Food from the Cold North Receives Warm Welcome in Indonesia

”Indonesians are within their comfort zone with Norwegian Salmon” says Stig Drageide and Jostein Medhus who are responsible for the culinary execution of the event “The Best of Norway” which was held at C’s Steak and Seafood restaurant, Grand Hyatt Jakarta 21-24 May.
Stig is usually working as sous chef at Mezza9, Grand Hyatt  Singapore where he often uses Norwegian ingredients when preparing food. Jostein was participating as a representative of the Norwegian Culinary Institute. They were both in Jakarta on a mission from  Norwegian Seafood Export Council, which in close cooperation with the Norwegian Embassy in Jakarta organized a memorable culinary experience for potential buyers of Norwegian seafood in Indonesia.

Targeted Marketing
The event ”The Best of Norway” in Jakarta is part of a targeted strategy where Norwegian seafood at its best is presented directly to representatives from restaurants, hotels and other important potential buyers of Norwegian seafood products. Stig and Jostein thinks that Norwegian Seafood Export Council are good at running effective marketing campaigns that are targeted directly at the important food purchasing decisionmakers.

Actively Involved Embassy
The Norwegian Embassy in Jakarta played a key role as a proponent and organiser of the event ”The Best of Norway”. The Embassy financed the project together with Norwegian Seafood Export Council, and did also participate actively in the successful execution of the project by inviting key people to the event and by creating media coverage from relevant local media such as for example the Jakarta Post. 

Support from Local Norwegian Businesses
StatoilHydro, Which has recently  established a prescence in Indonesia, used the opportunity to invite for a gala dinner celebrating the official opening of their new Jakarta offices with norwegian culinary specialties from the chefs preparing food for ”The Best of Norway”. The treats were served accompanied with live tunes by Ole Edward Antonsen. 

Norwegian Salmon – A Classic
Norwegian Salmon is already a classic in Indonesia and can be found in many of the country’s better hotels. The Salmon is also increasingly to be found in restaurants in the biggest Indonesian cities, not to forget the norwegian smoked salmon which of course has fixed shelve space in any reputable Indonesian supermarket.

Focus on Alternative Produucts
”Cod is cool” is Stig’s response to Norwegian Seafood Export Council’s increased focus on marketing alternatives to the traditional Salmon – on the menu is amongst other Halibut, Cod, Lobster, Crawfish, and Scallop…and of course the King Crab. With 80% meat and an exclusive taste the King Crab should have good potential in Indonesia. Indoguna, a regional supplier of hight quality food products is currently supplying a little King Crab to some of the Indonesian hotels, Hyatt Jakarta is for example using some King Crab in their chinese food section, but the King Crab is still probably a bit too big and scary looking for sale in most Indonesian stores where, contrary to China, the biggest is not always the best. Norwegian Salmon on the other hand is a product Indoguna supplies several tonnes of in Indonesia every week. 
”Norwegian Crawfish!” Both Stig and Jostein nods ”..theat’s unique!”

Nice and Cold
Why is the Norwegian seafood so tasty? – the two expert chefs have no doubt. It is because of the cold temperatures giving the seafood plenty of time to ripen. The result is seafood with a fuller taste than many of the Indonesian or regional South East Asian products. Because of this, Stig often chooses Norwegian ingredients when he’s about to make something extra nice for his guests at Mezza9, Grand Hyatt Singapore

Export Tip: Food in the Fasting Month
The fasting month of Ramadan is once again approaching in Indonesia as the start of Ramadan falls on the first of September this year. You might expect that the fasting month means a downturn for any business involved with food. If you do… you’re wrong. Ramadan is a month characterized by festivities with the best food any family can afford. Consequently Ramadan is also characterised by inflated prices on exclusive food ingredients due to unusually high demand.
Ramadan this year could be a good opportunity to introducing new and exclusive food products. Who knows, maybe Norwegian Crawfish will be the trend for breaking the fast festivities in 2008.

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The author of this article is a consultant with The Apex Consulting Group, Jakarta, and a freelance journalist. He can be contacted on e-mail: johannes@apex-cg.com

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