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Magical Kunyit in Indonesian Cuisine


Abundant in Indonesia, and used in many kind of dishes throughout the country, Turmeric (kunyit/kunir/koneng locally) now runs as the front runners of beneficial spices Indonesia have, with about 600 potential health benefit identified. The core of this powerful property lies in the turmeric's main active ingredients Curcumin.

Among the most amazing demonstrated properties of turmeric include:

  • Destroying Multi-Drug Resistant Cancer
  • Destroying Cancer Stem Cells
  • Protecting Against Radiation-Induced Damage
  • Reducing Unhealthy Levels of Inflammation
  • Protecting Against Heavy Metal Toxicity
  • Preventing and Reversing Alzheimer's Disease Associated Pathologies
Furthermore, according to Science Confirms Turmeric As Effective As 14 Drugs mentioned that it is among the most thoroughly researched plant in existence today, and there's a growing number of studies have concluded that it compares favorably to a variety of conventional medications, including for:
  • Lipitor/Atorvastatin(cholesterol medication)
  • Corticosteroids (steroid medications)
  • Prozac/Fluoxetine & Imipramine (antidepressants)
  • Aspirin (blood thinner)
  • Anti-inflammatory Drugs
  • Oxaliplatin (chemotherapy drug)
  • Metformin (diabetes drug)
What's wonderful, not only it's beneficial, turmeric also plays important part in many Asian cultures, including traditional Indonesian cuisine.

Turmeric Flavor

Fresh turmeric gives off numbing bittery metallic taste at first, peppery -- almost like eating a mint balm, but later it disperses into a pleasant earthy citrus flavor, or curry aroma as you would call it -- for the lack of better explanation -- as curry is one of the dish where turmeric presence is strong. Different with India, in Indonesia, turmeric is rarely used dried or as powder, since it's available throughout the year and very easy to grow. In cookings fresh turmeric gives off less bitter flavor, hence Indonesian version of curry aren't as pungent as Indian curries.

Turmeric in Indonesian Foods

In Indonesia, turmeric are used in food, both for coloring and for its flavour. Its strong staining property lend vibe to Indonesia's favourite dishes Nasi Tumpeng and Nasi Kuning, while its flavour add earthy citrus layer to Indonesia's favourite dishes like Ayam Goreng Bumbu Kuning, Rawon, Sate Padang, and Kari.

Well known for its Lalab & Sambel culture, turmeric rhizome are also consumed fresh in Sundanese culture, while turmeric flower are becoming more frequently appeared in Indonesian fine dining scenes as well as in organic and healthy cooking dishes.

Turmeric in Indonesian Drinks

Long known as a traditional drinks with medicinal property, Jamu is a liquid concoction made up from different spices and herb available in Indonesia. It's medicinal property ranged from treatment of serious diseases related with internal organs like liver, spleen, and heart, into the more relaxing use of lessening cramps women have during their period. More than often, Jamu is also associated with cosmetic beauty as it's believed to smoothen and brighten your skin, including eliminating unpleasant body odours.

"Jamu" by dpinpin - dpinpin. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Consumed regularly, Jamu helps maintaining health and immunity against diseases, hence if America got "An apple a day keeps the doctor away' here in Indonesia it's "A glass of jamu a day keeps diseases away."

Outside of the heavier presence in complex Jamu mixture, turmeric is usually combined with tamarind and palm sugar to create the refreshing Kunyit Asem drink. Poured over ice cubes, Kunyit Asem combines the metallic citrus bittery flavors of turmeric, with the umami acidic earthy flavors of tamarind and coconutty sweet smoky flavors of palm sugar. Don't forget to taste it next time you're visiting Indonesian restaurant. (byms)

Source: [turmeric image]

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Meat Feast at Romeos Grillery Ossotel Bali

Romeos Bar & Grillery sits in front of Ossotel, a new hotel opened December 2013 on Padma Utara street in Legian, Bali. While structurally lies under Ossotel management, and it is a part of the hotel, Romeos location allows it to have direct access from the street, hence making it feels just like a regular eatery. Having just opened for few months when we arrived in March 2014, Romeos strikingly look like a refreshing plastic surgery to the neighbourhood which looks quite weary with its aged hotels.

Proudly showing "Established 2013" Romeos give out an eclectic mix of travelling back in time with the warmth of its homey aged pub atmosphere, combined with the minimalistic design and construction sleekness that's the adage of modern days. Its full-height windows brings the feel of the communal neighbourhood in, and vice versa lend its warmness outside, especially at nights when all of the electric chandelier are lit up.

Food & Drinks

As the name implies, Romeos arsenal are consisting of two weapons: an array of scrumptious grills, coming with a choice of seven different sauces and twenty different sides, paired with cocktails that's designed by a mixologist.

Still quite new to the Bali scene, a mixologist is someone who design cocktails, concocting new and exotic drinks, experimenting with lesser known distilled spirits and mixers, and, overall, pushing the limits of classic bartending [1]. In short, it's someone who design exotic, uncommon drinks, that taste good.

Like for example this (virgin) Coconut Mint Mojito that combines the freshness of mint, sourness of lime, and a tad of coconut water that adds a more tropical feel to it. 

As with the grills itself, there are options for both single and family or group size menu. You can choose among Chicken, Pork, Lamb and Beef, or Seafood, ranging from 115-225K, or pick the cream of the crops, which is Romeos Mix Grill (395K) that consisted of Rib Eye, Pork Rib, Sausage, Chicken Wing, and Lamb Leg. The composition itself is exchangeable, so for example if you don't eat pork, then the kitchen will be happy to substitute it with a couple of lamb chops like we did.

As we're doing the usual "what's your recommendation?" move thus only quickly scans the menu, we didn't really noticed the "For 2" written beside the Romeos Mix Grill, and was thinking that it will be the miniature cuts of the selections, hence what's coming next is a bit surprising. 

Behold! It's not a miniaturized version of the grills but instead virtually all of them thrown into our plate in its full size! Suddenly I don't think that mine and hypnoticade's combined tummies would be big enough to contain such a feast! The scent from the grilled meats however, quickly made my mind ignore this fact and eagerly awaits to pick my favourite piece of meat: Lamb chop! 

The seasoning used on the grills were quite classical, which deepen the meat flavour instead of competing with it. Among the sauces we tried, all are good with a special note to their Home Made Steak Sauce and Classic Bearnaise which enhances the steak flavours. You can also go straight with Mustard, not on the menu but you can ask for it, which in my not so humble taste buds opinion, provides the best zesty to balance those fatty meaty steaks.

The meat quality itself was superb, and I especially liked their juicy beef sausage and the succulent Rib Eye. The Lamb Chop was also good, with its savoury caramelized outside and meaty moist inside. The Lamb Leg itself was also surprising since it holds minimum "prengus" aroma usually trapped in lamb meat, which make all the meats are very enjoyable.

What we feel lacked though, is the single Vegetable Shashlik that comes wit it, as there should be two of it at least. Beside of its health concern, they also tasted good eaten with steaks.  

As predicted we didn't manage to emptied the plate, as we've almost reached the fine line that divide the "oh so good" eating experience with "honey do you bring Po Chai pills with you?[2]" moment.

And beside, we also have the complimentary side dishes to try:

As the side dish we ordered Onion Tower. While it's basically Onion Rings with Horseradish Sauce, its naming interested us. Stacked vertically it's also a dish that looks good on picture. The onion itself was sweet, with no onion's pungent scent left. 

The Sauteed Asparagus however, steals the show from the Onion Tower and came out as the most striking looking side of that dinner. The fresh green Asparagus were coated in butter melts and lightly seasoned with salt to enhance its flavour. Simplistic, delicious.

Dinner's tummy fully filled, now let's move to the dessert! You might find it hard to believe, but foodies do have spare stomach for desserts! It's witnessed over and over again, that no matter how full foodies feel during the dinner, there's always room for a good dessert.

Creme Brulee (45K) comes out looking beautiful in its yellowish colour. While the menu said it's infused with ginger essence, we didn't really sense it. It was an okay dessert though we hoped the crust is a little bit thicker, and the cream has stronger flavour.

Other Options

Beside of the Western dishes, there's also an Asian section which presents mostly local delicacies like Nasi Campur (115K), Mie Goreng (60K), Beef Rendang (90K), and Thailand influenced Green Curry Baramundi (90K). They're quite popular with Australian guests, who comes to Romeos drawn by its Bar's extensive collection of drinks, or looking for a cool place to hang out with their friends, or families with children.

Speaking of which, when we informed our waiter that Romeos Mix Grill was too much for us two to handle, he cheerfully replied that "there were two Australian gentlemen a few days back ordered Romeos Mix Grill, one for each of them, finished it, and still ordered additional main afterward."

A fact that worth scratching my head. (byms) 


Note: Prices are in thousand Rupiah, excludes 11% tax and 10% service.


Romeos Grillery & Bar

Ossotel, Jalan Padma Utara, Legian, 80361, Bali, Indonesia


T: +62 361 754 122

F: +62 361 754 121


For more information stop by Romeos website at, 



[1] Mixology or Mixologist -

[2] Indonesian Po Chai pills are SAFE -


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