Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Lontong Cap Go Meh : Cikini's Legend

Lontong = Rice Cake.

It is Google's literal translation of what it's made of, but I don't think it describe the features of this traditional Javanese dish fully. Lontong comes cylindrical in shape, usually wrapped with banana leaves, and steamed until the rices are mushy and somewhat cohesively sticky. It is the alternative for rice in many local dishes.

Lontong Cap Go Meh is one of the variety. It is a crossbreed of traditional Chinese and Javanese culture. It begins as must have dish after Chinese New Year celebration, now it has grown to be a popular menu in Indonesian restaurants. 

That particular afternoon I was bored with waroengs. There's a limit to the amount of scrambled eggs and tempe orek that you can force feed yourself. I called a break to the routine and decided to consult my Makan Sutra guide, the very first Indonesian version, written and curated by our own Arie Parikesit. I was lucky to be in Cikini area that afternoon. The stars were aligned right, it is as if the universe was conspiring to bring me to this place. Funny, I just happened to have a sudden craving for lontong cap go meh. Off I go to find Cikini IV. 

The Original Street Name (Taken w/ Samsung NX300)

The old skinny grandma greeted us in her weak little voice. Took the effort to get up from her station, brought the menu and asked what we would like to eat. I have a sense she's been around on that chair for years, if not from the very beginning when they put the original store sign. Yes, this joint has celebrated its 50th anniversary years ago. You can imagine the amount of nostalgic story Jakartans can relate to here. 

As for me, it was my first encounter, and I must admit it was a pleasant one. 

Halfway in preparation. (Taken w/ Samsung NX300)

A plateful of Legendary Lontong Cap Go Meh - IDR35K (Taken w/ Samsung NX300)

The lontong was everything I ever expected of. Rich sayur lodeh, flavorful tempe orek, juicy chicken breast, spicy telor pindang, and beef empal. Generous toppings for IDR 35k. 

The only setback for me was the broth which I personally think could be a bit more thicker and creamier. I guess I can blame the rise of gas price for their attempt to cut cost and therefore bet on the somewhat more inferior broth. The rest of the plate was delightful. Still funny to have acar hidden underneath the pile of food. And the irony is no matter how hard I tried to run, I eventually came across eggs and tempe orek again here. You two just love me that much, eh? That's okay. I have enough love for everybody. 

Lessons Learned
A well attempted variety killer I must conclude. I guess it is necessary to go out of the monotonous day-to-day activities once in a while. I personally think routine is counterproductive to creativity. We need a bolt of newness, a dash of salt if you always have sweet, a little rain in a long summer stream. Something to get us off our comfort zone. For me it can be as simple as new food. It allows us to feel again and eventually trigger new things in our synapses, resulting in fresh ideas and many good ripple effects. 

Ah, I'm blabbering. I. Must. Stop. 

Until next food safari,

Fellexandro Ruby 
Food Photographer & Storyteller


Opor Ayam. Tempe Orek. Lodeh. Empal. Generous (Taken w/ Samsung NX300)

Lontong Cap Go Meh 
Jl. Cikini IV No. 1


  1. Nice one! Love it that you could have lessons learned as simple as by trying new food. Need to find my dash of salt immediately.
    Oh and it's definitely a mistake reading your post at this late night. Drolling for a good lontong cap go meh with empal :9

    1. Dear Natasha,

      One does not open food blog at 1:37 AM. Ckck. Wait, what's keeping you up anyway? I'd say ... hunger? =p

    2. Thanks God it's not hunger, at first. I just finished with my post when I saw you got a new one, so I couldn't help but open it. And you know what happened next.

      Btw, I linked your blog to mine ya. I actually did it long ago without asking your permission, I hope you don't mind :D :D

    3. Natasha, thanks a lot for the link. Appreciate it. Did the same for you ;)

  2. hmm. yum... ive tried the lontong chap goh meh at Kopitiam Oey near to thamrin area last time. it's my go-to local food joint. overall delicious food and affordable prices. ... now i have to try this one at Jln Cikini.

    1. Hi Zeek, thanks for dropping by again. The name might be larger than its taste. But then again. Its a must try legend.

  3. Hi Ruby,

    I just want to say I LOVE your blog! May be one of the best foodie blogs I've seen. Stumbled upon it by chance and now I'm a subscriber. Keep up the good work :D your review's mouth-watering :p

    1. Hi Cindy,

      Thanks a lot. You're too kind. ;) Saw your blog over at wordpress, keep writing, NYTimes Bestseller is just around the corner.

  4. This is my kind of food. I will study the Makan Sutra guide before I come back home. Great review n lovely pics as always, Rubs!

  5. Wah bener2 bikin laper nih bro ruby! Mau dong ajak2 kalo kesini.

    bisa share foto2 lontongnya disini juga bro


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