Travel: Our Macau/Hong Kong Getaway (6D/6N)!

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Monday, February 25, 2013

Travel: Bandung Day #1 - Massage at Mariaty's & Dinner at Paskal Food Market

Previous post on Bandung: Factory outlet hopping and street food!

After covering factory outlet after factory outlet for most part of the day, our feet and backs were crying out to us, telling us that they needed a break. Thankfully, we had earlier in the day, conveyed this SOS to our driver, Pak Dodi, and he brought us here:

Mariaty's Spa & Gallery is a small quaint spa located in a lot along Jl. Setiabudi that came highly recommended by Pak Dodi. He called the place some time in the afternoon to book places for the eight of us, and so there was no wait.

The decor outside of Mariaty's

Besides providing spa treatments like massages, facials and ear candling, Mariaty's also doubles up as a somewhat of a fashion gallery, selling interesting looking pieces of jewellery. Bags and clothes were also available.

What should we have?

We decided what we wanted at the counter, which you can imagine, took awfully long for eight people, and finally everyone decided on the same thing, a foot massage costing Rp. 95,000 (approximately RM 30 / USD 10).

Since we were a big group, we got separated into our own little rooms. Adam and I got ushered into the tiny room above, dimly lit. Our masseuses came in quickly and got started. I have to say the massage was better than I had expected. For a foot massage, they also pay some attention to your back and shoulders at the end of the 60 minutes. This, I thought they were very good at. Felt so relaxed after! They were pretty attentive as well, checking to see if they were applying too much pressure, and if the room was too warm for our liking.

After our massage ended, they let us rest for a little while, and then brought in refreshments! We were served some warm ginger tea, and two small plain buns, of pancake texture dusted with icing sugar. I asked them what it was and I think it sounded like 'profiterole', but it didn't taste anything like the ones we had at the Profiteroles Cafe in Solaris Dutamas. The ginger tea was very potent, quite comforting after being prodded and pressed. :p

Waiting for Pak Dodi
After our massages, we waited awhile for Pak Dodi to arrive, and we discovered... free wi-fi at Mariaty's too. Big plus point for a bunch of data-hungry people. :D

Picture source: Paskal Hypersquare website

Pak Dodi had planned to bring us to Paskal Food Market that night, a large open-aired food court located in Paskal Hypersquare on Jl. Pasirkaliki which seemed like a mixed development with shopping, service apartments offices and facilities available. The development seems pretty central to Bandung, because we passed by it several times throughout our whole stay.

However, the rest of the development seemed extremely quiet in the night, with only the food market bustling with patrons. The entire Paskal Food Market is maybe a little larger than the Ming Tien food court in Taman Megah and has a vast array of Indonesian specialities.

Even Western and Italian varieties are available. (I think I spotted a Malaysian nasi goreng too?)

Much must be said of the nice environment that the Paskal Food Market has prepared for its diners though. The place is nicely lit up with yellow bulbs placed in white birdcages and on tall candlestands as well. It truly can be quite romantic if you're on a budget... can imagine that lots of young Bandung couples come here once in awhile.

The system at Paskal Food Market is a bit messy. The stall gives you a number which you bring back to your table. Payment has to be made at the main counters scattered around the huge food court, similar to some other food courts. The problem was that the payment queues were always so long, and so the food was delivered first, without us having a payment receipt to show them on several occasions :S

I decided to give the Lotek a try - a traditional Sundanese dish akin to gado-gado. Surprisingly, it wasn't served to in peanut sauce like most gado-gado, and instead was in a thin tumeric (kunyit) broth similar to the lontong we have over here. Not my kind of thing, our lontong in KL is far thicker and tastier.

We also tried another Batagor, but the one we had along the street on Jl. Dago was far more superior. Guess nothing can beat street food! :D

The Indonesian otak-otak (Rp. 15,000 / RM 5 for 5 pcs) is very different from our spicy version. It tasted very much like keropok lekor textured (for those who have not tried this Malaysian delicacy, it's a springy mackerel fish paste), only grilled instead of deep-fried. Quite interesting, but must be eaten with the chilli sauce for more flavour.

The best dishes, we felt, came from the Ayam Cobek Langganan stall. Adam and I had been walking up and down the stalls trying to find some grilled or fried chicken, ayam penyet style, and finally found this stall.

The Ikan Lele Bakar Cobek (IDR 14,000) was surprisingly fleshy for approximately RM 4 after conversion. The flesh was firm yet flavourful, having being nicely grilled and glazed to perfection, slightly sweetish as a result. I liked the accompanying chillies in dark sauce for an extra kick.

We also had the Ayam Kriuk (IDR 14,000). If the fish was fleshy, then this was absolutely frail in comparison! If there's one thing we learnt in our time in Bandung, is that spring chicken (or even duck for that matter) is served all over Bandung. This didn't satisfy Adam at all, but at least the crunchy bits (the kriuk, as they call it) were quite enjoyable with what little chicken flesh there was.

I ordered some Kue Serabi, a recommended street food I saw on some food blogs, but the only stall I found selling it was here in Paskal Food Market.

Kue Serabi is a small flour pancake, shaped like a disc and slightly chewy in texture. The pancake itself doesn't have much flavour, just a hint of salt, but the trick is in the toppings. Toppings from sausages to cheese, chocolate to banana are available.

I opted for a simple one with grated cheese and chocolate rice. It surprisingly went better with the cheese than the chocolate, but I found the pancake too thick and filling.

I also bought some Kue Ape (crudely also called kue tetek because it sort of resembles the female chest wtf -__-) to try, very similar to our apom here. Made out of wheat flour batter, this pancake was thin and crispy around the edges and thick and fluffy in the middle. Very enjoyable snack when still hot more so than the Kue Serabi above, with a slight hint of pandan, likely where its green tinge came from. Rp. 8,000 (RM 2.50) for 15 pieces.

Clockwise from right:
1. Visitors are encouraged to toss coins through the hoop the statue is holding. I failed miserably :(
2. An acoustic band!
3. Lovely fountain and lights near the main entrance/exit

What I really enjoyed was that there was a band towards the end of the night, playing some acoustic numbers. We didn't necessarily know the words they were singing, but it added to the lovely atmosphere. 

The verdict of Paskal Food Market overall? Not the best food, you'll have better luck finding better on the streets, but wide selection if you have limited time in Bandung and want to try a large variety of local favourites. Great ambiance, though.

And so, our "romantic" dinner under Bandung skies marked the end of Day 1. Satisfied and tired, we headed back to our hotel for a hot shower (some local Bintang beer and snacks after, of course :p) and an early morning the next day.

Day 1 shopping tally:

Got some really gorgeous kebaya material, for about RM 30 a set. These were from Pasar Baru earlier that morning.

Half mine and half Adam's! You won't get the trendiest stuff in Bandung, but we got some functional pieces like polo tees and simple dresses. 

Next up: Witnessing Tangkuban Perahu up close!

Mariaty's Spa & Gallery | Facebook
Jl. Setiabudi, No. 38,
Bandung 40181, Indonesia
Tel: +62 22 2035928
Opening Hours: Daily, 10am-9pm

Paskal Food Market | Site
Jl. Pasirkaliki, No. 25-27
Bandung 40161, Indonesia.
Tel: +622 8606 0788
Fax: +622 8606 0789

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