Restaurant: Super Suikiaw 菫華餃子店(俺の餃子)
Address: Jl. Raya Mangga Besar No.3C, RT.5/RW.6, Mangga Besar, Kec. Taman Sari, Kota Jakarta Barat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 11180
Specialties: Suikiaw (dumplings)
Chinese food in Indonesia is often adapted to local palates. For instance, there are a number of Chinese restaurants in the Central Java city of Magelang, but the dishes all have a sort of Javanese twist which makes them insufferably sweet and not really very Chinese at all. Super Suikiaw in Mangga Besar is not like that. It is owned by an Indonesian man and his Chinese wife, and it is the real deal.
The first time I went to this restaurant it was a rather lazy afternoon when I roused myself midday from a hangover and went down to the hotel lobby where Ken straightaway asked if I wanted to eat some pig ears. “Sure” I said, because we were already drinking a bottle of wine by that point. So we hopped in the car and popped over to Mangga Besar. At the time they were renovating the sidewalk so the steps to the restaurant welcomed us with an open sewer, which is always a good sign.
Mangga Besar is Jakarta's naughty district I guess you could say. It’s where people go to have a good time and like most redlight districts some of the best food in town can be had there. Well, we walked in at around 3 in the afternoon so the Japanese businessmen eating dumplings before or after hitting the karaoke bars weren’t around yet. The restaurant staff was there, though, sat at a table upfront hand-making hundreds of dumplings for the dinner rush. We asked them how many they make every day and they said it was in the thousands.
I’d say the best thing to order here is the suikiaw with pork and chives, acar kuping (pickled pork ears) and kentang assam pedas (sour and spicy potatoes). The suikiaw is just really lovely, hand-made and steamed to tender delicate perfection. Acar kuping, if you’ve never had it, it’s pork ears that have been pickled in vinegar and mixed with chilies. The good thing about this place is they have a pretty generous hand with the vinegar so their pickled dishes have a nice acidity, and the pig ears have a proper snap without being too chewy. The potatoes, which are a classic Chinese dish, are cooked al dente, so they are supple, bathed in vineger and oil, but still have just a touch of crunch in them.
Aside from the food, the place is well-stocked with ice cold beer that comes fast to the table. In order to keep track of how many beers each table has ordered, they store them in a little basket next to your seat so you can quietly tabulate how much damage you have inflicted on your liver. Prices are reasonable. Two people can eat and drink and be happy for around IDR 300k. Anyway I highly recommend this place if you are serious about good, no-frills food (especially dumplings and acidic snacks) in a pretty colorful part of town.