A Light Javanese and Manadonese Lunch at Rumah Makan Bu Endang & Beautika Khas Manado, Jakarta
Posted July 19, 2012on:
Indonesian food is generally very homey, characterised by the presence of rice, noodles, stews, spicy condiments and soups. The Javanese and Manadonese which are two ethnic groups in Indonesia, feature very similar food groups but differs in the way they are prepared or spiced. In other words, their dishes are very regional in that respect. It’s not surprising as this archipelago had different influences; the island of Java, where Jakarta is, had plenty of Chinese immigrants and was the centre of the Dutch East India. As a result, bakso, bakmi, lumpia, pangsit, bistek, semur and sop buntut entered the food repetoire. Manado, which is a city in the northeast tip of the island of Sulawesi, had a different colonial experience and their cuisine tend to be less sweet and much spicier.
After a snack of sate kambing serenaded by the beautiful keroncong music, we headed to Bu Endang for some lunch. Bu Endang is a restaurant that offers homestyle Javanese cuisine in a calm setting away from the crazy traffic. It was nice to get away from the warm Jakarta heat and cool down in this beautiful air conditioned place. Their menu has a wide selection, most of which I’ve never had before. The wonderful thing is, I didn’t have to do the ordering since we had a Javanese friend with us at our table. =)
Our friend ordered a Bistek Lidah; it was a steak of beef tongue and a luscious sauce, potatoes and vegetables. Clearly, the dish was of foreign influence, possibly Dutch; it was rich and tasty and oh so tender! My partner had Nasi Langgi, which is a mix mash of spiced meat, egg, vegetables and noodles. It was spicy and it was a great dish to sample different types of meats and vegetables in one plate.
My dish was Nasi Pecel, which was rice served with vegetables and a spiced peanut sauce, fried egg and a peanut crisp. It reminded me a lot of gado-gado but it was surprisingly delicious when served with rice. The prices were very reasonable and the portion sizes were great as well. There were so many dishes with tempeh, squid and urap that I never got to try. I did however got a copy of the menu so that I could try to cook them at home.
Still full from our Javanese lunch, we headed for a snack again at Beautika Khas Manado. I know it was insane that we could still eat but we didn’t have time as it was our last day in Jakarta. Apparently, this place started as a beauty salon, hence the name “Beautika” but its food made them popular. This place was packed with people on a Saturday but we managed to find a seat.
As we entered the restaurant, we saw a fantastic selection of meats and vegetables through the display case. All of them look spicy and I wanted to try them all. Our friend Driya took care of the ordering, of course. We had a dish of spiced meat, possibly ayam rica or daging sapi rica, colourful vegetables and served with rice. They were very obviously not shy with spices, let’s just say that. =)
Our next items were the perkedel jagung which were perfectly fried corn fritters and the super crunchy pisang goreng (fried bananas) served with spicy sambal roa condiment. I love fried bananas but I have never had them with sambal. This is one of the best that I’ve had and the sambal was so spicy my lips were on fire for at least 15 minutes. However, that satisfaction from the intense flavours was quite indescribable.
I wish I had known this place earlier because I could eat these food for my entire stay in Jakarta. They are truly authentic Indonesian comfort food; Spicy, delicious and I felt the food was as close to home as it could get. Next up, we explored a fancier take on Indonesian food; we tried the famous Indonesian oxtail soup called sop buntut from the famed Hotel Borobudur and the meatiest crab dinner in a while. So stay tuned!