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Home / Indonesian Cuisine / Jakarta Eats Part 3: Indonesian Zhap Cai Peng
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Jakarta Eats Part 3: Indonesian Zhap Cai Peng
By Alfred May 19, 2009
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Jakarta Eats Part 3: Indonesian Zhap Cai Peng
Fast Facts
Food:
Ayam Bakar Indo Economy Rice
Type:
Indonesian Cuisine
Setting:
Coffee Shop
Price Range:
S$1 - S$5
Rating Range:
7 to 7.9
Location:
Jakarta
Food Centre:
N/A
Recommended For:
Lunch
Reviewed by:
Alfred

One of the things that require a bit of courage for me to do in Jakarta is to actually take a seat at a Nasi Padang stall. We all have heard of the traditional way of how Nasi Padang is being served here. Ok for the benefit of those who doesn’t know, a bit of every dish would be put on the table and customers would take what they want and they would be charged for what they have eaten. Of course we all are thinking the same thing in the sense that the food that we’re going to eat had been placed before someone else’s makan session, who knows what goes in there right? And worse still, what if the person before us had tried a bit of the food while the seller wasn’t looking, then are we not sharing the same plate with strangers?

Well it still beats me as to how this style of selling can be widely accepted by people here but I’m glad to say that fortunately there is a difference between a Nasi Padang stall and an Indonesian Zhap Cai Peng stall.

Nasi Padang is infact quite a luxury food where you get all the ‘ho liao’ such as Rendang, Curry Mutton, Ayam Goreng and all. They even have some exotic food like lamb’s brain or lamb’s tendon etc. Hence Nasi Padang is not exactly our Chinese’s version of Zhap Chai Peng, it is more like our Cze Char stall’s kind of standard except that everything are already cooked and put on your table. In a Nasi Padang stall, there is also no menu and you cannot order things like Mee Goreng or Nasi Goreng.

They infact have another form of ‘Zhap Cai Peng’ where they all call it the economy rice and in such a stall, you get really simple food like stir fry beancurd, stir fry veg, mashed potatoes, curry chicken etc.

Now in this kind of stall, there is actually a menu where you can order anything like Char Bee Hoon or Char Kway Teow etc. The good thing is that in such a stall, you are not going to be served like how a Nasi Padang stall does but instead you pick your own dishes on your rice and they would charge you at the counter. Sounds a lot more hygienic doesn’t it? Ok my mission begins here as I attempt to discover how and whether the closure of Nandos( the best grilled chicken in the world in my eyes) has anything to do with the chicken in this kind of food stall.

If you ask any Singaporean about how much they know about Indonesian chicken, they would probably tell you Ayam Penyet. I have to tell you that this dish actually is more common in Singapore than in Jakarta. I can’t recall where I see any stalls selling Ayam Penyet here so far but yet I see many stalls selling this thing called Ayam Bakar. Well if you don’t believe me, you try google for ‘Ayam Penyet’ and you’ll realise that the top links all belonged to Singapore websites. Now I don’t know why Ayam Penyet is so popular in Singapore but here it is clearly not. All I see here is Ayam Bakar or Ayam Goreng which is sometimes called Ayam Goreng Kremes which looked exactly like how you see Ayam Penyet in Singapore with the bits of ‘gorengs’ accompanying the chicken.

Ok I was brought to this Indo ‘Zhap Cai Peng’ stall and my partner told me it’s quite good so I decided to have a go at their Ayam Bakar and Ayam Goreng while my partner had the ‘Zhap Cai Peng’.

2
The spread

Ayam Bakar is technically rice with grilled chicken, some vegetables and chillies( though some place wrapped all them up with banana leaf and left to grill again).

6
Ayam Bakar Set: 7.5/10 ★★★★★★★½☆☆ 

Mine at this stall came in the banana leaf style and as I opened the leaf, there was a strong smell of lemon grass filling the air. Now it is rather unusual and even my partner was finding it strange that my Ayam Bakar did not come with grilled chicken but some potatoes and chili prawns instead. She reckoned that they could had got my order wrong or something along that line. Since my whole packet of rice looked really tasty, I didn’t bother asking them to change to the real Ayam Bakar.

Inside this banana leaf was this yellow rice that has this nice ‘lontong’ soup fragrance with bits and pieces of herbs all over it and then there are chilli prawns and potatoes. I must say that this is quite a mean dish and it is by far the best packed rice I ever had. Beats any Nasi Lemak or Malay packed rice by a few hundred yards at least. It was served with a bit of sambal and some keropok(those kind that has a bitter taste). This thing only cost Rp 10000 (approx $1.30).

8
Our Indo Zhap Chai Peng: 8/10 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 

My partner’s economy rice was top class itself. She ordered chilli sotong, stir fried long beans with tempeh and some kind of coconut grilled chicken. A fantastic combination. Hers cost a bit more, like Rp15000(approx $2). But for $2 it’s one of the most delicious plate of rice I’ve tasted alright!

7
Ayam Kremes: 6/10 ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ 

The Ayam Goreng Kremes came and looked exactly like how Ayam Penyet is being served in Singapore. I tried the ‘gorengs’ first and it indeed had that familiar Ayam Penyet taste and so now I know this is the thing they called Ayam Goreng Kremes while Singaporean called Ayam Penyet. Well of course they have a right to laugh at how we tried to reinvent their food for whatever purposes. If you ask a Beijing residence to come to Singapore to try our Peking Duck I’m sure they would also laugh at how the original taste had been reinvented. Heck, if you were to go to any western country and try their ‘Singapore’ food, you would also laugh at it.

A fantastic Indo ‘economy rice’ meal that cost us no more than Rp38000(approx $5) with fruit juice included. Can’t ask for better value in this but however I have a tiny complain. I am wondering why chicken here is so skinny? It’s like their chicken had not been eating for 1 month before they decided to slaughter it. Well my partner said kampong chicken is like that and here you can only get kampong chicken and it is healthier. Well if it goes on like this, I may need 5 pieces each time to satisfy my ‘Ayam’ needs.

Price: About SGD$1-2 per dishes

Recommendation: Chilli Sotong!

Conclusion: Very very nice Indonesian food served at kopitiam price. The ultimate traditional food that every other Indonesian really eat and yet no hygeine issues are compromised here.

Likes: Excellent balance in taste.

Dislikes: None!

Address Overall Rating

Somewhere in Grogol, Jakarta.


Food:
8/10 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 

Value:
9/10 ★★★★★★★★★☆ 

Service:
7/10 ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ 

Ambience:
6/10 ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ 

Cleanliness:
6/10 ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ 

Overall:
7.25/10 ★★★★★★★¼☆☆ 


Readers' Comment(s) : 2
Lim Boon Tiong says:

Nice ayam !!! “tabao” back some for me and keep it fresh . :P
skinny AYAM is normal… how often do you see fat people in Asia?
chicken with more meat are formulated to grow in this manner… which is something like chicken on “steroids.” :)

very authentic food indeed ! very cheap too !

Posted May 19, 2009
Alfred says:

But I don’t see our kampong chicken so skinny leh. Indonesians should come to Singapore or Malaysia to learn how to keep their kampoing chicken FAT :P

Posted May 22, 2009
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