The Jakarta Post
A new cake can create culinary hype in the city and its surroundings, as was the case with the red velvet and rainbow cakes that recently became the talk of the town. Despite the growth of new bakeries in shopping malls, a number of vintage bakeries are still satisfying their loyal customers.
Here are a few of the more legendary bakeries that have retained their signature flavors and textures for decades:
Tan Ek Tjoan
Chinese businessman Tan Ek Tjoan established his namesake bakery in Bogor, West Java, in 1921. His son, Tan Kim Ham, established a second branch on Jl. Cikini Raya in Menteng to meet the increased demand for bread in the capital city. Kim Ham was the mastermind behind the shop’s signature gambang bread, the long brown loaf with a firm texture. Tan Ek Tjoan staff also distribute their wares around the city on vintage three-wheeled carts.
“I have been selling Tan Ek Tjoan bread for four years, taking the same route from Kebayoran Baru to Palmerah every day. I usually stop opposite the Senayan sports center, next to the Mulia Hotel,” Zaenal said.
Sales staff from the Liong bakery, which was built by Adi Sunarya in Tambora in 1979, usually gather along pedestrian lanes around Glodok, West Jakarta. Using yokes to carry two crates of bread, the vendors offer classic breads such as the Betawi roti gambang and white bread.
Roti Unyil Venus
Founded in 1992, Roti Unyil Venus has become one of the most popular snack sites for people visiting Bogor in West Java. Located on Jl. Pajajaran, the shop is usually packed with customers, especially on weekends. The petite, one-bite size of the bread on offer and the delicious toppings have won the hearts of many people. “Besides the main store, we also have 10 small outlets around Bogor,” Giok, an employee, told The Jakarta Post over the telephone.
This bakery has been located on Jl. R.S. Fatmawati No. 42A in South Jakarta since the 1960s. It now has a number of branches across Jakarta and Bintaro, South Tangerang. Like Tan Ek Tjoan, Lauw also markets its bread with hundreds of three-wheeled carts, some of which are often parked on the pedestrian lane in Cipete.
“I recently bought a pair of roti buaya [sweetened bread in the shape of crocodiles] for my friend’s wedding. Lauw’s roti buaya has a smooth texture,” said Sanusi, 40. A pair of roti buaya is a must at every Betawi traditional wedding because Betawi people believe that the reptile symbolizes loyalty and long life.
With several stores in Jakarta and over 200 outlets across the country, the bakery, which was established in 1978, prides itself on being on the frontier of modern bakeries in Indonesia. The Holland Bakery offers various modern and classic breads, as well as traditional snacks.
Oey Seng Lie, 82, says he loves the layered cake, called lapis legit in Indonesian, which he buys for special occasions, such as the Chinese New Year.
“It’s expensive, but I love it. It’s very soft and delicious,” he said. — JP