The Indonesian F&B team with Andi Suhandi (left) at the Indonesian Consulate General in Dubai on Thursday evening. John Varughese/Gulf Today
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
It was a night to remember for a group of Indonesians who have been working in the hospitality/food and beverage sectors in Dubai.
It was the “Mari Makan” on Thursday evening at the Indonesian Consulate General in Al Hudaiba, Dubai which Consul General Ridwan Hassan termed as “close collaboration and partnership.”
Translated, “Mari Makan” is “Let’s Eat.”
Under the guidance of Towers Rotana Hotel executive sous chef Andi Suhandi, host government officials, the diplomatic community in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, and Indonesians and businessmen from across the country, were given a “Taste of Indonesia” by way of 16 welcome drinks, starters, entrees, and sweets, served cocktail style.
In the background were Top-of-the-Charts classical/pop songs, melodiously interpreted by a musician of over 10 years, using the “sasando,” the tube zither, a harp-like traditional string instrument native to the Rote Island of East Nusa Tenggara.
The starter “Asinan Bogor” was featured in the “Act for Guests” whereby Madame Asli Alant Kilic, wife of Turkey Consul General Ilker Kilic, led in the hands-on preparation of the salad using unripe papaya, pineapple, red radish, carrot, white cabbage, kimchi, beansprout coating these with fresh hot-sweet-sour sauce.
Hassan hinted the affair was only a preview since “something big is coming up” with Ambassador to the UAE Husin Bagis at the helm, who, on the sidelines, was visibly delighted with the goings-on.
“This is my dream (of putting on high spot my country’s cuisine),” said Suhandi, responsible for the selection of the team consisting of 10 chefs, assistant chefs, commis pastries, waiters and hotel management staff from the various ranks of hotels and restaurants in Dubai.
The youngest team member was Yasmin Thika, a new Culinary graduate from the Sekolah Tinggi Pariwisata in Bandung, niece of Suhandi, and six months as commis pastry in Sofitel JBR. The sweet tooth chose to specialize in commis pastry because she loves baking and making Indonesian sweets.
Time table for the menu planning, selection and cocktail style set-up was four weeks.
Suhandi took note of the preferences of the communities in the UAE: “So there is duck, beef, fish, lamb and how we are going to present these with our traditional Indonesian way of cooking, the mildness, the spicy-ness. It was challenging.”
Upon the arrival at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed was received by President Joko Widodo of Indonesia.
The warm, strong friendship bonds between the UAE and Indonesia were on full display on Wednesday when Indonesian President Joko Widodo personally greeted His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, on the tarmac at the Soekarno Hatta International Airport.
Visiting Indonesia Ministry of Trade-Directorate General of National Export Development director general Dody Edward said the Widodo Administration sees “Expo2020 Dubai” as a significant milestone that all sectors of Southeast Asia’s largest economy have been directed to take an active role in it, not only for their country’s continuous prosperity but for the world as well.
UAE residents and tourists have opportunities to learn about Indonesian history and culture as the Sharjah Institute for Heritage (SIH) opened the doors of the decades-old Bait Sheikh Sultan Bin Saqer Al Qasimi Al Gharbi House in Rolla on Tuesday evening for the “Republic of Indonesia Heritage Week.”
Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s praise for a man who held up a royal portrait at a protest site in Bangkok has drawn controversy in Thailand, winning acclaim from monarchists and scorn from protesters.
Malaysia’s King Al-Sultan Abdullah will consult with other rulers to discuss proposals by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, the palace said on Saturday, after sources told Reuters the premier had asked the king to declare a state of emergency.
Italy’s Campania region, based on the southern city of Naples, said on Friday it would impose a lockdown to tame the coronavirus and urged the whole country to follow suit as new infections hit a record high.