Widely sold by hawkers up and down the country, Nasi Goreng (fried rice) is offered in various forms and is very much a popular choice for a meal for many Indonesians. In Jakarta, we’re fortunate enough to call Nasi Goreng Kebon Sirih one of our own – a shop that serves both Nasi Goreng Ayam (chicken fried rice) and Nasi Goreng Kambing (mutton fried rice), with the latter very much responsible for the joint’s prominence.
The late Haji Nein established the business in 1958. “He was the first Nasi Goreng seller in this neighbourhood,” says one of the staff members by the counter. Currently run by the third generation of the founder’s family, the shop now has a total of four outlets spread across town.
Located right at the mouth of a narrow street off Jalan Kebon Sirih, the sight of mounds of Nasi Goreng greeted me as I entered the place, with its alluring herby scent wafting through the air. As the joint tends to be at full capacity most of the time, the fried rice here is prepared in bulk so as to not result in lengthy waits for its customers.
My order for the day was its much-celebrated Nasi Goreng Kambing. Having been made in advance, it was still quite warm – perhaps it was due to me arriving rather early at 5pm. Served with crackers on top, it is cooked in ghee with plenty of herbs, which explains the strong aroma. Although slightly greasy, it is rich in texture, while the sizable mutton chunks were odourless, delicate and utterly delightful.
Jl. Kebon Sirih,
Open daily from 4pm-3am
Rp.35,000/US$2.70 per portion