Saturday, March 16, 2013

Farah Quinns famous Nasi Jinggo Bali?

Recently, while traveling in SE Asia, I had a chance to fly Air Asia. It is one of the leading contenders of “budget airlines” that is changing the air scene across Asia. In pricing a trip from Singapore to Bali, the Singapore Airlines lowest price was over $500, while AirAsia weighed in at less than $200.

The objective of the low cost airlines is to compete at the lowest base price, and then encourage you to add on services and extras for a fee. By the time I added on a few for extra luggage weight to accommodate my suitcase, a nearly forced $12 insurance fee and extra fees to sit in an exit row and board the plane first, I ended up paying about $300 for the 3 hour trip.

Food on the airline is inexpensive and priced to make it easy for you to say yes. The airline is painted bright and full of the color red. Menu cards in the seat pocket are bold and entice you with a “chef inspired” meals. For this fight, the menu was touting a famous “Nasi Jinggo Bali” made by Farah Quinn, the supposed “most famous chef of Indonesia.” Farah evidently went to high school in Pittsburgh in the US, and then went on to become a super model and eventually a chef. She appears on several celebrity cooking shows.

I am not sure if she is the most famous – but she must be one of the most attractive. Here is the menu card from the seat pocket.


I decided I wanted to try the famous Nasi Jinggo Bali. It is dish consisting of stewed shredded chicken, with spicy vegetables, a sambal (a famous SE Asia salsa of chili, onions, garlic and peppers) all served on top of rice. The price for this dish, created by “Indonesia’s top celebrity chef?” Only 39.000 Indonesian rupees or about $4. Looks, good in the picture. Sounds good. Why not?

Here is what my final dish looked like:

It didn’t have the level of chicken, vegetable or sambal that was described on the menu. The taste was not bad. But it was not something I would order again. Online, another reviewer said “it was the bet nasi he had ever tasted.” I think not. I have tasted a lot of nasi’s in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia over the last 10 years, and this one left much to be desired.

They are overselling the dish by using a supermodel and incorrect pictures. I am sure critics will remind me that it was only $4, and so what did I expect? Point taken. Perhaps there are cultural issues here?

But I won’t be rushing to find a “Farah Quinn” restaurant anytime soon if she is willing to put her signature on this.