It was a cloudy afternoon in Jakarta as I was suddenly tempted to drop by a shop that I’ve driven past so many times before. Called Warunk Cuko, the warung has been around since 2005 and initially named Pempek Cuko. It also underwent a renovation recently in July of this year. The change in concept was masterminded by owner Herry Fernandy, who wanted to transform the place from a joint that offers Pempek (fried fishcake) into a hang-out that also serves various Indonesian coffee drinks with the help of JOIN Kopi.
A feeling of comfort surged through me the moment I stepped foot into the two-storey building. Decorating the place are a few sets of tables and chairs along with a long bench that sits in front of a bar-like table where customers are able to witness the baristas as they prepare their coffee. As the rain came falling down, I opted to have its Tekwan (fishcake soup) to open the proceedings, followed by a portion of its signature Pempek Kapal Selam (submarine-shaped fried fishcake). It didn’t take long before they were both delivered to my table.
I immediately went for the Tekwan, which was served in a hot broth and some grinded bird’s eye chilli on the side. The soup was savoury and tasted even better once I added in a few droplets of sambal. Consisting of fish balls, rice vermicelli, cloud ear fungi, fishcake, jicama, and crushed shrimp; this is a dish that is perfect for rainy days.
It would be a sin if I were to give its Pempek a skip, and so I had a go at its Pempek Kapal Selam. Prepared by the owner himself, I could feel the taste of the mackerel dancing on my palate. Its crunchy exterior contrasted well with the soft and juicy texture of its insides. Add to that the sweet-and-spicy cuko (vinegar sauce), and I ended up finishing the whole dish without leaving a single trace.
Jl. Kav. Polri No. 21, Jagakarsa,
Nearby the south gate of Ragunan,
T: 021 7077 2429/7888 5384
Open daily from 11am-2am
Rp.50,000/US$3.80 per person