TVRI’s Elvis Presley Tribute Concert in Jakarta

Elvis Presley is perhaps one of the most celebrated and influential musicians of 20th century popular culture. Some of his achievements include starring in 33 successful films, selling over 1 billion records, receiving 14 Grammy nominations, winning 3 Grammys, being inducted into multiple music halls of fame, and the list goes on. No wonder his name lives on, even though several decades have passed since his death in 1977.

Last Sunday, Agent D and I were invited to Keep It Country — Televisi Republik Indonesia (TVRI)’s Elvis Presley tribute show. It was held at Studio 5 in the Senayan area and aired live from 9 p.m.-10.30 p.m. Indonesian time.

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Elvis Presley tribute artists from Indonesia and Singapore.

It was my first time going to a live show in Jakarta and I didn’t know what to expect. When we first arrived, we were introduced to Jimmy PresLee, Singapore’s very own Elvis Presley tribute artist. He told us that he started impersonating Elvis after his retirement 6 years ago, at the young age of 64. WOW. Never too late to follow your dreams huh.

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Us with Mr. Jimmy PresLee.

Things got exciting as the live show commenced. Tantowi Yahya belted out a few Elvis classics as the crowd swayed along. The crowd consisted mainly of late middle-aged adults, all decked out in country outfits for the show’s theme. (I so regret not bringing along my Bali straw hat to blend in!) Elvis was an icon in their growing up years and it was apparent that he continued to hold a special presence in their hearts. ❤

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Tantowi Yahya, most famous for hosting the Indonesian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.

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A very enthusiastic crowd!

After that, the stage was given over to Indonesia’s Elvis Presley tribute artist #1. A trained lawyer by profession, he totally wow-ed the crowd with his singing and guitar moves.  He was strumming the guitar really hard with his fingers NOT touching the guitar strings?!. It was hilarious really.

Up next was Indonesia’s Elvis Presley tribute artist #2. This guy was even more comical. I almost fell off my seat watching his performance. The crowd got so excited that a number of them started grooving to the music on the dance floor.

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Dancing spectators.

The last Elvis to perform was Singapore’s Elvis Presley tribute artist. Really can’t tell that Mr. Jimmy Preslee is coming on 70 this year. He was dancing all over the stage with so much energy.

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On stage with Tantowi Yahya and Nourma Yunita.

As the 1.5 hour show drew to a close, all three Elvis Presleys went up on stage and sang together. The fervor in the air was contagious; by now even Agent D and I were on our feet swaying and clapping away.

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Whooooop.

Twas’ a good night spent reminiscing the songs of old and singing along to country tunes. Although the show ended late on a Sunday and Agent D had work the next day, we left Studio 5 somehow feeling more energized than before.

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We-fie with Tantowi Yahya. Thanks for having us!

And I got to know Elvis Presley a whole lot better! 🙂 🙂 🙂

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Japanese Dining Series: Value for Money Japanese Food at Akane

Akane Tokyo Cuisine is one of the first few Japanese restaurants I tried when I moved to Jakarta. It is located in a secluded corner of the Crowne Plaza Hotel Lobby, which is just behind Atma Jaya University (where I had my daily language classes for 4 months).

A quick google will reveal that Akane is given a pretty high rating of 4.7 on Zomato; On Trip Advisor, Akane has a rating of 4.5. So how did I find the food there?

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Entrance of Akane Japanese Restaurant.

The few times I dined at Akane, I noticed that the crowd consisted of a mixture of locals and Japanese expats. Hmm Japanese expats at a Japanese restaurant…should be not bad right.

Akane offers a really value for $$$ lunchtime special, available from 1130-1430 daily. For IDR 98K (about S$10), one can choose either a combo lunch set [1 rice + 1 noodle] or a eraberu wazen [1 rice + 3 dishes].

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Combo lunch set.

For the rice option in the eraberu wazen set, guests can choose between white rice, dried bonito rice, braised shiitake, leek & miso rice, spicy dried fish rice, or california roll.

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Eraberu wazen set.

Both sets come with a complimentary starter, dessert, and free flow of ocha.

Here are some pictures of my eraberu wazen set [1 rice + 3 dishes]. From the menu selection, I got for myself a california roll + grilled salmon + stir-fried liver & leek + plain omelette.

And of course, the combo lunch set [1 rice + 1 noodle] which Agent D ordered. He got for himself a wakame seaweed udon + chicken & garlic chives rice. His set came with a complimentary Japanese salad.

Verdict: The Japanese food at Akane is no doubt very affordable (!!!). 1 rice + 3 dishes + starter + dessert + drink ALL for IDR 98K. This is even cheaper than some food court options in the Jakarta mega malls.

While many reviewers have raved about Akane’s truly authentic Japanese cuisine, I beg to differ. The food was okay tasting with nothing really spectacular about it. In fact, I think the standard has been slowly dropping. (Read somewhere that this could be attributed to a change in the head chef.)

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When my folks were in town a few weeks back.

On the topic of Japanese food, Agent D said he’ll bring me to check out Akira Back and Edogin Restaurant at Hotel Mulia sometime soon. I’ve heard many good things about those two. Can’t wait!!

Akane, Tokyo Cuisine
Hotel Crowne Plaza 
Jl. Gatot Subroto Kav 2-3, 
Jakarta Selatan 12930

Our New Nest & The Defects Inspection Process

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Our new home.

Hello there! Can’t believe it has been almost 2 weeks since I last posted. I’ve been awfully busy the past couple of days – settling the new house and taking care of Agent D who was sick.

On to more exciting things…we have finally gotten the keys to our apartment back home (!!!). WHEEE. It’s our very first place under both our names which we are paying off (bit by bit of course) on our own. Hence the strong sense of home-ownership. *so proud*

Here are some pictures of the grounds:

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Connecting pool across blocks.

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Pool access right outside the doorstep of ground level units (sadly not for us!).

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Poolside lounge chairs.

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What’s a pool without her jacuzzi.

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Children’s playground with water features.

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Barbecue pits and tennis courts.

However, the joy of collecting our keys was short-lived. Then came the headachy part…the defects inspection (lonnnng) process. Both Agent D and myself do not have a trained eye whatsoever in looking out for defects. Seeing how our fellow neighbours uncovered MANY defects (literally hundreds, some had over 600 defects) on the Facebook group, we decided to engage a professional defects specialist – Ronny from Ark Interior.

That turned out to be the BEST DECISION EVER. For $400, Ronny’s services include 3 rounds of defects inspection: first inspection and filling up of the defects list, joint-inspection with developer, and final inspection to check that the defects have been rectified. Any additional visits required of Ronny are chargeable at $100/trip/hour.

Ronny made use of various equipment and tools to carry out the defects inspection. Here are some pictures of the defects in our home:

There were a total of 170 defects (or 13 pages worth of defects) found in our home. *horror*

Some common defects were uneven plaster and painting, chips and scratches, cracks, hollow tiles, poor fittings and joints, debris in drainage pipes, and the list goes on. According to Ronny, these things are considered ‘defects’ only when they exceed the tolerance level stipulated by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) in Singapore.

Our home will undergo defects rectification by the developer over the course of the next one month. Will update again after the final handover!

When I was a young girl, I loved building doll houses and buying miniature furniture to decorate their insides. Now I finally get to do up an ACTUAL house. Whoooop. Can’t wait to buy matchy matchy furniture. 🙂

EXCITED.

Gula Melaka Japanese Cheesecake Recipe…SOooO Fluffy

Agent D had to work the whole of last Sunday so I had a girls’ day out baking session with Ivana over at her place (which by the way is super nice, like a hotel. I’m so going to self-invite myself more often from now on hehe).

Ivana and I wanted to bake something no-frills i.e. something that wouldn’t require buying a lot of additional ingredients and has an easy to follow recipe. After some online research, we eventually settled on…THE FLUFFY JAPANESE CHEESECAKE.

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Japanese Cheesecake (Soufflé Cheesecake) fresh out of the oven!

We got our Japanese cheesecake recipe from Just One Cookbook. The original recipe can be found here: http://www.justonecookbook.com/japanese-cheesecake/.

We followed the recipe quite closely throughout. The only tweak we made was that we used coconut palm sugar instead of  normal white sugar (hence the brownish tinge in our cheesecake). It turned out surprisingly well, the gula melaka flavour complemented the cheesecake nicely. Plus it didn’t feel sinful at all – not too sweet, very light and fluffy. TASTES REALLY GOOD SERVED COLD. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Gula Melaka Japanese Cheesecake Recipe (Makes one 9-inch cake)

Ingredients

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Picture of all the ingredients needed.

  • 400 g cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 60 g coconut palm sugar
  • 60 g unsalted butter, cut into ½” (1 cm) slices, at room temperature
  • 6 large egg yolks, beaten, at room temperature
  • 200 ml heavy whipping cream, at room temperature
  • 10 ml lemon juice
  • 80 g all-purpose flour
  • 6 egg whites, refrigerated [for meringue]
  • 100g coconut palm sugar [for meringue]

*Before prepping, remember to keep cream cheese, butter, egg yolks, and whipping cream at room temperature.

Instructions

  1. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 9″ (23 cm) spring-form pan with butter and line the insides with parchment paper. Wrap the base of the pan with aluminum foil to prevent seepage.
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Parchment paper on the inside and aluminium foil on the outside.

2. Preheat oven to 320F (160C) degree. Start boiling water.

3. In the electric mixer bowl, beat cream cheese and coconut palm sugar on medium-high speed until smooth.

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Cream cheese and coconut palm sugar.

4. Add butter and mix thoroughly.

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Butter added!

5. Add the egg yolk and whipping cream. Mix well. (Remember to separate the yolks from whites earlier on!)

6. Add lemon juice and mix until the batter is very smooth.

7. Add in the sifted flour all at once. Mix well.

8. Transfer the batter to another large bowl. Wash the mixer bowl and dry completely. Make sure there is no oil or water in the mixer bowl.

9. To make meringue, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. In the electric mixer bowl, whip the egg whites on medium low speed (speed 4) till opaque, foamy and bubbly. Then add ⅓ of the sugar at a time as the mixer runs. Once all the sugar has been added, increase the mixer speed to high (speed 10) and whip for approximately 4 minutes, until the meringue has doubled in volume and is thick and glossy.

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Add ⅓ of the sugar at a time.

10. To test for stiff peaks, the peaks should stand straight up when you lift up the beaters. The whites should not slide around. If the meringue has not reached the desired consistency, continue whipping at high speed for another 30 seconds, then stop and test again. Once the egg whites are over-beaten, they can’t be used for the recipe.

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Stiff peaks??

11. Add ⅓ of the meringue to the batter. Mix well first.

12. Then add the rest of the meringue all at once and fold it in (don’t mix this time).

13. Pour the batter into the cake pan. To remove any air bubbles, drop the pan from 2-3″ (5-7 cm) high to the counter top several times.

14. Place the cake pan in a water bath with 1″ (2.5 cm) of boiling water. Place the baking pan in the middle rack of the oven.

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In water bath 2.5 cm high.

15. Bake at 320F (160C) for 60 minutes or until light golden brown. Then reduce temperature to 300F (150C) and bake for another 30 minutes.

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A wefie with our cake before it goes into the oven!

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RISING. *so exciting*

16. When a wooden chopstick/toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean without wet batter, turn off the oven. Let the cake sit in the oven with the door slightly ajar for 15 minutes. After that, cool the cake pan on a wire rack.

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Pock face cake cooling on the wire rack.

17. When the cake is completely cool, refrigerate it for a few hours before serving. Cut the cake with a warm knife (run the knife under hot water and dry it before each cut).

Notes
*Leave the oven door ajar for 15 minutes because a sudden temperature change will result in the cake collapsing.
**The cake should be consumed within 3 days if it’s kept in the refrigerator. You can also freeze it and keep it up to 2 months. Defrost at room temperature while covered.
*** I know our cake is on the ugly side (not sure why it has a pock face) but it tastes much better than it looks. Not lying.
Enjoy! ❤ ❤ ❤

Singapore Hainanese Chicken Rice in Jakarta: Chatterbox

I think I’ve found good Singapore Hainanese Chicken Rice in Jakarta!!! *excited*

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Cravings satisfied.

Located in Plaza Senayan’s SOGO department store, Chatterbox Indonesia serves mostly Asian Cuisine (out of which many are Singapore dishes). Some of the Singaporean cuisine include “Newton Indian Mee Goreng”, “Singapore Prawn Laksa”, and “Hokkien Mee”. According to Chatterbox, no Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is added to their food. AWESOMMME.

I can’t vouch for the other food but I must say their “Hainanese Chicken Rice” (IDR 69K) is pretty legit stuff. The rice was fragrant and the chicken was tender and juicy. Not to mention, the portions were generous too. Even the chilli tasted like the one back home (although not too spicy). SO GOOD.

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One step closer to home with this Hainanese Chicken Rice.

I ordered some “Braised Soy Eggs” (IDR 25K) to accompany my Hainanese Chicken Rice. The eggs came with a portion of bok choy in the middle. Always happy to have more greens. Although the soy eggs went well with the rice, I wished for them to be soaked in more gravy.

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Braised Soy Eggs.

All in all, I was very happy with the Hainanese Chicken Rice. My chicken rice cravings were satisfied with that one meal. 🙂

Chatterbox has many outlets across Jakarta — Cilandak Town Square, Plaza Senayan, Setiabudi Building, Grand Indonesia, Plaza Indonesia, Lapiazza, Emporium Pluit Mall, Kebon Jeruk, and Central Park.

What are you waiting for? Get your chicken rice fix soon!! x

Chatterbox
Jl. Asia Afrika No. 8
Plaza Senayan Level 5
(inside SOGO department store)

Framing Paintings in Jakarta: Setia Jaya Frame & Mirror

During our recent Yogyakarta trip in March, Agent D and I bought 2 pretty, handmade batik art paintings. The paintings were done by folks of the Kampung Taman settlement, a place where people sell craft and batik for a livelihood.

I was planning to get the batik art paintings framed and use them as a wall decor for our new home. According to other expat friends, framing in Jakarta would be much cheaper than back home in Singapore. I decided to check out Setia Jaya Frame & Mirror after reading about it in The Diplomatic Wife’s Blog.

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Entrance of Setia Jaya Frame & Mirror.

Dad and mom happened to be in town at that time and they accompanied me on this errand. We bumped into the big boss of the shop and struck up a conversation with him; he had moved from China to Jakarta some 30 years back and has since opened 10 frame shops across Jakarta. He even owns the factory which makes the frames from scratch. Power.

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Dad and mom talking to the frame towkay inside the shop.

The staff attending to me brought out the many frame samples that they had. She stood beside me patiently whilst I matched each sample, one by one, against my batik to find the best fit match. After what must have seemed like ages (for the poor girl), I finally decided on the frames. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Here are the before and after pictures of our batik paintings, unframed and framed.

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Hand-painted batik paintings (before framing).

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Hand-painted batik paintings (after framing).

I was very pleased with the end results. The quality of work was good and the prices were affordable. All in all, I spent IDR 350,000 on 2 frames, matted glass covers, and white borders. SO WORTH IT RIGHT. *happy*

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The Ant Story

As I was admiring the newly framed batik paintings under my living room’s spotlight, I spotted a tiny red ant (!!!) trapped under the glass of the blue batik frame. The frame was completely sealed and the poor ant was scurrying from one end to another in a bid to find an escape route. I was half disturbed at the thought of having an ant corpse on my batik painting and half amused at the ant’s mannerisms.

As there was nothing I could do, I decided to call it a night and check on Mr. Ant the next day, praying that it would just vanish into thin air. Lo and behold…the ant WAS STILL THERE the next morning. It was STILL crawling from branch to branch on the blue batik. I don’t think Mr. Ant slept a wink at all.

I brought the framed painting back to the shop and asked the boss if he could re-frame it for me. To my surprise, he heartily agreed without any hesitation and didn’t charge me any additional cost for it. For that, I’d definitely go back to them again. 🙂

WHEEEE I cannot wait to decorate my new home with these frames! ❤

Setia Jaya Frame & Mirror
Jalan Mampang Prapatan Raya No.20
Jakarta Selatan, Indonesia 12790

HAPPPPY BIRTHDAY Agent D!!!

Happy Birthday to my favouritest person in the whole wide world! ❤

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Happppy Birthday!!!

Thanks for supporting me all this while and working hard for us. Thanks to you — I get to sleep in on weekdays, have lunches/teas at my own time, shop in the afternoons, volunteer, attend bible study, do what I really want, etc.

Thanks for giving me anything I’d ever want, so long as it’s within your means.

Thanks for buying me flowers once every few months, as a gesture of appreciation.

Thanks for always saying my cooking tastes nice, even though I know it sucks sometimes.

Thanks for making me laugh and treating my parents as your own.

Thanks for always teaching me to be kinder, more patient, and more generous.

Thanks for being you.

May God continue to bless the work of your hands and make you fruitful in all that you do!

xxx


As I type this, Agent D is actually out at work. YES on a Saturday, and YES on his birthday. He actually has to work the entire Sunday too. I was a little bummed out at first that we weren’t going to have the weekend together, but I’ve come to terms with it. We’ll celebrate his birthday after this busy weekend instead! 🙂

On another note, I wonder if he likes his new face (see picture above)?! He’ll probably flip when he sees it online haha. But it’s actually an important side of him that I often get to see at home and most don’t get to see outside (he’s usually super serious when it comes to work).

Ending this post with a quote that I can relate to ❤ ❤ ❤

“A woman or man of value doesn’t love you because of what he or she wants you to be or do for them. He or she loves you because your combined souls understand one another, complements each other, and make sense above any other person in this world. You each share a part of their soul’s mirror and see each other’s light reflected in it clearly. You can easily speak from the heart and feel safe doing so. Both of you have been traveling a parallel road your entire life. Without each other’s presence, you feel like an old friend or family member was lost. It bothers you, not because you have given it too much meaning, but because God did. This is the type of person you don’t have to fight for because you can’t get rid of them and your heart doesn’t want them to leave anyways.”
Shannon L. Alder

Have a blessed weekend everyone! x