I had a thought to write this story after an occurrence last week. So, I’d been in Malang for several days for an event but I was too lazy to get out in the evening. Every time I go to Malang, I have a ritual: to eat either in Melati Restaurant or Und Corner. Both are under Hotel Tugu Management. But this time, I hadn’t gone there. So, on the last day before going back to Surabaya, I decided to go there. Because of this, I turned down two ride offer to Surabaya. People began suspicious why I turned down the offer. Then, I had no choice other than explain the reason. Some people who heard the reason, frowned, disbelief. Yeah, but that’s me – a person who really does not mind to walk miles in sake of delicious éclairs or a cup hot chocolate or good coffee. In Und Corner, I love its apple crumble. Fresh. Homemade. Old recipes. It’s just so good!!!
Some good friends really know of my habit: sudi mampir. Literally, sudi mampir means love to stop by to see/shop around. In my case, I love to stop by (and check) some good/new places to eat. A friend who lives in Columbia, Missouri introduced me to this term, sudi mampir. This referred to my habit when I visited her in COMO. During my stay in the US, COMO is the most visited place (Washington DC is ranked number 2). I visited that small and college town for five times (whilst Washington DC is four times). Before I’d arrived in town, my friend had been busy to search new places to eat. During these five times, I’ve been in most dining places in COMO. And my most favorite ones would be Café Berlin and Flat Branch. J. Café Berlin has the best waffle and omelette in town (in my opinion), and Flat Branch has the best ginger ale in town – not to mention its pasta and pizza. To get food in Flat Branch, you needed to get into the line for about 30 minutes to one hour. So, before left the States, I visited COMO once more.. only to eat to Café Berlin and Flat Branch.
Thus, it’s very common to me to eat in certain place when I’m traveling somewhere. That place is not always the best place in town. But it must have been something very emotional to me. For example, when I’m going to Jakarta, it’s a ritual to me to eat in Midori Japanese Restaurant in Jl. Wachid Hasyim. I love its food. Midori also has massage place called “Bersih Sehat.” When I’m so drained and tired from work, I usually get massage then have a hot miso soba noodle. Ah, that’s the best. And, if I’m in Bali, I always dine in Massimo Italian Restaurant. Going to those places without eating in there, it’s like something is really missing. J.
If it’s possible, during traveling, I avoid to eat in somewhere from a chain restaurant or coffee shop. I love something or somewhere local. I’d eat in a chain restaurant if I really have a choice. My comment for chain restaurants is they have same recipes, same taste.. Rasa Sejuta Umat – in Indonesian.
Speaking about chain restaurant and coffee shop, Starbucks has recently opened in our office building. Like as everybody predicted, it’s always be crowded with customers – in the sake of their (not delicious) coffee, wifi, or even just hanging out there to look cool. I usually go there for the sake of Signature Chocolate (oh well, I got this influence from my friend Intan). The opening of Starbucks looks like to drive another chain restaurant – a donut café – to be left by its customers. To be honest, people come to this café for the sake of donut. That’s its main business core. Other things are not important. Its coffee is meh (I got coffee poisoned from this café years ago) – as well as its hot chocolate. Its hot chocolate cost like IDR 25.000,- and it tastes like Milo J. Once I gave them some feedback over their hot cocoa. I told them… “your hot chocolate tastes so meh.. maybe it’s better that you up-grade the quality. People never mind to pay higher if it’s good. You will always have people who are willing to pay.” Well, I was very sure that the manager will not convey my feedback to their superior. But yeah.. I just needed to spit out what I was thinking, HAHAHAHAHA.
Nah, when I was walking home for two days in a row, I saw nobody in the donut café, and there are so many people in the coffee shop. It quite makes any sense. Not everybody loves donut. It’s used to be crowded because people in my office building had no choice. They’d prefer coffee over donut.
From my sudi mampir experience in Surabaya, I found several good local places to eat. But they’re hardly survived. The taste of people in Surabaya is quite “weird.” They would crowd a new place for a quite a while, then they would come back to “their original taste” such as rawon, soto, lontong balap, etc. A cute, little bit modern place, and good patisserie would only have several loyal customers. It’s quite hard to herd people to come and eat baked goods every day. They would opt nasi pecel for breakfast over baguette and butter. It’s so different with Jakarta or Bali when fancy places are quite blossoming and people love that. To underline that, Surabaya is a metropolitan city – in term of size and the number of population, but the culture is still a half-agriculture. To me, Surabaya is a huge village or kampung with malls and taxis!!!