Dapur Solo Restaurant
By KF Seetoh - Monday, Aug 18, 2014
Today, (17th August) is the National Independence Day of Indonesia Hari Proklamasi Kemerdekaan) ..their National Day and if you are in their capital Jakarta, you ought to get a taste of the real Indonesia. According to fellow food nut and pal Marchell Handaya “ nothing much shuts down for any celebrations, life goes on”.
So, if you are about and hungry, forget satay (or sate), nasi padang and soto…boooring! Lots of us have no idea just how much flavours and traditional artisanal foods there are in this world’s most populous Muslim nation. There are so much cuisines and sub cuisines from regions like Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Aceh, plus remember, there was a war fought over their spices about 500 years ago in Maluku or the Moluccas Islands- they must have been getting something right in the kitchens then already. But strangely, if you ask around, most would just mention not much more than nasi padang, satay, nasi goring or soup buntut (oxtail soup) if you ask what Indonesia makan is all about. It seems their vast makan culture is like a secret that should not be. To many Indonesians, food is what makes their land, their home.
“I grew up eating these food of the Solo region (Central Java) and this is what I will request for my last meal” and Gen Y makan warrior Ms Karina Kumarga points to Nasi Liwet and Asem Asem Iga soup, something her mother cooked for her children regularly all their lives at home. This 29 year old caretaker of Dapur Solo restaurant had been groomed to take over her parent’s restaurant business since her teenage years. “Sure, I can ingest some fast food or western fare, like pizzas or steaks once a month or so, but my heritage Solo food, is my default cuisine. It means home, to me.”
At her restaurant in the foodie Kelapa Gading area, a few dishes stood out. Their Nasi Liwet, with rice steamed to perfectly soft texture and topped with shredded chicken, a pumpkin salad, sambal, egg cake, soft tempeh and crackers, is their best seller. The whole dish was extremely comforting to me, and though I don’t eat this often (no one I know sells this in Singapore). There is a sweet savoury sauce below and the bite of the sambal that the texture and multi flavour of the ingredients, made it so easy to like.
I can also see why Karina likes the Asem Asem Iga- a beefy soup tamed and countered with some chillis and lifted with slices of sour belimbing fruit. The Selad Solo (salad Solo) is a royal dish, so they say. It is a meld of vegetables, egg and crackers, sitting on a sweet savoury sauce (the Javanese are known to like things sweet), a dollop of mustard with a slice of beef jerky. Quite comforting with steamed rice but it was not my cuppa tea.
They also offer Nasi Langgi, conical turmeric rice that comes with fried chicken, sambal, stewed potatoes, eggs and liver. This is another Solo icon you should not miss.
Another of their specialty is the Comro (fritter with spicy fermented soy bean paste) and Misro (similar fritter stuffed with palm sugar). A fitting end to the meal here.
Dapur Solo Restaurant
Danau Sunter Utara
R 35-37, Jakarta Utara, Indonesia
Tel: +6021 6405812