Jl. Tanjung Duren Raya
+62 21 569 85580
Tonight marks the first post of my Indonesian series, which I’ll be covering over the next couple of weeks. Very soon, you’ll be reading about how I went to a Colonial-style Dutch bakery in Bandung, how I kept marvelling at the fact that AUD$60 fed six people at Din Tai Fung in Jakarta while the same amount fed only two in Sydney and how excited I am about Indonesia’s growing organic food movement.
The ten days I spent there silently suffering in 90% humidity, gorging on beautiful street food and copping Jakarta’s worse-than-usual monsoon floods just seem so far away (especially now that Melbourne’s approaching winter, boo). So here I go in my attempt to bring those memories back by starting off with the first meal I in Jakarta… which happened to be a Japanese sukiyaki (hot pot) restaurant.
After spending several hours after landing at my aunty’s house catching up on lost gossip time with my other aunties, grandmothers and cousins, we worked up a bit of an appetite. My aunty Emi decided that she’d take us all (by us, I meant my siblings, my parents and myself plus various sundries who just happened to be there for the ride) to the local shopping mall, Central Park. Now Central Park was only in its infancy the last time I was in Jakarta so the sheer size of it now amazed me.
I-Ta Suki sells itself as an ‘original Thailand restaurant’ though sukiyaki is a Japanese concept. They also offer wontons on the menu so I’m not too sure where the Thai thing comes from. I-Ta Suki is all about healthy eating and their selling point is fresh organic vegies from their own farm. They then keep up this holistic theme with a ‘natural-themed design’ restaurant (i.e. wood everywhere) to create a feeling of being outdoors.
The process is pretty simple. You sit on a table with one or two hot pot stations, depending on how big your party is – in our case, we had two. You choose the broth base (we had one plain chicken and one spicy) and then head off to the fridge by the counter and choose your ingredients.
In the past, I struggled to find fresh green vegetables in Indonesia. So imagine my delight when I saw all this greenery.
Yep, even the noodles were green (gotta love spinach noodles).
Once the ingredients are gathered and tallied at the counter, it was time to cook. It didn’t take long for the food to cook and soon, we were silently slurping on our noodles, vegetables, fish balls and whatnot.
Here’s a photo of my bowl that’s been filled with fish balls, prawn wontons, sliced beef and noodles.
I later found out that they had an a la carte menu full of apparent Thai dishes such as ‘Thailand-style chilli fried fish’ (ah, so that’s where the Thai thing comes from). They also offer prawn dumplings and xiaolongbaos (oh why wasn’t I told this earlier on?!). In all seriousness though, people only come here for the sukiyaki, which I reckon, was simple, yet delicious and filling. I wasn’t sure how much the bill was exactly but a figure of approximately AUD$4-5 per head sounds about right, making it a cheap and healthy meal for anyone wanting dinner before a 10pm shopping session (one thing I miss about Jakarta is being able to shop that late at night).
In the end, I didn’t care whether I-Ta Suki markets themselves as a Thai restaurant or a Macedonian restaurant. As long as they keep serving cheap* comfort food like this, I’m happy!
*by Australian standards, anyway.