First of all, allow us to enlighten you with the fact that a veritable cornucopia of various delightful treats can be found in North Jakarta’s Kelapa Gading area. Now, amongst the collection of eateries here lies Bakmi Awat, which specialises in noodles cooked in the tradition of the people of Bangka. It was 2pm when I arrived at the small-sized shop. Although lunchtime had already passed, a gaggle of customers were still there slurping noodles. Within earshot I could hear some of them speaking in Bangka, which I recognised in an instant due to the Bangka blood that runs through my veins.
Before I uttered even a single word, the cook behind the cart told me that they had no more noodles left. I was bitterly disappointed at first, yet I realised that this indicated that the noodles here must be really good. With only Bihun (rice vermicelli) and Kwetiau (thin rice noodles) to choose from, I settled for the Kwetiau Bakso Pangsit (Kwetiau with meatballs and dumplings) and a serving of Tahu Kok (tofu and fishcake soup).
Served dry and topped with a generous amount of minced chicken meat, next to it was a small red bowl that contained a soup filled with dumplings and meatballs. After splashing a few spoonfuls of the soup on to the Kwetiau, I armed myself with the chopsticks provided and began to dig in. As a person of Bangka heritage – and with guidance from my grandmother – I believe that I know all about our noodles dishes. Thus it is with enormous delight that I can tell you that Bakmi Awat serves one of the best and most authentic bowls of Bangka-style noodles I’ve ever tasted. Despite the soy sauce-spattered chicken meat being a tad salty compared to others, it still worked well with the mildly flavoured Kwetiau. The soup helped in balancing up the salty and savoury flavours that come from the chicken meat.
With the Kwetiau proving to be a very satisfying dish, I proceeded to sample the Tahu Kok. To be honest, I don’t really find the dry texture of tofu enjoyable. For professionalism’s sake, however, I went on and took a bit anyway. Surprisingly, it turned out to be the correct decision as it was just marvellous. Mixed with minced fish meat, the tofu was soft yet durable enough to not break apart too easily. The savoury taste that emerged from the chewy fishcake added to the pleasure factor of the dish and gratified my taste buds. I’d totally recommend these two delightful delicacies if you’re planning to visit this 24-year-old noodles joint.
Jl. Kelapa Hybrida Raya, Blok PE 10/31,
Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta
T: 021 4584 3582
Open Tuesday-Sunday from 6am-5pm
Rp.30,000/US$2.30 per portion