WHY DO YOU LIKE TO LIVE IN JAKARTA?
The vibrant cosmopolitan of the capital city really lures me. The city’s ethnic diversity has made the city unique. Jakarta is also a sleepless city where its vibration stimulates a get-up-and-go lifestyle as many things are happenings such as exhibition openings, cultural events and shop launchings. Despite some frustrations people complain about Jakarta, this is the place I call it home; friends to hang out with and more importantly, all my families are here.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST FRUSTRATION OF JAKARTA LIFE?
Traffic jam is where the nightmare starts, followed by grid-lock streets. And where the streets are choked with traffic, another problem is coming; the pollution that chokes your breath. It’s a scene of reality bites that needs a reality check.
HAVE YOU LIVED IN OTHER CITIES BEFORE?
I have lived in Singapore for 10 years and Palo Alto, a city in the Bay Area of California for 6 years. There are several things I miss about those cities; nice and systemized sidewalks, the weather and outdoor activities.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE BUILDING IN JAKARTA?
I’ve always fascinated by the Dutch colonial architectural style buildings. Jakarta History Museum around Fatahillah Square in Kota (downtown) is one of them. Indeed, the beautiful courtyard of Fatahillah Square really charms me. It represents not only the rich culture of Indonesia’s hospitality, but also the heritage of Dutch colonialism.
HOW ABOUT YOUR FAVOURITE EATERY?
My favourite eatery? Of course my restaurant. I wouldn’t have opened Koi had the food not been good. The restaurant’s relaxing ambiance makes me feel like my second home. But I’m also keen on exploring street food. Don’t underestimate those food stalls. Some really serve toothsome meals. Satay, martabak, bubur ayam and ketoprak are among my favourite street foods.
WHAT LITTLE-KNOWN FACTS CAN YOU SHARE?
I love bagel. I often crave having this doughnut-shaped roll bread, particularly during breakfast and brunch time. But it’s very difficult to get the good one here. The city’s unclean water is the main problem; the yeasted wheat dough needs to be boiled in clean water before the baking process in order to make dainty bagel.
WHERE DO YOU SHOP?
I’m very mobile person and I don’t have preference over where and when to shop. But when it comes to shopping for food, I always visit supermarket wherever I land in a new place – be it in the country or abroad. I love to buy and taste different foods from all over the world.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WEEKEND LIKE?
Notwithstanding my busy schedule, I always put my family as my first priority in life. My favourite weekend is when I spend some joyous moment cooking at home, dining out, or dining in at my restaurant with my hubby and two children, Xavier, 9 and Alexia, 4.
By Aulia Rachmat, published in The Peak Magazine Indonesia, September-October 2008.