VLV Updates

Friday 21 September – Solo Square talks

Today begins a month-long journey for me, speaking at various IVS veg events in Indonesia. Sumatra will be in a couple of weeks, first up is the island of Java.

Chindy and Santhi  from IVS picked me up at the Yogyakarta airport with our driver, Siti. We then drove to a hotel to pick up Avara from Living Food Lab and her work mate, Lukman. Avara and her business partner, Steve run the Living Food Lab at Bali’s Green School that I had meant to see when I was in Bali last but still haven’t.

Here's Santhi, myself and Chindy:


Little did I know that this lass and I would get on famously and we would have immense fun together:


Siti drove us from Yogyakarta to Solo (about an hour and a half) to the Solo Square shopping centre where the first of the veg events I am speaking, performing and/or giving food demos at will take place.     

Animal Friends Jogja (AFJ), a great dog and cat rescue and re-homing group from Yogyakarta (Jogja for short) put on a play and performed a song. I was starving so we ate some food at Maitri Jaya one of the food stalls at the event who have a restaurant on Jl AR Hakim. We had a traditional Javanese soup, Rawon normally made with beef:


Oh, and I finally found someone to make guava juice – all is now all right with the world! We also had Trancam a traditional Javanese salad with cucumber, beans, coconut and sprouts:


Here's a photo with Chindy, Avara, myself and Santhi:


Here's how the event looked from above:


I gave a talk at 14:00 along with Ina from Animal Friends Jogja and Chindy from Indonesian Vegetarian Society (IVS.) I gave a few minutes introduction about myself first. Yani took this photo of myself and Santhi:


Here's Santhi, myself, Chindy and Ina:


We spoke on Animals as Persons and not Commodities. I spoke about activism, environmentalism and veganism; Ina spoke about volunteering and animal rescue; Chindy spoke about the work IVS does; overall we all spoke about how veganism was the best way to help the animals.

Santhi was interpreting – not translating - for me. Interpreting is not the same as translating as computers translate. This was the first time I had spoken at an event and had a translator – I had to slow my speaking down a lot and wait for the translations. Another one of my lessons in patience I'm sure.

Here's Monique from AFJ:


After my talk, I went to the Excelso coffee shop/bar to use their WIFI for a while. The staff and a few other people in the place were ever so excited about a group of guys who had walked in wearing tight black jeans, white shirts with cigarette branding all over them and sunglasses. They had bodyguards and police as well. I asked one of the staff who they were and they ended up being The Changcuters, an Indonesian rock and roll band who have been rumoured to plagiarise other bands – oh my!

One thing I have noticed on my SE Asia adventures is how much cigarette advertisements over here are in your face. From sponsoring bands, artists and music events to just about everyone smoking even in public areas, it’s horrific. Smoking over here is much cheaper than in Australia and America. In addition, a lot of people don’t have the basic education to know that smoking, you know, kills you. It seems that Indonesia and the Philippines are the most lucrative markets for Big Tobacco who don’t have many restrictions from the World Health Organisation. I think it’s atrocious that one in four children aged 13-15 smokes!

Anyway, after using the WIFI until my laptop ran out of power, I then was forced to/encouraged to, okay just asked to pose for a photo in the Joseline Art Photography section where kids were competing in the Natural & Creative Photo competition. Here’s the photo of me amidst the fruit and veg:


NOTE: I never did win said competition. The other (not so big) kids were just too darned cute!

After Avara's raw food demo we all had a photo together:



Chindy, Santhi, Avara, Lukman and I ended up having takeaway gado gado at Avara and Lukman’s hotel for dinner:


Then Santhi, Chindy and I went back to Solo Square for my talk show around 19:00. Photos by Chindy:



Santhi and I were pretty tired about now, but once we started the talking and got into the swing of things, we were fine.


Santhi was my interpreter. It was really great to see so many people listening – from the people at the front and the sides to the people above on the other two levels of the shopping centre.


 I had some great feedback from various people and even received a thank you award from IVS:


Cheliang (above with me - whose Mum Siti had been driving us around) drove us to his uncle’s place in Solo Baru a place famous for big houses. We stayed in a mighty impressive house with a big room and impressive bathroom. It was such a long day starting at 4am – I slept ever so well.

Saturday 22 September – Kratonan Castle & Bombs

We had another driver for today, Manto, who picked Santhi and I up at 09:00 to head back to Solo Square for another day of the event. As we were a bit early we agreed that we all wanted to do a few touristy things before the shopping centre and Manto suggested Kratonan Castle. On our way to the castle, Manto had a call to say that there was a bomb threat at Solo Square and for us not to head there as no one was allowed in the shopping centre.

Manto paid Rp 10 000 (approximately AU$1) for local entry, while Santhi and I each paid Rp 15 000 to get into the castle. I also paid Rp 3 500 to take photos but my camera only lasted awhile.




So the rest of these photos for the rest of the day are from Santhi's iPad:




Here's one with Manto:


We explored the castle for about an hour or so getting a lot of photos and being silly.




With the guards:


Some touristy shots:



Some carriages:





More silliness, poor Manto.




When we were driving out we saw some water buffalo so had to get a photo:


Avara text me to let me know that her and Lukman were on their way back to Solo Square, so everything must be okay now. Manto, Santhi and I ended up going back as well. Here's my food when we arrived:


An hour or so later when Avara was giving a food demo there was a big noise that came from above. A few seconds later, swarms of people came down the escalators from the second and third floor, to exit out on our level. Everyone was panicking and worried. We weren’t really sure what to do. I asked a security guard what was happening and he said there was a “little” bomb that had gone off outside of the building but there wasn’t anything to worry about. Still, masses of people were leaving – I didn’t realise there were that many people in the shopping centre! Avara continued with her food demo after a few minutes break.

I spoke to a few people many of whom had been in Bali or knew people who were in Bali for the 2005 & 2002 suicide bombs that killed over 200 people and injuring just as many. People were visibly shaken and upset. Later on when I walked upstairs, pretty much all the restaurants in the food court had closed. After a bomb scare this morning and a “little” bomb close to the food court around midday – they didn’t need another excuse to leave. Many businesses are still struggling to make ends meet after the amount of tourists – especially Australians – hasn’t quite gone back to the pre-bombing numbers. There were a lot of police, the bomb squad and even the media at Solo Square. So much excitement for one ‘lil Australian – luckily no one was hurt. 6 people were later arrested for various bombings in Solo with 13 bombs found in total.

After Avara’s food demo, her, Lukman, his friend Henny (also known as Elizabeth) and I went to PGS, Solo’s (batik) wholesale centre where Henny got to show off her amazing bartering skills. Henny is a native Java lass, so not only did she know what the value of the items were but she would get local prices, rather than the inflated “tourist” prices Westerners like Avara and I would get. I bought a few dresses with Henny’s help in the 5-floor centre and then we headed to Lukman’s friend’s dessert shop to buy some goodies for him to take back to Bali.

We then drove back to Solo Square where Avara and Lukman got packed to leave for Bali. There wasn’t much for me to do when I wasn’t giving a talk. I’d spoken to various people, looked at the stores participating in the event and as all the talks were in Indonesian, decided to have dinner upstairs at Loving Hut. I ordered the Happy Pepperin Noodle for Rp 26 000 (approx AU$2.60)


I met a guy from San Diego in America, Eid who I ended up having dinner with. Eid was staying in Solo for work with his family's furniture company and he was pretty bored with the area. I was sure there was a lot to do in Solo, it was all about thinking outside of the square. We ended up walking around and hanging out for a few hours together and would spend some more time together tomorrow.

At about 21:00 the event had finished for the day so Santhi, Chindy and I headed back to our home for the weekend to sleep.

Sunday 23 September – Tourists & Becak rides

Today we had gado gado for breakfast:


Doni drove Santhi and I to PGS (where I'd been with Henny, Lukman and Avara yesterday) so I could buy some more bakit items – for my family this time – and Santhi could see just how great the place was. We both love batik and spent a couple of hours here buying some clothes. Siti then picked us up and took us for lunch at Loving Hut. Here's the three of us:


I ordered the Banana Chocolate Shake Rp 17 000 and the Kong Kong Noodle Rp 23 000:


Santhi ordered the Kwayteow Kangkung:


Eid met us for lunch as well. I had hoped that Eid and I could have gone to the Solo waterfalls but as it was going to take a good hour to get there and it closed in about the same time it would take to get there, it wasn’t worth it. Unfortunately I had to agree with Eid that there wasn’t much else to do in Solo. Except for Becak rides! Here's the view:


I agreed with a driver – or so I thought – for a 1.5-hour trip on a becak for Rp 75 000. It was really good fun but the driver ended up stopping as he was tired – who wouldn’t be? – and we had a bit of a debate about the money. We got back after stopping at a fruit stall for a bit of a break. Eid was trying to haggle but I’m not good at haggling at all. I always think that they need the money a lot more than I do and it feeds his family etc. When we were dropped off at the shopping centre, Chindy and a few of the others laughed when I said how much we paid for the becak ride.

Eid and I decided that seeing a movie was a good idea to spend the time. Unfortunately there was nothing good on and that plan soon fizzled. I went through a few of my recipes for upcoming food demos with Chindy and then Eid and I decided to go on a becak ride again, this time it was night time so it would be different. With Chindy’s help we organised a 1.5-hour trip for a much better Rp 50 000. We had a great time and it was good to hang out with a new American. Hopefully will see Eid the next time I’m in Solo or the US.

Always time for photos too. Here's one with Clara, Afen, Lydia, Yani and Santhi:


Santhi and I had dinner together at the Maitri Jaya warung:


and then we went home.

Monday 24 September – Yogyakarta, Monggo chocolate factory & Animal Friends Jogja

Woke up to catch up on some computer work. We had great homemade gado gado for breakfast:


Picked up at 10:30 by Narno who drove us to Yogyakarta along with six others. Took us about 90 minutes to get there. Santhi and I were to stay at The Hotel Victoria for the next few days until heading to Jakarta. We rested for a bit and then Irene and Chindy picked us up with Irene’s driver.

We first went to the Monggo chocolate factory, and were hoping for a tour but instead just looked at the workers through the glass. Photos by Chindy:



Monggo make a few vegan chocolates (strawberry, ginger and mango) and my friend, Tjahaja had introduced me to this chocolate when I was last in Yogyakarta. Here's Irene, myself, Chindy and Santhi:



Irene bought a lot of chocolate for us and we were off to Animal Friends Jogja to see our friends Monique and Ina who I had met in Solo. We met some of the cats and dogs that they rescue, some of the volunteers who stay there and we had lunch together. Photos of me with the kitty cat by Chindy:

LC_and_kittie LC_and_kittie_2_AFJ


They also grow a fruit I hadn’t tried before – not a surprise in Indonesia – rose guava.


It was delicious:


We ate Irene's Rendang curry, a traditional Padang dish usually made from buffalo or cow flesh and cooked for 2 days with spices to seep through the curry until it’s dry:


Here's the ladies from left to right: Monique, Ina, LC, Santhi, Irene and Chindy:


One of the dog friends:


And a couple of cats:


Here's the sign at AFJ:


And here's some of the dogs to be adopted:


The four of us then helped Monique and Ina walk the dogs. Photos by Chindy:



We walked down to the river where the dogs normally love to run across, climb up the hill and go back to the house that way.


Unfortunately I was ready for the river and hill but my dog wasn’t. He got about half way up before deciding to join the rest of the pack and go back the way we had come.


I love this photo of Santhi and Chindy with the dog friends:


We walked back and then it was snack time:


This cat and I definitely bonded. Here's a couple of more photos Chindy took of us, obviously looking at something mighty important:



Here's a photo of Chindy, Monique, Ina, myself and Irene just before we left:


Dinner was at Loving Hut express on Jl Right Moses Gatotkaca where one of Irene’s friends had dinner with the four of us. Here’s what I had:


There was also a lovely 4 season salad I had to take a photo of:


I was then dropped off at the hotel where I caught up on computer work when Chindy and Santhi had a meeting for the latest Indonesian Vegetarian Society magazine, Info Vegetarian – Santhi is taking over the job of editor from Chindy as of the next edition.

Tuesday 25 September – Food Demo at Loving Hut express & Milas

Irene and Chindy picked Santhi and I up early to go to Loving Hut express where I was to give a food demo for my vegan cheese sauce and my raw banana ice cream. Photos by Chindy:

LC_getting_ready_for_demo_at_LH LC_getting_camera_ready_for_food_demo

Unfortunately, Chindy didn’t have enough nutritional yeast flakes (also known as savoury yeast flakes) for the demo – it’s not that easy to find nutritional flakes in Indonesia – so the cheese didn’t work out. Also, the soymilk I used was sweetened – everything over here has sugar in it. Next time I need unsweetened soymilk and enough nutritional yeast flakes - as that is after all the main ingredient.

Santhi_and_LC_cooking_demo_LH Santhi_and_LC_cooking_demo_LH_2

The raw banana ice cream worked out well, though as I put the water in at the beginning instead of if needed, it was a bit runny. Santhi was my interpreter for both the food demos. Here’s the ice cream video with Indonesian translations:

After the demos we had some food:



Then we went to the airport to change Santhi’s flight back home – she was going to stay a bit longer and head to Jakarta on Thursday with Chindy and I – yay, I like having her around! Santhi is definitely one of my soul sisters, we get on ever so well.

Chindy they had to do some work so Santhi and I were dropped off at the Brigharjo Traditional Batik market to, you know, shop for more batik. Maybe it wasn’t as good as the Solo batik place, or we were tired, or it was just too much with all the rows of store all looking exactly the same, but we were pretty much over the place within 30 minutes. We caught a cab back to the hotel and slept for an hour before Chindy and Irene picked us up sometime after 15:00.

We went to pick up pizza from Jasmine Vegetarian:


Chindy really liked the pizza. I however am used to amazing organic, thin crust, wood fired pizza with home made cashew cheese from one of my favourite restaurants, Mandala Organic Arts Café, so I wasn’t fussed at all. Gee, I miss Mandala.

We took said pizza to Milas Vegetarian Restaurant where I had been previously with Tjahaja and ordered some other items from their menu. Gado Gado Rp 20 000:


Nasi Goreng Milas Rp 17 500:


and I ordered the Apple, Cinnamon and Monggo pancake Rp 15 000:


This is such a great place, great vibe and they do great work with the community especially at-risk youth. Read more about it on my previous Java blog. Ebby, the owner came over to join us and we had a great chat, except when I was ignoring her to use my phone:


Ebby & Santhi:



Monique from Animal Friends Jogja was also at Milas giving a couple of the AFJ volunteers, Jaya and Ade English lessons. Monique does this for free as a thank you to the volunteers. I helped the guys practise their English and hung out with the three of them for awhile before it was time to go. Irene took us to see an Italian restaurant, Gajah Wong on our way back to the hotel.

Wednesday 26 September – Interviews with Monique & Ina at Animal Friends Jogja

I got to sleep in today and then I caught up on computer work. Irene’s driver picked Santhi and I up at 12:45. Irene had also prepared lunch for us – rice with tofu skin and fungi:



plus a lot of fruit:


Some sort of wasp dropped by to see what we were eating:


We first drove to the Post Office to post my batik purchases to my parents, my sister and some of my friends. It took awhile and luckily we got there when we did as they close at 14:00. On the way from the post office to Animal Friends Jogja to interview Monique and Ina, a lady crashed into the back of the car. It was quite a big hit but luckily no one was injured. As she was still in a rush, our driver kept her ID!

We got to Animal Friends Jogja where we met up with Monique and Ina and walked down to a place near the creek to do the interviews. First I interviewed Monique about setting up AFJ, volunteering in Indonesia and the differences between Australia and Indonesia in regards to animals. Here it is:

Here's Santhi pretending to help:


Then I interviewed Ina who has the best story I’ve heard so far about her parents’ reaction to her news when she went vegan! Check it out:

After staying there for a few hours, Santhi and I decided to stay in for the night and relax as we’d had a pretty busy week. We found klepon on the side of the road, which excites me so then bought takeaway from Loving Hut express to have for dinner later Rp 15 500 (approx AU$1.55)


I did some computer work and then we watched the cable channels on the television and relaxed. I haven’t watched TV for so long.

Thursday 27 September – Jakarta, hmpfh

Did some computer work and Santhi and I waited to get picked up. Irene and Chindy picked us up and Irene had cooked some food for Santhi and I. Irene truly looks after us.




We ate quickly and then headed to the airport. We paid Rp 35 000 each for airport tax and there were even smoking cafés. We ran into the founder of the Indonesian Vegetarian Society, Priest Halim Zen Bodhi who was also travelling to Jakarta. He’s a Buddhist priest. A lot of people over here are vegan due to religion and then a few for health, a lot less for the animal rights reasons. I personally don’t care why people become vegan, I care about the reason why they stay vegan. Here's Chindy and Santhi - always on their phones. A lot of people over here have numerous phones - one for each phone company.


The flight was good, I slept a bit and then we arrived in Jakarta. I got to meet Santhi’s partner, Gary when we arrived at the airport, they were in Jakarta for a few meetings for their insurance business. Hendra picked up Chindy and I as Santhi and Gary left.

We headed to get something to eat for lunch. Not a surprise that Jakarta’s horrific traffic took us forever to get to Kou Fu Food Mall in Artha Gading Shopping Centre. I had rice with eggplant, beans and fungi plus tempeh curry:


Hendra got some ice fruit – you know fruit with ice on it – to takeaway for later:


Okay, so we left the ice behind. We drove to Rawamangun in East Jakarta where Chindy’s friends Cininta, her twin sister Anin and family live. Oh yeah and it took ages to get there.

When we were driving around, I saw some masked monkeys around the busy intersections. I’d heard about them but not seen them before. It was truly heartbreaking.


Here is a beautifully tragic photo by Ed Wray of monkeys in Kampung Munyet, an Indonesian village where monkeys are trained, rented, and sold. Click on the photo to see more. Brace yourself - they’re haunting.


Ed says, The idea came to me that the disturbing image of the monkeys wearing the masks is a visual distillation of the kinds of horrible things that happen when people are driven to desperation by poverty. Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN) know all too well about this. Another reason for me not to like Jakarta, I’m sure. However, Monique also spoke about the monkeys in Java her interview as well.

That night for dinner with Anin, Cinita, Chindy and myself, we had tempeh with fruit, colo colo – tomato with sweet soy sauce, chili and lime plus sprouts with chili, tomatoes and paprika:


Here's a photo of Cinita, myself and Anin:


Cinita and I walked over the road to get some Luve Litee ice cream. Great girls night, though it was no pyjama party….

Friday 28 September – Jakarta, urgh

Slept in. Had noodles with mushrooms and chilli for breakfast:


In Singapore you can get various vegan foods eg Tofutti, but it’s quite expensive especially in comparison to Indonesian food. I worked on the computer and then Chindy and I did some brainstorming for the IVS magazine. My not-for-profit environmental awareness group, Green Earth Group is working on an online magazine in the not too distant future. We are starting with a blog first. Green Earth Group has released a couple of member’s magazines and various friends of mine work or have worked with large and not so large magazines. I spent awhile going through some tips and suggestions for the way their magazine can go forward and Chindy filmed it to show the rest of the IVS committee.

We cooked a late lunch. I cooked a not so good version of my scrambled tofu:


Chindy and Cinita cooked Unjkep (curry tempeh) with spices such as chilli, turmeric, lemongrass, lengkaus (Thai ginger), galangal and coconut milk:


And some mushrooms:


Chindy is from another Indonesian island, Sulawesi where I haven’t yet been. Chindy was showing me a few tips from Sulawesi-style cooking; one of the main things is that they use is a lot of herbs. Chindy always uses 12 herbs when she cooks. Great food, finished off with papaya for dessert.

Chindy and I were waiting to be picked up by someone to take us to the next place we would be staying at. Because it’s Jakarta waiting around for a while meant an intense amount of waiting around. I always have work to do on the computer so I was glad to get a bit done. Cinita’s partner, Raymond dropped by with satay mushrooms from a stall on the street.


Chindy and I were picked up by Roeddy (pronounced Rudi) after 20:00 instead of 18:00, because of traffic.

Chindy, Roeddy and I went to Chan Wein Vegetarian at Jakarta Barat where we ordered Soto Bening Rp 14 000 (approx AU$1.40):


Shabu Tom Yam Rp 30 000:


Sate Padang Rp 16 000:


Kangkung Itp Rp 20 000 with flavour from Belecan (tempeh that had been over fermented):


And carrot juice Rp 20 000. I also discovered another vegan ice cream in Indonesia: Es Lilin Super top. They are handmade and have 12 different flavours including the Alpukat (Avocado) one that I had. Yum.

Roeddy, Chindy and I dropped by Pluit Junction where the event was taking place starting tomorrow and the set up was well underway. There were massive banners with my face on them:



We picked up Dr Susianto Tseng (who I’d met in Solo) who is the coordinator for the International Vegetarian Union (IVU) in Asia Pacific as well as one of the founders of IVS. Roeddy dropped Chindy and I off at Leonyta and Martono’s place where we would be staying for the next few nights in Jakarta. They have two children: Yoyo and Sinan who were quite excited to have visitors in their house.

Saturday 29 September – Interviews, Talk, Food Demo & Food Comp Judging

Today was going to be a big day. Leonyta made us some breakfast: fried rice, tempeh and tofu with fruit:


Roeddy and his family picked me up to take me to Pluit Junction and I met my new interpreter, Flora who would be interpreting me all day today. Both Santhi and Flora weren’t too happy when they heard that they would be interpreting (not translating, remember?) an Australian, as our accent can be quite strong and hard to understand. For example many people don’t pronounce the full words they speak and cut the ends of sentences off. Which brings me to this great poem:

We've forgotten all our manners
And our talk is full of slang
For you ain't got time for grammar
When you 'ear the rifles bang
- Signaller Tom Skeyhill, Gallipoli, 1915
And this: ... Their voices are unbelievably ugly, and one never quite gets over the shock of hearing some lovely girl speak for the first time.... Too many women talk with a strident, saw-like whine that is indescribable
- J D Pringle, Australian Accent (1958.) The above are all from - what else? –The Australian Beers website.

Some more descriptions of the Aussie language:

The method of producing sounds with the tongue…the false palate, the vibrating column of air leaving by both mouth and nose and slurring into a sound by means of an ante syllable, requires much less care, exertion, and expenditure of breath than that of making ‘clean’ sounds with the open mouth and proper use of the tongue and larynx.

J. Sutton Crow of the University Conservatorium argued that [w]hat Australians generally seem to suffer from may be called “lip, tongue, and jaw laziness”, leading to a lack of clear enunciation and a mumbling and slovenly mode of speech. Much more here. Here’s some Aussie terms incase you get stuck, and a video comparing some US vs. AU terms. To end that story, both Flora and Santhi were relieved to find that I mostly speak the King’s English and not the ‘Stralian English!

At bit after midday I had my meet and greet with Flora interpreting. It lasted for a bit over an hour. Here's some photos Chindy took:


Nothing was really planned and I had no one asking questions, so I pretty much rambled on about why I’m vegan and the benefits; along with the activism, promotion and work I do promoting veganism. Plus I answered some great questions from the audience.




After that I had about 20 minutes left on stage in which I showed the audience how to make my vegan cheese sauce.




One of the IVS volunteers had toasted some bread and cut the pieces up into squares so that people could try it.



The talk and demo went really well though a few people think that I should add salt to my cheese – I don’t ever cook with salt. I even received an award from Chindy and IVS:


Afterwards, I found some Padang food to eat: jackfruit and cassava leaf:


Inin and Raymond had also dropped by so Flora, Chindy and I got to hang out with them as well as various other IVS people.


I had an on-camera interview after lunch with Jakarta’s cable DAAI TV, which was a lot of fun. Photos by Chindy:



Plus another interview with Metro TV, which wasn’t as long but would be seen all over Indonesia. I don’t believe that either of these interviews is online, will add here later if by chance the come to be. They were live on cable TV and streamed on the Internet.

I ate this cake somewhere about now:


I had a lot of photos taken with various fans and new friends. Here's my info in the booklet for the event:



It’s just so hard for me to pose all the time being the shy and retiring type that I am. Here's Chindy, myself, Jufendy (the designer of the banner and the booklet) and Wendi Jullyan:


Chindy and I with Roeddy:


Some of the IVS Jakarta crew:


Here's a photo of the top floor of people looking down:


That night I was one of the hosts of the Super Duper Chef competition along with Susianto and last year’s winner, Jons Rusferi:


There were 10 people competing who had already competed previously to get to the final. They had to make 2 dishes each  - one using mushrooms and whatever they like for the second - with an hour to create and serve both.


It was such a great vibe, a lot was happening, so many people were watching. Chindy took a lot of photos of the competition, here's a few:


I walked around with Flora asking all the contestants about their meals, the hosts ended up following us around for a bit and amplifying the answers – I’ve always been inquisitive.


Spoiler - this lady was the rightful winner:


There was steak made from mushroom stems, banana and durian dishes, tempeh dishes and a lot of herbs I’d never heard of before. It was such a great mix of creativity. Leonyta who we were staying with was also one of the contestants.

There was some really great food created by various people including a vegan chef, graphic designer, students, business owners and house wives (yes, that’s the occupation on the form I had.) Then we got to try the food:



Most of it was great. The crowd then got to sample the food:


All three judges agreed on the winner. Also, it’s been said that I gave the most points to people. Let it be known that Susianto gave the least. Take what you will from that.

About an hour later we presented the runners up with thank you gifts and the winner with their award. It’s really so beautiful when you see the reaction of the person who won, it was really humbling that we made her day/week/year. All the judges and Flora received certificates of thanks.

I had such a wonderfully joyous day. I made a lot of new friends. Think I had a smile on my face all day – and not just from all the posing for photos.

Sunday 30 September – Way too much food today

Unfortunately I didn’t get to sleep in today. When you’re involved with various events and travelling you completely lose track of the days and dates. For me it’s either a show day or rest day, and a sleep in day or wake up early day. I’ve never liked getting up early and I love sleeping in the day after I’ve had a big day. Two days plus of sleeping in – in a row – is pretty awesome.

Breakfast today from Leonyta was spaghetti with textured vegetable protein (TVP), vegetables and seaweed.


Here's the two of us:


And one of me writing in my book:


I didn’t have anything that I had to do today. Santhi and her partner, Gary were meeting me for lunch and Flora would be there as well. I brought my laptop along with me as the venue had WIFI so I could do a bit of work while waiting around. As all the speakers spoke Indonesian I didn’t go to any of the talks, though I met all the speakers. I soon realised that today would be all about eating a lot of food to pass the time.

For lunch I had cooked jackfruit with rice and dragon fruit ice cream from Es Lilin Super top. Pretty soon after this Santhi bought me another Es Lilin Super top, this time the avocado flavour and then Chindy bought me the Luve Litee ice cream green tea flavour. Pretty hard life, I know.

Here's Gary (Santhi's partner), Santhi and I:


A few hours later it was time for afternoon tea when I had beans and tempeh:


Santhi also bought rujak bebeg – fruit and vegetables mashed up together with chilli and belacan (the over-fermented tempeh) not as bad as it sounds:


Then I tried bakchang (pork wrap) – fake meat in rice and steamed in banana leaf - which wasn’t good; I didn’t like the flavour at all:


Then we had traditional cake coloured green:


and multicoloured:


made from rice, cassava and rice flour. I like a lot of the green coloured desserts over here in Indonesia. A lot of them are coloured with Pandang leaves.

I love this photo of Flora, myself and Santhi - my two favourite translators, I mean, interpretors. We're all wearing batik too - love it!


Today was Chindy’s birthday so Santhi and I went looking for something to buy for her and ended up buying… food. We also bought a Full Moon cake, which is eaten when the full moon is in the sky as part of the Chinese Moon Festival (or Mid-Autumn Festival), which takes place on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. Which for this year was today. These cakes are given as gifts and although this one was vegan most are not.


Susianto’s wife took Leonyta, the kids and I home and I sat down with the kids to watch Mr Bean: the Movie, which I laughed a lot at. It was great to relax. Leonyta cooked dinner – tofu with sweet soy:


along with tempeh with pineapple, paprika and vegetables served with rice:


I then caught up on a bit of computer work until Chindy came home and we slept well.

Monday 1 October – Yogyakarta & Thien Pau temple

We woke up early to catch flights today. Chindy back home to Yogyakarta and me to Surabaya to stay with Hendro from Luve Litee ice cream. Leonyta cooked steak tempeh for breakfast served with BBQ sauce, mushroom sauce, black pepper and vegetables:


There was also chocolate milk. I will miss her cooking.

Her husband Marteno then drove us to the airport. It was really great to stay at Marteno and Leonyta’s place. Even though I didn’t speak Indonesian or Chinese, Marteno didn’t speak English and Leonyta only spoke a bit of English, it was such a lovely place to stay. I was looked after thoroughly.

I had to pay Rp 40 000 (approx AU$4) airport tax. My 10:00 flight was late 30 minutes and we were moved to another wing for some reason. All the information over the speakers is spoken in Indonesian so if it looks important i.e. everyone starts moving I ask one of the staff who speak English what’s going on.

I slept on the flight and arrived pretty close to the 11:30 arrival time. I organised a taxi from the airport and rang Hendro’s wife, Turner so she could confirm the directions to where I was heading. The taxi was Rp 125 000.

Turner (also known as Naning, or Ning for short) had some lunch for me when I arrived: potato mash and noodles.

Then I slept for a couple of hours. I’m going to be here for ten days and I hope to catch up on various computer work like some proposals I’m working on, editing interviews I’ve done, book work and editing the video footage I’ve taken – I can’t stand video editing. When I woke up, I met Hendro for the first time. My FaceBook friend who I had stayed with in Magelang, Java, Tjahaja had suggested that Hendro got in contact with me the last time I was in Java. Hendro had contacted me to stay at his B&B - a great place for vegans to stay when in Surabaya. 

For dinner Hendro, Naning and I met Susanto (not to be confused with Susianto – see how easy that is?) from IVS Surabaya and his brother Yanto at Thien Pau temple for Meatless Mondays where you pay Rp 15 000 (AU$1.50):


for an all you can eat buffet at the Buddhist temple. All food is donated to the temple and the volunteers cook and work there. Susanto asked me to speak at the Surabaya IVS vegan event taking place just before Christmas this year, I said yes.

We looked around the temple, which is one of the biggest in Java. Here's a photo Hendro took:


Here's a photo with Susanto, myself and Naning:


Tuesday 2 October – Pickling Mustard

I had such a great sleep last night. The best I’ve had in ages. Naning’s sister brought around some Nasi Champur that she’d bought from a street vendor in the neighbourhood consisting of noodles, rice and sawur loteh (cooked jackfruit and tempeh):


along with Nasi Pecel with satay, oyster mushrooms, spinach with rice:


Here's Hendro's Mum's turtle, Veggie who has come to stay with Hendro and Naning for awhile:



Dinner was gado gado:



Chinese mustard greens:


and noodle soto (soup)


I tried a fruit like custard apple along with markisa and almost extinct fruit here that is another kind of passionfruit with white flesh. Also, candlenut from Hawaii:


The two girls who work for Hendro and Naning, Susi and Sri and the three of us made some pickled mustard turnip or Chinese salted cabbage. Photos by Hendro. We washed the green leaves and put into a bucket.




Sprinkled with salt and made sure that the salt was pressed into the leaves and stems.



Then the girls added fresh coconut water to cover the greens, added a weight on top and we would leave it for 3-7 days until it’s salty and sour. When finished you take out from the bucket, put into a bag with new coconut water and seal. You can keep this in the fridge for up to 10 months.

Hendro also told me about something called Nata de Coco a jelly product made by fermenting coconut water where it makes some sort of bacteria and gels. People use this to make jellies for desserts.

Wednesday 3 October – Campina & Food

For breakfast, we had tempeh sambal (sauce from chili):


tofu sambal:


and tamarind soup with rice:


Then we drove to the Campina ice cream factory in Rungkut, an industrial area in Surabaya. Hendro’s father started the successful Campina company in the 1970s and Hendro now runs it with his sister Listi. Hendro and his sister were working on a new range of light ice cream when Hendro awakened to veganism. Thus the light ice creams in the Luve Litee range are now vegan with three flavours in the range: Raspberry, Chocolate and my favourite, Green Tea.

Hendro has some great environmental policies at his office including policies on lighting, air conditioning and the impressive all-vegan cafeteria for all 600 of his employees. Over here a lot of the traditional and vegan food is seen as pauper’s food so it did take awhile for Hendro’s to sell the vegan food to all his staff. They seem to really enjoy the meals now, especially the vegan versions of favourite dishes such as curries and soups. Today we had soy and maize balls with tofu, noodles, vegetables, sorghum with soup and sambal:


For dessert we had Ice tapé, a refreshing sweet with coconut water and rose flavouring, fermented cassava, grass green jelly, konjac (a plant used to make jelly – like a vegan gelatin substitute), black and red beans, pearls and shaved ice:


Lucky I was here on Wednesday when dessert or fruit is served. Here's some of the staff who we had lunch with:


Then Naning, Hendro and I went shopping for the food we needed to make some vegan goodies in the next few days. Naning used to bake all the time before she became vegan so I said I would teach her a few recipes. Her main request was black forest cake, which I have never made myself, but I found a recipe online so we will try out on Friday at the Loving Hut demo. Hendro and Naning will also be teaching me how to make various meals when I'm here.

We stopped at Bi Kang and Sabi Solo to get various baking ingredients and then we went to an organic shop to get a few of the harder to find ingredients. So many lovely people and magical things happening over here on my Asian adventures. Today's goose-bump inducing encounter happened when Hendro, Naning and myself were in the D'Natural Organic Store & Restaurant where we had gone to purchase nutritional yeast flakes for my upcoming vegan cheese sauce food demos. As soon as I walked in the door one of the staff members recognised me. After I had confirmed to him I was who he thought I was, swarms of people came up to meet me and introduced themselves: the manager, the owner, the staff and the chefs.

Later on when I was talking to the manager, Ruly, she mentioned that I looked better than on my website (oh, stop...) and proceeded to tell me that only a couple of days ago when her and the owner, Shirley were looking at my website, they were saying how much they'd like to meet me and wouldn't it be great if we could hang out. Lovely, hey? I ended up agreeing to do a demo for the store next Tuesday.

We bought some traditional dessert en route home:


For dinner we had sorghum with turnip and sauce, snake/long beans and string beans:


Thursday 4 October – Graham Crackers, Tahini & Tempeh

Noodles, sorghum with tofu and tempeh, peanuts, chilli and brown sugar for breakfast:


Today I was going to show Naning a few things that we needed to make before Friday’s demo at Loving Hut and Saturday’s Baking Day. One of the recipes we were going to make on Saturday was a cheesecake, so we needed to make a crust for it, therefore needed to make digestive biscuits or Graham/Gram crackers. I found a recipe on the Post Punk Kitchen website that Isa had created. They turned out well:


Hendro thought they were more biscuits/cookies but this was made purely for the base. Here's Ning and I:


I also made my first batch of tahini. I had always wanted to make my own and knew it couldn’t be that hard. You just need sesame seeds and oil. So, I worked out that for 1 cup of sesame seeds that I had roasted a bit in the oven beforehand, you can add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil at a time into the food processor when you’re processing the seeds. We used 4 tablespoons in total.


I’m not sure how long this will last in the fridge, I’d say a few days.

Then Hendro showed me the beginning steps of how to make tempeh. We rinsed, washed and boiled 1kg of soya beans, rinsed again. This is a photo of me de-hulling the beans by squeezing with a towel:


and then we let the beans soak for 12 hours. Here’s Hendro’s How To Make Tempeh FaceBook album.

For dinner we had vegetable soup, siomay (Chinese dumpling) and Chinese mustard greens:


Dessert was the unusual markissa - passionfruit. Here's what the white seeds look like:


There was a lot of eating the Luve Litee ice cream from the freezer too when I was at Hendro's. I lost count of when and how many but let’s just say that when you’re staying in a great place with the guy who owns an ice cream place, it’s pretty hard not to have ice cream.

Friday 5 October – Loving Hut food demo

Naming and I had gado gado for breakfast:


and waited for the driver who picked us up at 10:15 instead of 09:30 as arranged previously. The Indonesian locals are known for their lax interpretation of time. We were driven to the local Surabaya Loving Hut where Marelyn had asked me to give some food demos today for black forest cake, vegan cheese sauce and my raw banana ice cream. Here's some photos Naning took:


I had found one black forest cake recipe online and we had changed a few things on it i.e. strawberries instead of cherries, sugar instead of icing sugar.




Due to these and I’m sure more reasons the cake didn’t turn out the way that it should have. The recipe also asked for over 6 cups of sugar – I only used 2 – and it was still too sweet!


Then I showed the kitchen staff, owners and a few of their children how to make my vegan cheese sauce



which turned out well.


Here were my helpers:


I had Marelyn, Ieting (Irene from Yogyakarta’s friend), Lina (the chef) Siu Fak (another chef) and other staff as well as a few girls on school holidays who were a big help in the kitchen: Jessie, Selli, Sista, Shinta and Silvaie.

We ended up adding the sauce onto a pizza base along with red and green capsicum (peppers), pineapple and some fake chicken:


Here's the pizza ready to eat:


There was still sauce left over so we also added it to cooked noodles:


along with bok choy, paprika, fake beef:


and sprinkled with nutritional yeast flakes:


This was then cooked, tipped on a plate and ready to eat:


I made the raw banana ice cream out in the front where their Vitamix was and then it was lunchtime. Marelyn, the other owners, Naning and I had quite an array of food for lunch including Fancy Nut Satay, which would have normally cost Rp 23 000


Enchanted Tofu with Edamame Rp 32 500


Aquatic Balacan (Kang Kong) Rp 22 000


Lode (Soup) Special, Fried Eggplant Rp 15 000:




Eggplant Hot Pot:


One of the ladies had also bought some ongol, a traditional dessert made from pumpkin, corn and coconut:


After the food, Naning and I left and bought some vegetables for tomorrow’s family dinner, went home and had a nap. I haven’t been sleeping since the first great night of sleep here.

Dinner that night was red rice with picked mustard, tofu with seaweed and rolled, mushrooms:


Hendro showed me how to finish the tempeh. First we washed the beans a lot. Then we dried the beans by spreading on a clean towel and leaving to dry for a bit. Here's some of the photos Hendro took:


Then we added yeast and it was time for packing plastic bags (traditionally banana leaves) with the beans and sealing the bags:


The yeast causes heat during the fermentation process. Then I pricked holes in the bags and we left them for a few nights.

Here’s a photo of Icetea held by Sri and Icetea’s father, Willy held by Naning:


Saturday 6 October – Family Dinner

For breakfast, Naning and I had steamed corn, pumpkin and beet. Chindy called me to let me know that the interview I’d done for MetroTV was on the television now, but we missed it. I hope that it will be online somewhere at one stage.

I worked on my blog for most of the day. Lunch was Frikeld – tofu with spices, garlic and onion and flax:


plus noodles:


At 16:30, we left for Hendro’s parents place just a few minutes down the road. Hendro had requested that I make lasagne and some other meals to wow his non-veg family. Naming helped me to make the vegan cheese sauce which would be the sauce we would use today to go along with my lasagne recipe. I also made my vegetable stack recipe. Here's some photos by Hendro as I am about to grill the vegetables:




We had 10 people to cook for and the family’s cooks made a few dishes as well to go along with the meals, all vegan fortunately.

Hendro took this of all the stacks being assembled at various stages:


Here's how the lasagne turned out:


And my Vegetable stack:


Hendro’s family loved the lasagne. His Mum in particular said it was even better than non-veg lasagne as it wasn’t as heavy. These are always good things to hear. We had Hendro’s parents, his sister, Listi and her husband, Budi with their 2 sons Cliff and Ronald plus Ronald’s fiancée, Astrid.

Along with the lasagne and vegetable stack, we had black bean and tofu:


soup and a tofu dish:


with mango and papaya for dessert. It was a good night.

Sunday 7 October – Baking Day

Our tempeh worked!



Can’t wait to try it. The yeast is still alive so the tempeh needs to be consumed within 3 days. When I first came to Asia I thought something was wrong with the tempeh I saw as it was white - ours is more brown/caramel. Turns out this is how it's meant to look!


We had garden-grown eggplant and kang kong:


with our delicious tempeh and sambal (chilli sauce) for breakfast:


At 10:15 a couple of Campina workers, Fenti and Raintly came over for the beginning of our Baking Day. Listi came over pretty soon after and we baked for most of the day. I was showing the ladies how to cook vegan-versions of their favourite baked goods.




First, we made my Cherry Shortbread and a chocolate version.


Then we made a Lemon Tofu Cheesecake from the Vegetarian Times website. Next was Isa’s Raspberry Truffle Brownies from the Post Punk Kitchen. We made our own applesauce for this therefore when it came to making the muffins (see below) we made apple muffins. 

We took a short break for takeaway lunch – gado gado:


from Pagoda - the owners are vegan pioneers in Surabaya. Then we made Black Forest Cake from the PETA website.


And lastly, Apple Muffins (adapted from this Cranberry Banana Muffins recipe with gorgeous photos)

A few things to note when cooking in Indonesia:

  • You will not find all the ingredients you are used to cooking with
  • You will therefore have to settle for other ingredients that may or may not be on par with the usual ingredients you use
  • So recipes will in most cases turn out differently
  • There is a difference between Australian, American & UK measuring cups and spoons – good to know before you start cooking
  • If you don’t like to follow recipes like me (and I blame my Mother for this) sometimes you will be reminded of why you should
  • Silken/Soft tofu = Japanese tofu
  • If you really have no idea, All Purpose Flour will most likely be fine

The margarine here is very sticky and you can just imagine your arteries glued together when you look at your hands and you can’t clean your hands easily. For the record, I now have my own measuring spoons that Chindy bought for me in Solo and my own measuring cups that Naning gave me in Surabaya. I also have a whisk and my trusty apron. This doesn’t realistically take up much space in my backpack so where does the 16kg come from?

Here's how the end results turned out, photos by Hendro. The gals:


 Black Forest Cake:










Raspberry Truffle Brownie:


Love this photo:


Apple muffins:


Here's a few photos Hendro took of Naning and I with the goodies:



You can make a lot of desserts into vegan versions. Sometimes it takes a lot of trial and error, sometimes it happens automatically. Here’s some information on vegan baking. How to Bake without Eggs from my Baking 'Zine:


And Dairy alternatives:


 See more on my Blog & the FaceBook photo album.

After baking we were well and truly sugared out. I went upstairs to my Quiet Cozy Country Style Room and finished my Malaysian blog.

Dinner was jackfruit, tempeh and tofu balls with lodeh (soup) and rice:


Then it was Tofu making time! We had soaked soya beans for about 4-6 hours beforehand and rinsed thoroughly, and then blended with water in a food processor. On a low heat, we simmered the mixture


and then drained the mixture through a muslin cloth. Then adding a vinegar and water mixture slowly to the liquid to make it coagulate, the water was removed from the top

the rest was scooped onto a container with holes and muslin cloth was folded neatly. A weight was put on top and drained for about half an hour until no water. Here's Naning watching as I cut the tofu:
Then you can cut the tofu and keep in water in the fridge. Remember to replace the water every couple of days.

Monday 8 October – Pecel, Gado Gado & Pao

Breakfast was leftovers from last night’s dinner (lodeh) with our new home made tofu:


I thought due to the fact that I was staying in Hendro’s B&B for 10 days, that I would get a lot of work done – blogs, book stuff, video editing etc, but I really haven’t at all. It’s been pretty much all-go since I arrived and I'm still not finished yet. So, I caught up on some computer work. Naning made me noodles with vegetables for lunch:


More computer work before Naning, her sister Sabti, Sabti’s son, Kevin and I met Susanto and his brother Yanto for an early dinner at Delightful Restaurant (Kai Xin) at Dana Maitreya Buddhist Temple. I had a sample of the items on display: rice, gailan, seaweed, tempeh with sesame, tofu and sweet sesame and tempeh stick:


I also tried Empek:


a Palembang dish – where I was going next and where Santhi lives. Later on that night we also had some noodles:


Tonight’s food lessons were how to make Pecel, Gado Gado as well as Pau (Chinese bun) filling.

Here's the neighbourhood cat friend who dropped by to make sure we were doing things properly:


Here's the ingredients for pecel - peanuts, garlic, galangal, chillies, kafir leaves:


Here's a photo of Icetea and how she looks most of the time - trying to get food:


Tuesday 9 October – Food Demo at D’Natural Restaurant

Today we had Pecel and Gado Gado for breakfast:


Shirley from D’Natural Organic Store & Restaurant picked up Naning and I for my food demos. Her and the store manager, Ruly had arranged everything for the day and the upstairs area was set up very well:


First I showed everyone how to make an egg replacement with flax seeds and water. Similar to my Chia Seed video but I use a coffee grinder or small processor for the seeds first. Then we made my Rye Bread recipe substituting the dates for cranberries. Sweeter than normal, but good:


Then my Quinoa Nori/Sushi Rolls recipehere’s a video I did awhile back for you to watch also. Some of the chefs helped out with making these after I’d shown the basics. I think they’ve rolled a lot more sushi rolls that me!



With Ruly and a couple of the chefs:


Then I made my vegan cheese saucehere’s the recipe – and we added it to some cooked noodles.


Thanks to Ning and some of the attendees for the above photos. Here's how the bake turned out:


It was a great demo as the store has all the ingredients I like to use, they are very health conscious and everyone was very receptive. A lot of photos taken afterwards as well.


Here's the ladies who made it all happen - Ruly, myself and Shirley:


Then it was downstairs for lunch at the D’Natural restaurant where there's information on why organic and why the food is different:


the placemats look like this:


I ordered a Berry Bonanza with strawberry, mulberry, cranberry and raspberry normally would cost Rp 38 000 (approx AU$3.80):


Shirley, Ruly, Naning and myself all shared the following, Nasi Goreng Beras Hitam Bumbu XO (black rice) Rp 35 000:


Sate Tempe Rp 27 5000:


Sate Jamur (mushroom) Rp 31 000:


Gado Gado with special D’Natural cashew and almond sauce Rp 29 000:


It was a great time, great company and great food. Hendro’s sister actually went to school with Shirley – small world. Ruly also made sure I had some of their dessert to take home with me:


That night we made Pau (Chinese buns) and stuffed yellow rice with mushrooms. Here's me rolling the dough to make the pao. I'm not too keen on rolling...


 Photos of Pao by Hendro. Adding the mushroom filling that we made last night:



Then rolling the top. Ning's were much more streamlined than mine.



Next step is steaming for about 10 minutes:


Here we are with the finished pao:


Close up of cooked pao:


It was good:


We had noodles and beans for dinner. I also was lucky enough to try two new samples of next year’s Luve Litee ice cream. One was grape:


and one was orange. I was the first to taste! And gave feedback, of course.

Wednesday 10 October – Campina Factory Tour

Mango for breakfast today. The mango and papaya over here in Indonesia – and in particular Java – is amazing.

At 12:15 Naning and I went to Campina to have lunch with Hendro. Today we had cauliflower, mushroom and Renang – an Indonesian curry – along with melon:


Naning and I then had a tour of the factory with stops near the kids’ area – there’s a train set! – the cold room:


And I even had to climb up to see the rooftop garden. Photos by Ning:

LC_climbing_Campinas_rooftop_garden LC_climbing_to_rooftop_garden_at_Campina

Great Go Green message on the front wall at Campina:


Here's a photo with Ning, myself and Hendro's sister, Listi:


I also sampled some more of the new flavours Campina were trying to perfect. My feedback from last night was noted. Here's one of the sample machines mixing the new berry flavour:


and a close up:


Then I went back into the canteen to get a picture of the wall of photos that show how many different vegan dishes have been prepared and served to the staff at Campina:



Me outside the door to the canteen. Note the signs:


We then went to the shops to get ingredients for lasagne. Naning was going to make my lasagne recipe tonight by herself and I would be on hand if anything was amiss. Hendro showed me some chocolate similar to Kit-Kat:


Dinner for my last night at Hendro’s was leftovers, jackfruit and tempeh:


And here's Icetea trying to eat my food:


I had such a great time in Surabaya, at Hendro’s place and enjoyed the time I spent getting to know Hendro, Naning, their staff and family. I look forward to returning mid-December for the IVS Christmas event I will be participating in. 10 days went by so fast!

Need a vegan B&B to stay in next time you're in Surabaya, Java, Indonesia? Look no further than Hendro's place. More information here.

Thursday 11 October – Surabaya to Jakarta to Palembang

Breakfast was noodles and mung bean broth.

We dropped Hendro off at work first en route to the airport at 08:15. Naning came with the driver and I to the airport. My flight was meant to leave at 10:25 to Jakarta but it didn’t leave until 30 minutes later. I had to pay Rp 40 000 airport tax. Somehow we always make up the time on the flight. I arrived just before midday to Jakarta airport, which I’ve grown to like. I paid another Rp 40 000 in airport tax (found out later I shouldn’t have) and used the free WIFI for an hour. I ate some of the food Naning had packed for me and even though originally the plane was meant to leave at 14:15, but later changed to 14:00, we left at 13:45. I was on my way to Palembang to see Santhi.

Leigh-Chantelle is an International Speaker & Consultant; Author, Singer/Songwriter and Blogger.

Latest Photos


© Leigh-Chantelle Site by DesignVoodoo.com|hosted green| mobile compatible|Google Translation
Creative Commons Licence This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia Licence