“As a Sayur Asem lover, I was delighted by its version of the soup, which was served cold and rich in flavour.”
Throughout all the culinary visits that I have made for Good Indonesian Food so far, I must say that the most memorable would be Nasi Uduk & Ayam Goreng Gang Buni. Not only did I get to discover a new eatery, but I also gained a new friend in the process.
Locating the shop, which first opened in 1958, is a relatively easy task, especially given its new site on Jalan Mangga Besar. It is currently run by Engko Ali, the son of founder Tan Pang Nio.
Like any other Nasi Uduk Betawi (rice cooked in coconut milk) shops, Nasi Uduk & Ayam Goreng Gang Buni offers dishes including Ayam Goreng (fried chicken), Semur Jengkol (jengkol stewed in sweet soy sauce), Sayur Asem (tamarind-flavoured soup with vegetables), Sambal Tumis Udang Petai (shrimp with stink beans cooked in chilli) and fried tempeh. It also has Ketupat (rice cake) and Bacang (rice stuffed with different fillings wrapped in bamboo leaves) on its menu as well.
The restaurant was nearly empty by the time arrived during dinnertime. It consists of two areas, with the air-conditioned space designed for non-smokers. I chose to sit outside so I could see how they serve their food. I ordered the Nasi Uduk with Sayur Asem, Sambal Udang Petai, and Ayam Goreng. The fried chicken was made using ayam kampung, crisply fried to a T and marinated well. As a Sayur Asem lover, I was delighted by its version of the soup, which was served cold and rich in flavour. The petai from the Sambal Udang Petai was pleasingly crunchy, while the shrimp was cleaned thoroughly to give off a very fresh taste.
As I went to pay my bill, Engko Ali was teasing his son Endry, who was eating. The latter got up to process my payment, and as he was writing up the receipt, Engko Ali asked me to rate his handwriting. It might have been a very simple question, but his congeniality made me feel like I’ve known him for years.
I started to fire away a few questions about the restaurant, and he explained that he’s been running the place for the past 30 years after he inherited it from his father. “I’ve been selling Nasi Uduk since he was a baby,” he says while pointing at his son. “I’ve accomplished almost everything that I ever wanted to do. Now the only thing that’s left on my bucket list is to get my hands on a personal aeroplane,” he continues with a poker face, which incited a few giggles from yours truly.
If you happen to go for a meal at Nasi Uduk & Ayam Goreng Gang Buni, please send them my regards, from the girl who works for Good Indonesian Food.
By Jessicha Valentina
Jl. Mangga Besar I, No. 42C
RT 05/RW 05, West Jakarta
T: 0838 7575 7515
Open daily from 6am-10pm, except on Mondays from 4.30pm-9.30pm
Rp.30,000-50,000/US$2.30-3.80 per person