Flavors of Indonesia Catapulted into the Global Limelight

Posted by OmarTarakiNiodeFoundation
11 June 2017 | blogpost

An invitation to attend a book discussion is always welcome, especially one organized by Periplus Bookstores about Flavors of Indonesia. William Wongso’s Culinary Wonders.

William Wongso, whom many of us called Om William, is a culinary expert with more than 40 years of experience who consistently promotes the diversity of Indonesian cuisines all over the world.

Indonesian Food Culture

Flavors of Indonesia is an illustrated reference on the Indonesian Archipelago food culture plus some recipes of long forgotten dishes. Om William, with a team of writers and food photographer, successfully captured the essence of Indonesian ingredients and delicacies in 198 pages.

The book is neatly divided into several chapters: When it Comes to Taste; Culinary Hopping Through the Archipelago; A Wealth of Tastes in Traditional Regional Cuisines; Spices, Indigenous Fruits and Condiments; and William Wongso’s Culinary Wonders. Praises and testimonies came from culinary giants such as Anthony Bourdain, Christine Manfield, Bobby Chin and Sri Owen.

BabBooks published Flavors of Indonesia in 2016 and it has since been the subject of book discussions and food events such as An Evening Conversation and Food Tasting at the Asia Society Hongkong Center, The Ubud Food Festival and Festival de la Gastronomie Indonésienne.

Gourmand Award

Flavors of Indonesia is catapulted into the global limelight when it won Best Cookbook of the Year at the 2017 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in Yantai, China.

The Gourmand Awards began in 1995, initiated by Edouard Cointreau with Cointreau and Remy Martin family lineage. The awards aimed to honor the culinary writers and publishers and to build bridges between cultures. Journalists often compare the Gourmand Awards with the Oscars in the film industry because of its glamor, television role, and deep emotion on the stage when winners are announced.

A Welcome Burden

In front of a packed audience at Periplus Plaza Indonesia, William Wongso and Santhi Serad, both founders of ACMI (I love Indonesian Food Movement) shared about how the book came into being after 5 years in the making and the excitement of winning Best Cookbook of the Year.

When asked how he feels in winning the Gourmand Award, om William softly said: “It is actually a burden, as I have to keep my next project up to par. The taste of Indonesia is a cultural reflection of the countr.y, and a book has to reveal the mystery of Indonesia.”

Binthe Biluhuta Gorontalo

The Omar Niode Foundation is forever grateful to Om William for often presenting Binthe Biluhuta Gorontalo in many of his international events taking place in, among others, the United States, France, the Netherlands and Korea.

Binthe Biluhuta is a traditional soup of Gorontalo with corn, grated coconut, basil leaves and shredded or chopped shrimp as the main ingredients. Om William comes with creative plating ideas to make this dish more appealing. To prepare binthe biluhuta he emphasized on using traditional coconut grater from Gorontalo, called dudangata, to get its original texture. Also, boil the corn in low heat, and add seafood such as oriental white clam, crab, or lobster to increase value without sacrificing its authenticity.

The Next Project

Nearing the end of the book discussion the audience asked om William what will his next book be about. Slightly enthusiastic he said it will be about fish in Indonesian cooking.

A food book discussion will not be complete without food; hence in between books at Periplus Plaza Indonesia, the audience enjoyed some food prepared using recipes from the book. As posted by Epicurina, the dishes comprised of urap pegagan (Asiatic pennywort with shredded coconut) with rare mango, and pomelo, paired with pegagan omelet, and Balinese fish cakes with sambal matah as a condiment.

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All images by William Wongso and Flavors of Indonesia.