As I’ve said in the previous post, Bandung is a city called home though it’s not where I was born. A capital of West Java, Bandung offers what other cities in Indonesia commonly don’t have: creative industries! Cuisines, tourist attractions, fashions and arts are among elements where Bandung is more advanced than any other city in Indonesia. Every time I’m back to Bandung, new tourist attractions sprouted, and new creative cuisines invented. Added with Sundanese cultures and pleasant weather Bandung is lovely.
It’s still 3 am in the morning when we arrived in Bandung after 3 hours driving from Jakarta. Street vendors have started their stall preparation in this wee hours. Hungry from the trip we stopped by at one of the street vendor stall selling ‘bubur ayam’ (chicken porridge). Along with Tofu Dumpling (Kupat Tahu), chicken porridge is the most favorite breakfast menu in Bandung. A journey of cuisine sensor calibration has started 🙂
Unfortunately, vacation is not always about leisure. Priority still to be assigned. The week ahead I was busy with completing all administrative things: obtaining Overseas Worker Identity Card, renewing Resident Identity Card and Family Card, renewing Education Savings, printing bank statements, updating Manulife Pension Plan (while at the same time withdrawing Jamsostek’s Old Days Insurance) and working with an architect for house renovation plan. Fiuh…and all of these took almost half of my vacation!
Now the fun part. Every Indonesian vacationers must do this: culinary traveling. Hunting for the best cuisine in town. And Bandung is never sort of cuisines. So let me mention some we’ve tried: Kupat Tahu (tofu dumpling), Bubur Ayam (chicken porridge), Batagor (fried tofu meatballs), Siomay (steamed meat with or without tofu), Lotek (a mixed boiled vegetables, served with peanut paste and some chillies, similar to gado gado), Mie Kocok (a noodle soup, served with beef foot, beef skin and tauge or mung bean sprout), Martabak (The savory martabak is a thin fried pancake stuffed with eggs, some vegetables, mushrooms, chicken/beef and one filled with sweet corn and cheese), and Nasi Timbel (the famous Sundanese dish. It is a tube-shaped rice that has a distinguish flavour, because it is cooked inside a banana leaf. It is usually served with lalapan (raw vegetables), fried tofu & tempe, fried chicken and chili paste).
Did I mention I had a durian party?
Apart from culinary traveling, we also spent some time to enjoy the latest addition to Bandung’s attraction. We visited Trans Studio (one of the largest theme parks in the world) and spent almost a day inside. I recommend that you visit Trans studio whenever you have a chance to Bandung. Just a precaution, as it is popular among tourist, Trans Studio may become crowded and regular visitor may experience a very long queue that they may need to consider buying VIP access. To me I’m proud that Indonesia can make their own Universal Studio.
We also visited Rumah Sosis (sausage house) in Jalan Setiabudi. Apart from its delicious sausage, games and activities inside are not so attractive (except for its rickshaw!). Better heading to Kampung Gajah (another outdoor theme park on the slope of mountain), I guess. The nearby Kampung Baso, across and down the street from Rumah Sosis, however, gave us a pleasant lunch with its traditional menu. Head for inner yard where traditional gazebo amidst shady and green environment can only make our stomach even hungrier.
Not to be missed in Bandung is shopping. Mention Factory Outlets or Distro (independent Distribution Outlet) then Bandung will pop up as the lead. We did FO hopping: from Rumah Mode in Jalan Setiabudi, to Happening in Jalan Dago, to Heritage and Cascade in Jalan Riau (RE Martadinata). Don’t miss street vendor selling original Crocs for 40-60% less around western part of Jalan Riau. though Setiabudi, Riau and Dago are where the most FOs and Distros are located, nowadays they spread out to its old location wings: to Jalan Supratman, to Sultan Agung and Trunojoyo and so forth.
Pasar baru (New Market) is my wife’s shopping heaven for moslem attires, where on the other side I was heading to BEC (Bandung Electronic Center) for gadget and electronic. Ny. Liem in Jalan Naripan, and Kijang Mas in Jalan Haria Banga were my wife’s other destination for her passion in baking and cake making. These two old stores are the os you need for the baking and cake ingredients and tools supplies.
Nowadays, Bandung however suffers from what typical major cities in Indonesia have: traffic jams, and lack of convenient public transportation. This is where motorcycle comes handy. If Bandung is not blessed with rain that day, I’d prefer to use motorcycle: navigating traffic jam, zig-zag among cars, cutting the queue and arriving in lesser time. Super! What makes Bandung different to traffic jam-suffering cities is its resident are more tolerant and respect among road users. I’m not sure if it’s because the cold weather or culture. The former is unfortunately changing. It is hard to encounter the day when temperature can reach below 20 C. temperature now hovers around 22 – 28 C throughout the year, unlike 18 years ago when I first arrived in Bandung, mercury could go down to 17-18 C. Climate change?
Whatever, Bandung is Bandung as it was Parijs van Java (Paris of the Java).