Sushi-Making with Indonesian Celebrity, Tarra Budiman

I won a contest on social media platform, migme, and got to fly to Jakarta to meet Indonesian celebrity, Tarra Budiman. Apparently, he’s very popular in Indonesia and can be considered a household name. I’ve never even heard of him before this trip, but I found him to be really friendly and funny. Tarra speaks good English though I don’t speak a word of Bahasa, so filming this episode entirely in Bahasa was a tad challenging as I had no idea what the chef was saying. Thankfully, I’ve made sushi once before…

Grace Tan Tarra Budiman

In-between takes, Tarra and I had questions for the chef. And we found out that:

1) He doesn’t like sushi (wow!)

2) Where sushi-making is concerned, he is self-taught (double wow)

Here’s the unagi sushi that the chef did for us as a demo:

Sushi from chef

It’s really interesting how the end of 2014 has been for me. I’ve already done a ‘cooking video’ with local blogger extraordinaires Xiaxue (Wendy Cheng) and Dr Leslie Tay (check out the blogpost here), and now this video is with Indonesian celebrity, Tarra Budiman! I take it as a sign that more food videos are in store for me. LOL.

I’m very particular about the way my food looks, so I didn’t make 8 pieces (as had been done in the demo) and served up just 4 bigger pieces with the ends chopped off. We also had to spell out the word ‘migme’ on our dish, so I wrote it in mayonaise on a piece of seaweed instead. The squeeze bottle wasn’t cooperative so the writing turned out wonky.

Three pieces of sushi, after Tarra ate one for judging:

sushi for Tarra Budiman

I didn’t have the guts to tell the chef that the reason his sushi didn’t get clean ‘cuts’ is because he didn’t clean his knife with a wet cloth in-between slices. I definitely struggled with mine too, as the cloths were all dry. So there you go… sushi-making tip from me to you!

Sushi-making with Tarra Budiman

In this picture above, the chef is the dude in the red uniform, the guy next to him is the Indonesian winner of a migme contest (he happens to be a bricklayer), Tarra is in the blue shirt, and there I am making sushi under those bright lights.

In the end, I won the sushi-making contest as the sushi I made was judged to be of a more consistent height and all, but Tarra gave both of us contestants a cap each from his own brand ‘Shining Bright’!

And of course, I got it signed by Tarra!😀

Grace Tan Tarra Budiman

Tarra Budiman Shining Bright

Tarra Budiman Cap Giveaway


Looking back, it IS kinda crazy to fly 1.5hours to Jakarta, take a 1 hour cab ride to my hotel, and another car journey of 2.5hours in horrible traffic to get to the Japanese restaurant for this sushi-making experience! The filming lasted a really long time as it is generally ‘rubber time’ in Indonesia, and people do not exactly turn up on time (maybe due to traffic) and nobody is in a rush to do anything.

By the time I got to my hotel and was ready for bed, it was about 2am Singapore time. (@_@)

But I did meet some great folks from migme: @reynachan from the migme Indonesia team was awesome (thank you for going snack shopping with me!), Tarra was not intimidating though he’s a big shot in Indonesia, and lotsa thanks to everyone who took me around for food (I wish I remember names better).🙂

More on the flight, hotel and taxi-hiring experience in a bit. Stay tuned.🙂