“Assalamualaikum!”. That’s what I heard from somebody behind the outdoor kitchen counter welcoming me and my family as we arrived at this humble restaurant. I assumed it was the owner who my blogger friend Umi Fadilah said as Sulaiman, a Muslim Chinese guy from the city of Xian of Shaanxi province, neighbor to the northwesternmost part of China of Xinjiang-Uighur region.
Since I didn’t come by myself nor only with my wife, I somehow had no liberty to scour around at ease since we’re having a family meeting and also famished! I shout back to reply it the way to fellow Muslim, “Wa’alaikumussalam!”. With a smile, I head inside and began to scan the menu.
By the way, this particular region in China is inhabited by many Muslims since hundreds of years ago and has a unique blending between the China we already know and the Muslim Turkic culture of Central Asia. Unlike the usual Cantonese or Szechuan cuisines that we already knew so well, this particular area is considered exotic and its cuisine is rarely found outside the region. To be able to find it in Jakarta means that it’s a blessing for all the foodies who love to try something new! Sulaiman Restaurant is indeed the right place to start!
Why? Take a look at these warm roti (jokingly named by Sulaiman as kue gepeng bakaar – grilled flat cake) here, perfect to be paired with a delicious dipping sauce – the Indian style. But no! There’s only a little influence from the Indian here as Sulaiman was able to introduce the whole different style – thanks to his origin – of lamb curry. I sensed no coconut milk use in the curry and probably he might be using a little yogurt in it. In turn he wanted to give the extra freshness in it with spices and tomato. However, you won’t find the spice attack that you might expected from a curry.
However, I found that this particular dish they called as “Daging Ayam Porsi Besar” suited itself better as the dipping sauce and has richer taste with colorful presentation, thanks to the spices and the vegetables. This is indeed a must-taste dish in the restaurant. I enjoyed this one more than the curry itself!
Of course, you’d better pair it also with the restaurant’s signature dish – the sate kambing! Its difference than usual satay lies in the seasoning of the meat. Skewered through a metal stick, the lamb cubes are heavily seasoned and taste a tad too salty for many. You might want to compensate it with the usual kecap manis but I honestly enjoyed it plainly and was having a really good time with it!
To seal the rest of the deal, of course you might want to cheer things up other dishes such as mapo tahu, grilled eggplants, noodles, fried rice, and many more. For more infor, you might want to check Umi’s blog as well for the dishes I didn’t try there. One thing for sure, Sulaiman stated that it’s a Chinese Muslim restaurant and everything should be halal. How thoughtful! Hopefully he will soon arrange a certification with MUI and then my return to this restaurant becomes a certainty!
Some menu are suitable for vegetarians
Jalan Wahid Hasyim no. 116, Jakarta – Indonesia
Spend: IDR 50,000 – IDR 75,000 / person