A way around to West Jakarta will lead you to a quest to find some of the city’s culinary gems. If it weren’t for food, one would easily avoid the traffic and mayhem of Pasar Pagi in Asemka, but all would be worth it as you find the legendary Nasi Tim Ayauw.
Since 1968, Nasi Tim Ayauw in Pasar Pagi has made a name for itself by unfailingly serving its signature nasi tim (steamed rice). Even with just a single dish to offer, the establishment is popular as ever, selling five hundred portions of nasi tim a day from the same venue for fifty years ongoing. The makeshift eatery is located along a corridor of the second floor of the traditional market. You’ll know soon enough as you spot the few handful of seats and a tempting aroma from its modest cooking station.
You’d be surprised as to how this simple dish, molded steamed rice and shredded chicken, packs so much flavour. The secret lies in cooking the rice with broth instead of water. A portion of nasi tim is then taken out as soon as you order yours, guaranteeing a nice and warm serving right by you.
For a fuller meal, add a raw yolk a top the steaming bowl of rice. Like a carbonara, the heat will perfectly cook the yolk as soon as you mix it through. Then, add pickled shallots, cucumber, chicken liver and even an otak-otak for an unexpected good combo bursting with flavours.
It’s easy to forget the chaos occurring outside the market with a meal this wholesome. It’s no surprise either that the eatery is a hit among nearby workers and merchants. Which shows, simplicity is ever revered and does go a long way, even if the trip to Pasar Pagi is everything but.