Tyanna Coffee, a coffee gem in North Sumatera

Our coffee hunter team

Perks of being a business traveler, we do get a lot of chance to visit an offbeat area. This time I had a chance to visit the southern part of North Sumatera, which is the Padang Sidempuan city. If it is not business trip, this city definitely is not on my destination list. Based on the recommendation from a local,  we managed to visit a coffee plantation site in Desa Sugi (approximately 40 mins from Padang Sidempuan).

Where is it?

The place is managed by Mr Harahap and it is called the Tyanna Coffee. It was quite far from the road, but should be manageable to reach the address since other village people will easily direct you to the infamous coffee plantation. We took a 30 minutes break to taste the coffee while hearing a short course about coffee from Mr. Harahap. They served us two different coffee with paper and french press brewing technique, and I found that the french press one was tastier.

Traditional paper drip
French press

Is coffee bad for your stomach?

Well, based on the lecture from Mr. Harahap that coffee usually perceived as the acidic liquid that damage your stomach meanwhile the perception is not fully right. The acidity level of the coffee varies within the bean type and the species of the coffee. Within one species of a coffee bean, the acidity level also varies on the grade of the bean. Grade A to C explains its “premium”ity of the beans. The grade can be told from the appearance of the bean, the good or the premium one looks perfect round without any defect. Worms inside the bean may also affect the acidity level of the bean. The bean farmer always sort their beans into those grades. On most cases when you buy the coffee powder, the quality of the beans are that of the mixed one (middle quality). If you have a stomach problem and still want to enjoy coffee, look for a premium coffee!

Dried luwak coffee
Medium level coffee bean

 

 

 

 

 

If you happen to travel around this area, make sure to drop a visit to this place! Truly a coffee gem in the hidden area in North Sumatera.

3 Days Belitung Island Trip

I always cherish the Eid Mubarak season every year. This year, I went on a 3 days trip to Belitung during eid mubarak with a very good friend of mine. Credit to her, for most of the pictures here. Our itinerary was like this:

First day (half day): East Belitung (Tarsius, Kwan Im Temple, Ahok Village, Manggar, and Laskar Pelangi village), Tanjung Pandan for sunset

Second day (full day): Hopping island + Bukit Berahu

Third day (half day): Kaolin crater + Laskar Pelangi beach, souvenirs shopping

East Belitung

Tarsius park

Forget about the national park where the Tarsius is, you cannot find the Tarsius there anymore. I strongly suggest skipping this attraction.

Kwan Im Temple

This is a Confucianism temple, worshiping the goddess of universal love. This is located on the far east of Belitung, far from everywhere. If you want to get your luck and life to be read, you can try here. It is using the ciamsi or qian shi method that had been used since the hundred years ago. Basically you will pour some wooden sticks (after praying in the altar toward gods) and count the numbers of wooden sticks. The number you get will be matched with the poetry, mainly talk about wisdom, praise (good), or warning (not good luck). Anyway, fun things to try.

 

 

Manggar

Coffee everywhere! A small villages in the East, with a lovely beach. We just passed by the village and went straight to the beach for lunch. There is nothing worth visit in the village itself, since the attractions in East Belitung are Laskar Pelangi and Ahok villages, and the Kwan-Im temple.

Laskar Pelangi village

There are two main attractions regarding the Laskar Pelangi. The Andrea Hirata museum and the school building that is being used for the shooting. We went to both places but chose to enter the latter only. We were not really interested in the literature things and the admission ticket is pricy. Because I was not into the Laskar Pelangi hype that time, these places were just okay. If you mean to go to East Belitung for another purpose, these places can be your 10 minutes short stop (only for taking pics). But a special visit just for these places are not worth the long distance. Just my two cents.

Ahok village

Just like Laskar Pelangi village, just okay for me. Ahok is the famous politician in Indonesia, who was born in Belitung. Basically in Ahok Village, you can visit Ahok’s childhood home and neighborhood. Not really interesting for me. We just paid a short visit to buy some souvenirs and took some pics.

 

Hopping around the islands

This is a full-day activity. What you do is actually hopping from one island to another islands in the area of north-western beach (Pantai Tanjung Kelayang). The typical islands visited are: Pulau Pasir, Pulau Lengkuas, Pulau Kelayang, Pulau Batu Berlayar, and Pulau Burung Garuda (this is not accessible, only viewing for afar).  You need to book the trip beforehand and you can pay later after the island hopping finished. That time I rent Bang Midun’s boat (081949245345) after seeing other’s blog review about his service. His crew is the best! They were always ready wherever we want to go, no complaint at all when we were slacking in some island to chill and drinking coconut water, simply the best! And anyway, one of the guy took good picture as well! The price is around 500,000 IDR. When you choose to use other’s service, bear in mind that the price of one boat should be around that range.

 

The tips for island hopping:

  1. Bring your own lunch from the main island. There are some food stalls in Kelayang and Lengkuas Island, but would not be enough for a fulfilling lunch. You will need a complete meal because you will do a lot of physical activities!
  2. Apply a really good sunblock, and re-apply. The sun is really strong there!
  3. Wear a comfy outfits and always be ready to get wet.
  4. If you start in the morning, make the Pulau Pasir as your first destination because the later it gets, the less accessible it is. The high tide will make the island disappear.
  5. Bring snacks for your energy booster: chocolate and sweets. Do not forget to bring biscuits to feed the fish.

My favourite island is the Kelayang island. The famous rainbow granites are here. It only took several minutes walk into the mini forest to reach there. There were a lot of big stones but the slope is okay, so everyone will have no difficulty to reach it. I reached it after the noon so the tide was quite high already (waist level). To get a good picture, suggest coming earlier to have lower tide level.

Seafood eating spree

We tried two seafood restaurant on the first and third day there. The first one was on the East Belitung and the last one was on the West.

1. RM Sinar Laut Ayung BB

In East Belitung, there are three big restaurants that tourist usually visit: Fega Restaurant, Sinar Laut Ayung BB, and Rudi Fakistan. Ayung BB and Rudi Fakistan are located side by side on Pantai Nyiur Melambai. Both of them served fresh seafood, cooked in local style. We decided to try the Ayung BB because Rudi Fakistan was closed that time (Ramadhan holiday). The verdict about their foods:

Must try their fish soup (Gangan) that is served in fresh herbs with a sour and sweet taste. The others are just normal menu that you can have in any Indonesian seafood restaurant. But, the seafood there are just so fresh! For Jakartans like me who used to eat the not-so fresh sea creatures, Belitung seafood was just tantalizingly good. If only they do not contain so much bad cholesterol though! Total costs for three people were around 200-300 thousands.

2. RM Amat

Here you can enjoy a good seafood with a sea view, because they have a outdoor seating concept just beside the sea. While waiting for your food, you can play at the beach. There are swings nearby so I guess this restaurant is very suitable for family. The food was okay but again, the freshness was just perfect! Look how nice the squid from nearb sea was served with the Padang sauce on the picture. Hmmm. The total cost was almost the same like the first restaurant.

 

 

Coffee everywhere!

Kong Djie coffee is the most famous chain of coffee shops here. It existed since 1943 and all Belitungnese just loved this brand. I tried only one branch in Tanjung Pandan beach (amongst several branches all over Belitung), while waiting for the sunset in Tanjung Pandan beach.

Verdict about the coffee: okay, nothing special about the flavour though.

 

Second eating spree – Hakka Chinese Food

Atep vs Acin

These are the KFC and McDonalds of the Belitung noodle. We tried Acin’s and we loved it. The noodle was not the typical Chinese noodle which is served dry. This one is served alongside some sweet sauce and some fried fishcakes, eggs, and beansprouts. The taste is more strong on the sweetness but somehow still have the refreshing taste. Must try!

Hakka restaurant

We tried a Hakka restaurant based on the driver’s suggestion. I totally forgot the name of the signature dish. It was a pork based dish, served with pork stomach and intestines. Loved this restaurant as well. Must try the local Hakka dish of the Belitungnese.

 

 

 

 

Closing remarks: Belitung is underrated. I love this destination so much. I am not a big fan of beach but still I had a good time there. The foods are also amazing, even though we did not have time to explore all. The price is cheap as well and the beach is still relatively clean. People are also nice! Come and visit Belitung!

*they are building a good hotel and golf range on the seaside so you can even consider playing golf here after doing some water activities

Spicy Ramen Battle – Korea’s Samyang vs Singapore’s Nissin

Hello, on this post I want to compare these two fried noodle brand from different regions. On the west side we have samyang’s spicy chicken fried noodle from South Korea. On the other side is Nissin’s tom yum fried noodle. The similarities of these two brands are their spicy and hot flavor and  they are dry based. I got the recommendation for Nissin’s instant noodle from my older cousin who lived in Singapore. I visited her apartment and she gave me 5 packs of it as a gift. She said that it was one of the tastiest fried instant noodle in Singapore.

When I lived in South Korea for 2 months, I tasted Buldalkbokkeummyeon for several times. My Korean friend, Kang Kyung-taek bought me 5 packs of it and cooked it at our dorm for lunch. I fell in love with the flavor of it on the first time. Let’s see the head to head battle:

Food portion

The packaging does not impersonate the spicyness of it, yet it had basic color in black. The portion is mild, just proper for snack food which not too much. The texture has Korea’s ramen trademark which big and chewy. Nissin has the opposites, it’s thin and delicate. This does affect your sense of full after eating Nissin, you would demand for second portion because one is just not enough. For Samyang the sense feels just right for your stomach.

Winner: Samyang

The taste

Actually it is not fair enough to compare the taste because they are completely different in cuisine style. One is tom yum and the other is korean chicken sauce. But if I have to choose, I agree that Samyang has better taste than the rather mild Nissin. I heard Singapore limits the usage of MSG, and may be applied to the instand noodle too. Maybe the MSG factor included there but for taste I enjoy Samyang more than Nissin.

Winner: Samyang again

Spicyness

If you cannot withstand high level of spicyness, I would not recommend to taste the Samyang. They say Buldalkbukeum has 3210 SHU level that could make burn sensation on your tongue. The after burn sensation will come after several seconds you stop eating. Otherwise, Nissin has very delicate level of spicyness that made it more edible that Samyang.

Winner: Nissin

Truthfully, it is very hard to choose the winner because they two have each plus point. But I choose Samyang if there were two of them served and I got tho choose one. Samyang noodle is very tempting when served, even though you might feel little regret when the after burn reacts on your tongue.

 

 

Korean Noodle 101

I’m a big fan of noodle, any kind of noodle especially instant noodle or usually called ramyeon (Korean) or ramen (Japanese). During my stay in Korea, I tried to taste all kinds of noodles here. Yeah, they do have a lot of different noodle name and variative ways of serving. Some served with gochujang while the other served with no sauce but only soup. For my first two weeks lived in Pohang,  I have eaten about five different types of noodles at least.  At first I was kinda skeptical for korean’s variative noodle. I thought that they will tasted the same each other despite their decorative look. After several tasting…. I founded that they are really unique taste. I bet first time eater would recognize the taste as unique. So if you wanna know about Korean noodle or maybe planning to taste some of them, I have a recommendation of noodle that you should eat:

  1. 칼국수 (Kalguksu) or the knife noodle.

    Called by knife noodle because of its preparation process that uses knife to cut the wheat into ‘noodles like’

    Knife noodle
    Knife noodle

    form. Noodle nowadays processed using modern machinery. Kalguksu served by conventional method and it is become its distinctive point among other noodles. No wonder you will found the noodle’s size is kinda wide and not symmetrically cut. It usually served with soup and other additional ingredients like seafood (clamp, prawn, fish, etc) or beef/pork. I tasted the haemul version or the seafood kalguksu.
    First tought: the texture is very addicting, makes me wanna eat more and more. Personally, I like noodles which has chewy and soft texture and this one truly has it. Albeit it is a little plain in taste, I recommend kalguksu as must try list. Actually kalguksu is a kind of summer food but it is still worth to try in the winter. Delicious food has no time domain though. This food gives refreshing taste after eat and of course the “full” pleasure because it containts much wheat (High GI). Image of kalguksu noodle, courtesy to wikipedia.org.

  2. 냉면 (naengmyeon) or the cold noodle.

    I am not kidding, this kind of food really is served cold. Actually it’s a winter food but I don’t feel very good

    Cold noodle
    Cold noodle

    when tasting this cold noodle. I prefer hot noodle to the cold one. In my opinion noodle should served hot no matter what . So my first impression is not good with this one because I ate it on the chilly winter. But still worth to try because it’s very popular even they make a song of this noodle.Jessicafrom Girl’s Generation sings about this noodle! Haha. Maybe it’s kind of promotional music, I don’t know the exact meaning of the song. And yeah, it is usually eaten with dumplings (you can choose for the fried or steamed one). Dumplings called Mandu in Korean and is tremendous in taste.

 

  1. Chinese noodle – the Korean version

    I went to Chinese restaurant and they served two kind of noodle as their speciality. Yeah, one is my favorite and

    Black bean noodle
    Black bean noodle

    the most famous one: 짜장면 (jajangmyeon)! The noodle with black sauce! And the other is jjamppong (짬뽕). Jjamppong is soup noodle with many seafood in it, and not tempting so let’s just skip jjamppong. Jajangmyeon tastes best when combined with tangsuyuk (sweet and sour sauced fried pork). Jajang’s appereance is really tempting. Main tastes of jajang are oily, blackbean, and yummy. The black sauce stain at your face also become an after pleasure of eating jajangmyeon.
    Look how jajangmyeon looks like, how tempting it is. Jajangmyeon has a best partner, it is called tangsuyuk (sweet and sour fried pork).

  1. Ramyeon!

    This one is actually an instant noodle but some restaurant also served this as a fast served menu. Several popular variation of ramyeon are cheese-ramyeon, ham-ramyeon, bulgogi-ramyeon, kimchi-ramyeon, and tteokbokki-ramyeon. I tasted the latter, which is a mix between ramyeon and tteokbokki (spicy fish cake). Tteokbokki is a very famous snack food in korea. Nothing special about this because basically you can easly found these two food so when you are going to ordering ramyeon, avoid to order these ramyeon. Order a cheese or unique one instead! Hehehe.