Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Bakmie Bagan - Noodle To Die For!

This is not an exaggeration. In my personal opinion (and thousand others who visited this place daily), hands down, this is one of the best bakmi (noodle) I've ever tasted among a very few special others.

The name itself is simply what I call them, because they have no brand, no logo, no banner or anything whatsoever to label themselves. Bagan is a short for Bagan Siapi-Api, the little town in Riau, about 5 hours by car from the nearest airport, Pekanbaru. In its local language though, they are called "Wan Than Mie".  

I have no idea where it came from or what it means. If I translate it in parts, Wan Than = hardwork / hard-knock-life, Mie = noodle. In one piece, they might mean a bowl of noodle coming from hardwork, or maybe a meal for the hardworkers (labors / bluecollars)?

Word on the street, they were very popular in their hometown and as the family migrate in search for better days, they decided to start from zero in Jakarta. In no time, people, mostly Chinese and Baganese who lived in Jakarta became their regulars. This joint flourish simply from mouth to mouth, tongue to tongue, one person sharing their secret to their friends and acquaintances. Exactly what I'm doing right now for you Biters.

They're an epitome of traditional Chinese family business, serving only one kind of noodle. Straightforward. Hassle free.

If you notice, the size of this home made noodle is considered thin, even thinner than instant noodle I suppose. That makes the very first differing aspect in the mouth. And texturewise, its in a good balance between soft and somewhat elastic. Topped with a good amount of savory chasiew (barbequed pork) and fish meatballs, Bakmi Bagan is one bowlful of pleasure for your tastebuds.

Me, myself I love to pour a lot of chili sauce to add flavor. Something mesmerizing happen in my mouth when salty, sweet, oily, porky, and spicy-hot melt in one bite. Their chili sauce is one a kind too. They grind and formulate their own chili sauce, that's what makes it special. Its hard to find one that equals to their taste. I think they are quite proud with this that they become really generous with their chili sauce. Every table will have one full can of chili, and a spoon as big as a soup spoon.

Just don't expect the place to be crystal clean. Its basically a small humble office/house (ruko). They make a living downstairs and live upstairs. You'll find it messy most of the time, with plastic chairs, fans, a huge red table, and religious incense on it as a means of praising the gods.

I find all those stuff exotic. I mean, I once considered taking this upscale, putting it in malls and food courts, but after a few thoughts, it will lose its romance. I also find that the harder, the more uncommon a foodplace is located, the more effort to get something, the more you appreciate it, and in turn the higher amount of satisfaction ended in your face. Don't you agree? Imagine if you can easily find Pia Legong in any malls in Jakarta, would it taste as good as it is now with three weeks advance order and many other hassle?

In that spirit, I'd like to keep the location of this place in partial secrecy. I'm not going to publish it here. I'm not going to slip the map to you that easily. Just as the name of this noodle suggest, you just have to find your way. Be creative!

Oh, they have delivery too. But, naah, I'm not giving you the phone number. Make an effort will ya? And also guess how much they priced each bowl of Wan Than Mie? 12k. A very affordable price for a happy belly.

One final thing. Here's a little local Baganese language to help you order in a fancy way.

"Wan than mie, ...... ua ya." 
Fill the blanks with the amount you like, one = ce, two = neng, three = sa, four = si, five = go, six = lak, seven = chit, eight = pue, nine = kau, ten = cap.

Waiting for you to get creative. Cheers.

Fellexandro Ruby
Food Conversationalist, Photographer, and a Proud Baganese


  1. The food looks mouth-watering. I was wondering, are you using an external flash when taking photos? Because sometimes (and nearly everytime for me), the ambience light in a restaurant just isn't cut out for taking food pictures.

    Anyway, i love bakmi! I'm definitely going to try it--well, as soon as i know the name.

    NOT JUST PEOPLE / Jakarta Street Style and Social Scene /

  2. whoa, just realized that you're also a fellow hokkian speakers :P

    Interesting place, really prick up my curiosity. Based on the first pict I suppose this place is not within muarakarang/pluit area. The fishball and chili sauce pot supposed to be quite hint but still nothing come across my mind :p

    My favorite wan tan noodle is tiong-sim btw ;)

  3. Looks delicious!!
    This noodle comes with red sauce, doesn't it?
    They also have Bagan Fried Kwe Tiau too, I guess.

    Also, my understanding is Wan Than = dumplings/pangsit, so Wan Than Mie = Mie Pangsit. Not sure if I was wrong though.

    1. Yup, it's pronounced as uân-than-mī (雲吞麵), not uàn-thàn-mī (怨嘆麵). Uân-than is Cantonese pronunciation of 雲吞 that is borrowed into Bagan Hokkien, sometimes pronounced as hûn-thun (Hokkien), same meaning as our pián-sìt 扁食. Other loanwords are 豬腸粉 and 鹹芝餅, pronounced as cü-cheòng-fân and hàm-ci-pêng, becoming chih-lông-pân/thih-lông-pân & hân-ci-pìng in Bâgán-uē.

  4. this must be around teluk gong where most of the Baganese gather. am i right? hahahhaa. btw i'm baganese too

  5. @HERSEIL: Kamsia for visiting ya Lau Pan =p You're getting a good clue about the location. Ah, I see, where's this tiong sim noodle? Mind to share?

    @ANONYMOUS: YEP! Super red sauce! And yes, they have kwetiau, but for Bagan Kwetiau I'd choose the one in Bandengan. Interesting insight on the translation. That is highly possible. But if its true, they should have extra dumpling on my bowl!
    *balik protes*

  6. @PAULUS: Welcome fellow Bagans! Nice meeting ya. =D Do come back for more delicacies. No comment on the location. HAHAHAHA

  7. loveeeee bakmi pake babi merahhhhhh..... here comes 'The Bagan Boy' ! ahahaha

  8. hahaha... a boi co lau pan lah :D

    tiong-sim (中心) is located at the food street pluit sakti. Just keep going till passing the martabak bandung, it's next to the holland bakery. Mind that they're not open at afternoon/night ;)

  9. @NOTJUSTPEOPLE: Yes! Dimmed light, harsh spotlight, are just a few of the troubles. But I never used flash until now. Simply cause I haven't got any =p Haha. Currently making the most of high ISO and white balance compensation. =)

  10. gue tau ni............deket teluk indah hahaha... btw gue prefer Assam yang di jl Masda untuk wan tan mie...cobain dehh :)

  11. @SEORANGPREMPUAN: eitsss, jauh ini dari teluk indahhh. maap anda belum beruntung. ayo coba lagi. hahaha. eh, ASSAM di mana? mau donk icippp.

  12. tiong sim bukannya ravino yah? wonder if this one better?! umm....

  13. I have my own wan than mie shop. hahaha. kalipeng is also a good baganese food and lo lia too. I miss them a lot

  14. Ah gue tau ni rumah makan tp ga tau nama jalanannya, teluk indah gue taunya..

    Assam itu dr darma satria lurus ke arah masda, belokan kedua lurus aja, ntar ada di kanan..

  15. Hi Rubs..
    really nice shoot for food photography. You never failed to capture the beauty of food and made watering mouth..

  16. @ICHIL : Thanks Cil, that means a lot coming from you =')

  17. I think that the location is arround dutamas.. Is it true?

  18. looks like i know the place :)

    ini mank mie legendaris daerah teluk gong
    gua katakan legendaris soalnya konon katanya di bagannya sendiri mie mereka dah terkenal
    buka jem 6 pagi tutup jem 2 malam..
    shift2an kakak beradek..
    dan kalo gak salah dia udah buka cabang didaerah muara karang atau pluit gitu.. tapi kurang tau sukses atau ga

    next time boleh coba kwetiao nya rub (recomended)

    btw nice picture!!!! and nice feautures

  19. @ANONYMOUS: Not exactly. But its within 1 km perimeter from Dutamas. =D Have fun googlemapping. =p

    @MARTIN: Hey you! I think I know you. Which martin is this? Ngakuu ayo ngaku. Hahaha. Iya kemarin temen g icip kwetiaunya lumayan juga. Cabang yg di pluit itu pecahannya (kabar burungnya si burungnya cek cok, eh. maksudnya kaka adik cekcok jadi saingan deh). Anw, THANK YOU for commenting. Nice to know ya if I havent known ya. AYO NGAKU! =p

  20. wah.. kalo di muara karang/pluit tu namanya apa? persisnya di mana pengen cobain euy... maklum noodle lover...

  21. jadi sebenernya ini di mana? pengen cobain...

    tapi kalo emang gak mau share juga gak pa pa

  22. wohoooo man... i'd love to bite' em ..
    don't forget save your belly when you're going down to my home town.. i'll take you in a day or two, atour of few 'legends bakmi' in my home town..

    come come come !!!! :D

  23. anyone share the place for me to try?

  24. Hai salam kenal, kapan - kapan boleh cobain disini

  25. @ARMANYO: Lapan enam! Mari dicanangkan supaya tidak wacana wacana. Ganti.

    @DUNIABIRU: Will reveal the location soon =)

    @EDDY: HI! G uda pengunjung tetap Nasi Kari Aladin dari 10 tahun yg lalu. Hehehe. Kapan" mampir deh biar di review kaya gini juga. =)

  26. been almost 3 month since then.. haven't found the place yet

    willing to share?

  27. @DUNIA BIRU: Email me, I'll let you know the map. or, if you cant wait, I'm revealing the location for public next month =)

  28. alamatnya mana? jangankan januari.. malah udah februari neh

    btw gong xi fa cai

  29. Ngga Jelas Mau Share Tempatnya Ato Ngga ...

    1. HAHAHA. Sabar yak @ICEN & @DUNIABIRU. Gong xi fa cai jugaaa. Belum sempet ngepost karena kesibukan. Hehe.

  30. been waiting since september

    and now almost end of february (which is already 5 months..)

    guess i've been too patient waiting
    i'll skip then

    thx for sharing bro

  31. where is this? :| it's february already and I'm curious.. :(

  32. Bole dong tau ini dimana ? Its already mei :)

  33. as a proud baganese too, i'm curious where is this restaurant locate? dying to know, are they better than my mom version of wantan mie :P

    btw, i enjoy reading your blog so much, the photo you're taken are the feast for my eyes ^^

    a proud daughter

    1. If I had to say, I wouldn't dare to compete with any meals that start with 'mom's". They are the best ones. Whatever that is. Agree? =D

    2. indeed, nothing can beat "mom's" homecook meal ^^
      lanjut pake bahasa indonesia aja... otak melayu saya keriting mikir pake bahasa a-mo hihiihi
      sejak pindah dari bagan umur 8 tahun, kangen banget makanan2 khas bagan, yang sialnya susah banget dicari...kalaupun ada yang jual, rasanya kadang jauh banget melencengnya T__T

      pernah nemu orang bagan yang jual nasi kari yang rasanya kayak soto versi kental bin lengket *sigh*
      pencarian resep mie-so ke tukang jualnya, dengan resep serba "aga2" berakhir sakit perut 2 hari

      satu2nya makanan bagan yang sukses dibikin cuma pulut kelapa :(
      it's rather sad, knowing that i can't share my hometown food with my kids since the authentic recipe has no standart, but again, that's art. ^^

  34. Ini mana lokasinya rub?? Sampe sekarang blom di buka jg... Hahaha

  35. Ruby! Ini lokasinya di mana, lokasiii?? =D

  36. History of Wan Than Mie...Asal usul "Wan Than Mie" muncul ketika seorang ibu yang bernama Ah Yan Tham pada suatu hari sedang kesal danketika pesan mie, dia berteriak "wan than" mie, dimana "wan than" dalam bahasa Hokkian artinya "kesal"

  37. hahah... orang bagan pada ngumpul...
    ungkapan dulu 美不美故鄉水,親不親 故鄉人


Real Time Analytics