Surabaya In My Mind

Red Chairs

Surabaya, Surabaya, oh Surabaya
Kota kenangan, kota kenangan
tak ‘kan terlupa..

Man, I dunno where to start.

I don’t want to bore anyone with excuses of not blogging for sometime. I think I got big enough blue blob for so many things. Shutter blues. That is the blue for taking photos. Writing blue. And that came in one package with blogging blue. I still twit, though.

Let me just shake this blue a little bit by remembering my great times in Surabaya. That might work, huh?

We went to Surabaya in May and November last year, and once again beginning this March. Boy, did it get better each time. The second time was better than the first time. The third time was better than the second time. And that, made it the best.

Snacking Time @ Zangrandi Croquettes

Pink Afternoon Liquor in Ice Cream

Failed Attempt Ready to Spoon

Just Happy :)

Everyday after class we hung out at a place called Zangrandi. A legendary ice cream corner similar to Ragusa of Jakarta. Nothing special about the ice cream, I actually didn’t really have a clear reason as to why we really enjoyed spending the rest of our afternoons here almost everyday. It was located right by a big street so the ambiance was rather noisy and Surabaya was always fiercely hot, even in the afternoon. Only few of the ice cream variants were good enough to make someone crave. And the snacks were so-so, except for one single delight: Kroket Saus Taoco. Translated as Croquette with Fermented Soybean Sauce. Although the croquette was good, I still think it didn’t sufficiently make up for other downsides. But why oh why, everytime we plunged ourselves into the pretty red low chairs there, I feel like the day was then bearable. The fatigue disappeared, the afternoon was full with laughter, happiness, comfort. As hyperbolic as it is, the fact that we kept coming back there was something real and strange at the same time. I think it’s because of the chair. It’s the chair, wasn’t it? Maybe it’s the chair.

Every Layer Counts Piles of Layers

Danish Pretty Pastry

Color Me Happy

Other than that strange phenomenon, we had classes at Toko Arvian. Pastry, Basic Cakes, Cake Decorating with Fondant, Cheesecakes, Fried Bread, etc. Really enjoyed working with Arvian’s crew. Great people, great work. Kudos to the woman who shaped the team into a solid one, Ibu Linda, the owner. A beautiful, very humble, kind hearted, charming woman. Having the opportunity to work with her and her team is indeed a great honor.

Beautiful Two Bandrek @ Tempo Doeloe

Umm… do you know how hard it is to find a really good bandrek? Bandrek is a traditional Sundanese beverage. A concoction of ginger, lemongrass, cinnamon, cloves, coriander seeds, star anise, cardamom, coconut sugar, coconut milk, and some young coconut flesh to fill in. Sometimes milk was added too. Here in Surabaya, way far from West Java where it came from, I found a good one at a retro eating place called Tempo Doeloe. It was not as perfect as the one I found in a humble hut in Puncak, but it was way better than the blend version–other name for “instant”– most places serve these days. I would have added lemongrass, star anise and corriander seeds it was lack of, but hey, couldn’t complain. It was still good and well worth trying.


I love this city by the sea, and I always will. Many more things I can tell you about her it would take hours to read. The incomparable Igor Pastry Shop, for one thing. A must-must-visit place everytime we’re in town. I lost words describing how gorgeous it was, you just have to pay a visit by yourself.

Surabaya.. di tahun empat lima
kami berjuang, kami berjuang
bertaruh nyawa..

(Rachman A., Titiek Hamzah version)

Papa Beard's Stall


19 thoughts on “Surabaya In My Mind”

  1. Riana,
    Great story and pictures! Ngomong-ngomong, Riana ada rekomendasi toko rempah2 yang bagus quality product nya di Jakarta? Saya perlu bahan2 seperti kayu manis, vanilla beans and pods, vanilla extract, ginger powder, whole nutmegs, etc. Thanks in advance Riana!

    Best regards,

    Nancy, thank you for coming by. Kayaknya the whole country is toko rempah-rempah, hehehe.. Rempah yang kamu sebutkan itu semua ada di pasar tradisional, supermarket, dan toko bahan kue, dengan kualitas hampir sama rata, kecuali vanilla beans (pods) dan vanilla extract. Dua ini hanya ada di TBK atau supermarket barang import kayak Ranch Market, Hero Kemang, dll. Khusus vanilla beans, yang ada di jakarta kualitasnya kurang bagus. Aku belum nemu yang kualitasnya cukup baik. Rata2 sudah kering dan wanginya lebih banyak aroma asamnya daripada wangi vanillanya. ———-Riana

  2. Duh! bener, the whole country is toko rempah rempah :o) Thank you again buat rekomendasi toko untuk beli vanila. I knew you are the right person to ask!

  3. foto2nya bikin NGECES!! dan calon jabang bayi dalam perutku mendadak menggeliat… minta makan kayaknya dia… tau emaknya lagi liat2 foto makanan enaaaaak!! salam kenal πŸ™‚

  4. sedih baca di jakarta globe – lain kali fotonya dikasih “shadow” initial atau apalah gitu supaya ndak dibajak orang…

  5. hiii.. mbak riana, apa kabar?? udah lama banget gak update.
    itu opera cake-nya masih aja ada di pastrylover, belum diremove fotonya 😦

    iya fen, belum sempet kontak lagi. udah aku kontak, belum direspon. let alone taking off the photo ya. aku usahain kontak orangnya lagi. thank you, miss you fen.. ———–Riana

  6. Hi Riana, I am from Malaysia. I would like to find out about cooking classes available Indonesia, especially in “making of traditional Indonesian kue”. Can you suggest some of the good one. Thank you.

    Hi, Bryan, greeting from Indonesia! Head off to, they have vast range of culinary classes you can attend. If you can’t find the one you’re looking for, kindly contact the admin and ask, they often conduct classes based on demand. Good luck to you! ——Riana

  7. Pen… kl mo food photography bisa ga kl pake kamera pocket…… smua pic nya artistik .. balance.. n focus… Gmn caranya kl pocket?? ada resep2nya ga???

    Foto-foto di blog ini sampe october 2008 pake pocket semua loh. Starting January 2009 baru pake DSLR. Resepnya: kenali kemampuan kamera. cari lighting yang cakep. atur komposisi, angle & styling. jangan shaking. jangan berhenti motret. Makjos deh. ———Riana

  8. mbak riana saya dulu pernah blajar food photo di matraman taun 2007 πŸ™‚
    photo2 tack sharp, bold color and always artistic and hey it’s surabaya my home town, thanks for the great story πŸ™‚

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