Searching for Street Food: Nasi Gule Pak Lasimin (FoodieS, Mar 2016)

Nasi gule is big in Blok M, but nobody knows that Pak Lasimin is among the pioneers of this comfort food in Jakarta. That’s why I’m tagging you along for a good breakfast at his place.

The neighborhoods around Blok M and Kebayoran Baru have some of their best places to eat hidden from the main streets. It’s not that they are elusive or even exclusive – since many of them are openly visible like the hawkers behind Masjid Al Azhar for example, but there are those that require a bit of effort with all the searching and further appreciations.

Nasi gule is rather ubiquitous in Jakarta, albeit not as obvious as ketoprak, mie ayam, or bakso. The easiest find is at Jalan Mahakam itself at night until dawn where there are so many of them there. However, there are only a few which are available during daylight there or at neighboring vicinities.

Nasi Gule Pak Lasimin 2

One of the best belongs to Pak Lasimin on Jalan Lamandau, just behind the Gran Mahakam Hotel. As you enter the street, Pak Lasimin’s pushcart is already there at the intersection since as early as 7am until late in the afternoon.

Like any typical Solo’s nasi gule, a great claypot is filled with all the curry and meat. Pak Lasimin’s version includes also tempe and the offals. My choice was only the meat and despite coming from secondary cuts, Pak Lasimin cooks it thoroughly so you won’t be doing a lot of chewing. With his uber-rich broth, a bit of sambal and kecap manis, and some crackers; I never hesitate to have my seconds while here.

Nasi Gule Pak Lasimin 3

One after one customer visits his place and enjoys the breakfast. It is quite unbelievable that even if Pak Lasimin’s pushcart is somehow hidden like this, people from different backgrounds actually came by to have his superb nasi gule. Assisted by two helpers, Pak Lasimin operates his business efficiently and not forgetting to show his smiles to the patrons as well.

“I started selling nasi gule since 1978 at the Blok M bus terminal. There weren’t so many of us back then, but look at now at night! I decided to move here since 1995 and I am thankful that the home owners here allow me to open my business”, explains Pak Lasimin.

Nasi Gule Pak Lasimin 3

Curious at why that some nasi gule hawkers operate since the morning, Pak Lasimin actually has a really good answer for that. He says laughingly, “At night, I couldn’t stand getting sleepy!”

Well, now it’s almost time to have my third serving. Should I or should I not?

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NASI GULE PAK LASIMIN
Halal-friendly
Unsuitable for vegetarians

Address:
Jalan Lamandau (on the intersection), Jakarta – Indonesia

Opening hours: Daily, 7am – 3pm

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Featured in FOODIES Mar 2016 edition

Searching for Street Food: Nasi Bebek Khas Madura Bu Hamidah (FoodieS, Mar 2016)

Nasi bebek is ubiquitous in Jakarta, but among them, few became my personal favorite. This time, let’s travel to the eastern part of Jakarta for a showdown with Ibu Hamidah’s finest!

Following the trails of good food can lead you anywhere unexpected, especially with street food. Unbeknownst to many; wonderful street food can be elusive as they may appear during odd hours, tucked inside a residential area, hidden among the tenants of a chaotic traditional market, or even playing hard to get by moving around frequently.

Nasi Bebek Khas Madura Bu Hamidah 3

This time, we would like to dedicate it for nasi bebek khas Madura. Originated from the island off coast of Surabaya, the people of Madura have been migrating to many places in Indonesia and drawing their fortunes from ironworks and food businesses. The latter especially has a special place in the heart of many Jakartans with the appearance of nasi bebek around the city, mostly at night.

Ibu Hamidah’s nasi bebek came from a very well-thought recipe. Firstly, it was all about the marination process and Ibu Hamidah successfully brings the flavors all inside. It was already good as it is even without any dipping sauce or other forms of accompaniments – other than good old fashioned warm and fluffy rice with serundeng on top of it.

Nasi Bebek Khas Madura Bu Hamidah 1

Not just that, the duck came in very crispy and in larger size, which really worked so well for any big eaters. What’s also deeply loved by her nasi bebek fans is definitely the super fiery sambal. Savoring the duck profoundly and getting myself caught with pouring sweat actually reminds me of what Anthony Bourdain used to say, “I’m sweaty, but I’m happy!”

By serving duck, chicken, and cat fish all at once already qualifies her as an ambitious street food owner. However upon witnessing a lot of patrons coming by, that certainly means that there’s more to it than just mere looks from this humble vendor.

Nasi Bebek Khas Madura Bu Hamidah 4

Be sure to drop by at Ibu Hamidah’s wonderful nasi bebek if you happen to be around Halim Perdanakusuma Airport. A bit of detour to the Pasar Mini Indah inside the residential area would reward you with an excellent and fulfilling lunch, more than you can imagined.

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NASI BEBEK KHAS MADURA BU HAMIDAH
Halal-friendly
Unsuitable for vegetarians

Address:
Pasar Mini Indah – Puskopau Lanud Halim Perdanakusuma, Jalan Maphilindo, Jakarta – Indonesia

Opening hours: Daily, 8am – 8pm

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Featured in FOODIES Mar 2016 edition

Kahvehane: Filosofi Kopi

Ah yes, that one fine moment when you just have to beat the heat and then you found iced coffee in bottles.

Quite a nice place you got there Filosofi Kopi and I wish you the best for your future endeavors. It has some good characters with it and the will to try out something now, albeit that it may derive its popularity in the beginning thanks to the movie.

Filosofi Kopi 1

The coffee with milk? Well, that was okay but I enjoyed it a lot.

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FILOSOFI KOPI
Halal-friendly
Some menus are suitable for vegetarians

Address:
Jalan Melawai no. 6, Jakarta – Indonesia

Opening hours:
Daily, 10am – 10pm

Flavor Preview: Pelmeni and Blini (Spasibo Russian Food, Jakarta)

It is rare to find Russian food in Jakarta. Years ago, I had that experience to taste one back in Saigon and yes I blew it. That’s why upon seeing a window of opportunity to taste Russian cuisine made fresh every day by Spasibo, it’s a surefire that I have to try it right away!

Pelmeni, filled with chicken
Pelmeni, filled with chicken

The main star today is the Pelmeni or one would say – the Siberian dumplings. With possible influences all the way from China and Central Asia, it turns out that there are versions coming from Ukraine and Poland as well. It’s a delicious national dish, I must say – especially with the chicken filling.

Blini
Blini

Secondly, the Blini for dessert. Rich and buttery, the pancakes were filled with chocolate sprinkles and grated cheddar. Kinda wish I could whip it alongside ice cream or even caviar.

Salad "Olivier"
Salad “Olivier”

In-between, we got the salad – namely ‘Olivier’ by the proprietor. It feels like a rendition of Dutch’s Huzarensla but without the pineapples. However, it feels very European and gave the balance to other brave comrades in the lunchbox.

So, now you know where to find good Russian food now in Jakarta. Would love to order it again some other time and it came very affordably – around 25,000/lunchbox! A Gojek driver would love to deliver it for you fresh every day.

More info, be sure to follow and contact @spasibo_russian_food directly.

Enjoy!

Open: Ruth’s Chris Steak House (FOODIES, Mar 2016)

Finally, it is time to embrace a new guest from New Orleans – a reputable envoy from the steak house business that will show Jakartans the real taste of perfection.

The tongue twisting name of Ruth’s Chris Steak House may sound unique or awkward for some, but back at New Orleans – the city where it was born, this powerhouse name actually bears a fine chemistry between tradition, great reputation, and business experience for more than 50 years.

New Orleans itself is a crossroad of civilizations, between European colonists and Creole – the mixture of many nations for centuries. The coexistence between these civilizations created a culture that influences the rich lineup of menu that Ruth’s Chris Steak House has been introducing to people since its early days.

Ruth's Chris Steak House (1)

In 1965, Ruth Fertel took over Chris’ Steak House – the original steak house since 1927. She then taught herself with the skills needed to run a restaurant business. Thanks to her adept hands, the restaurant gained prominence and she became known as “The Empress of Steak” in United States.

Her steakhouse business has been broadly introduced throughout the world and now with over 80 establishments globally, Ruth’s Chris Steak House further expands deeper to Southeast Asia starting from Singapore and now Jakarta.

To open how pleasing the experience would be, Ruth’s Chris Steak House introduces traditional lineup from the South such as the crab cakes, barbecued shrimp, lobster bisque, shrimp remoulade, the fifteen ingredients used for a beautiful chop salad, and many more.

Ruth's Chris Steak House (3)

Heading for the main course, Ruth’s Chris Steak House uses only the finest – by selecting only the custom-aged US Prime beef grade. Grilled by using a custom designed oven by Ruth Fertel since 50 years ago, the steak came in with perfect temperature. The restaurant also uses a 260C heated plate to ensure that the steak stays sizzling hot.

The accompaniments such as the asparagus, mashed potato, sauteed mushrooms, and onion rings are available at your disposal – including additional steak sauces. However, rather than choosing the latter, it actually takes only a harmony between salt, pepper, and butter sauce to make it work perfectly.

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RUTH’S CHRIS STEAK HOUSE
Not halal-certified
Some menu are suitable for vegetarians

Address:
Somerset Grand Citra, Jalan Prof. Dr. Satrio Kav. 1, Jakarta – Indonesia

Opening hours: Daily, 12pm – 3pm (lunch), 5.30pm – 11pm (dinner)

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Featured in FOODIES Mar 2016 edition

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Interior picture by Rian Farisa
Other images are courtesy of Ruth’s Chris Steak House