“Chewy in texture, it is served hot with peanut sauce, lime, and sweet soy sauce, resulting in an addictive combination of flavours ranging from salty and sweet to sour and spicy.”
“Hullo, Pak, do you remember me?” asks my sister Cecilia to Pak Aceng, the purveyor of the best Siomay in town. Without even looking at her – he was preoccupied with another customer – he smiles and replies, “Cecilia! Of course I remember you. I’d recognise that voice from anywhere!”
Pak Aceng sells Siomay in Cipinang Jaya, East Jakarta. Outside of the area’s residents, Siomay Pak Aceng is pretty much an unknown quantity. It’s a shame, though, as this man serves one of the best Siomay in Jakarta. The humble man started his business in 1981. At that time, he would ride his bicycle to travel around the Cipinang Jaya Area. “I used to come over to your house to peddle my Siomay, and now you’re the one who comes here!” he laughs, referring to how he used to drop by our house back in the day.
Despite now having his own permanent stall, nothing has changed with Pak Aceng. He’s still the same man he was before – a jovial bloke who likes to joke around with his customers. And the same has to be said of his Siomay as well. It still tastes as good as it was before. Priced at Rp.15,000 per portion, or Rp.3,000 per piece, Pak Aceng’s signature Siomay is made from genuine ikan tenggiri (mackerel), which is a luxury these days. Chewy in texture, it is served hot with peanut sauce, lime, and sweet soy sauce, resulting in an addictive combination of flavours ranging from salty and sweet to sour and spicy. Pak Aceng prioritises quality in terms of his food, and it is shown by the brands that he uses for his sweet soy sauce and chilli sauce.
Having sold Siomay for more than 30 years on his own, Pak Aceng now shares the responsibility of running the stall with his son – affording him the time to sit back and relax. “I’ll be here for one week, and he’d be in charge the following week,” he explains. However, it seems that customers prefer when he’s around, as it gets more crowded when Pak Aceng is manning the stall. “Some of them would just leave when I’m not here!” he remarks. It seems that punters come here not only for the Siomay, but to actually meet Pak Aceng. “Maybe it’s because I like to exchange words with them. I think that’s the reason why they keep coming back,” he says.
Jl. Cipinang Jaya (in front of Alfamart)
T: 0815 4615 1518
Open daily from 1pm-8pm
Rp.15,000/US$1.20 per portion