Preserve and Promote Indonesian Cuisine
Coconut rice and fried chicken are served at the Nasi Uduk dan Ayam Goreng Mat Lengket eatery in East Jakarta. (Good Indonesian Food/File)
The number of nasi uduk (coconut rice with side dishes) sellers in Jakarta is near countless, with several areas in the capital renowned for being nasi uduk hubs.
Veer over to the eastern side of town and you will come across a popular, modestly sized eatery whose nasi uduk and ayam goreng (fried chicken) have become all the rage: Nasi Uduk dan Ayam Goreng Mat Lengket.
The joint was established in 1973 and is located on Jl. Raya Bekasi KM 18, which is not within the Bekasi area at all. Despite the name of the road, it is actually situated in Jatinegara Kaum, East Jakarta, right across from Pasar Klender.
Although I am a resident of East Jakarta — quite nearby the eatery, actually — my first visit was only a few months ago, but it was definitely memorable. After being informed that the place would open for business at 5 p.m. every day, I tried to swing by around that time in the hope that there would be some vacant tables. What I encountered instead was a huge crowd already surrounding the eatery.
There are two counters: one to serve to-go customers, and the other assigned for those who will be dining on-site. The staff members at both counters were visibly pushed to the limit by the sheer number of punters they had to serve. I have never witnessed such a chaotic scene at any other nasi uduk shop in Jakarta, which played a small part in the slow service.
However, I must state that both the nasi uduk and ayam goreng were simply extraordinary. While the rice may be more delicious than most, the main attraction was the sensational chicken. Its slightly saturated texture, juicy meat and extreme savoriness has led to many culinary aficionados in Jakarta jostling each other while drenched in sweat for a piece of the chicken. It seems you really do need to work hard to obtain the very best.
Explore more Indonesian cuisine here.
Jl. Raya Bekasi KM 18, Klender, East Jakarta
T: 021 4786 9747
Open daily from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Rp 25,000 (US$1.90) per person
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.