Hi.

Welcome to my site. Here you will find exciting mashups of my very own recipes for the everyday home cook. I draw influences from my days working as an Executive Chef at my own Chinese restaurant in Downtown San Francisco, as well as inspiration from various cuisines I experience from all my travels. 

ENJOY!

Chef Kathy Fang
Sightseeing in Yogyakarta, Java Indonesia

Sightseeing in Yogyakarta, Java Indonesia

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After 3 restful nights at Jimbaran Bay, we woke up bright and early where our local guide from Artisans of Leisure took us to Denpensar Airport for our flight to Yogyakarta on the Indonesian Island of Java. Yogyakarta also known as Jogja is famous for it’s royal palaces, folk art and whitewashed villages. A short flight in, we arrive and am greeted by our new local guide who immediately takes us on our full day tour!

Our first stop: Prambanan

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 Prambanan is a  vast Hindu compound  consisting of over 200 temples that was built in the 9th century. This Unesco Heritage Site is made up of small temples arranged in a grid that surrounds a group of tall central temples dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma. Below are a few black and white shots I took of the compound and structures. 

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I'm always in awe when I see these incredibly old structures made with such intricate detail and craftsmanship carved out of stone, stacked on top of each other to withstand the test of time. 

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Observe the walls where stories of Hindu Mythology are carved into the relief.

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Walk inside the temples to capture a different view of the grounds and structures

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Second stop: Kraton

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Our guide then takes us to Kraton, the palace for the Sultans of Yogyakarta and also the cultural heart of the city. Kraton is essentially a walled city that is home to about 25,000 people, schools, mosques, batik or silvermaking workshops, as well as the Sultan’s residence.

The sultan’s residence which we toured in sections had an interesting mix of Javanese Architecture and European Opulence. Here you see chandeliers incorporated into their atriums.

The sultan’s residence which we toured in sections had an interesting mix of Javanese Architecture and European Opulence. Here you see chandeliers incorporated into their atriums.

Kraton is a cultural hub supporting the arts..here we find traditional music 

Kraton is a cultural hub supporting the arts..here we find traditional music 

A woman working on batik 

A woman working on batik 

How neat is that?

How neat is that?

Everything hand made...

Everything hand made...

Third stop: Taman Sari, the sultan’s water palace built in the mid-18th century. Another Unesco Heritage site which is known as a resting place, hiding place, and bathing complex. There are pools in which concubines would bath in while the sultan would come and take his pick. Sounds fascinating right?

At this point, it's pretty hot in the afternoon with no shade. I'm definitely not as entertained at our last stop. Tip: bring a set of shorts with you not packed in your suitcase so you can change out your pants. In the morning it was chilly, but as the day went on, I swapped out of my jeans and tucked away my cardigan. 

At this point, it's pretty hot in the afternoon with no shade. I'm definitely not as entertained at our last stop. Tip: bring a set of shorts with you not packed in your suitcase so you can change out your pants. In the morning it was chilly, but as the day went on, I swapped out of my jeans and tucked away my cardigan. 

Checking out one of the pool pavilions

Checking out one of the pool pavilions

Probably the least favorite spot for me as the heat was starting to get a bit much and after seeing Prambanan and Kraton, the water palace feels a bit more underwhelming. I would say it's not a must see, while the other 2 are. 

Our tour for the day concludes with the water palace, where our guide and driver then takes us  to Amanjiwo, where we will spend 3 nights in absolute heaven. Amanjiwo is a spiritual and luxurious hotel nestled in the Menoreh hills, an hour drive from Yogyakarta and lies opposite the 9th century Buddhist Sanctuary and Unesco Heritage Site, Borodudur. 

Amanjiwo hidden and nestled in the hills away from any city life. Just nature!

Amanjiwo hidden and nestled in the hills away from any city life. Just nature!

Their stunning entrance to the resort. The architecture here is one of the biggest draw for me, as it reminds you of all the temples and structures you see during your tours. You can't get the full experience if every place you stay is super modern. Amanjiwo gives you a sense of ancient architecture fused with just the right amount of modern luxurious zen.

Their stunning entrance to the resort. The architecture here is one of the biggest draw for me, as it reminds you of all the temples and structures you see during your tours. You can't get the full experience if every place you stay is super modern. Amanjiwo gives you a sense of ancient architecture fused with just the right amount of modern luxurious zen.

Of course once we arrive, we head to their open air dining room for a late lunch after a full day of flying and sightseeing. Pretty starved at this point:)

Arriving late in the afternoon means, having the whole place to ourselves for lunch!

Arriving late in the afternoon means, having the whole place to ourselves for lunch!

One of my favorite things to do when traveling is eating of course!! Trying local dishes from high end to low end and so I wasn’t going to hold back, especially since Aman properties are known for phenomenal food and have never disappointed in my experience.

My appetizer: Balinese snake bean coconut salad tossed with tomato, shredded cabbage , bean sprouts, lemongrass, chili, garlic, peanuts, lime juice, shallots, sesame oil, and palm sugar. 

My appetizer: Balinese snake bean coconut salad tossed with tomato, shredded cabbage , bean sprouts, lemongrass, chili, garlic, peanuts, lime juice, shallots, sesame oil, and palm sugar. 

For my main I had the Javanese Fried Chicken with some sort of soup/stew that included tons of vegetables like carrots, corn, squash, and okra. The chicken was cooked perfectly, crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside and super flavorful. 

For my main I had the Javanese Fried Chicken with some sort of soup/stew that included tons of vegetables like carrots, corn, squash, and okra. The chicken was cooked perfectly, crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside and super flavorful. 

I started with a super refreshing and flavorful salad made of snake beans, bean sprouts, tomatoes and cabbage. Then for my main I had the Javanese Fried Chicken.  The chicken was cooked perfectly, crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside and super flavorful. They marinate and poach the chicken in freshly ground spices, lemongrass, kaffir lime, and coconut water before frying it. The sauce they then coat the chicken in, is rich in coconut curry flavor thickened by freshly ground peanut paste. It's got a little kick to it but not overpowering and the slight tang from the kaffir and lemongrass cuts through the richness from the peanut and the coconut. I'm a happy camper here!! 

Chicken Satay

Chicken Satay

My husband got the Chicken Satay which comes with a side of fragrant rice and prawn crackers. They make the best freshly fried prawn crackers here (super light, crispy, not oily, and a thicker cut than most) We literally ordered them for lunch, dinner, and cocktails whenever we ate at the resort.

Our lunch:)

Our lunch:)

Well that concludes the day of sightseeing in Yogyarta. Stay tuned for the next posts where I will give you an inside look into Amanjiwo and what makes it one of the best properties to visit and stay at. And also a separate post on the beauty of Borobudur and why you can't miss this site if you plan to travel to Indonesia!

Retreat into Heaven at The Amanjiwo, Central Java

Retreat into Heaven at The Amanjiwo, Central Java

Ease into Bali at the Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay

Ease into Bali at the Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay