Valentine’s Find: Tjap Toean, A Chinese-Indonesian Eatery in the City
By N Mark Castro
As people look for a perfect Valentine’s venue away from the crowd today, a strategic location would be Tjap Toean, which is hidden inside the extravagant fX Mall.
This traditional Chinese-Indonesian eatery is a perfect contrast in such an opulent ambiance of the mall, retaining its provincial look, while serving a menu that reminds you of the old days.
The elclectic decor provides a refreshingly bright atmosphere that induces to stay long after the food has been devoured. While both the decor and simple provincial furniture gives you the no-frills feeling, the food is definitely filling enough to sate your hunger.
The Chinese umbrellas, red lanterns, paintings, accessories, and old toy airplane models strung above the ceiling dates back to the old Chinese-Indonesian eatery in provinces, at a time when Soeharto had prohibited exercising Chinese culture among the Chinese-Indonesians. The detailed interior and color scheme amazingly worked, especially for those that had some historical memory of such times.
According to the person who brought me, Rachel, who seems to be an expert in everything hidden, the word Tjap Toean is a portmanteau of the Malay word for coffee (as borrowed and altered from the Portuguese) and the Hokkien dialect word for shop. Menus typically feature simple offerings : a variety of foods based on egg, toast, and kaya, plus coffee, tea, and Milo, a malted chocolate drink which is extremely popular in Southeast Asia, particularly Singapore, Malaysia, and Riau Islands.
Among the menu selection are:
Merem Melek (IDR 25.500): Pomelo and Mango Salad. Refreshing sweet and sour cold salad.
A kew (IDR 10.500): Plain roti Channai. This dish wasn’t my favorite. The bread was bland and boring.
Nasi Babah (IDR 31.500): Nasi lemak with fried chicken, tempeh, egg and vegetables. The blue-ish rice was cute and interesting. The taste was really delicious. Fragrant rice, really good side dishes too.
Pa Chin Ko (IDR 24.500): Fried fish cakes/otak otak. Tasty, freshly made fish cake.Love it.
Roti Ngai (IDR 33.500): Toasted cheesy bread with butter and condensed milk with crunchy shredded cheese on the top. The bread was toasted perfectly, love the evenly crunchy crusts (both top and the bottom). One bite and I was hooked.
So if you want value for money in the city, Tjap Toean is the place.
fX Sudirman, F1 #04
Jl. Jend. Sudirman, Pintu 1 Senayan
Phone: (021) 25554158
Average Spending: IDR 100.000
I nearly forgot my protocol that I’m not telling you about the place unless you take me with you.