Yogyakarta Food Tour

Jogja fun after the food tour

Last night I was supposed to go on a food tour of Yogyakarta. Instead I set circle K on fire. Tonight I am trying to do the food tour again.

I am attending the Jogja Food Tour. Luckily the weather cooperates and I meet my tour guide at the a white monument in town. I am not the only one on the tour this time, two girls from the Netherlands are also on my tour. I am delighted because they stand out even more than I and they are the ones getting the picture requests while I am around them.

Tugu Pal Putih monument

Meat skewers are first on the menu. We pick out two to try.

To be honest I don’t remember which type I chose but one of them is probably the signature skewer of the region sate kere (made from beef or chicken intestines). It wasn’t terrible and I probably would try it again sometime.

We try some charcoal coffee. Yes, you read that correctly. We drink coffee with a large piece of charcoal inside. It tastes mostly like coffee with only a slight charcoal taste.

As we are walking to our next food location in the popular Malioboro street we make it just in time for a performance of a popular band. The main attraction is the wooden instrument called the Angklung. It produces a unique sound. The angklung plus drums and dancers makes for an entertaining performance. Luckily our guide secures us great viewing spots.

Wow! So much fun to watch.

Jajanan pasar and other sweets

After the music we are off to get some local sweets.

We take a Becak (motorbike rickshaw) to another part of town to try Java’s famous Gudeg.

Gudeg: jackfruit stewed with palm sugar and coconut milk.

Gudeg served with rice, tofu and I forget the other dish.

Jamu

We stop for Jamu drinks: Indonesia’s system of traditional herbal medicine used by many for the prevention and treatment of a variety of ailments. Each Jamu have their purpose.

Our last savory dish is at Soto Sampah restaurant where we try Soto Ayam (Indonesian style chicken soup). It is a great comfort food.

After our soup we walk to the square I visited earlier with the two large trees. The square is lively with games and fun cars you can rent to peddle around the square.

It is corny but everyone is doing it. It is a unique experience.

Here is video of the experience…..

After our little buggy ride we head to the area near the trees. Our guide tells us of a game where if you walk blindfolded and make it between the two trees then you will receive good fortune. It has rained too much recently so we skip that game in order to avoid getting trapped in mud. We did try walking on sticks. I was not good at it but a girl in my group was.

To finish off the evening we try a sweet ginger drink.

Hot ginger drink with pieces of bread.

I am so glad the weather held up. It is a great way to end my time in the great Yogyakarta. I hope to return to this special city one day.

Hanoi Food Tour

There is no way I am going to visit Vietnam without doing a food tour. We have a good selection of Vietnamese restaurants where I live but I would like to know which dishes I have been overlooking.

While in Hanoi Vietnam I took the walking street food tour given by Hanoi Street Food Tour.

I’m early so the tour office suggests I walk around while I wait and maybe get a beer on beer street which is nearby.

local beers
74 Hàng Bạc Street Food tour location

We meet our friendly tour guide Cozy. The area is crowded so we try to stick close to her as she takes us to all the stops.

Food Stops

1. Bún Chả at Bun Cha Ta

First stop is for Bún Chả (Rice Noodles with BBQ Pork). There is a vegetarian version of the soup if needed but I did not come all this way to not try the dish in its original form. It is delicious and well balanced. The pork meatball and soup is served separately from the rice vermicelli and herbs. You assemble it all together at the table. Cozy tells us about how this dish is different depending on if you order it in the north or south Vietnam (It tends to be more spicy in the north and sweeter in the south). I have another new favorite.

No.21, Nguyễn Hữu Huân Street

2. Egg Coffee, happy water and Vietnamese Baguette at Hanoi Egg Coffee

No.10, Hàng Muối Street

We go to the egg coffee shop to try a few things.

Egg coffee is made from egg yolks, sugar, condensed milk and coffee. It is delicious but very rich. I would probably drink it as a once in a while treat.

cafe trứng – egg coffee

Bánh mì is pretty familiar to me because we have them back home. The one served here is pretty tasty.

bánh mì – Vietnamese sandwich, ingredients vary

We learn a Vietnamese cheer and then try happy water (rice wine) or rượu và.

rượu và or happy water

3. Dried Beef Salad “Sexy Salad” (Nộm Bò Khô) at Long Vi Dung

No.23, Hồ Hòan Kiếm Street

At a small outdoor restaurant where we sit on little chairs Cozy introduces us to what she calls “sexy salad” (Nộm Bò Khô). It is a dried beef salad made with shredded green papaya. The papaya is not sweet so it all makes sense. I am eating raw street vegetables (a big gastrointestinal no-no) but I don’t care. The salad is good. It does not seem to give me problems later on so I would not be opposed to coming back to order this salad again.

Nộm Bò Khô – dried beef salad

4. Steamed rice Pancake or Bánh cuon at Quán Bánh Cuốn Bảo Khánh

No.14B, Báo Khánh Street

First we watch Bánh cuon made by the women outside then we go inside to have the pancakes served with dipping sauce. Main ingredients of the pancake are rice batter, ground pork, wood ear mushroom, and shallots. They are a nice snack.

Bánh cuốn steamed pancake

5. Vietnamese Fried Cakes (Pillow cake, salty donut, sweet donut, fermented pork)- Đồ rán at Bánh Gối Lý Quốc Sư

No.52, Lý Quốc Sư Street

Some are savory, some are sweet but all are good. I would like to come back sometime and order a whole plate of this for myself.

6. Fried rice and Spring roll (Cơm rang & Nem rán)

No.65A Bát Đàn Street

Viet Spring Rolls to try their spring rolls. The wrapper is flakier that what we typical get in the USA. The rice is a nice accompaniment.

Cơm rang (rice) & Nem rán (spring rolls)

7. Sticky rice with coconut ice-cream – Kem xôi dừa

No.95 Hàng Bạc Street

We end it all with Kem xôi dừa or sticky rice with coconut ice-cream. The rice is colored green from the pandan leaves. It is a very nice treat. What a perfect way to end the evening.

Kem xôi dừa

I contemplate a night cap at beer street but my belly is too full so I start walking back to the hotel via the walking streets by the lake. The streets come alive at night. People are selling things, groups are dancing, people are singing; it is very entertaining.

Bangkok Chinatown Food Tour (Yaowarat)

One evening in Bangkok I attended a great street food tour of Chinatown.

My good friends know that I don’t show up late to things. I HATE being late so I usually show up at least 15 minutes earlier than needed to any given event. Bangkok broke me in this sense. I underestimated what a time suck it is traveling from location to location in Bangkok and consequently ended up late to my food tour. Despite the warnings and the travel instructions I decided to rely on my judgement on time and google maps for directions. I left super early and got on the sky train. Somewhere the plan goes off the rails and I decide I am going to try to take a bus since it seemed more efficient than taking the metro.

Besides the lines seemed long at the Skytrain….

Isn’t it great how everyone queues up to get on the train?

Not only did I not know what direction I am supposed to go but the bus appears to never show up. So much traffic, so many people, signs not clear. I never see the bus appear.

I finally decide to follow the transportation instructions from the tour. The instructions have me taking the subway. The subway uses a token system. The line to buy a token is super long and half the machines or more are not even working. More time is wasted here.

The wait is forever to buy a token

Once on the metro it is very clean and efficient. It is even in the process of expanding.

Luckily I am only 5 minutes late. It is so unlike me and luckily the group didn’t look too annoyed with my tardiness. Additionally it seems like I wasn’t the only one with travel issues.

Finally I meet with the group leader of the Yaowarat Street Food Tour (Chinatown) from Bangkok Food Tours.

First stop is a look at a Chinese temple near Chinatown. It is a nice little respite from the hustle and bustle of Chinatown.

After a little walking further we are in Chinatown where traffic is non-stop and there is a vegan food festival going on.

Stop .5

Free glass noodle sample as part of vegetarian festival. It is pretty good. I wouldn’t mind trying all the vegan goodies but we have so many good foods awaiting us.

Stop 1

Michelin Doughnuts

First stop is supposed to be dim sum but they are too crowded to hold our group at this time. Instead we start with the Michelin rated street doughnuts (Patonggo). Pa Tong Go Savoey. The uncle who started it is Michelin but we eat at his nephew’s and it also Michelin rated.

The doughnut is fried then grilled and then topping of choice. We choose kaya (pandan coconut custard) dip. I would have liked to have this dessert later but something tells me that I will probably be too stuffed later to enjoy a dessert. Probably good to taste this early.

Stop 2

R & L Seafood (Lek and Rut.). Different name on different days the tour guide tried to explain. The menu is supposedly different depending on who runs the place for the day.

Our tour guide informs us that you never place your silverware directly on the table when eating street food (table could be dirty).

Here we try a few different seafood dishes.

Prawn’s served full body are interesting. One must be able to pop it’s little head off to get to the good stuff.

We are served clams stuffed with shrimp and pork. They are pretty interesting

Crab fried rice is also on the table and doesn’t disappoint (not pictured).

And finally Tom yum (clear broth) with bass. So good. Good lemongrass flavor. This is so far my favorite.

Stop 3

Hua Seng Hong

Sticky bun with melting custard in interior (lava custard bun).

Stop 4

Pepper soup

We are asked if we wanted just crunchy pork or other organs in the soup (tongue, liver, intestines, etc). I order just the pork because I am not feeling adventurous. I learn later I accidentally ate someone’s tongue and pork soup. The soup is so good I didn’t notice I am supposed to be grossed out. Very strong pepper favor. Rice noodles that curve when cooked. It is spicy but manageable. Due to the heat I start sweating even more than I already am.

Stop 5

Pancake

The pancake is my least favorite food selection: With sugar, nuts, coconut. Did not love that one.

Stop 6

Glutinous dumpling in hot ginger syrup

This is a surprise. I really like the black sesame dumpling in the ginger syrup. Ginger syrup tastes more like ginger tea. It is so good that it is tied with Tom yum for my favorite of the tastings

Stop 7

We finally make it to dim sum at The Canton House.

Pandan colored noodles and a deep fried tofu wrapped pork and shrimp dumpling.

Stop 7.5

Finally it is time for ice cream. We purchase ice cream from a sister team that has been in business forever. I order the lychee and it is marvelous.

lychee ice cream
Group photo

More food stuff is observed by not necessarily sampled. None of us are brave enough to try the bugs.

Durian is not high on anyone’s to try list as well.

More fun along the streets….

Chinatown is lively with all the food stalls, the parades, and I even got a drive by blessing. If I have more time in Bangkok then this street is a definitely a return visit.