Thursday, 9 January 2014
Kwetiau Akang in Jakarta, Indonesia - Johor Kaki Travels
I am quite sure that I haven't found the best kwetiau (kway teow) in Jakarta. Hey, I can't even say I have the found the best kway teow in Johor Bahru after blogging about Johor food for nearly two years. What more I've just landed in Jakarta. But, Kwetiau Akang has definitely lodged itself in my data bank of great kway teow, even though it's unique style is different from any that I have eaten so far.
When we asked our guide/ friend Tin Tin to take us to try local everyday food, I saw her eyes lit up when she mentioned Kwetiau Akang.
Kwetiau Akang has four branches in Jakarta. Tin Tin took us to the Pondok Indah branch in South Jakarta as our hotel was nearby. The original shop in Muara Karang in North Jakarta where it all started is a legend among Jakarta foodie circles.
The founder of Kwetiau Akang came to Jakarta from Medan and is Hokkien. So, it's no surprise that Akang's Kwetiau resembles Penang kway teow in some aspects.
Kwetiau Akang in Pondok Indah is a simple street side type café setup, little different from those in Johor. The décor is basic but clean and comfortable with air conditioning. A couple of steps out of the café door and you are in the endless stream of cars, bikes and lovable bajajs.
The kwetiau has adequate wok hei, is nicely dry and infused with seafood savouriness without being overly greasy. Besides shrimps, char siew, bean sprouts and greens, the kway teow had generous amounts of shelled tiny crab claws tossed in.
The nasi goreng was equally well executed. The fragrant fried rice grains were firm and separate easily. The mound of fried rice was also adorned with several of those nicely shelled little crab claws.
Akang's mee rebus noodles sit in a gravy different from anything in Singapore or Johor. It is heavy with delicious savouriness from the crab claws.
Akang's signature crab claws in the mee rebus. There must be at least half a dozen in the mee rebus. I am happy to slurp up the savoury gravy to the last spoonful.
The claw meat itself weren't particularly tasty because most of it's flavours have already been extracted for the savoury broth.
Akang's Kwetiau Siram is like the hor fan in Johor and Singapore. The savoury gravy with the robust crab flavour is again the winning number.
Those crackers on top are fried pork skin (pork rinds). Quite hard but delicious and has good bite. Can be quite addictive.
I like the taste of those red onions or shallots with cut chili padi, and added some to my kwetiau and noodles. Adds a nice sting to the noodles :D
We also tried the otak otak at Akang's. Quite different from those spicy coconut filled ones that we are familiar with in Johor and Singapore. The local version is more like fish cake in taste and texture.
The otak otak is eaten with a peanut sauce. Quite interesting otak otak variation but I don't think I will be trying this again.
We also tried Akang's durian pudding. Mildly flavoured and still has real pulp in the pudding. Not quite like the best real thing but a pretty good dessert still.
On our way out, after our scrumptious lunch, I couldn't resist popping my head into the kitchen and snapping this shot of the chef at work. His dishes certainly reflect his elegance and poise.
If you like crabs and fried kway teow like me, when in Jakarta, visit a Kwetiau Akang branch near you.
(Acknowledgement: My trip to Jakarta was sponsored by Jakarta Tourism Office and organised by Russell Cheong of Winsemius Consulting.)
Restaurant name: Kwetiau Akang
Address: Pondok Indah Branch at Jalan Sultan Iskandar Muda #25E (four branches around Jakarta)
Date visited: 5 Nov 2013
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