Indonesian Fried Rice – Ranked 2nd on World’s Top 50 Best Foods by CNN, Nasi Goreng a.k.a Fried Rice is one irresistible Indonesian dish. Thoroughly researched [on google] the history of Nasi Goreng, it’s actually originated from China and got adopted by our ancestors. Due to the love of rice and hatred of food waste, Indonesian ancestors mixed leftover rice with other ingredients such as egg, chicken, tomato, and chili. This used-to-be-leftover rice tasted better than expected and nationally became famous Indonesian dish. Every city in Indonesia has its own version of Nasi Goreng with different spices and combination of toppings, but one secret ingredient to make a great Indonesian Fried Rice is by using the overnight cooked rice. Another secret ingredient in most cities in Indonesia, great Nasi Goreng is made from good quality Kecap Manis [sweet soy sauce]. Depending on one’s preference, the more Kecap Manis you use, the sweeter it is. Usually, the Nasi Goreng you find in Java [Jakarta to be exact] has a hint of sweetness.
Since it is very easy to make, you can find Nasi Goreng literally everywhere in Jakarta either in a restaurants, cafe, or in stalls (and Tangerang and most cities in Indonesia). There are a lot of Nasi Goreng types, such as Nasi Goreng Simple, Nasi Goreng Gila, Nasi Goreng Chinese, etc. However, not every Nasi Goreng menu is created the same, some may taste really bland and some maybe too MSG-ish. The clue to know whether certain street stalls sell good Nasi Goreng or not is by looking at the queue. And my gut feeling was right, there was a long queue and we waited for more than 30 minutes for Nasi Goreng Apjay in South Jakarta (Jakarta Selatan). Here are some survival tips for your Nasi Goreng Apjay hunt:
- Come before 6 P.M. Better, come at their opening hour: 5 P.M. Stand close to the Mas-Mas who takes the order [he usually sits down with pen and stacks of paper].
- Order right away with no dilly-dally, if you’re waiting for your friends you better call them and ask for their order.
- Tag some seats. Trust me, during the peak hours, you WILL NOT get any seat.
- If you don’t get any seating, tell the Mas-Mas to send your order to your car and wait there.
- If you don’t bring car, do whatever you want while waiting. Just be sure that you’re around when they call your name.
- While waiting, try the Martabak stall beside Apjay. Important note: try their appetizer Martabak Tipis Kering Keju.
Finally, our Nasi Goreng Kebuli Kambing [IDR 28,000] and Nasi Goreng Ayam [IDR 24,000] were done and the wait’s finally over. We sat in front of Indomaret [no seat available] and had the first gulp. Once the Nasi Goreng Kebuli Kambing is hit our palate, the strong spices kicked in and you will feel the Arabic flavours. There’s one strong spice that stood out, it’s Cardamom. What’s special from Nasi Goreng Kebuli Kambing is they cooked it with Samin oil and quite generous amount of chevon (goat meat) on charcoal stove [Viva La Traditionale]. If you’re not a fan of spices, Arabic food, and chevon, then you might not like this dish but you’ll definitely love their Nasi Goreng Ayam. Cooked like the usual Indonesian Fried Rice recipe, the Nasi Goreng Ayam is light with balance of saltiness and sweetness. They put in eggs, shredded chicken, and some green onions. I ordered the medium spiciness level and it was perfect for a guilty pleasure.
Overall, we rate Nasi Goreng Apjay 8 / 10 because of their scrumptious dish, affordable price, and generous amount. However, they can improve the serving time and seating area. If you’re around Jakarta Selatan area, Panglima Polim to be exact, come and try Apjay. Just don’t forget to re-read my survival tips. Happy hunting!
Address: Jalan Panglima Polim 9, Jakarta Selatan, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 12160, Indonesia
Writer : Alin
Photographer : Felicia