A big part of traveling is always about the culinary experience while you’re in your destination. I’m a foodie and I always believe that there’s new dishes out there await me to try it out. However, my recent trip to Myanmar has made me a little bit careful when it comes to food. Appreciating good food may come naturally for me but there are time where I have to accept that not all food may bode well with my taste bud. Fashionese Daily’s editor Dhany has forewarned me before my trip to Myanmar that there’s a slim chance that I might like the food – and I ended up agreeing to her. So when this happened for the second time before my trip to Belitung, a fellow foodie told me that most of the dishes there are not noteworthy, I take note of that and starting to do my research of what I must try.
Mie Atep or any mie Belitong
One of the most well-known culinary destinations in Belitung where tourist will make it a must to visit Mie Atep where it serves mie Belitong. Located right at the heart of the city near the Tanjung Pandan market, it’s a perfect place to have a hearty plate of breakfast. Our hotel, Billiton, located just stone’s throw away from Mie Atep. This dish is made from thick egg noodle combine with thick shrimp broth which reminds me of the more famous Mie Celor from Palembang. Steamed bean sprouts, fried tofu, bitter nut cracker (emping) and crushed Belitung’s chilly are added to the mix of this savory and fresh dish.
Fresh Gangan soup after a hot sunny day, anyone?
This soup is so flavorful! It combines tumeric, galangal, lemongrass and chilly. But what contributes to its sour and very refreshing taste is actually the mix of pineapple into the dish. Oh, how I love pineapple in my food! The combination between the hotness of the chilly, strong aroma of tumeric and sourness of the pineapple is so unique that it appeased my taste bud perfectly. While the taste varies according to the choice of fish it’s cooked with, but the most common fish used for this dish are ikan ketarap, ilak and libam (baronang).
In its other form, the spices for Gangan are also used to make Pais or grilled fish with herbs that is similar to the Sundanese pepes. Where Gangan is in soup form, Pais used the same variation of spices that are inserted inside the fish and then grilled to perfection. The same spices are also used to cook crab, but with the addition of coconut milk. Both of these dishes I could not vouch for, as Irene and I didn’t really try it.
Kick your day forward with a cup of coffee at Manggar
The local would call Manggar as the “city with a thousand coffee shops” or “kota seribu warung kopi“. There wasn’t that many 🙂 But it’s definitely a good place to visit after spending your morning cruising around Belitung Timur. The whole strip of street is filled with warung kopi which you could just easily order your Kopi O (black coffee) or coffee with milk. Mine is the latter, where it uses condensed milk to balance out the heady strong coffee taste that is just a perfect pick me up coffee. I like that it has the right balance of acidity as well as roast. Irene and I enjoyed our time sitting in nonchalance and away from the pretentious feel of Jakarta’s coffee shop. We truly enjoyed the simplicity of a simple warung kopi by the street chatting our afternoon away under the drizzling rain that day.
So girls, next time you visit Belitung, make sure to have these three items on your to try list.
– As previously published on Travelers Daily, 20 December 2013