The ugly truth

The unevenness in flavours struck again, with my sensitive palates noticing the inequality between the sweet soy sauce and the salt.

Established in 1947, Bakmi Kadin Hj. Karto is situated right in the heart of Yogyakarta, making it easily accessible for both locals and tourists. Currently managed by Hj. Karto’s grandson Iwan, I paid a visit to the place while I was in town, and let’s just say it wasn’t as pleasant an experience as most of the articles that you can find on Good Indonesian Foodwould normally depict. And to make things more intriguing, that wasn’t the first time it had disappointed me.
The date was August 10, 2014. After attending the wedding of a friend in the city, I had the natural urge to try out some of the local dishes. A quick browse through Google resulted in Bakmi Kadin Hj. Karto topping my list of restaurants to swoop on. It was late at night, and I had its Bakmi Godog (boiled noodles). After a couple of spoonfuls, all the excitement that was brimming in me went down the drain – its flavours were all over the place. Google failed me, and so did Bakmi Kadin Hj. Karto.
Fast forward to October 2015, and as part of my assignment, there I was again, sitting down at the joint with the hope that things will be a bit better than the last time around; that its Bakmi Jawa won’t leave me feeling empty afterwards. In order to spice it up a bit, I opted for the Bakmi Goreng (fried noodles). Unfortunately, a sense of déjà vu took over once I ate it. Sure, it was huge in portion, complete with shredded chicken and cabbage. Yet the unevenness in flavours struck again, with my sensitive palates noticing the inequality between the sweet soy sauce and the salt.
My frustration was off the chart, and I have to conclude that its so-called legendary Bakmi Jawa has lost its charm. I have to give Bakmi Kadin Hj. Karto props for its efforts to satisfy its customers’ demands by hiring as many staff as possible and its method of employing four to five carts to cook during peak hours. Nonetheless, it seems that they’ve forgotten the most crucial part in running an eatery: the taste of its food. As a customer, quality far surpasses quantity in terms of importance. This may be the perfect place to go to if you’re short on time but dying to find out what Bakmi Jawa is all about. For me, though, I’d rather take on a two-hour drive away from the city to eat a bowl of Bakmi Jawa that is not bland and tasteless.

Started her career as a food writer in 2012, Jessicha Valentina is the online editor of Good Indonesian Food. Jessicha has loved Sayur Asem since she was a wee kid and spends her free time trying to cook it.

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