Coco Walk Unit WS No.16
Jl. Boulevard Diponogoro no. 105
+62 21 5422 0576
Jakarta seems to be growing at a ridiculous rate. Indonesia’s capital city has been inundated with migrants coming in massive waves in the last few years that heaps of new residents have resorted to living in nearby cities such as Tangerang.
Within the Tangerang region, new-ish satellite towns such as Lippo Karawaci exist. These towns provide affordable housing for those who cannot afford rents in Jakarta, while being only a 45 minute drive away from the big smoke. If I had to come up with a Victorian analogy for this, Jakarta would be Melbourne, Tangerang would be greater Geelong and Lippo Karawaci would be Lara. Try squeezing 1.5 million people into Lara though, heh.
For a satellite town, Lippo Kawaraci actually has some pretty neat facilities. They have a very good private school and its own university and
a mall, no a supermall that is just as good as Doncaster Shoppo and Chadstone. Pffft, who needs Jakarta?
My family, my aunty Ie Elsa and her husband, Om Jonathan and myself were at the mall one day. In addition to checking the place out, I also wanted to get my iPhone screen fixed. Earlier in 2012, it broke during a hiking trip in Crystal Cascades, Cairns. I was initially devastated when I saw that the jagged lines and cracks were ruining my ability to fully appreciate #foodporn pics on Instagram but eventually grew to live with the cracks. After all, they made for a good convo starter (guy at party: oh wow, your iPhone has cracks too! Me: yep! I broke it while hiking in Cairns, how did you get yours? Guy: oh, I broke it at home). Additionally, the Asian in me refused to pay at least $150 to get the screen fixed.
But when I heard that I could get it fixed inexpensively in Indonesia, I decided to go for it. At Supermall Karawaci, there is an entire floor dedicated to electronic gadgets. If you want to buy your toy, sell it off or get it fixed, someone on the floor will be able to help you. The problem I had, though, was that Indonesians prefer Blackberries to Apple or even Samsung products (pfft, I say, PFFFT) so it was ridiculously hard to find a stall that was able to fix my iPhone. Eventually I did though, and had to play an inflated price to get it fixed. Okay, so AUD$65 is way cheaper than any place in Melbourne but still.
So before I start going on about iPhones and shopping centres, let’s get back to this entry. After we got my phone fixed, we decided to have an early dinner at Chuan Tin. Chuan Tin is a Chinese restaurant that focuses on Hokkien cuisine (actually, most Chinese restaurant in Indonesia do but anyway).
We decided to order a mix of Chinese-Indonesian favourites, starting with black pepper beef. I found that the beef wasn’t as tender as I would have liked, and the sauce too sweet. My brother, a huge black pepper beef fan, loved it though.
We then ordered a serving of chap chai (mixed vegetable stew-slash-stir fry). I wouldn’t say that it was anything remarkable though.
I’m not a fan of soft shell crab so when I say that this soft shell crab with beef floss dish was ‘meh’, please don’t listen to me. Instead, listen to my mum who thought that this dish was ‘very nice.’ And if you think that the use of beef floss was weird, you’re not the only one. On the other hand, though, Chuan Tin serves only halal food so there was no way they could use pork floss.
The next dish was the sweet and sour fish. In Indonesia, the fleshy gurame is often used when the dish calls for white fish. Unfortunately, the restaurant didn’t have any gurame available due to the floods and so they used another fish in its place. I can’t remember what fish it was, except that it was one that was native to Southeast Asia and that it was stringy, tasteless and dry. Oh, the sauce was too sweet as well.
Because the dishes we had were unremarkable, we didn’t have much hope for the lo mie, Chuan Tin’s specialty. Surprisingly – and thankfully – it turned out to be the restaurant’s best dish.
Lo mie is essentially a dish consisting of thick egg noodles swimming in a thickened broth. My mum makes a version of this dish at home every now and then, and I was under the impression that it was a Hokkien-Indonesian dish. After googling the dish, however, I found out that the Filipino lomi is a very similar dish – perhaps the Chinese-Indonesians ‘borrowed’ the dish from the Philippines and tried to palm it off as its own? Not that I’m complaining though, this dish was ridiculously good.
The lo mie here comes in different sizes: a small serving would feed one or two people while a medium feeds four to five. Because there were seven of us, we choose the large serving (Rp. 93.000/AUD$9.30). On the menu, instructions on how to eat it are printed.
There are pots containing black vinegar, garlic and chilli on the table. You’re encouraged to make a sauce using some or all of the ingredients which you’ll dip your noodles into.
These noodles were so friggin’ good. They were fat, thick, chewy and absorbed the flavoursome chicken-based stew beautifully. We were suitably impressed. My only criticism would be that I would have liked less trimmings (chicken, veggies etc) and WAY more noodles.
If you love noodles and want to try something different, then I’d highly recommend Chuan Tin. We paid the equivalent of AUD$27 for seven people, making it an inexpensive meal even if most of the dishes weren’t too great. Going forward, I’d suggest staying away from the non-noodle dishes and ordering a plate of lo mie to share with your dining companion.