Monday, January 18, 2010

Indonesian Restaurant 1968, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

What happens if you put food + twitter junkies together?
They tweet & eat, eat & tweet.

I have seen some posts where food bloggers meet each other, get together for a great meal, take each other's pictures devouring tasty food, gossip show off share food/blogging experiences, all in all having a fan-freaking-tastic time.

To be honest, I was jealous as hell.
I haven't met any of my food blogger friends at all!
This is my first :)
I took my blog and twitter buddies trying Indonesian food at Indonesian Restaurant 1968, Causeway Bay. I was so glad to meet another fellow Indonesian, the adorable and amazingly youthful @sporbo. She and I often bitch about share our longing for authentic Indonesian treats via twitter :D

The ever so gorgeous and multitalented @coffeemeow. Is there anything she isn't good at? Read her insightful take on life on her blog, Between Coffees and be inspired. I was hopeless at food styling, I was so glad when she helped me styling this gado gado dish into this gorgeousness below...

Otherwise, you'd keep staring at a chipped bowl instead.

The first food blogger friend I've ever met! Sweet & lovely (ok, these are really weird words to describe a guy, sorry about that :p) @jasonbonvivant from Life as a Bon Vivant. He knows so much about Hong Kong food, he is pretty much our living and breathing :D
Look at Jason's ultra serious expression when he was photographing the gado gado. Adorable, right girls? ;)

Now, about the gado gado. I don't get it sometimes. I can get instant gado gado peanut dressing from any random Indonesian shops and it would taste pretty close to the ones served in Indonesia. How can Indonesian restaurants serve worse gado gado dressing than the instant ones? The vegetables served in gado gado are normally blanched until they are soft, and these were raw. There were no fried tofu, tempe (soybean cake), as well as emping (another type of crackers, which can be easily purchased in any Indonesian supermarkets in Hong Kong). The gado gado is normally drenched and mixed well with its sauce, served with a touch of acid (from lime/kalamansi), and this was not. To conclude, the gado gado is not authentic. This is a just vegetable salad with peanut sauce and prawn chips, being sold as gado gado.

Next victim? The sate. Again, not authentic and they're not the improved version of the sate you get from Indonesian street vendors.

We're missing the smoky charcoal aroma we get from sate, the meat wasn't the most tender nor flavorful, we almost didn't get any distinct flavor from each meat at all (chicken, beef, pork?). The dressing was a sweet and too watery peanut...liquid, which could be improved very easily with some chopped raw shallot, chilli and a drizzle of lime and kecap manis. My non Indonesian friends, this is not what Indonesian sate is about.

@sporbo and I were totally puzzled when we were presented with this plate. We ordered a lontong capgomeh, and this is what we got. It's a pile of lontong (Indonesian rice cakes) in the form of a tumpeng (yellow rice platter). All the "accessories" the lontong were served with (kering teri/kacang, kripik kentang, perkedel, telor balado, etc)...are those normally served with Indonesian yellow rice instead of lontong capgomeh. Lontong capgomeh is normally served soupy with flavorful coconut milk soup base, and this was served dry. If this was lontong capgomeh, then maybe I am not Indonesian.

Was it really that bad? Oh, no worries, the bad news ended there. The beef rendang was pretty authentic. It was not as tender as I'd like it to be, but it is pretty normal for beef rendang to be not so tender, even the ones in Indonesia. The flavors were right, and it tasted fantastic with rice.

The semur lidah (Indonesian stewed ox tongue). Although it is again not served in an authentic manner (semur lidah is normally served as a soup), but this dish was great. It's one of my favorites from this place. The thick cut tongue pieces were absolutely melt-in-your-mouth tender, and the thick sweet sauce served with it was flavorful.

We ordered a couple of nasi kuning (Indonesian yellow rice) and it was served in cute little banana leaf cones. The nasi kuning was yummy, the Indonesian flavors were there.

Indonesia's answer to croquette, perkedel. This is a dish which I've failed to recreate at home numerous times, and these ones were fantastic! It's everything a perkedel should be. Crispy on the outside, soft and flavorful on the inside. I ate a lot of this with the rice for some classic Indonesian style carb on carb action :D

Normally, I'd never order perkedel jagung (corn fritters) in restaurants, as I found them ridiculously pricey and it is easy to make at home. However, I realize that I am never in the mood for deep frying at home, and the cheap ones I get from Indonesian supermarkets (HK$10 for 3 pieces) aren't good at all. Plus, we feel that corn fritters are totally underrated, I am sure that most of my non Indo friends haven't heard of it. So glad we went for it, as we were really pleased with this golden delicious fritters.

@sporbo and I chuckled when we browsed through the drinks menu and saw mojito under "Indonesian cocktails". Since when mojito is Indonesian? :D
I ordered a guava soda, which I think was a boxed guava juice topped with soda, but it was surprisingly good. The soda really tamed the over sweetness of the boxed guava juice.

Despite a couple of misses on the food, there were plenty of good ones. @sporbo and I were happy to have introduced some Indonesian food beyond sate and nasi goreng to our friends. We had an amazing time enjoying the food, drinks, and more importantly, each other's company. In fact, we enjoyed ourselves a little too much, we were the only customers left in the restaurants right up to its closing time.

Indonesian Restaurant 1968
28 Leighton Rd, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Tel: 2577-9981

All the above food + 2 sodas + 1 bottle of white wine cost us around HK$250 per person


Nuttymeg said...

Oh Rita, please can you take me there if I am ever in HKG? Would love to be your blog buddy..I love gado gado, it's my favourite besides satay. There is a great Indonesian restaurant in Furama Hotel in Singapore...buffet dinner too. Ever watch The Simpsons on "All you can eat buffet?"

KennyT said...

So happy even without me, I am heart broken now (Hahaha, just being a teaser)

Mochachocolata Rita said...

Nuttymeg, sure, lemme know when u're in town :)

Jason and I can't wait to date you, Kenny! When are you free to go out and eat? hehe

Mrs Ergül said...

Argh, I should have met up with you when I was last there in Dec! Will get in touch the next time I'm in town!

I am sorry for the misses on the food!

tigerfish said...

I love that satay mini grill and nasi kuning presentation!

noobcook said...

looks like u had a great food outing! "tweet & eat, eat & tweet" - I like this new tagline :)

Charmaine said...

Hoorah for tweat-ups (as we call them ;D). I've walked past this place many times but haven't tried it - didn't think it would be too authentic.

EatTravelEat said...

Lanna Thai in Times Square seems to be just like this place. Some of the food is great (e.g. Curry has freshly pounded spices) but some of the food is just questioning!

Chipped bowl? Sad. Especially since it is a modern looking plate :(.

daphne said...

How nice is it to meet bloggers!!! love the rustic sate presentation as well.

Cindy said...

you have some nice pics on your website! Nice shots,love them!

Lany Chew said...

Hi Rita, nice to meet you. I found your blog yesterday....very interesting. Just want to inform you there is a nice Indonesian restaurant in Kwun tong called Yue wa. The place is very simple but their food is very good. Sorry I don't know their address...I used to go there everyweek when I was living in Lam Tin.... Their Lontong cap go meh is very very my opinion ;)

Mel- said...

Those photos are beyond gorgeous :) I'm totally salivating. I only know of 1 Indonesian restaurant in Vancouver (which is quite good) but would love to have what you just had!

Jin said...

great job capturing that intensity on jason's face! haha! isn't it awesome sharing a meal with fellow food lovers? :) and over beef rendang, too. yum!!!

blue said...

just want to drop by to say hii..
i accidentally find ur blog... am indonesian who is currently studying at HK Poly Univ..are you Indonesian who move to HK?

i definitely agree with ur comment about the food...i feel the same when i go there last month :p ur post made me craving all indo food >_<...

love ur post ♥

a m y r a z said...

Hello there! I am visiting Hong Kong and was looking for Malay/Indo food which is Halal. Is this IR 1968 halal where Moslems can eat ? Thank you in advance. :D