Five years ago, there are only a handful of Indonesian restaurants around town. Now, there's almost one in every development and for good reason, whether Padang style or Balinese inspired or has roots in Sunda... we just can't get enough of them...
Tender, peppery chunks of beef
60, Jalan Puteri 5/5,
Tel: 03 8062 8050
Daily- 10.30am to 10pm.
Service is fast (in the Puchong branch) and food is consistent
They sometimes run out of cendol (in the Kota Damansara branch)
I am perpetually in search of good guramie. I remembered a short-lived Warung Guramie on Jalan P.Ramlee nestled between Beach Club and some other club. Didn't really make it. Fungsiwaty, the lovely lady who runs Anggrek Kuring shakes her head, "you can't find guramie here at all, restaurants either use ikan nila or tilapia."
You need guramie to make it curl up in those lovely wings because it's "tipis". At Anggrek Kuring they have a standing fish. A fish that is curled open and then made to stand as though it's breaking through water and rising to the surface. They use kerapu but because it's "buncit", they have to fry it with a bit of flour or else it won't stand.
Still with hot, white rice and sambal terasi a well fried fish, is a well fried fish. The stunners of our dinner today however, is the sapi lada hitam. This is NOT an Indonesian daging masak kicap as I mistakenly called it to slaps from my Indonesian designer. This is a dish of it's own, tender beef chunks that melts in your mouth with a fragrant peppery sauce riddled with onions and chillies. This dish is a come back factor for this restaurant. We kept ordering extras.
Earlier as we were entering, I saw a sign for Ayam Pressto. It looks a little like ayam penyet. I thought maybe it's 'hey pressto! Here's your chicken' or it's in someway 'pressed' so that it's tender.
Goes to show how little I know Bahasa Indonesia. And that's what I like about the language. It has all this cute, almost literal words that rolls off the edge of your tongue- similar but different. Just when you think you know it, it surprises you with twists in meanings and flavours. Not unlike their food. Take for instance Pressto (Malay? English-inspired? Or something entirely different?)- a word you think you should know and yet means something completely different. To 'pressto' in Indonesian means to steam a chicken until the bones are tender.
The chicken here which is half an ayam kampung, is steamed for 6 hours and then fried quickly, only for 3 minutes so that it's just crispy. "So it's a healthy dish," beams Fungsiwaty, "and great for pregnant ladies because of the calcium content."
Sure enough, the chicken is so soft and tender, bones included that you can eat it all. I suppose the steaming 'presses' all the sweetness and goodness of the shins and marrows deep into the flesh. The crispiness gives it wonderful texture- we can might be able to think this up but only our crazy neighbours perfect it to the next level. A wonderful dish to order here and all you need again is just rice and sambal.
Other things to order here are sotong goreng, sambal petai udang and gado-gado. However they seem to excel where beef is concerned. The Empal here is delectable. The meat is boiled, pounded, marinated with bumbu then fried until crispy. The inside is still tender, and you can shred it like serunding on top of your rice. Come back for this, the sapi kicap and that insane Pressto chicken.
For dessert their cendol- finely shaved iced Indonesian-style with cendol, santan, gula melaka and bits of nangka in it so sometimes it reminds me a little of red rubies. Times like this I love living in this region finding the familiar in our cuisines in the most unexpected things.
They now have a branch in Kota Damansara so you don't have to trek all the way out in Puchong to enjoy their food.