Recently I helped my friend Su with the collection of her runner’s pack, in return she bought me dinner. She told me the place she was bringing me is owned by a good friend of hers and it was not a fancy place but they served delicious Indonesian food. With that, I was sold.
A couple of years ago, I worked with a group of young, energetic Indonesians. They often get homesick. To curb this problem, they seek solace in food that reminded home – ayam penyet, bee hoon bakso and so on. These colleagues of mine slowly introduced me to the fascinating world of Indonesia’s cuisine. And I became obsess.
Bakmie Jakarta (by Jiak Bak Mee) is run by Indonesian Marcelly Suhali (and her husband is her faithful sidekick). From Marcelly, I learnt that bakmie is a simple, fast food favoured by the Indonesian-Chinese. Bakmie, similar to our bak chor mee, comprised of mee and minced chicken (with bits of mushroom). You can add kecap manis (sweet sauce) and sambal asli (chilli sauce) onto the noodles. At Bakmie Jakarta, they offered a few type of noodles and different combination. For a first-timer, Su recommended me to have the Bakmie Special Set (S$6.90) which is bakmie with minced chicken, chicken katsu and pangsit goreng (fried wanton).
I was really excited to try bakmie – pork-free bak chor mee (yay). Upon ordering, we got our noodles in five minutes. I had a quick bite of the noodles – I love the chewy texture. Most importantly it does not have the alkaline taste which you will get from yellow noodles. With a good drizzle of kecap manis and sambal alis, it was perfection. Marcelly told me that the noodles are based on her mother’s recipe – eggs are added to give the noodles colour and texture. Marcelly’s mother even weighed the noodles so that the customers will have a consistent experience.
The special set was definitely a great way to figure out what you like (or don’t like) or when you want everything. For me, I don’t fancy the chicken katsu. As they used breast meat, I find the chicken to be overcooked and dry.
I also appreciate that each set comes with a bowl of soup. Since I ordered the “greedy set”, my soup has a bakso sapi (beef ball), fishball and wanton. I be honest here, I was prepared for the soup to be larded with MSG. I was happy that I was proven wrong. The soup tasted like itek tim (salted vegetable with duck soup). It was a bowl of good soup – I had to stop myself asking for a second bowl.
As Su and I have the privilege to eat with the owners, we were treated to a new side dish they were introducing – tahu gerjot (S$2.50). It was essentially fried tau pok with a sweet, sour and spicy dressing. We were told that tahu gerjot was often served as an appetizer as the tangy dressing waken the appetite. It not just woke up my appetite, I was addicted to it. It was moreish and it was pretty hard to stop.
At Bakmie Jarkarta, you know you are getting authentic Indonesian cuisine as most of the regulars are Indonesians. Some of them even ate there on a daily basis. It is true Bakmie Jakarta is not the fanciest joint in town. But they sure can bring a bit of home to you.
Bakmie by Jiak Bak Mie 117A Killiney Road (2nd floor above S11) Open daily: 10am – 10pm