“The sight of the generous serving of crabmeat floating about on top of the noodles whetted my appetite even further.“
To tell you the truth, despite my profession, I’m not a frequent visitor to Mangga Besar – an area that Jakarta’s legions of epicureans have long regarded as one of the city’s culinary utopias. However, there’s one joint here that I once paid a visit to when I was a child – one that has left quite a profound mark on me: Bakmi Kepiting 78E Ayau. Ever since then, I’ve tried other Bakmi Kepiting, but none of them could come close to this eatery’s magic bowl of crab noodles.
A few months back, I was assigned a task to explore places to eat that have been in operation for more than 25 years in Jakarta. I immediately placed Bakmi Kepiting 78E Ayau at the top of my list, yet I had difficulties in locating it at first. Fortunately, a colleague of mine assisted me in finding it during my second visit to Mangga Besar.
Pure joy enveloped me as soon as I spotted the place. Every inch of my body felt compelled to run inside, which I did. Memories from my first visit came rushing back to me once I stepped into the establishment. Everything still looks the same, from the furniture and the snacks on the counter to its menu. Without even pausing for breath, I ordered a bowl of its signature dish. Whilst waiting, I engaged in some small talk with the owner, who I found out was the son of the founder – a Pontianak-native who opened the shop back in the 1980s. Our conversation was cut short by the arrival of my Bakmi Kepiting, and after bidding my thanks to the owner, I turned my attention towards the bowl of noodles in front of me.
The sight of the generous serving of crabmeat floating about on top of the noodles whetted my appetite even further. I mixed them thoroughly, as the aroma emanating from the fried garlic wafted into the air and right into my nostrils. One slurp, and I was walking down memory lane – it still tasted as good as it was back then.
Jl. Mangga Besar Raya No.78E,
Tamansari, West Jakarta
T: 021 9130 9387
Open daily from 8am-11pm
Rp.30,000/US$2.30 per person