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That Thing You Eat: The History and Relationship of Sandwich and Hawaii

By N Mark Castro

Most everyone in the known world find comfort in one of the fastest meals to prepare: The Sandwich.

Ancient times have also revealed that similar meals had been scooped or wrapped in small amounts of food en route from platter to mouth throughout Western Asia and northern Africa. From Morocco to Ethiopia to India, bread is baked in flat rounds, contrasting with the European loaf tradition.

But the first time it was named sandwich was back in 1726, when John Montagu, the fourth earl of Sandwich, inadvertently invented it.

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Drink Shit: The Most Expensive Coffee In The World

Now it can be shared … My friend’s coffee and new toy.

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To be served by the infamous graciousness of Indonesia’s traditional hospitality, and its equally infamous expensive coffee … The Kopi Luwak.

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I said it then, I say it again …

Others eat shit, I drink it.

The Art of Making Coffee: Excelso’s Excellence


By N. Mark Castro

Here’s the story:

Over 100 years ago, the Dutch discovered one of the best locations to establish coffee plantations in Indonesia. They found this magical place in Rante Karua Mountain, Tana Toraja South Sulawesi, which was above sea level and produced extremely fine coffee bean called Celebes coffee or Toraja coffee.

When the Dutch, Kapal Api Global group searched for the place and now owns over 1600 hectares of the place, becoming Indonesia’s biggest privately-held coffee producer and manufacturer.
Following traditional method of cultivation, growing, hand picking and sun drying, they continue to produce premium coffee and exports it to the world, including the infamous Kopi Luwak and Kalosi Toraja coffee, which is a smooth and buttery elegant coffee.

Currently, their cafes across Indonesia provide an oasis amidst the growing urban lifestyle: good meals, great coffee, and even greater service.

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Rolling Stone Cafe Jakarta: The Food, The Music, The Place

By N. Mark Castro

Touted as the 2nd Rolling Stone Café to open in the world aside from Japan — and its headquarters in the US — Rolling Stone Café Indonesia has become the IT place for Indonesia’s celebrity musicians for concerts, gigs, or simple musical jam, while opening its doors for aspiring bands to perform and hone their skills.

That it’s become a Music Factory is a welcome opportunity for Asian musicians, having a platform to perform as humongous as this place. Rolling Stone Café Indonesia can actually hold 3 simultaneous concerts, evenly distributed in its sprawling grounds, with a swimming pool, and fantastic large serving of food. The manager said that the open air backyard is about 3,000 square meters and equipped with concrete stage that meets international standards, which is a perfect fit for band concerts, exhibits or my birthday party, assuming I could fill its 4000 crowd capacity.

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Bebek Bengil: Eating Delicious Dirt

You’re dhespithable!

Bebek BengilBut, thankfully, the food at Bebek Bengil, one of Bali’s most famous restaurants that opened in Jakarta, is not.

Although Daffy might still complain.

Bebek Bengil literally means Dirty Duck in Balinese and although it may sound “dhespithable” to devour such food, it actually requires meticulous detail in preparing it: Daffy is steamed with Indonesian spices to the right temperature then deeply fried, resulting in a tender duck meat covered in crisp duck skin, served with either steamed rice and Balinese vegetables or sautéed potatoes and a side salad.

Or so I was told.

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Moe’s Grill & The Hamptons Cafe

Two Digs, One Tummy. Moe’s Grill


With my Before, During, and After Pork Barbeque massacre.


Stopping next door for coffee at the New York-inspired Hamptons.



Good thing Leah called for the impromptu get-together … The Story of My Tummy’s Life.

Dapur Babah: A Chinese-Indonesian Culinary Love Affair

Entertaining visiting guests can be a daunting task for others, but never for me. I always like the look of surprise whenever friends ask me why I was taking them to such-and-such place and if there were any unique historical background or exotic culinary designs prepared by the kitchen. I’d tell them, No, I just didn’t want to try it out as a loser alone so having guests would be a perfect chance to split the bill.

Clearly we can establish now that I’m not Anthony Bourdain.

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Red Hot Chilli’s

A sinful culinary indulgence.

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Beras Merah

Native Indonesian / Malaysian cuisine never looked so hip with the recent opening of Beras Merah (brown rice) in Plaza Indonesia, right smack in the air-conditioned playground of Miniapolis.

Initially, I was quite disappointed that they replaced the pork-serving Ten Ten Restaurant, but then again, there are children here and introducing them to brown rice made sense.


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Charlotte Setijadi

Anthropologist & Contemporary Historian of Chinese Diaspora in Southeast Asia


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