Jakarta’s Culinary SmorgasbordSoapbox
First of all I want to establish two things: one, “culinary” is an adjective not a noun! The number of times I have heard it used as a noun is annoying and completely incorrect. “Susi, works in culinary” what? “Susi is a culinary expert” or “Susi works in the culinary world” are correct. Two: the wonderful word “smorgasbord” is originally from Sweden and is a special style of buffet meal featuring many different types of food but has been adapted to mean “a variety”, “a multitude of choice”. So in one paragraph I want to correct the use of “culinary” and introduce the delightful word “smorgasbord” which you can use to your heart’s content!
Now back to this issue: food and the culinary scene! Jakarta has continued to expand its dining options over the last year with restaurants and cafes popping up like hot cakes. Some sadly, like mis-timed souffles, fall quickly flat, both others grab the market and hold on to it fiercely. Our annual Best Restaurant Bar and Café Awards (BRBCA) produced a record 144 entries this year, including some of the best in the city. And the results of over 29,000 people voting are in this issue.
Of course many detractors say these are not the “best” restaurants in the city, just the most popular. Some skeptics even say that the voting is done by staff, friends and family, not customers, and to be honest we can never know. We do check and eliminate all dubious votes (eg from spurious names or suspicious URL’s) but we can’t ever be 100 per cent sure that people aren’t manipulating the system. Sorry. But to be honest that doesn’t really matter since we also have “The Industry Choice Awards” which are the favourites of the chefs, the Food & Beverage Directors, the restaurateurs and the bar managers, and should reflect the professional perspective. And we also have “The Editor’s Choice” where our own expert reviewers select their personal favourites.
What matters is that we have a lively and competitive industry, innovating and exploring new ideas. What matters is that they are focusing more on sustainable and environmentally friendly practices, reducing energy use and wastage, buying more local produce and training local talent.
What matters is that people move from diets destined to produce heart conditions, stroke and diabetes, to nutritious and healthy food, so that our whole population can become leaner and more productive, while still enjoying marvellous culinary offerings (correct usage!) across a huge smorgasbord of exciting venues (new word!). Selamat makan!
This article is originally from paper. Read NOW!Jakarta Magazine October 2018 issue“A Jakarta Smorgasbord”. Available at selected bookstore or SUBSCRIBE here.