Quikskoop™: Rindang 84

Milkfish! Oh how we have gone too familiar with this beautiful creature and yet never get tired of its goodness. Even so, it’s quite rare to find those who can cook it well and during my land travel across Java recently, I found an eatery specializes in cooking milkfish brought special from the nearby town of Juwana, known well as the town of bandeng presto!

High pressure cooking method (presto) on milkfish has been known for quite a long time in Indonesia especially in Java. A particular shop in Semarang sells this lovely fish, already presto-ed, and fit for long term storing really suits well to be eaten with family back home or as a gift. Rindang 84 on the leafy side of the town of Pati however, decided to just make these bandeng into their main dishes. Not only that they fry or grill it, but they also make it into meatballs!

Pepes Waleran
Pepes Waleran

A really generous relative of mine treated us here for lunch and we arrived luckily, a bit later after lunch hours so that there’s plenty of room to sit and move. A tiring long journey made us famished and for a brave starter, lukewarm pepes waleran is available on each dining table in abundant! Pepes is basically a steamed food such as tahu, mushroom, chicken or anything wrapped in banana leaves but waleran uniquely uses the innards of milkfish! Well, it tasted quite strong, quite rich, but definitely of strange taste and texture. Well, I gave it a shot so how about you? 🙂

Bandeng Crispy (courtesy of Rindang 84)
Bandeng Crispy (courtesy of Rindang 84)
Bandeng Bakar (Courtesy of Rindang 84)
Bandeng Bakar (Courtesy of Rindang 84)
Bakso Bandeng (Courtesy of Rindang 84)
Bakso Bandeng (Courtesy of Rindang 84)

The main dishes came at last and it was really a treat! The bakso bandeng (milkfish meatballs) was just nice. The soup was of simple goodness and didn’t overpower the fish balls which on the other hand were also very decent! What you really need to try is indeed the bandeng crispy (deboned milkfish fried with bread crumbs) and grilled bandeng, all paired with moderately spicy red sambal. For the grilled bandeng, it’s also served with spinach soup with a hint of ginger.

Guess what? Me and my wife treated ourselves four portions of bandeng! – Especially the bandeng crispy which was indeed the signature dish of the restaurant. It looks simple but it’s simply the best treat we had during the long travel. Just imagine yourself arriving at Pati, which is exactly in the middle of Central Java, and still a long way to go to Surabaya. It’s lunch time already and you had an awful breakfast that morning. So what you gonna do once you found a milkfish this good? TIMBER!!

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Must eat: Bandeng crispy, bakso bandeng

Price: IDR 8,500 (bandeng crispy, bandeng bakar)

Address: Jl. A. Yani No.30 – Pati, Central Java – Indonesia

Phone : +62.888.644.040 (delivery available)

http://rindang84.blogspot.com/

Opening hours: TBA

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Quikskoop™: Soto Lamongan Cak Ngun & Cak Sodik

Soto Lamongan Cak Ngun & Cak Sodik - Soto

During my very short visit back in Yogyakarta, I was hoping that we could have a special treat there before heading back home to Jakarta. And yes, it’s not just a wishful thinking as my in-laws of my in-laws family took us for a breakfast at a seemingly very busy place with its famous Soto Lamongan!

The looks of Soto Lamongan Daging Sapi owned by Cak Ngun and Cak Sodik may look not like a permanent establishment but it does occupy a large portion of the land and draws many hungry visitors since early morning. Luckily we got ourselves VIP seats just aside the serving station where a guy busy putting in all the soupy goodness into prepared bowls filled with shredded white cabbage and bean sprouts and his friends distributing all the ready soto to customers.

What doesn’t feel like real Soto Lamongan is probably the use of chunks of beef on the soup instead of chicken and most of all, there’s neither cellophane noodles nor koya (shrimp kerupuk with garlic smashed into powdery form). This presentation has become an argument between me and my expert foodie friend but then again if you take a look at how busy this hawker is, then I guess there’s no need to argue.

Taste-wise it’s pretty good as the soup is quite flavorful and most of the beef are tender. Seconds are recommended if you don’t mind getting yourself a bit sweaty from both the hotness of the soup and the weather. Already prepared on the dining tables are fried tahu and tempe for your sides apart from other types of kerupuk available there. Be mindful that plenty of flies flying around so it’s best to clear away from those tempe and tahu.

I had my share of second portion and quite fulfilled but still I feel that this doesn’t represent the traditional Yogyakarta culinary selections as Soto Lamongan is originated from the city of Lamongan just around an hour journey from Surabaya far in the east. Well, perhaps next time I’ll visit again this lovely city and get myself the best of it!

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Must eat: Soto daging sapi

Price: IDR 8,000

Address: Jalan Veteran – Yogyakarta, DI Yogyakarta – Indonesia

Opening hours: TBA

Quikskoop™: Nasi Empal Pengampon

Nasi Empal
Nasi Empal

If it wasn’t for my two foodie friends recommendations, I wouldn’t have the slightest idea for my dinner that evening. Well, I had my share of good crispy empal back at Rumah Makan Ria for lunch and I liked it a lot! So then I was thinking, why not having it again for dinner? And off we went for Nasi Empal Pengampon!

Looking for Jalan Pengampon may be a bit tricky since there are two one way roads on the left and right side of the river that runs through Surabaya, yet each time there’s an intersection the name of the street changes. Anyway, just maintain your trust to the infamous GPS and you’ll have this big city inside your tiny hands.

Nasi Empal Pengampon is located inside an alley not far from the main road and it kinda reminds me of Mr Asui back at Pangkal Pinang of Bangka Island during my trip earlier this year. It’s pretty much the same genre which is Chinese cuisine  but much to my surprise, Nasi Empal Pengampon serves non-halal food. I can’t really say much since I brought the whole family who happens to be quite strict with this rule but luckily, one of the staffs in his own initiative ensured us that only the rice dishes (nasi empal, nasi babat, nasi empal babat, and probably the bubur ayam as well) are safe and halal.

So it’s basically a nasi rames or rice with sides and definitely, it’s the empal that stars the whole show. Empal or gepuk in Sundanese is basically available everywhere from hawkers to five-star Indonesian restaurants but to find a place that boasts its finesse in making it, well it’s a must try anywhere. Made from beef of particular part in the thigh, the meat undergoes ‘severe beating’ and soaked in reduction of its own juice with many other herbs, delicious gula jawa, and finally the coconut milk. Lastly, you fry the meat and shred it horizontally. There you have it, empal suwir or shredded empal in Anglaise. But to note, the steps I told you earlier may vary in several sequences or differ in ingredients but nonetheless the result is the same, a tender yet sweet beef with a hint of crispiness and deep flavor.

At Nasi Empal Pengampon, the rice and empal are combined with sautéed vegetables, potato chips, cucumbers, and a very spicy sambal. It’s all very fulfilling and quite satisfying taste-wise, but I bet you gonna have your seconds! To note again, other Chinese style dishes are non-halal so you gotta be careful or just simply pick the safe rice dishes. Give it a try then!

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NON HALAL (except the rice dishes)

Must eat: Nasi empal, nasi empal babat, bubur ayam

Price: IDR 12,000 (nasi empal)

Address: 

Jalan Pengampon  – Surabaya, East Java – Indonesia

Jalan Dewi Sartika 7B – Batu, East Java – Indonesia

Opening hours: TBA

Quikskoop™: Lontong Balap Pak Gendut

Lontong Balap Pak Gendut - PrepSurabaya oh Surabaya. My second time and I fell for the city. It’s a prime example for  big cities in Indonesia with friendlier traffic, excellent road marks, good city lighting, with relatively clean city and river (at this point Bandung and Jakarta are currently a joke). Not to mention of course, plenty of good eats and being one of them is clearly, the amazing and traditional Lontong Balap!

What I thought as something familiar to Jakarta’s ‘ketoprak’ and West Java’s ‘kupat tahu’ was very much different as lontong balap offers a new perspective in rice cake genre, apart from the inseparable companions of tahu (fried bean curd) and tauge (bean sprouts). Literally means ‘racing rice cake’ derived from its history where the original sellers were racing against one another until the finish post at a certain historic market in Surabaya for reasons I’m still looking for, but what matters is all the immense flavors it presents.

Lontong Balap
Lontong Balap

Lontong balap is soupy, a symbolic difference than its comrades back in the western part of Java that use peanut sauce, and tastes quite sweet with a hint of savory owing from the beef broth. But first of all, huge chunks of rice cakes are placed in order with the bean curds and (a lot) of bean sprouts first. Other interesting addition is the use of crushed lentho – a mixture of cowpeas and other herbs made into balls and fried, which tasted quite unique – almost as if I’m having a fried potato fritters (prekedel kentang) that my auntie often made back home.

Lastly, all of these beautiful mess are soaked in the soup, topped with bawang goreng (fried shallots) and the indispensable sambal petis (with a mixture of shrimp fermentation) to give the friendly spicy kick. Add this rustic beauty with a bunch of clam satay, also a local delicacy that tastes sweet and gives an extra feel of the sea to the already seemingly simple, but rich in flavor dish!

Sate Kerang
Sate Kerang

As why I particularly picked Lontong Balap Pak Gendut (literally translated as ‘Mr Fatty Racing Rice Cake’)?

It’s one of Surabaya’s finest and I was lucky to be their last patron of the day, otherwise I don’t know when I’ll be able to taste this slice of heaven again. Missing it already!!

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Must eat: Lontong Balap and Sate Kerang

Price: IDR 10,000

Address: Jalan Kranggan – Surabaya, East Java – Indonesia

Opening hours: 9.30 am – 9.30 pm

Quikskoop™: Lomie & Bakmie Imam Bonjol

Lomie Imam Bonjol - Lomie and iced tea

Melipir sedikit keluar daerah Dago, anda akan menemukan daerah hunian yang sangat teduh dipenuhi pepohonan serta berisi rumah-rumah besar sejak jaman Belanda dulu. Dahulu, warga Bandung hanya melewati daerah ini saja untuk mencapai tempat tujuan mereka namun kini semua bisa berhenti dan memilih berbagai opsi bagi pesiar kuliner mereka.

Lomie & Bakmie Imam Bonjol memperkenalkan dirinya sejak kurang lebih satu dekade yang lalu. Saat itu selain mereka, bisnis restoran di seluruh wilayah perumahan ini masih terhitung jari jumlahnya. Semenjak Tol Cipularang dibuka dan Dago mulai ramai dikunjungi wisatawan dari Jakarta, wilayah hunian yang memiliki nama-nama jalan dari berbagai sultan, teuku, tengku, dan imam pahlawan Indonesia di masa lampau ini turut bertransformasi sedikit demi sedikit menjadi kawasan bisnis.

Lomie Imam Bonjol - Facade 2

Dahulu Lomie & Bakmie Imam Bonjol ini berjualan tepat di pinggir jalan dan suasana yang masih santai memungkinkan para pelanggannya masih nyaman makan di bawah pepohonan dan suasana Bandung yang sejuk. Seiring berjalannya waktu mereka kini memiliki tempat semi permanen di sebuah paviliun khusus tempat usaha dan kapasitasnya juga kian membesar. Bahkan kesuksesannya menjadi magnet bagi usaha-usaha lain dan seolah mereka ‘berebutan’ untuk menjadi pendampingnya.

Konsistensi rasa yang baik serta kecepatan penyajian menjadi ciri khas mereka. Lomie yang memiliki kekhasan menggunakan kuah kental dengan aroma seafood yang kental dan dilengkapi dengan tauge serta kangkung ini masih dipertahankan dengan baik cita rasanya. Hidangan ini bahkan semakin nikmat tersaji panas dan dilengkapi dengan bakso serta pangsit basah. Bagi yang ingin mencoba berbagai jenis bakmie yang lain tentu selalu ada pilihan olahan mie, yamien, serta bihun seperti yang biasa kita jumpai.

Lomie Imam Bonjol - The Stall

Dari segi harga juga ternyata cukup bersahabat, cukup dengan kisaran Rp. 15,000 kita sudah bisa menikmati menu lomie lengkap dengan kualitas bahan-bahan yang segar. Namun sayang memang desain, kenyamanan, serta kebersihan sebetulnya masih bisa diperbaiki lagi, bahkan rasanya malah lebih nyaman ketika dahulu masih di pinggir jalan. Solusi lain? Tentu untuk dibungkus pulang dan segera disantap selagi hangat!

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Must eat: Lomie ayam, yamien manis/asin bakso, yahun asin bakso pangsit

Price: +-IDR 15,000 / orang

Address: Jalan Imam Bonjol no. 9 – Bandung

Telp: 0812.205.3784

Opening hours: Setiap hari, 9 am – sore