Category Archives: Culinary Journey

Road Trip to East Bali part 2

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A short recap before the road trip stories continue.

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Yes, it was a very tiring first day, as this was the very first time we tried to adjust the rhythm of our trip together. Following my usual pace, I could β€”and definitely wouldβ€” drive all the way to the very north, but considering it was only two of us throughout, then I know I have to hold on myself. Slowing down my pace of moving and hopping to another place with little Bum’s napping time and stamina; stopping by at random places whenever he was bored on the road or simply asked to be breastfed. All of them took the journey longer than it usually be. At Candidasa area, finally we slept soundly holding each other as we closed our day, recharging the energy to continue the journey on the next day.

The alarm was on around 5am, before the dawn. I carried the sleeping Bumi up with me and sat just right on the side of the beach, waiting for the sun came to conquer the darkness of night. The sound of waves echoed a powerful rhythm, sang a marching melody to welcome the bright yellow spark on the east. What a peacefully sight to see, a sunrise always marks a new hope for a brand new day. As beautiful as ever.

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Our energy has been recharged, we checked out from the cottages and our second day of road trip was officially began. The next destination on my list was one hidden beach nearby, which has been written as one of my bucket “beach” list since quite long ago. It’s around 10 km further away following the road from Candidasa, known as White Sand Beach or Virgin Beach.

The sign toward this place was pretty small from the main road, we needed to look carefully to make a right turn to the small road and crossing the hill with before reaching it. Also, some part of the road nearby the beach was currently under maintenance, causing us to park our car pretty far and we had to walk around 600m down first. Well, the distance wasn’t that bad; but while carrying the 11-ish kg baby, that was another story. *grin*

We arrived just right on the beach by 7am, the surrounding was quiet as we were the only one there. As far as I glanced, I saw a very wide open beach with nobody else. The name of the beach served itself right, it was clean white sands with gentle waves over a crystal clear blue water. Magical and mystical. Surrounded by steep cliff on the side, made it felt like a very secluded private beach on our own that time. Its beauty was calling our name to play on the sun and jump under the water; we couldn’t resist, for sure. I wonder why, but this beach hasn’t got a proper fame as what it deserves to. For me, I really consider this beach as one of the most enjoyable place to swim on my list.

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The little Bumi couldn’t wait. Immediately, he was begging for me putting him down and letting him go by himself. As his feet touching the sand below, he screamed excitedly. His voice was echoing around, surrounding the mornin air with joy and emerging happiness. He played with the sand, he walked towards the water, he observed carefully. No sign of fear as he faced the vastness of rushing wave, just as if he wanted to say: one day, “I’ll conquer this as what you always do, mom!” I smiled when his eyes found mine, he grinned and pointed out to the water, asked me to carry him in. And so I did. We just had the greatest morning ever under the blue.

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Yes, under the blue. It was just two of us, going through incredible view. Seriously, with his presence, it’s a world of brand new. As I opened my eyes, all are adventures await us to pursue.

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Done with playing in the water, there are plenty showering place available on the hut by the side of the beach, before walked back to the parking spot. Huks! Fasten the seatbelt again, and we were ready for our next destination: Taman Ujung Soekasada. Approximately another 10km away following the main road, then took the right turn on the intersection, on the opposite direction from Amlapura city.

It was an open view of rice field throughout the ride, with the blue covered the whole sky those morning. Following the winding road ahead, and all of sudden the sight of this place came unto us: a majestic old gate upon a spacious neat park with a very big pond. My jaw dropped by seeing those scenery, whispering continuously ‘wow’ while driving towards its entrance gate.

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It was only 10am in the morning when we stepped our feet on the bridge that connecting the parking spot to the park itself. The view of an old empire heritage building over a beautiful park greeted us welcomely. They said, it was made in the year of twentieth for serving the Karangasem King on their relaxation time or simply on their duty of meeting with an important guest on their glorious era. No wonder, the complex is beyond impressive, suited much as one pride they could hold on into. I cannot argue though, the view was exceptionally beautiful, and what surprised me most was the fact that it’s very very well maintenance. As a mascot of tourist destination in the east part of Bali, this place has become a popular destination for both local or international tourist.

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And so we took our kinda-late morning walk over its spacious beautiful park, while having our morning sun-bathing. As this place is also well-known as a beautiful background for pre-wedding picture, it was just made sense to take (a lot) of picture of us, right? *blushing* Cannot help it, the iphone, timer, and the tongsis would serve us more than just enough. The duet traveller, β€”a blessed mom and a happy sonβ€”, finally stroke the pose.

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As the sun was getting high and the weather was getting unbearable, I sat over the car and in urge to finally make a decision: shall I go further, or going back? It’s been halfway through the island and I was pretty close to Amed, wasn’t it better to go all the way? I wanted it BADLY, but the hunch inside kept telling me to go home. Hesitating for some while, my ego and my pride was yelling for Amed, yet I looked back at the tired little Bumi and finally decided: home, it should be. A mom gotta do what a mom gotta do; this journey was enough for now. We would find another time, we have plenty. This adventure would find us all over again. So I turned over and headed back to the South.

Yet, there was still one last destination haunting my mind: Jasri Beach and its tree swings over the Chocolate Factory. I never heard of that before, but it was mentioned by one person in @KartuPos’s twitter timeline and it’s been caught my heart ever since. This. The picture of the swings that grabbed my attention in a blink of an eye.

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Just a swing, but somehow I wanted to be there and I knew I would be there. Firstly, I thought it wouldn’t much difficult as I just needed to find my way to Jasri Beach, but turned out I was completely wrong. By following the winding road, it took me lost from one turn to another and I always ended up in different side of the beach. Kinda frustrated, since asking direction to locals kept getting me lost even further. Nearly gave up, I was but I told myself to keep on searching. And I followed my hunch by make a turn into a very small road nearby the gas station, and going forward. The road was extremely narrow, passing by the jungle of high coconut trees; I almost gave up in the middle since the road kept getting narrowed and untouchable.

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But just at the end of the road, my hunch served me right, the Chocolate Factory’s sign lied over the bamboo fence! Yeay! I was beyond excited to read that. So then I rushed in and found the swing was hanging there alone, untouched by any, as if it was waiting solely for me only. Tied up with a thick rope unto the very tall tree right above the little hill, making it is possible to swing itself very high from the ground. Such a fun exciting thing to do, while seeing the peaceful view of the virgin Jasri Beach. A hidden treasure, it was.

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The little Bumi was sleeping, so I put him on his seat while I immediately gave the swing a try. Grabbed and pulled the rope to the bamboo platform where I shall began jumping on from, it was quite high from the ground. A moment before I jumped, I paused. It wasn’t a moment of hesitation, it was excitement; a rushing adrenaline I’ve been missing on. Should I? Sure, here I go! Then I jumped.

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The swing flied me to the air, my heart was pounding.
I screamed. Not in fear, but relieving.
I remembered the feeling, I remember its sensation.
The joy and happiness from a spontaneous adrenaline rush of freedom.
I smiled from cheek to cheek, I laughed.
Loudly. The loudest I ever did in the past two years time.
Happiness could be as simple as swinging high and flying on the trees.
I’m free. I’m still free.
Nothing chained me on the ground, I’ll just need to take the little Bumi fly together with me.

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The feeling is surely priceless, those tree swing has made my day. I drove back to Kuta at ease, Amed and Tulamben could wait. I’m coming back home. This spontaneous road trip was happened base on the question: “am I happy?”, and I found my answer already. I do. This journey just proved boldly, the adventurer in me would always still have a place to be. Having a baby doesn’t make me trapped and chained on the ground, just make the adventure even better and greater. A solo traveler finally go duet!

Anyway, what’s the point of having a great trip without enjoying a plate of good food of local cuisine? On my way back home, in Klungkung area nearby the Luwih Cave, I made a right turn to smaller road, which directed me to one quite famous place: Warung Mertha Sari. It was well-known with their fish satay and sate lilit; once was featured in New York Times as well. One portion is consisted of a plate of white rice, Balinese soup with big chunks of tuna, fresh sambal matah, and satays. Heaven on a plate, my all time favorite and it’s around Rp 25.000,-/portion. If you are here, make sure to order their signature cem-ceman water. Don’t ask me what is that, I don’t even know. All I know, it’s really interesting and worth to try once.

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Full and stuffed. Happy belly, happier heart. We continued our journey back home, halfway the journey, then what happened next just surprised me. Just entering the big ring road Ida Bagus Mantra, something went wrong with my car and I had to stop by the side of the road. Kinda frustrated at time, since I felt all alone with no one I could ask for help. But then I reminded myself, I’m strong enough to take care my own as well to solve the problem by myself. I’d stand by my own backbone and finding someway put. So I locked the door and carried the little Bumi looking for technician and some help, and I’m blessed enough to be surrounded by many helping people out there. Hahaha, good thing I was following my hunch to go back. I couldn’t imagine if I continued the journey and got stuck in the middle of nowhere.

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Done with the repairing, we headed back home smoothly. Tired but satisfied completely. So below was the map of our journey, I couldn’t believe it was only around 80km. Well, it’s only Bogor-Jakarta, and I used to go back and forth the distance for work before. It wasn’t far as I remember, but this road trip felt like forever on the road! *crying* Cannot complain though, the time spent with little Bumi on the road was the time well-spent. Having baby on the board surely made a lot of differences and slowed me down a little, but having him as my traveling partner was surely beyond anything I could ask for.

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We made it. We made this road trip to East, and I know this was only just a beginning from many more to come. A duet traveler of mom and little son is now born.

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Thank you, East Bali for marking our brand new world. See you in another adventure, soon πŸ™‚

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Rujak Bebeg!

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Here comes one of my favorite foods from the past: rujak bebeg. It’s been several years since the last time I had one, since it’s getting harder to find one in the city. The seller is usually moving around from one place to another on one area, yet the number of them is gradually decreasing as well. I just consider myself lucky to find one this afternoon.

It’s a variation from the usual Indonesian fruit salad that made from several kind of ingredients, containing yam bean, sweet potatoes, jambu air and kedondong. The ingredients itself would be cut into smaller pieces, combined with some brown sugar, salt, and a hint of shrimp paste, then later mashed out together into crushed pieces.
Does it taste good? Sure! The sweetness flavor melted together with sourness from fruit and a hint of spiciness, forming a refreshing taste to please our tongue.
I really love this one!

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Happy Tummy!

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My aunty is marrying an Iranian guy.
And this is one Iranian dish she would cook some time in a while, the one we have always been waiting of: Chicken under the Rice!

The fragrant basmasti rice with some crispy burt on the bottom, combined with the whole chicken buried underneath.

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One of the nyummiest food I’d always crave about πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹
Even Bum is enjoying it as well!

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Lucky to have it served as today’s lunch at grandma’s home!

“It’s Not My Fault I Love Gelato” by Lello Lello Gelato

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Some days ago, my fellow acquaintance from film production I worked before, was apparently visiting Bali. She’s couple years younger than me, a petite lady, but a very hardworking one, and also a lovable person. It’s been quite years since the last time we met, so I couldn’t wait for our meet up and I was thinking hard about where should I take her.
And the end I chose this gelato place around Petitenget area: Lello Lello Gelato.
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It located in Jalan Kayu Aya, no 21 Seminyak, just right next to Sea Circus Cafe and Restaurant. Design-wise, it’s pretty unique and catchy. I’ve been driving pass this place for couple of times already and been thinking to pay a visit to this place one day. Therefore I was so glad that finally I had my reason to come!
Due to the narrow road and they don’t have their own parking spot, then I had to park my car on Petitenget Beach, around 200m from Lello Lello. That’s quite convenient though, because it’s really spacious over there and the area itself is pretty much friendly for pedestrians with few interesting stores along the way.

And just after we got in to the place, the first thing that caught our attention was their graffitis all across the wall. Designed with interesting quote about gelato and combined with nice handwriting typography, made it really pleasing to our eyes. Also, they have some spacious area, both inside and on their terrace, that surely make it a very comfortable place to hang out and gather around with friends.
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As we approached the gelato display area, we’ve been spoiled with so many unique variety of their gelato flavor. It required us to take some time mumbling to ourselves and trying the tester one by one. Oh my, so many option with so many signature flavor that we rarely found anywhere else. What should we get? That was the ultimate question of the day.
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And still, at the end we couldn’t make a decision what we gonna chose, and we were so saved by their “DEGUSTAZIONE” option. Basically, it was their tasting plate menu with 5 scoops of our preferences. So, yeah, pardon our greediness, but we definitely had to choose that one :’)

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Here it was, our degustazione plate, with 5 glass of our chosen gelato: Tangerine Mint (sort of fresh citrus with mint), The Carmodede (guava mixed with mascarpone), Beng Beng (yes, that chocolate product!), Snoop Dog (choco! Choco! Choco!), and Rumballs (choco gelato with dash of rum and coconut). Again, pardon our greediness, but just as what’s been written on the wall:
“It’s not my fault I love gelato!” πŸ˜‰

Five scoops of degustazione plate just costed us Rp 90.000,-. It cannot beat the combination of cheap price and quality taste of Gusto Gelato, but I would say that it’s still quite cheap. Yes, considering their area, the spacious and comfortable place, also the variety of flavor and taste; the price can still be considered as cheap.
I mean, I’ve been to some other gelato places whom costed more than this and their taste wasn’t as good as Lello Lello.

We definitely had a really good time chatting over those 5 cups of gelato. A tummy full of gelato is a happy tummy x’D
Again, just as they said:
“Tomorrow we can eat broccoli, but today is for gelato!”
Definitely will come back again for more πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹

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Lika Liku, Warung Liku

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Bali is quite well-known with their rice dishes, nasi campur. It’s a rice served with some Balinese style veggies, lawar, peanut, sambal matah and pork/chicken/fish dishes. While suckling pig is one famous dish for pork, ayam betutu is made from chicken. To put it on quite details, ayam betutu is basically a chicken dish with Balinese seasoned; such as shallots, lemon grass, ginger, garlic, chilli, tamarind, nutmeg, cumin, and many more. Mixed the spices and stuff it inside the chicken, then wrapped with banana leaf and grilled until it’s fully cooked.

There’s one place that I frequently come for their plate of nasi ayam betutu nearby, and I always think they have the best ayam betutu in Bali.
Warung Liku, it is.

Located in Jalan Nakula on the north from the Sunset Road intersection in Kuta/Seminyak area, they serve their food only for breakfast and lunch. They usually open around 8/9, and finished everything by the lunch time. They are really well-known as a lunch place for office workers nearby.

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There is some parking spot, but quite small for cars. If you’re not lucky enough, then you should look for some spot at the side way. The place itself is just like any other warung, not spacious, but consist with couple of tables and plastic chairs. At the lunch time, it will be packed and you must be willing to share your table with anybody else.

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And as for the food, the ayam betutu is served with rice, steamed long beans with Balinese sauce, peanuts, boiled egg, and sambal matah. It’s full of flavor and incredibly moist. You can taste the richness of herbs they use, but it’s not too spicy. The spiciness is quite moderate, so anybody could enjoy it nevertheless.
Their sambal matah also works that way, you can enjoy the freshness without being overwhelmed hot.

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Me personally, think this is the best betutu I ever tasted. Despite its richness of flavor, you can feel it just right on your mouth. Also, for the price-wise, it’s only Rp 12.000,- per plate. So cheap and so good.
I put this Warung Liku on my frequent eating-out list, for sure

Well, if you are happen to be around Kuta or Seminyak area and you want to indulge yourself with some local food such asΒ ayam betutu, you might want to pay a visit to this place.

Sate Lilit, All Over Again

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I think the good God of Sate Lilit Ikan has been smiling unto me recently. After a trip to Sari Mertha from my previous post, I thought nothing could beat them on sate lilit and sate ikan dishes, in term of their combination of goodness and cheap! But it was only until I found this new spot accidentally.

When I was browsing on the internet for some other topic, there’s a link that brought me to the article about authentic sate lilit and sate ikan stall just around Ubud area. The hint was around the Ubud intersection with the big Arjuna statue, but they didn’t give the exact point where it is, so I managed myself to browse and look carefully to the left and right as I drove my car around the area.

And there I found it in Jl. Raya Ubud, around 100m before Bali Buda Mart on the other side of the road. It might be around here. You can park your car on the sideway, it isn’t really crowded.

It’s a really small yet traditional stall, just consists of a small display table under the umbrella and some small plastic chairs for customer to sit. Very very modest place, yet so authentic. The signature dishes are of course the sate lilit and sate ikan/ fish satay.

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I met a very humble woman as a seller that day, she kindly explained all food she had to offer. She said that the sate lilit is made from mashed seasonal fish flavored with mixed spices and herbs, like lemon grass, coconut milk, lime leaves with hint of tumeric and chilli, while sate ikan/ fish satay is made from small chunks of tuna.
Beside the satay, she also offered another option of dishes like pepes ikan, Balinese style vegetables, and fish ball soup.

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I went for sate lilit, sate ikan, and pepes. I ordered 10 pieces of satay (5 of each) and one portion of pepes. Because I already ate somewhere else, I chose it for to go. So she wrapped it up and I paid Rp 12.000,- only.

One thousand for one piece of satay and two thousand for pepes.
Oh my good Lord….

And so I drove back to my place at Kuta area, around 60minutes driving. As I arrived, I put on the rice on rice cooker and waited unpatiently to get the taste of this; at the same price, will the taste be comparable to Sari Mertha’s?

Got my rice set and warm, then I fill my plate and took my first bite.
Oh my good God of sate lilit ikan, it was soooooooooo goooooooodddd :’)
Despite its cheap price, the taste was so rich in flavor!
As authentic as any – hot, chewy, spicy, and savory.

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And I immediately regretted it: why did I only order for 10 pieces? :'(((
It was sooooo goood until I think I could eat this forever.
Definitely will come back again to Ubud to eat more of this!

So yeah, if you happen to be in Ubud and wanna indulge your tastebud with authentic Balinese food, this one is definitely a go.
I’m not only recommending this place, I really suggest you to try by your own.

Because until now I’m still mourning over the finished pile of this satay and couldn’t move on yet ;’)

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Go All the Way to Sari Mertha

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I’ve been so fond with Balinese food since wayyy before, even before it crossed my mind that one day I would live in Bali myself.
Good thing, it was quite easy to find nasi lawar or babi guling/ suckling pig almost everywhere. But not with this one: sate lilit and sate ikan/ fish satay.

Sate lilit and sate ikan are two of my most favorite satay in Bali, I should say. Once I tasted a good one in Warung Made but it was quite pricey, and another one in Warung Mertasari in Karang Asem area but it was pretty far. Those two are definitely not for a daily basis. So I’ve been looking for a place with a good sate lilit with affordable price nearby. Found some but not really satisfying somehow.
And yesterday, I’m so happy that my friend got introducting me to this Pondok Makan Sari Mertha.

Pondok Makan Sari Mertha is located in Jl. By Pass Ngurah Rai Jimbaran/Nusa Dua right after the exit gate of the Mandala Highway. Take left from the exit and go straight around 200m. Drive a bit slowly or you might miss their sign. You can park your motorcycle on their little parking spot, or just park your car on the sideways.

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The place itself is far from luxiorous, only a small place with few simple table and chair. On the first sight, the food on the shelf might not really looks attractive, and there are not many variety of foods. It’s just some Balinese style vegetables, something minced, some perkedel, and of course their speciality: sate lilit and sate ikan.
But please don’t be decieved, the food is full with modest goodness. I ordered a plate with a bit of every kind, served with a bowl of hot fish soup.
As I took my first bite, I realised that all of them is made by fish. Their sate ikan is made from sliced tuna, the sate lilit is from minced tenggiri fish mixed with lemon grass and coconut, even their perkedel is from fish as well.
A plate full of fish and it’s really good!

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And at the top of it, the price is Rp 10.000,- only! I could go there everyday :’)

So if you are happen to be in Bali and looking for some eating place that modestly good with cheap price around Nusa Dua, why don’t you try to pay a visit to Pondok Makan Sari Mertha?
We might one day bump each other there πŸ˜‰

Bali Gelato? Let’s Gusto Gelato!

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Bali and gelato, I think both of them make a really good combination.
And here, gelato places are scattered all around. Some is good, some is just okay. Some is well-know for it’s healthy gluten free stuff and some is just ordinary.
Just at the early of this year, I heard my friend said something about good gelato around Kerobokan area. Do the research and found this place: Gusto Gelato & Caffè

Located at Jl. Umalas 2, Seminyak, it’s quite a bit far from tourist area. Maybe it will take around 15 minutes from Kuta by car, crossing some rice field, and there you found this.

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As for their gelato, the option isn’t as much as some other Gelato Places I know, but they have pretty unique variants that differ them from others.

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They have almond, snickers, praline, caramel, dragon fruit sorbet, lemon grass sorbet….. Evenly, at the first time I went there, I found the gelato with KEMANGI flavor!
*I even so excited just by recalling the taste back πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹

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At last, I chose Caramel & Kemangi combo. Oh my, that was a really perfect combination. The salty rich caramel flavor complimented the sweetness of Kemangi. Surely, I have to say that it’s one the best gelato I ever tasted.

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I would definitely recommend this Gelato Place to other people. Not only because of the gelato itself, but also I have to say that it’s quite cheap!
I ordered the small cup for two kind of gelato, and they filled the cup until it was really full. And guess how much it cost?
Twenty thousand rupiah only!
Oh my, I’m dying happily πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

In other places, it was around 15-25 thousands rupiah for one scoop (literally one scoop, not more) and that wasn’t as good as Gusto’s.
So yeah, for Gelato lover, this Gusto place is really worth a try!

Be adventurous to try new flavor, I bet they will surprise you πŸ™‚

Note: I heard they will move to the new place starting the end of January or February 2014. It will be a bit closer from tourist area and not far from the big Sunset Road. Their new place will be at Jl. Mertanadi no.46. When I have a chance to visit their new place , I’ll surely make another post again