Sitting at one end of Jalan Cipete Raya is a small and dim-lit canteen. Kantin Blauran, whose name derives from Pasar Blauran in Surabaya, is the tiny glimpse that Jakartans get to experience of the popular food market destination. Though the options here are kept short and sweet, they are nonetheless worthy to have.
While the humble canteen is only spacious enough to accommodate three mid-sized dining tables, be certain that diners will flock the space whenever it hits lunchtime. The crowd’s favourite is undoubtedly the savoury Surabayan dish Rawon, a black beef stew best served with hot-steaming rice and a side of telur asin (salted duck egg). Don’t skip on the emping (Indonesian melinjo nut crackers) to truly experience the starkly rich savour of the rawon broth against the faint bitterness of the crackers.
Then another popular one is Rujak Cingur. Similar to the regular sour and spicy fruit salad that people would often snack on at the end of the afternoon, Rujak Cingur is also made of a variety of fruits such as unripe mangoes, pineapple, and bengkuang (jicama) with the addition of some greens and soy proteins like tempeh or tofu. But as the name suggests, the star of the dish is the cingur or cow snout, that’s cut up into the mix and further drenched in sweet and often spicy rujak dressing. While the idea of indulging on cow snout might irk the faint of heart, there must be a good reason why this Surabayan speciality is fervently popular. And as with every Indonesian dish, there’s nothing like a glass of sweet iced tea to wash down these meals.
If you ever drop by Kantin Blauran, you’ll understand why the canteen is kept as modestly as it is. It’s quite simply because these are home meals with humble origins. And to say the least, there is always an inexplicable charm to dine in such an unassuming setting.