Makansutra: Authentic chow in Bandung
Consider flying to Indonesia for year-end festivities
The year-end festivities are still in the air and if you are planning that final "escape of the year", there are plenty of choices around the nearby region.
If the idea is to get away from the heat, noise and chaos, consider Bandung, Indonesia.
Bandung is 140km from Jakarta and about a 1½-hour flight from Singapore, and is a culinary escape for people in the Indonesian capital. The Sundanese food culture in Bandung differs from the Betawi and largely Javanese flavours of Jakarta.
Check out these three makan landmarks in Bandung.
Jl. H. Hasan No. 19A, Dago, Bandung
11am to 4.30pm, closed Monday
This place is a Batak classic.
Many locals know this place by name and it has a photogenic and smokey wood-fire kitchen.
The pork is lightly salted, then smoked and barbecued, and the result is lovely slices of smokey roasted pork that you eat with a little plate of their freshly made sambal hijau (green chilli sambal) and lime.
They also offer clear pork soup (much like bak kut teh but without the peppery sting) and blood stew.
The humble place fills up at lunch hour, and if you want to photograph the kitchen, do remember to ask for permission.
SATE TEGAL MAREM
Jl. Doktor Setiabudi No. 136, Sukajadi, Bandung
10am to 10pm, open daily
Tegal is a nearby town, and much of the townspeople work and live in Bandung.
The most famous culinary export is the sate and gule kambing (goat satay and soup). They use cuts of baby goats - no more than five weeks old.
With hardly any marinade on a skewer, the meat is grilled to perfection. Enjoy the softness of the meat that does not have that unappetising gaminess.
The gule kambing will remind you of our sup kambing, except it has a calmer bumbu (spice paste) and with no hint of gaminess and masala spices.
Jl. Doktor Setiabudi No. 159, Gegerkalong, Bandung
7am to 10pm, closed Friday
This is regarded as the "mother" of all Sundanese eateries in Bandung, and it is hard to find the flagship outlet.
You have to go into a little lane, walk through a shoulder-wide opening between two houses before you can see this sprawling eatery.
The food here relies on basic and fresh ingredients and often comes raw and bold.
Here, the sambal belacan is called sambal terasi, and it is a rather famous chilli dip.
The range here is mind-boggling - from grilled intestines on skewers, fish head gule (a sort of local curry), to salted whole fish otah with spices and herbs in banana leaf.
I like the simple steamed petai (stink beans) dunked in sambal terasi and oncom (similar to tempeh) and karedok, a raw vegetable salad in peanut sauce, which is much like gado gado.
The place is clean and prices are reasonable.
Locals will tell you to head for this original spot rather than its many sibling outlets throughout town.
KF Seetoh, the founder of Makansutra, dabbles in street food businesses like Food Markets and has his own TV shows on cable. He publishes food guides and online content. He is also the creator of the World Street Food Congress. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.