Today’s installment of My Asia comes from Kaho of the beautiful blog, Chuzai Living. (Chuzai is Japanese for “living overseas for an extended period of time due to an occupational assignment.”) She shares her Jakarta, a city, perhaps, not on every traveler’s Indonesia itinerary.
In Kaho’s own words: “I’m a full-time mom who used to work as a freelance interpreter and translator. I was born and raised in Japan. Growing up, I also spent two years of early childhood in LA and three years of high school in Singapore. My family was an expat family due to my father’s work. My dad used to travel to different parts of the world for his job and bring back exotic souvenirs. Having heard his stories and seen gifts he brought home since I was little, I have become very interested in different cultures, languages, and going overseas.
“When my Texan husband and I got married in Japan, we didn’t envision our life evolving into today’s form. In fact, I thought I might live in Texas forever! After our marriage, we spend some time in Austin, Texas where my husband went to a graduate school. After his acquisition of his degree, my husband applied and got a job which started our journey of living overseas.”
Over to Kaho…
KOI Kemang & KOI Mahakam. The first Sunday breakfast we tried in Jakarta was at KOI Kemang. I fell in love with the restaurant and its gallery for its stylish industrial decor, delicious food, and cool music. It’s a lovely, modern cafe restaurant which turns into a bar at night and serves the best quality food in town in my opinion. The modern, industrial furniture, chalk boards on the walls with menus, and paintings by the local artists makes this place the hippest place to be in Jakarta. KOI Kemang is open all day but KOI Mahakam is open from noon to night.
Penang Bistro. I went to Panang Bistro for the first time the other day and I loved it. They serve variety of food from the region such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong Kong. The restaurant also has modern, interior design and jazzy music. When we went, it was filled with many customers that created a lively atmosphere.
Bird Cage. Bird Cage is a multi-level restaurant with a shop in a residential area in South Jakarta. There are two floors to the restaurant and they have different interior designs. From the street, it looks like a house with gorgeous big windows and catches the eyes of passersby. When you’re sitting inside the restaurant, the greens you see outside of its big windows make you forget that you are in a megapolis of Indonesia. They have jazz gigs by local musicians on Wednesday evenings on the second floor.
Cayenne. I love Cayenne’s home decor items. If I had enough money, I would buy all the woven baskets, tin cans, decorative boxes, bird cages and many other products sold at Cayenne! The whole shopping experience at Cayenne is fun because of the way the store is decorated. I get inspiration from being at the store.
Chic Mart. This store is a little girl’s dream come true. It has everything my girls love to shop for and is a great place to find souvenirs from Indonesia as well. Chic Mart has a section for jewelry, clothes, sandals, and purses all created by local designers. Fashionistas will go crazy over the products. It is a must visit if you visit Jakarta.
The GOODS Dept. The GOODS Dept started as a flea market created by Brightspot Market. It was so popular that they started a permanent flea market inside Plaza Indonesia, one of the biggest shopping malls in Jakarta. It is cool and unique because you can shop for many one-of-a-kind creations made by local Indonesian artists. You step inside and you forget that you’re in a shopping mall. The decor, hip music, and unique products sold at the GOODS Dept will grab your heart for Indonesian designs.
Taman Safari. I’ve been to the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari in Singapore, a safari park in Windhoek, Namibia, the San Diego Zoo in California, and other zoos in other parts of the world but, by far, this is the most entertaining zoo I’ve ever visited. It is a safari park where you drive in with your own car or you get on a zoo tour bus and see animals from a very close distance. This safari park takes adults back to their childhood. The drive out there is quite a hike from Jakarta because of the traffic, but I think it’s totally worth the trip.
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(Additional credits: Photographs by Kaho.)