Maharasa Indonesia: A Journey of Indonesian Cuisine

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The land of spices and friendly people, that’s what Indonesia is all about. For centuries, people from around the world have come to taste its rich culinary flavor made by various cooking traditions. Rice, nutmegs, cloves, coffee, mace and salt are only a few of Indonesia’s rich ingredients. Lying in the crossroads of trading routes since ancient times, Indonesia’s cuisine actually can offer us an exotic blend of foreign culinary taste presented with a local signature.

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But in reality, Indonesia still has a lot to catch up to compete with other Asian cuisine such as Thai or Malay’s food fame. Many people recognize Indonesian food only through its delicious street food, such as Satay, Fried Rice and Meat ball “Bakso” Noodle. Aside from it, Indonesian food is not all about street food. Various fine dishes are actually able to be cooked using one hundred percent Indonesia’s artisanal local ingredients. Two talented Indonesian chefs, Ragil Imam Wibowo and Adzan Tri Budiman, tried to create an elegant fine Indonesian cuisine out of 22 artisanal local ingredients and presented them in a 12 course intertwined dining, Maharasa Indonesia.

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The dinner itself is served as a pre-departure for the 22 species of heritage rice, spices, tubers and millets which have already been showcased in Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre, a bi-annual celebration of food biodiversity, held in Turin, Italy,  October 25th to 29th  2012. Helianti Hilman, one of the Indonesian delegations, shared her stories and knowledge about each ingredients, why the heirloom rice of Kasepuhan Cipta Gelar can’t be bought with money or how the sun, wind and water can naturally shape the pyramid shaped black salt from Bali. Maharasa Indonesia tried to present Indonesian cuisine not only as fine dishes, but fine dishes made from the finest ingredients. Indonesian food at its best.

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“We have to show the world how rich Indonesian culinary is,” Lisa Virgiano, another Indonesian delegation and a famous foodie explained. Lisa and four other delegations have spent months to research and learn from the locals how to traditionally cooked and processed the ingredients. “We even learned how to cook Nasi Kabuli, a traditional dish from Kasepuhan Cipta Gelar, directly from the local ladies in their own kitchen,” she added.

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All the sweats and the efforts have to be done to bring Indonesian culinary to a higher level of appreciation. “Tonight’s dinner has to be able to enrich not only our taste buds, but also to broaden our horizon on Indonesian culinary. I hope Maharasa Indonesia can serve as a trigger for all of us to finally realize that this nation is way too extraordinary to be unappreciated,” Adzan noted at the end of the 12 course dinner. A celebration of Indonesian cuisine at its very best, do you dare to join the journey?*

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