I remember that one of my ‘spiritual’ teachers said jokingly that Sundanese people are too fond of vegetables and that it has become a special trait awarded only for people from this tribe. Well, in that case I have to agree although many parts of Indonesia savor vegetables on daily basis as well, but often I found that Sundanese are arguably the people who cannot enjoy their particular cuisine without the accompaniment of lalapan, for instance.
Anyway, if we’re talking about veggies then lotek would be the staple dish that Sundanese people, well, Bandungnese people cannot separate from their diet. You can find it almost anywhere in the city from hawkers, food courts, individual sellers, or even established Sundanese restaurants. The choice of vegetables used may vary and either served raw or with already boiled veggies. My mom urges me to always eat the boiled version but call me a bad boy for that!
Deep in the old downtown of Bandung, you will find a street called Jalan Klenteng and it’s because upon that very street you will encounter a huge Chinese temple (klenteng). On a the corner of the temple’s courtyard you’ll find several houses and one of them turned out to be one of the oldest lotek makers in Bandung. Although you won’t find any signboard saying that here’s the best lotek in the whole Bandung but you gotta come in first and give it a try for yourself.
Grandma Tan is her name and she has been in the business since time immemorial, well I mean since around 1965 but it’s been like forever! She lives with mortar and pestle way longer than anybody else but she takes care of everything by herself and not only she produces quality ingredients for her food but she also manages to keep her small canteen super duper clean.
It’s just amazing! Not only that you’ll find a small, quiet haven in the middle of nowhere but you could also taste her indomitable creation with vegetable dishes such as lotek (vegetables and peanut sauce served with rice cakes), petis tahu (tofu with shrimp paste), petis kangkung (water spinach with shrimp paste), rujak and the local desserts of kolak (sliced banana with coconut milk) and cendol (worm-like jellies with coconut milk and palm sugar), all of which constitutes homemade processed ingredients supervised by Grandma Tan herself.
The secret is that you gotta taste all these babies all at once. My advise is, forget the rice cakes so that you won’t get full too quick and give it a try to all her signature dishes of lotek and the duo petis. Fresh, rustic, but simply amazing, and boy oh boy, she’s really good at making these.
It’s best though to come early as she may ran out of things before noon and especially during weekends. Besides, you don’t wanna mingle too long with the traffic around here which has been quite notorious even in Bandung. So, find your way to this hidden haven and enjoy a really good time there with Grandma Tan.
Must eat: Lotek, petis tahu , petis kangkung , kolak , and es cendol
Price: IDR 15,000 – IDR 20,000
Address: Jalan Klenteng Dalam no. 34, Bandung – Indonesia
Opening hours: Everyday, 8 am – finish