I’ve never been a fan of Manadonese food since it’s too hot for me. My stomach will gone haywire at the end of the day. I have to admit that I’m lacking at this but people can learn right? And the moment has arrived at last for me to really test the consistency of their serving and taste. In this case, the ‘lucky’ establishment would be Bakoel Manna. Residing in a small space under Midplaza Building, Bakoel Manna can contain at most around 25-30 people at best which is around lunch.
Make no mistake, fans of Manadonese food in the building are indeed plentiful, notably women of course who fancy hot, spicy dishes more than men do. Dunno why but I heard even a certain celebrity always buy her lunch here. Ever heard of Dian Sastro? I, myself, haven’t encountered her and I don’t care actually but well, it’s already written anyway. Harharhar..
For the past few months, Indonesia seems to be in a brim of chaos. The fear of sky-rocketing price for foodstuffs is brewing. Why’s that? It’s because one of the most important ingredients in Indonesian culinary is undergoing a crop problem. The shortage due to failed crops made the price of chili soaring up to IDR 50,000/kg!! This prove to be fatal for businesses but they just can’t increase the price that easily. So in this case for Manadonese restaurants, presumably, they will reduce the spiciness of their dishes down to the level of my stomach acceptance which is good of course!
The dishes in Bakoel Manna are made in package, such as Paket A, B, C, and so on. Each package consists of different main dish and additional side dish of your choice. For example, I always pick Paket A (IDR 20,000) which consists of Cakalang Pampis (spicy skipjack tuna) and Tumis Bunga Pepaya (sautéed papaya flowers) which you can substitute with Bayam Crispy (spinach fried until crispy like crackers), capcay, sautéed veggies, and several other choices. There’s also other genuine Manadonese main dishes you can pick such as Ayam Rica, Ayam Woku, Ayam Tuturuga, Ikan Tude, Ikan Woku, Ikan Kuah Asam, and many other unfamiliar names that I need to research first.
About the consistency test I told you earlier, well.. you see, the biggest hindering factor would be the high degree of spiciness in Manadonese cuisine. I can safely say that some of my friends who really really like very hot dishes said that Bakoel Manna’s is not the hottest one. As for me, that’s a very discriminating joke since I’m gonna need extra iced water just to cool down my red tongue and sweat!
But then again, since the chili crisis, at last I can study a bit what’s inside the dishes since the spiciness doesn’t cover up the taste anymore. Well.. the combination between the tuna and the papaya flower really does the magic. They manage to keep up the standard though the degree of the spiciness my vary from day to day. The skipjack tuna was plentiful and has the savory taste which will be better though if added with the Manadonese style sambal like Sambal Dabu Dabu (diced tomato with a little bit chili, tastes sour) or with Sambal Rica Rica. As for the papaya flower (better vocab anyone?), it helps to reduce the pain from the hotness of the skipjack tuna but then again, I chose it because it’s genuinely from Manado or I can always pick the crispy spinaches.
I’m still a bit illiterate in Manadonese cuisine, more tests are indeed needed. A friend of mine used to say that Bakoel Manna only boasts the spiciness but not the taste. Here, I prove her that they are consistent and the taste was good anyway. Plenty of Manadonese restaurants in Jakarta though mostly I warrant that they’re not halal. As for Bakoel Manna, you’re good to go. Come and try. See whether you might encounter Dian Sastro or a gastronomy aficionado in training to become the master of spicy foods there. Haha.. Not a chance!
Midplaza I Building, B1 Floor. Jl. Jend. Sudirman Kav. 10-11, Jakarta