“The restaurant’s signature Ayam Goreng was just magical. Juicy and flavourful, the fact that they use ayam kampung (free-range chicken) makes it even better.”
If you happen to be a frequent reader of Good Indonesian Food’s many articles, then you may have realised that our Heritage section has a few requirements that its entrants must adhere to. First of all, the establishment has to have been around for at least 25 years. Secondly, its owner needs to be involved in its daily operation. Last, but certainly not least, it should be a stand-alone establishment that hasn’t opened up any branches or additional outlets.
We were in danger of breaking the third rule – rules that we made ourselves – when we were contemplating a visit to Ayam Goreng Ibu Haji, as it has two outlets in Jatinegara. However, Good Indonesian Food believes that the best way to gather information is by first-hand experience and to collect facts from knowledgeable people, which, in this case, is the owner of the establishment.
It was during lunchtime when we arrived at Ayam Goreng Ibu Haji, and the place was brimming with customers. The attentive staff quickly directed us to go up to the second floor, and then she took our order, which consisted of Ayam Goreng, Sayur Asem, Sambal Goreng Hati, and acar (pickles). Served with sambal kacang (peanut chilli sauce), the restaurant’s signature Ayam Goreng was just magical. Juicy and flavourful, the fact that they use ayam kampung (free-range chicken) makes it even better. The Sambal Goreng Hati and acar were amazing – the former was served with a big chuck of chicken liver splashed in a thick, appetising gravy. The acar, on the other hand, tasted sweet and sour, which balanced the overall flavour of the whole meal.
Feeling gratified with the food, we went downstairs to discover more about this eatery. Jipo, the great-grandson of its founder, says that his great-grandmother, Haji Fatimah, started selling Ayam Goreng in Pasar Jatinegara – previously known as Pasar Mester – back in the ‘60s. The first Ayam Goreng Ibu Haji outlet was opened in 1980 on Jl. Bekasi Timur Raya No. 20. By 1990, another outlet came into being after someone who wanted to sell off a space at bargain price approached them, which is located not far from its flagship shop. Hence, we concluded that there’s only one proper Ayam Goreng Ibu Haji in Jatinegara.
Jipo also told us the story of the sambal kacang that is used for their Ayam Goreng. At first, Haji Fatimah used sambal terasi, yet after suggestions from her Chinese patrons to servesambal kacang, she went with sambal kacang to distance Ayam Goreng Ibu Haji from its competitors.
Pamper your taste buds at Ayam Goreng Ibu Haji and its authentic Betawi dishes, and you will leave wearing a smile that will last for a long time.
Jl. Bekasi Timur Raya No.20
Jatinegara, East Jakarta
T: 021 819 9814
Open daily from 9am-8pm
Rp.30,000/US$2.50 per person