Category Archives: Java

2 security checks. Really??

There’s enough natural frustrations with travel without adding extra unnecessary ones. Adding two security checks in the airport felt excessive.

Two security checks in the airport

After an 8-hour layover in the Kuala Lumpur airport, it was time to head to Bahrain, a small country bordering Saudi Arabia.  Among the many security policies I find to be annoying are the policy for liquids. I finished my water, passed through security, and bought more water for the flight after passing through security.  Then came the surprise – the gate had their own security check with the same no-liquid policy. Really?  Is that needed?  After passing through, you’re basically quarantined at the gate, with no access to water or bathrooms until you can get on the plane.

We’re heading to the Middle East, so I guess two security checkpoints feels like a great idea. But it’s a long flight so not being able to have water is a challenge. They’ll bring you a little 6oz cup of water when they offer drinks. Awesome. Thanks Gulf Air!  Eck.  I had looked them up and they actually came highly rated online so we’ll see.

Indonesian BBQ fish – innovative grilling

I take photos of nearly every meal when I’m traveling and some readers* have  requested more photos of them. So, by popular demand, this post is on the Indonesian BBQ fish we had in Java.

After a day of hiking up a volcano, we were ready for a post-volcano feast.  Travel is about pushing the envelope on your comfort zone, and this is a great example. We went to an authentic Indonesian BBQ fish place (seafood) – located outside at a Shell gas station! It turned out to be delicious! 

Photo tour of our Indonesian BBQ fish experience:

Dina featuring her new henna at our Indonesia BBQ fish dinner
Dina featuring her new henna at dinner

The waving method of grilling

Their method of grilling was a bit different than what I’m used to. They put the fish (in this case, red snapper, caught that morning) in between the 2 metal racks and put it on the grill, and then constantly fan it. I’ve posted photos here:

Indonesian BBQ fish - they use this waving method to grill
they wave air to the grill’s fire
Indonesian BBQ fish - very different than the grills we use
That’s our snapper on the grill

Costs:  dinner for 4 for under $8!

The delicious Red Snapper was in 2 types of marinade and turned out to be one of the best meals I’ve had! I bought dinner for the group, which included the fish, rice, veges, chili, and drinks, et al. Total bill for our Indonesian BBQ fish was $72,000 IDR (~$7.50 or so). I love Indonesia!

yum. Red Snapper off the Indonesian BBQ grill
yum. Red Snapper off the Indonesian BBQ grill

Choose your fish, they BBQ it up! - Indonesian BBQ fish in Igen, Java, IndonesiaChoose your fish, they drop in on the scale and BBQ it up!  Note – food station is right between the parking lot and the gas station

Where is the best Indonesian BBQ fish place located?

It’s actually located in the lot of a Shell gas station, in Ijen, Java, Indonesia. Welcome to Indonesia! You can see in the below photos – they just move the cars away for dinnertime. Seriously!?!

Scale for our Indonesian BBQ fish in a Shell gas station in Ijen Indonesia in Java
Just before we got our food I looked around…are we in a gas station? They set up a seafood restaurant in a Shell station.
Scale for our Indonesian BBQ fish in Ijen Indonesia in Java
Calamari and a scale…in a Shell station! You can see the Shell banner in the background. It was at a gas station

The experience made me crave cooking Indonesian BBQ fish when I got home, so I looked up some recipes. Here’s the Indonesian BBQ fish recipe that I’m going to try:

Ikan Bakar Dua (aka Grilled Fish)


– 1 kg. fish
– 3 shallots
– 3 cloves of garlic
– 2 candlenuts
– 3 tbsp gula merah
– 1 tbsp tamarind paste
– 3 tbsp oil
– salt to taste


Chop the shallots and garlic finely and grind it with the candlenuts and salt into a paste. Add the gula merah and mix it well. Add the tamarind paste and the oil and mix well. Brush the fish with the marinade and let it marinate for an hour. Grill the fish on the barbecue until tender while brushing with the marinade. Recipe source

* A bunch of readers have requested “food porn” from my adventures through Asia, but the request that caught my attention most was Jess, founder of Jessica Alfreds Homemade. Her cooking is delicious!  Try it if you’re in the CT/NJ/NY area!