The Easy Joy of Lontong Cap Go Meh

by Julius Kensan
29th August 2014
For the past four decades, this quiet and modest store of Gado2/Asinan continues to serve up hearty Lontong Cap Go Meh without skimping on ingredients and proportion.

There are usually two kinds of street food in Jakarta. The first is the kind where its popularity has spread far and wide across the city, where patience is definitely required in exchange for a taste. The second is the quiet ones. They are often tucked or hid in a corner or empty street. You won’t see crowd spilling out from this establishment and lining the street like crooked snake but they continue to set the standard for the street food scene in Jakarta.

Gado2/Asinan belongs to the latter. Located in one of the quiet streets of Cikini that has probably seen better day, this small shop has staunchly been around for the last four decades. Though the sign reads Gado-Gado and Asinan, The highlight of this shop is their Lontong Cap Go Meh. The latter is a traditional dish that is served on the fifteenth day or the last day of Chinese New Year celebration. (Hence the name Cap Go Meh, which means the night of the fifteenth). The dish has since assimilated itself into the daily lives of Indonesians.

Don’t be fooled by the simple appearance, the Lontong Cap Go Meh here is by no means a light afternoon snack. Other than rice cakes, vegetables and egg, the dish is packed with chicken breast and beef empal too. But other than Lontong Cap Go Meh, visitors who are looking for other options will do well to go for either Gado Gado or Asinan. The latter is served with generous toppings of fried tempe and crispy cracker. Bottom line, they don’t skimp on the proportion.

It is indeed hard to be convinced with a quiet establishment that appears beyond normal. But, underestimate this modest little shop on your own account.