Kebon Kacang is without doubt the talk of the town when it comes to the best Nasi Uduk (steamed rice cooked in coconut milk with side dishes) in Jakarta. Many of us may already have unconsciously relate the ideal Nasi Uduk to those that are offered by the purveyors in that area, which is understandable seeing as Kebon Kacang has been renowned for its Nasi Uduk for decades.
Not long ago, my culinary adventures took me to Pasar Baru, which is home to one of the most popular Nasi Uduk places around: Nasi Uduk Kota Intan. Although it has been around for quite a while, it is not a fancy restaurant; only a couple tents that make up the warung welcomed me when I set foot on Jalan Samanhudi.
Located on the pavement right in front of GKI Samanhudi, it was 5.30pm and the place was beginning to see a lot of its devotees. Not all the tables were occupied, yet the queue that had formed at its counter was already long enough. It offers a different concept compared to those of its kind in Kebon Kacang, which involves customers having to choose their side dishes at the counter and waiting for them to be served with its Nasi Uduk.
The side dishes are displayed on a long wooden counter and ready to be cooked to your preference. Besides the usual chicken, tempeh and tofu, you also have duck meat and fish here, along with a few vegetable choices including water spinach and bean sprouts. I opted to order a couple of pieces of chicken along with a tofu for the staff to fry. To lend a rather healthy touch to my meal, I went for its water spinach. It may be a bit odd to hear someone eating Nasi Uduk with sautéed water spinach, but hey, it’s never wrong to try something new, right?
My first spoonful took me straight to heaven. The delicacy and savouriness of its Nasi Uduk is such a treat to my taste buds, so much as I could eat it with just some peanut sauce and it would be more than enough. The fried chicken was tender with a hint of sweetness. The combination of water spinach with Nasi Uduk, though, was not really to my liking.
If its location is a tad too far from where you live, then you could visit its branch in Kelapa Gading instead. One piece of advice: never ever try mixing Nasi Uduk with water spinach.
You can also read this article on The Jakarta Post: Tasty ‘nasi uduk’ is talk of town
Jl. Samanhudi (in front of GKI Samanhudi), Pasar Baru, Central Jakarta
Open daily from 6pm-2am
Rp.40,000/US$3 per person