When a restaurant claims that their recipe has been passed down all the way to the third generation and still retains its original ingredients, one knows for sure that the recipe is to die for.
Started in 1967 in Medan, Bakmi Khek now boasts three branches in Jakarta, with the first and the most popular one in Muara Karang. But even without the heritage that spans for three decades, the fact that the place runs out of supply pretty quick (they close early at 3pm) attest to its popularity among noodle lovers.
You’ll find that Bakmi Khek’s establishment carries no distinctive feature, compared to most noodle places in the neighbourhood, as you make your way pass the Fortune Cats, pull up a plastic chair and sit yourself down by the table with bottles of colourful condiments huddling up on one side. But one did not come here to be wowed by the interior.
Food is pretty much straightforward and kept to minimal choices. Choose your way between the quartet: bakmi (noodle), bihun (rice vermicelli), kwetiaw (rice noodle), or locupan (silver needle noodle). The noodles are light with flavouring that is rather mild, if not elusive. As such, it encourages diners to season their food based on their own preferences. Several drops of soy sauce maybe? Or perhaps a few explosions of fresh chilli cuts might do it.
Each menu comes with meat topping selections, such as pork or chicken and mushroom. Still feeling peckish? Easy, opt for bigger portion and, also, additional toppings, like chewy fish balls, will make an even better company.
Delish noodles aside, Bakmi Khek’s popularity can very well be attributed to the fact that it offers a sense of familiarity and neighbourhood comfort that most people can’t find elsewhere in Jakarta.