Restaurant Series: Authentically Indonesian at TeSaTe

Juli’s main intent for her Jakarta visit was to eat AS MUCH (SPICY) Indonesian food as she could. Her motto when it comes to food – the spicier, the better (much to my dismay haha). Her chili threshold has always been high since secondary school days. Not for me though. One tiny drop of spicy sambal in my food and I’ll be downing a jug of water with tears in my eyes. Before I am even halfway through my chili-laden noodles/rice, I’d be full from water. :/

So anyway, we had lunch with a few friends at TeSaTe today – a restaurant serving supposedly good authentic Indonesian cuisine. From my best friend Mr. Google, I found out that TeSaTe is actually a sister brand of Sate Khas Senayan restaurant chain (which has a presence in practically every mall in Jakarta), just that it is a more premium brand. TeSaTe has a few outlets; we went to the one in Menteng.


A contemporary style restaurant serving Indonesia cuisine.

The restaurant is housed in a huge 3-storey building complete with private dining rooms. The first level was pretty occupied when we arrived. Because we were a group of six + baby stroller, we were directed to the basement instead. Which turned out to be quieter and nicer. 🙂

Sasha (their regular patron) ordered a variety of dishes for us to try and we went along with her choices. Here’s some pictures of the food:

Overall, the food was good and thankfully not too spicy (phew). I particularly liked their lemon grass drink with lime bits – SO REFRESHING for a hot day. Their satay went very well with the sauce too. YUMMM.


Welcome back to Jakarta: Juli, chub chub Joesph, Lewis.

Joseph the fatty was sucha good baby. He slept through the entire lunch despite our loud banter, laughter, and giggles.

Some pictures from our lunch 🙂


Can’t wait to tuck in!


“I think my fist is yummier than the chicken there.”

On the way back in the car, I saw an interesting sight of two men playing chess at the bus stop. They were so deep into their game that the booming motorcycles and cars passing by did not seem to bother them one bit. Pretty intense.


Enjoying a game of chess at the bus stop.

“They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.”
― Tom Bodett

They must have been happy; they had something to do.


Ending lunch with a girly shot.

TeSate Restaurant
Jalan Dr Samratulangi No. 39
Menteng, Central Jakarta

Learning Indonesian Cuisine #1: Babi Rica Recipe

On Wednesday, my friend (Sha-rin) invited a group of us to her place to learn how to make Babi Rica from her Indonesian friend, Ibu Vien. Sha-rin was moving from Jakarta to Sydney for good and Babi Rica was the one dish she wanted to master before leaving.

There were about 10 of us in total so we had to make several batches. In order to make the Rica Bumbu (seasoning), quite a number of spices/ingredients were required. They had to be peeled, cut, and blended together. Effort indeed.

Upon seeing the sheer amount of effort involved, someone asked Ibu Vien if she could pre-make the sauce for us (such a Singaporean thing to do right!) for future use. Well, I personally wouldn’t mind paying more for a pre-made bottled sauce if I could use it right away, saving time and effort. Ibu Vien looked at us in disbelief. I think she was on the verge of rolling her eyes haha.


Some of the ingredients needed to make Babi Rica (photo credits: Jasmine)

Ibu Vien told us that if we wanted our Babi Rica to be on the spicier side, we could add more chili, keeping the total number of chili used odd. If we wanted it to be less spicy, we could use less chili but the total number of chili used had to be evenSo strange. Ibu Vien swears by it so I’ll be following this golden chili rule next time.

For the Babi Rica batch she was demonstrating on, Ibu Vien added quite a bit of chili but kept the total amount of chili even. Surprisingly, it wasn’t as hot as I expected it to be!

Here’s a picture of our Babi Rica in all its glory:


Homemade Babi Rica served with rice and cucumber. YUM.

It was SOOOOO GOOOOOOOOD. Not sure if I’ll ever get down to replicating it for Agent D though. The preparation process is a little too time consuming (unless Ibu Vien picks up on our suggestion on the pre-made sauce hee).


Ibu Vien with all the Babi-Rica cooks. Babi Rica SUCCESS!

For those who are interested in making Babi Rica at home, here’s the recipe (many thanks to Candy for typing it out) below:

Babi Rica Recipe (for 1 kg of pork, serves 4)


  • 1 kg Pork (if using pork belly, use part with more meat and less fats)
  • 3 stalks of spring onion (cut 1cm diagonally)
  • 110g of cabe keriting merah (about 30 pieces)
  • 50g of cabe rawit (remove stalk)
  • 30g of basil leaves (about 1 handful, ¾ cup)
  • 2 stalks of local lemongrass/ serai (use the white part only & chop into 1 cm bits)
  • 2 cm of ginger / jahe
  • 10g of kaffir leaves / daun jeruk (about 10 pieces)
  • 80g of shallots / bawang merah (about 20 pieces)
  • 1 head of old/mature garlic (remove skin)
  • 2 cm if turmeric / kunyit
  • 2-3 pieces of candlenut


  1. Cut shallots, cabe keriting merah, lemongrass, garlic, ginger, turmeric and candlenut into smaller pieces. Put everything into the blender with some water (about 40ml) to make the Rica bumbu.
  2. Add bumbu (blended in step 1) into a large pot with oil. The amount of oil used should be enough to cover the bumbu in the pot. Stir-fry on high heat for about 20 mins.
  3. When the bumbu is about half dry, add half the kaffir leaves and pork together with 80-90 ml of water.
  4. When the sauce becomes drier and almost like a thick paste, add salt to taste. Then add cabe rawit, spring onion, basil leaves and the remaining kaffir leaves. Continue to simmer until the pork reaches its preferred softness.

Some tips from Ibu Vien

*Do not wash the pork and vegetables until they are ready to be stir-fried.

*Instead of using pork, you may also use chicken. Preferably, kampong chicken.