New on Traveling Titas & Co. Insider knowledge from our network of frequent travellers and expat friends.

On this Q&A, expat April Cabello lets us in on her Jakarta. From local designers to vegetarian food and where to go for the best views in town, we hope these tips will come in handy should you one day find yourself in Jakarta.

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Batik Monday, April Arshad with fellow expat Mark Go

Q: What is your job and how long have you been living in Jakarta?

A: I live and breathe the telco life. I’m a General Manager heading the digital transformation group of XL Axiata, one of Indonesia’s bigger telecommunications companies. I’ve been here for a year now, but I’ve been living in Jakarta for an accumulated 3 years, since 2010, if I count my previous expatriate stint.

Q:  What do you like most about living in Jakarta?

A: Food and culture! I love spicy food and I have a high tolerance for it, that’s why I survive here. Just like in the Philippines, every region will offer different kinds of dishes, but normally with spices. I love Padang, Sundanese and Manado food.

Baramundi Pacak, Satay Padang and Gado-Gado

In terms of culture, they have beautiful batiks. I have a collection of batik bags and batik clothes because we’re supposed to wear batik in the office every Monday. I get them from a designer friend who has her own batik label here.

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Local Brand, Nan Elok

Q: What is your favourite place to have Sunday brunch? What do you usually order?

A: Koi Kemang Koi offers a good brunch selection. I’m vegetarian on most days so I order their Eggs Florentine: poached eggs with sautéed spinach on an English muffin topped with hollandaise sauce.

My second go-to brunch place is the new Lucky Cat Café in my area in South Jakarta. It serves avocado on toast with creamy mushroom, my all-time favorite!

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Brunch at Lucky Cat Cafe (photo credit jktgo.com)

Q:  Where would you go for the best views of Jakarta?

A: Altitude This is a bar on top of The Plaza beside Plaza Indonesia Mall. It’s on the 46th floor so you can have an unobstructed view of the city.

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360 views of the city at Altitude (photo credit jktgo.com)

Q: Where would you go for a day trip?

A:  Jakartans would normally flock to Bandung or Bogor and it can get awfully traffic going there. For a day trip, both Bandung and Bogor offer a slew of culinary feasts. There are a lot of good brunch places and restaurants there. Bandung also has a lot of branded shopping depots.

There are also good places in Bandung where you can relax for an entire day or spend the night over. I recently went to Trizara Resorts, a glamping site in Bandung. You can experience glamping for an entire weekend there or you can use their amenities for a day trip.

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Trizara Resorts

Q: What pasalubong do you bring for family and friends?

A: Anything batik – wallets, clutch bags, shawls. Coffee – Indonesia boasts of really awesome coffee. Sambal – it’s Indonesia’s hot sauce, a mixture of chili peppers, fish sauce, ginger, vinegar and other spices. Bottled sambal can be bought in grocery stores.

Q: What are 3 essential Indonesian words or phrases?

A: Selamat datang (welcome) Terima kasih (thank you) Selamat pagi (good morning)

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April and her husband Arshad