Taking It To The Streets: Lontong Kari Sapi Kebon Karet (The Foodie Magazine, Dec 2014)

One of the staple breakfast meals from Bandung is the mighty lontong kari sapi. So what makes it different than the usual lontong sayur and why I specifically chose the one in Kebon Karet as the example? Find out why here!

Lontong Kari Sapi Kebon Karet 2

It would be a bad idea not to stop by at the hawkers who sell lumpia basah or lontong kari sapi when you’re in Bandung. First of all, speaking subjectively, I am a real fan of these delicacies and secondly, you will not find these in Jakarta at all.

But let us keep lumpia basah aside for another occasion, let’s talk about lontong kari sapi shall we? Well, to start with, it’s very different than the usual lontong sayur that you will find in neighborhoods all over Jakarta. Despite the same use of rice cakes as the carbohydrate source for each dish, lontong sayur is usually comprised of tofu, hard-boiled egg, and julienned chayote over the rather spicy, Indonesian-style curry soup.

Lontong Kari Sapi Kebon Karet 4

What interests me most in the common lontong kari sapi pushcarts is the rice cake blocks enveloped with leaves and sliced into small bits before serving, unlike what we see in Jakarta’s lontong sayur or ketoprak pushcarts where some of them use a combination of leaves and plastic to cook the rice cakes. Best to steer away from those as it is deemed inorganic, at least some part of it.

However, the usual serving of lontong kari sapi doesn’t use any tofu, tempe, or julienned vegetables. Rest assured also that many of whom I usually visit in Bandung also uses the whole leaf to wrap the rice cakes.

Although hard-boiled eggs are found in Kebon Karet’s version, the use of sliced secondary cut beef that retains a certain amount of crunchiness and tenderness at the same time alongside fried peanuts are what describes lontong kari sapi at its best.

Lontong Kari Sapi Kebon Karet 3

Since starting their business in 1966, Lontong Kari Sapi Kebon Karet maintains the originality of the recipe that they won’t share with anybody else and that’s what makes it special. The soup, as the most powerful part of this dish, is made from perhaps a dozen of local ingredients and spices, until finally added with a bit kecap manis to harmonize the umami flavor and don’t forget to add a fresh note of kaffir lime.

This immaculate combination is a rare find, even for me, and their supremacy is totally proven by simply being around for decades now.


Unsuitable for vegetarians

Gang Kebon Karet, Jalan Otto Iskandardinata Belakang no. 11 (in front of Hotel Guntur), Bandung – Indonesia

Opening hours:
Everyday, 7am – 8pm

Spend: IDR 15,000 – IDR 20,000 / person


Featured in THE FOODIE MAGAZINE December 2014 edition

Download it for free here via SCOOP!


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