Sunday, November 03, 2019

finding the best rawon

my family lives in Malang, about an hour flight from Jakarta to the east of Java, Indonesia. it is a provincial city famous for its colder climate, apple plantations, and good food. as I planned to visit it this weekend, I have planned of having some culinary tour while I was there, contacting some friends to do so.

other than bakso, a meatball soup with clear broth, Malang was known for its fine selection of East Java delicacy: rawon -dark beef stew, cwimie -a type of dry noodle dish with chopped chicken and fried wontons, kripik tempe-basically soybean cake chips and tahu campur -a dish of tofu, beansprouts, beef and shrimp paste (petis) broth. I am seriously drooling now

while planning what and where to eat, we jumped into a heated discussion on where is the best rawon in malang now. you see, it is very important to make sure that you make the best use of the time, meaning not wasting time eating in a place that is not worth your while.

rawon is a simple but complicated dish altogether. it is a beef-based dish; therefore, you have to make sure that the brisket used in it has enough tender meat as well as delicious fatty part. the dark broth comes from keluwek, fruit of a species of tall trees native to Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. these fruit need to be specially prepared as it produces poisonous hydrogen cyanide, so it has to be fermented to change its flesh from creamy white to dark brown or black. however, you must be careful to no use rotten keluwek as well. it takes a sharp eye to know which keluwek will help to produce rich, thick broth with yellowish oil surface, as a combination of delicious beef brisket and fresh keluwek.

there are of course hundreds of rawon sellers in Malang, some are more famous than another. some have a very limited opening hours, some others have longer queues as tourists flocking to it to get the best rawon they can find. our conversation today leaving us with at least three candidates, and the discussion is still ongoing. I think if no consensus reached, I will settle with the best rawon I have known: the one made by my mum.

Saturday, November 02, 2019

today's conversation: hotel marketing

the most interesting conversation happened today when a question popped about my old office. how to market it better as a rival established and taking a lot of businesses?

I am thinking about marketing quite a lot this week, and somehow this question intriguing me, knowing that my old boss is frustrated to see other establishment knows how to promote and market themselves better, whereas his crews are pretty much clueless on what to do. he dislikes fake people and of course a digital-based marketing with influencers, without having an organic campaign crafted with sophistication and taste will infuriate him. his last marketing person stayed for only 3 months after several setback and clashes.

do I know a PR company to contact?
my first reaction is whether a PR company is what they need, or whether what they need is a general checkup on positioning, purposes and priorities?
my old office is no longer a startup it used to. it is now transforming from a small-medium enterprise into a bigger enterprise, an established brand and a settle household in its region. it's been around for 22 years.

I said maybe what they need is someone who can help them understand who they are now, so that they can determine the nest steps. I think it will be useless to try different things at this point, without really understanding what is going on. I mean, is it true that the decline in customers really about better marketing outreach to get new markets? what if the new markets are actually the type of cheap customers who will not pay in the level of their service? what if they are launching something in the wrong market, at the wrong time, so that it was not working well? what if they have not choose their battle carefully all these time?

other things to discuss is excitements. a more established brand needs a different strategy to play. maybe what they need is showing that there is always a constant improvements albeit small? new menu, new chef, new CEO, new artist to promote, new acquisition, heck even new plants that happens to be on the brink of extinction!
maybe they need to show more that their places offer a home to return to, an authentic place that will not change, a dependable feelings that you can look forward to every now and then. remember that campaign where mandarin hotel campaigned as if they have an embroidered pillowcase for every guest they ever had? that kind of lips service is what people sometimes need to believe.

it was a nice way to spend 25 minutes, thinking and talking about this. hope that conversation helps.

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