The Menu Is Nasi Campur at Rumah Makan Asia

by Cindy Julia Tobing
17th May 2024
For over 40 years, Rumah Makan Asia in Roa Malaka has been a returning destination for those craving Chinese-style nasi campur.

There’s an inexplicable joy from coming to a restaurant fully confident that the craving will be satisfied. For the regulars at Rumah Makan Asia, an eatery serving only Chinese-style nasi campur, this simple pleasure is something they know well.

Located by Kopi Street in Roa Malaka, a way to not miss the narrow two-story house is by spotting the brick-coloured gate. The facade with the distinct roof gable, which is also apparent in some of the houses along the street, connects it back to the founder Tjang’s family Chinese roots, who hailed from Medan. “We’ve been open since the 70s, serving Medan-style nasi campur. I’m the third generation continuing the trade from my grandmother,” said Anton Tjang

Inside is a simple set-up eatery that seats no less than 30 people, adorned with patterned tiles that show their charming old age. It’s an apt set-up to match the only item on the menu that kept customers returning; perhaps it’s the consistent flavour or the fact that each plate is thoughtfully portioned for each person at the table, preventing diners from becoming quickly overwhelmed.

A full plate, which one could request to be served separately or mixed into the rice, comes with slices of barbecued meats such as the honey roasted char siu, sio bak (roasted pork belly), and lap cheong (Chinese dried pork sausage, a claimed favourite amongst customers) as well as steamed chicken; think sweet and savoury flavours coming together, with a light watercress soup and some soy-marinated eggs to round it off.

Frequenters of Rumah Makan Asia are mostly long-time patrons, according to Anton, as he pointed out a solo diner at the scene who likes to come by once a week. And the pace at which people spend their time at the eatery is brisk, further revealing a routine that people come here not to hang around, but to relish the hearty nasi campur that keeps them returning time and again.