most popular museums in Indonesia. It is home to 141,000 artifacts, including 61,600 prehistoric and anthropological artifacts, from all over Indonesia and Asia. This museum, which was established by the Dutch East Indies government in 1862, is known as the Elephant Museum as it has a bronze elephant statue in its forecourt. What makes this museum special is that it has a comprehensive collection of stone statues of classical Hindu-Buddhist period of ancient Java and Sumatra. Credit: @ullulaz on Instagram Some of the Hindu-Buddhist sculptures, relics inscriptions are on display in the lobby of the museum. Among them is Buddha statues from Borobudur temple, the world’s largest Buddhist temple. In the museum, the largest artifact is the statue of Adityavarman, the cousin of Jayanegara, the king of Majapahit in the 1300s. The statue, which is 4 meters in height, was discovered in Padang Roco, West Sumatra before it was moved to the museum. Having opened its doors to the public since 1868, the National Museum of Indonesia is also regarded as one of the finest museums in Southeast Asia. To get there, you can take a Transjakarta bus and stop at the Monas station. Address: Jl. Medan Merdeka Barat No. 12. Central JakartaTicket Price: Rp 3,000 (Children) | Rp 5,000 (Adults) | Rp 10,000 (Foreigners)Operating Hours: 8AM to 4PM (Tue-Sun) 2. Fatahilah Museum Credit: @benedictusrendra on Instagram If you are in Jakarta and are asking the Jakartans on the location of the Jakarta History Museum, they might be confused. However, if you mention the Fatahillah Museum, they will show you the way to get there because the Jakarta History Museum is locally known as the Fatahillah Museum. Constructed by the Dutch government in the early 1600s, this museum is located in the south side of Fatahilah Square, Old Town area. This area is one of the most famous tourist destinations within the capital. Having opened its doors to the public since 1974, Fatahillah Museum showcases 23,500 artefacts from the prehistoric period of the city, the Dutch colonization period to the era of Indonesia’s Independence in 1945. Among displayed items are historic maps, ceramics, paintings, furniture, and archeological objects. They are saved in several rooms, such as Prehistoric Jakarta Room, Tarumanegara Room, Jayakarta Room, Fatahillah Room, Sultan Agung Room, and the MH Thamrin Room. Fatahillah Museum is also home to Betawi-style furniture from the 17th to 19th century. What makes this museum more special is that it has cells used as dungeons during the era of Dutch colonization. A Javanese freedom fighter named Prince Diponegoro was imprisoned here in 1830 before he was banished to Manado, North Sulawesi. Address: Jl. Taman Fatahillah No. 1. West JakartaTicket Price: Rp 3,000 (Children) | Rp 5,000 (Adults) | Rp 10,000 (Foreigners)Operating Hours: 8AM to 5PM (Tue-Sun) 3. Taman Prasasti Museum Credit: @neilamadeusy on Instagram Unlike ordinary museums, Taman Prasasti Museum's main attraction is the Dutch gravestones. This museum is a cemetery of noble people established by the Dutch government in 1795. One of the those buried in this cemetery is Olivia Mariamne Raffles, the wife of British governor-general Thomas Stamford Raffles involved in the conquest of Java island from the Dutch. Credit: @neilamadeusy on Instagram Officially opened in September 1797, the 5.9-hectare-Taman Prasasti Museum is the oldest modern cemetery in the world. The oldest gravestones came from the 17th century to the end of the 18th century. At that time, this cemetery was established to accommodate the rising number of death caused by an outbreak of a disease in Batavia, now Jakarta. In this museum, you can also find ancient inscription stones, the miniature of various styles of gravestones in Indonesia, and the original coffins for Indonesia’s first president and vice president, Sukarno, and Mohammad Hatta. Address: Jl. Tanah Abang No. 1. Gambir, Central JakartaTicket Price: Rp 3,000 (Children) | Rp 5,000 (Adults) | Rp 10,000 (Foreigners)Operating Hours: 9AM to 3PM (Tue-Sun) 4. Basoeki Abdullah Museum Credit: Museum Basoeki Abdullah on Facebook The Basoeki Abdullah Museum in South Jakarta is the private house of late maestro painter Basoeki Abdullah. The house became a museum in 2001 after its owner was murdered on November 5, 1993. He was killed by his gardener who tried to steal his expensive watches. This museum displays Basoeki’s 720 paintings and 123 works of art he had collected throughout his life. This place also showcased the watches and a blood-stained pajama and glasses that the renowned artist was wearing when the tragedy happened in 1993. Basoeki is known for his beautiful landscape paintings of Indonesia’s nature and portrait paintings of important public figures across the globe, from Indonesia’s first president Sukarno to India’s Mahatma Gandhi. Born on January 27, 1915, in Surakarta, Central Java, Basoeki was the grandson of national hero Wahidin Sudirohusodo. His artistic ability, however, was inherited from his father, Abdullah Soerjosoebroto, a renowned landscape painter. He was a Western-educated painter who started painting when he was 4 years old. He received a scholarship to study at Academie Voor Beldeende Kunsten in the Netherlands from 1935 to 1937 and then pursued his higher education at the Academy of Fine Arts in Paris, France. Address: Jl. Keuangan Raya No. 19, Cilandak, South JakartaTicket Price: Rp 1,000 (Children) | Rp 2,000 (Adult) | Rp 10,000 (Foreigners)Operating Hours: 8AM to 4PM (Tue-Sun) 5. Museum MACAN Credit: @museummacan on Instagram The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara (Museum MACAN) is Indonesia’s first world-class museum dedicated to modern and contemporary art. Last year, it was named by TIME Magazine one of the world’s Top 100 Places to Visit in 2018. Established by businessman and renowned collector Haryanto Adikoesoemo, the museum has opened its doors to the public since 2017. This museum is home to Haryanto’s personal collection of more than 800 international and Indonesian works of art, including pieces by the likes of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, American artists Andy Warhol and Keith Haring, and Indonesian artists Heri Dono and Arahmaiani. Credit: @museummacan on Instagram What makes Museum MACAN even more special is that it is also a picture worthy place. Many young people who visit this place like to take selfies with the artworks. This place also provides various educational programs for people of all ages, such as an educator’s forum, where a regular group of teachers can tour the museum each time a new exhibition is opened and speak to the curators. Credit: @museummacan on Instagram This museum also accommodates Indonesian artists to showcase their work but also allow them to do art performance. Some of the big names who have performed in this museum are Arahmaiani, Tisna Sanjaya, FX Harsono and Agung Kurniawan. Address: AKR Tower Level MM, Jl. Perjuangan No.5, Kebon Jeruk, West JakartaTicket Price: Rp 40,000 (Students) | Rp 50,000 (Adults)Operating Hours: 10AM to 6PM (Tue-Sun)...

  • You Haven't Experienced Malang, Indonesia Until You Try These 5 Irresistible Halal Dishes

    “Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch”- Orson Welles Another destination you need to put on your vacation list is Malang. Located in East Java province, you only need to fly an hour and 20 minutes from Jakarta. This city offers you fresh air along with its amazing halal and mouthwatering local food! I'm sure your family or colleagues are gonna love them. Let’s check it out! Warung Sate & Gule Kambing Bang Saleh It is a must try and you should put it at the top of your list. Sate Bang Saleh was established since 1974. Quite a legend, isn’t it? This restaurant offers chicken and goat satay, Kabsah rice, Kabuli rice or even goat soup. For the satay, you can order with or without the fat. You can enjoy your chicken satay for IDR 20,000 and goat satay for IDR 40,000. Sate Bang Saleh uses Basmati rice as the main ingredient for Kabsah and Kabuli rice. Both of these Arabic foods have a bold taste. Delicious, warm, and pretty tempting when you smell it. You can add more pickles, Mattah Sambal and fried goat to add a little more zing to it. The owner of the restaurant, Laily Fitria Lizza, said that the restaurant cooks at least 20 goats per day. She always makes sure to carefully analyze the entire process to ensure that the product is Halal. Address: Jl. Ade Irma Suryani No.42, Kauman, Klojen, Kota Malang, Jawa Timur 65117, IndonesiaOpening Hours: 9AM to 10.30PM (Sat-Thu)                          3PM to 10.30PM (Fridays)Contact No.: +62 341 364228 Soto Pulungdowo Tumpang Credit: @tj_irene on Instagram This menu uses a local rooster instead of the usual broiler chicken. Surely this kind of chicken grows naturally. According to Nur Ardiansyah, grandchild of the owner, the local rooster gives off a tastier chicken broth. The texture of the rooster is generally tougher than the usual broiler chicken. This Soto has a fresh sauce with an attractive aroma, combining savory and citrus. You can have this mouthwatering Soto at only for IDR 15,000. Address: Jalan Raya Pulungdowo No. 76, Pulungdowo, Tumpang Regency, MalangOpening Hours: 8AM to 9PM (Daily)Contact No.: +62 857-9126-1615 Website Warung Family Khas Rica-Rica Menthok I challenge you to try this hot and spicy dish! Entok is a local language that translates to duck. While Rica Rica means cooked spicy. Rica Rica Entok is served along with a side of rice. The cuisine looks similar to the soup. The tender meat of the Entok is cooked with spicy coconut milk that is not too thick. Try adding a sprinkle of crispy savory shallots to elevate it! As an additional side, add papaya leaves and large-cut fried tempeh. The papaya leaves in this restaurant are not that bitter. So what are you waiting for? Grab it at only for IDR 25,000 / portion with rice or IDR 20,000 / portion without rice. Address: P.B., Jl. Panglima Sudirman, Karangploso, Girimoyo, Karangploso, Malang, Jawa Timur 65152, IndonesiaOpening Hours: 9AM to 9PM (Daily)Contact No.: +62 813-3318-7192 Rawon Kemari Sawunggaling Credit: @warung_kemari_sawunggaling on Instagram Rawon is known as a halal-traditional cuisine from East Java. It may look a bit odd as the soup’s color is black. Once you move your spoon inside Rawon, you will find pretty thick slices of beef.  The taste is pretty bold due to the blend of spices, lemongrass, and orange leaves. Don’t forget to add Mendol (processed tempeh) to go along with your bowl of Rawon Kemari. You only need to pay IDR 12,000 for a bowl of Rawon Kemari. Address: Jalan Sultan Agung No.63, Kepanjen Malang, Jawa Timur 65163, IndonesiaOpening Hours: 6PM to 2PM | 4PM to 10PM (Daily)Contact No.: 0813-5709-1919 or 0821-9956-6377 Website Warung Sate Gebug Credit: @putritaruno on Instagram Warung Sate Gebug was established in 1920 during the Dutch colonization. Till today, the restaurant has never moved from its original address and still operate in the same building. Get a taste of this cuisine that has lasted for more than a decade. This classic restaurant serves its own menu namely the Sate Gebug. Unlike the satay in general, which is topped with peanut sauce, Sate Gebug is not topped with peanut sauce since the meat is already spicy and is full of flavor. The satay is made from the tenderloin beef. After the beef is being cut up, the meat is then beaten so that it is flat and tender. Next, the meat will be marinated with spices and when it is fully marinated the Sate is being grilled until tender. For this tasty beef satay, you only need to pay for IDR 30,000 for evry 10 pieces. Address: Jalan Jenderal Basuki Rahmat, Klojen, Kota Malang, Jawa Timur 65119, IndonesiaOpening Hours: 8AM to 4.30PM (Sat-Thu)                          Closed on FridaysContact No.: +62 822-2844-4777...

  • Fall In Love With Indonesian Fried Rice! Visit 5 Of Their Best In Jakarta!

    Nasi Goreng (fried rice) is the all-time favorite Indonesian dish. Last year, it was the runner-up in the list of the world’s 50 best foods by CNN readers. This homemade dish, — cooked rice stir-fried in a frying pan and usually served with eggs, vegetables, seafood, fried chicken and meat, and crackers, is so popular that you can find its sellers easily across the archipelago. via GIPHY In Jakarta, top-notch nasi goreng dishes are here and there. Here are five of the best nasi goreng I recommend you to try to taste, right after you land in the capital. 1. Nasi Goreng Kambing Kebon Sirih Credit: @bikingendut on Instagram Nasi Goreng Kambing Kebon Sirih is an eatery located on a corner of bustling Jl. Kebon Sirih Raya in Menteng, Central Jakarta. It is widely popular as one of the must-visit culinary gems in the capital. Kambing means goat in English. As the name suggests, nasi goreng here is served with diced tender mutton. It is also known as one of the most legendary fried rice in Jakarta because the stall itself has existed for over 50 years. At this food stall, foodies usually enjoy the nasi goreng with so-called emping (fried crackers made from melinjo nut kernels). Emping, which tastes slightly bitter, enriches the savory of the mutton fried rice. Nasi Goreng Kambing Kebon Sirih, which is open from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. every day, sells the mutton fried rice for Rp 41,000 per serving. If mutton is a problem for you, you can order a bowl of fried rice with shredded fried chicken and it is sold at the same price. It has also opened branches in Bintaro and Blok M in South Jakarta, Cinere in Depok, West Java and Pamulang in South Tangerang. Address: Jl. H. Agus Salim No.41B, RT.1/RW.1, Kb. Sirih, Menteng, Kota Jakarta Pusat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 10340, IndonesiaOpening Hours: 11AM to 2AM.Contact: +62811190775 2. Nasi Goreng Kebuli Apjay Credit: @chubbytraveller on Instagram Nasi Goreng Kebuli Apjay is located on Jl. Panglima Polim IX No. 19 in South Jakarta. Apjay is the abbreviation for Apotek Jaya (Jaya Drugstore) because the position of this eatery is in front of that shop. Nasi Goreng Kebuli Apjay is unique because the rice that the seller fry is nasi kebuli (spiced rice), which is a popular Middle Eastern delicacy. Like Nasi Goreng Kebon Sirih, this eatery also mixes the fried rice with large cuts of diced tender muttons. It is spicily delicious with a perfect sunny-side-up egg and crackers on top and slices of fresh cucumbers and pickled carrots in turmeric sauce. Every day, this eatery opens its door from 5 p.m. until midnight and a mutton fried rice is sold at Rp 29,000 per serving. If the fried rice is not your favorite, you can order other popular Indonesian dishes here, such as bakmi goreng (fried noodles), bakmi godog (boiled noodles) and martabak (deep-fried stuffed pancake). Address: Jl. Panglima Polim 9, Dharmawangsa, JakartaOpening Hours: 5PM to 2AMContact: +628128359996 3. Nasi Goreng Ijo Thole Credit: @temenbuncit on Instagram Ijo is a Javanese word that means green in English. That is why the color of fried rice in this place is green. If you are interested to taste this green fried rice, you can directly go to Nasi Goreng Ijo Thole on Jl. Panglima Polim V No. 4, Dharmawangsa, Jakarta. It is not a color additive that makes the fried rice green because the seller does not add it to the rice when cooking it. The green color comes from mustard greens. Therefore, this dish is not only delicious but also healthy! A bowl of green fried rice topped with a fried egg and slices of fried chicken is sold for Rp 14,000 per portion. If green is not your favorite color, you may try to taste the red fried rice or black fried rice. The red color comes from beetroot, while the black one is from squid ink. The red fried rice is sold at Rp 15,000 per serving, and the black one Rp 17,000 per serving. If you want to taste the flavor of mustard greens, beetroot and squid ink in one plate, you can order Nasi Goreng Warna Warni (Three colors fried rice). It is sold at Rp 20,000 per serving. Address: Jl. Panglima Polim V No. 4, Dharmawangsa, JakartaOpening Hours: 6PM to 1AMContact: +6281283739335 4. Nasi Goreng Rempah Mafia Credit: Nasi Goreng Mafia on Facebook Nasi Goreng Rempah Mafia is located on Jl. Tebet Raya No. 27 D, Tebet, South Jakarta. Indonesian people are known for their huge love for spicy foods and in this place, you can find various kind of fried rice with different spicy levels. What is more interesting is that the fried rice have unusual names, such as Gangster, Triad (Chinese transnational organized crime syndicates) and Yakuza (Japanese gangsters). One of the most favorite fried rice in this place is Yakuza fried rice. It is a bowl of dark-colored fried rice mixed with green chili and kikil (beef tendon). This fried rice is not is not too spicy and too oily and the kikil itself is also tender. It is sold at Rp 23,500 per serving. If you order Triad, you will get reddish fried rice mixed with dried shrimp and red chili. This eatery also offers a variety of toppings, from fried meatballs, fried sausages to chicken satay. Address: Jl. Tebet Raya No. 27D, Tebet, South JakartaOpening Hours: 10AM to 11PMContact: +622183785343Website | Facebook | Instagram 5. Nasi Goreng Gila OK Credit: Vici Sienna on Zomato Located on Jl. Sidoarjo No. 3 in Menteng, Central Jakarta, Nasi Goreng Gila OK has existed since 1999. Gila means crazy in English and this fried rice is said crazy because it mixes rice with kwetiau (flat rice noodles). What makes this dish more special is that it tops with otak-otak (fish cake). The otak-otak makes this brown spicy fried rice not only different but also more tasteful. A bowl of crazy fried rice is sold at Rp 25,000. If you do not want otak-otak, you can order fried rice mixed with chicken, salted fish or anchovy. Address: Jl. Sidoarjo No. 3, Menteng, Central JakartaOpening Hours: 5PM to 3AMContact: +6287888847199...

  • Instant Noodle Trippin’ and Halal Travel [Opinion]

    Instant noodle trips – or spontaneous, short, cheap trips packed with a punch I never knew my type of travel had a name until I read the recent Mastercard-CrescentRating Halal Travel Frontier 2019 (HTF2019) Report outlining trends that will shape the US$220-billion global halal travel industry. The full report can be downloaded Halal Travel Frontier 2019.   Of the 17 trends identified, three hit home personally: the urge for “instant noodle trips”, stronger female influence in planning trips, and travel to non-traditional “Muslim” destinations such as Japan and Africa.   I have always encouraged friends to travel beyond their comfort zones and experience local cultures, beliefs and people. In fact, I truly believe that putting oneself in so-called uneasy situations is the perfect test of one’s faith. The keyword here is uneasy, not dangerous. Doing the latter is just being foolish.   The reward after each “uneasy” situation is a deeper understanding and appreciation of others. You then realise the biases you have are your own. You make those walls so, there’s nobody but only you who can break them.   Me spending the night in this monastery in MyanmarWhat do Muslim travellers need when they travel? Two biggest needs are halal food and prayer spaces.   Since we are on the topic of instant noodles, I realise my trips are literally about instant noodles. You see, many of my travel mates are non-Muslims and I refuse to inconvenience them or limit their culinary enjoyment so Maggi and Indomie have become a staple in my backpack. Proof I have been instant noodling for years…Vegetarian meals may be an alternative for many Muslims, but they are not for me. And that’s because I hate vegetables and will not touch them with a 10-foot pole.   I remember telling the travel guide on a trip to southern Africa that I was a vegetarian. After many days of not touching her food and cooking instant noodles instead, she confronted me. She was amused when she found out the truth. “There ARE halal food here!” she roared. She called me a “fake vegetarian” and then whipped out a halal chicken to cook the next day.   (Below) An old video of some stuff I carry with me on trips. This was filmed a decade ago so, apologies for the poor quality. Sad? Not really. The search for halal food sometimes takes me to the homes and dining tables of Muslim strangers.   (Below) A curious tuk-tuk man in Cambodia spotted me eating at the same halal Indian restaurant for three consecutive meals before offering to take me to a Kompong Cham enclave, where I was treated to a sumptuous halal beef meal by the village chief and Muslim elders. (Below) I also had a free chapatti dinner at the home of this generous Muslim family in Myanmar. They were poor in money but not in spirit and felt compelled to share what little they had with a fellow Muslim. No electricity means it’s candlelight dinner. How fancy!   Now, back to the rising trend of “instant noodle trips”. I am glad that this is trending (and trendy) among millennials and Gen Z travellers. Compared to years ago, travel has now become more affordable with lower airfares offered by budget airlines. Social media and mobile applications have also made it easier to research on-the-go about new places, discover travel promotions and discounts, and minimise risks and dangers with real-time warnings about natural disasters and terror attacks for instance. It is easy to DIY. Personally I use Expedia to compare flight prices, and then book tickets directly from the airlines. I book accommodation on Booking.com an hour or two before arriving at my destination. The good thing about using the same app consistently is that eventually one becomes a “frequent traveller” and gets offered more discounts and deals. One memorable instant noodle trip was a 2015 solo travel to Sri Lanka. I flew budget from Jakarta to Colombo on AirAsia, and then took either public buses or trains to Kandy, Dambulla and Jaffna. Within each city or town, I hitched tuk-tuks or simply explored on foot. I befriended locals and other tourists and they were ever willing to impart local wisdom and lend some company. I had no itinerary, no goals and no fixed plans. When I found bugs in bed, I covered the pillow with a shirt and slipped into my cheap travel sheet. No fuss. Bed bugs are part and parcel of “instant noodle trips”And when hungry? Search the walls for “halal” clues and tuck in. Bismillah. Article credit: The Flying Sarong...



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