Sometimes, you just want to discover hidden spots opposite from your usual brunch hotspots and popular eateries. And, thankfully Jakarta has a lot to offer in every corner of the city. Assuming you want to escape the crowds, this is a no-frills eatery every foodie at least must try once.
Hidden Away: Babi Tong - A High Step to Find Delicious Smoked Pork
In a quiet alley in the residential neighborhood area of Fatmawati and Cipete, Babi Tong set its establishment in one of the houses around the area. No big signage in sight, all you have to do is just follow the maps on your phone and set foot in front of the house garage to see the flyer on the wall directing you to the rooftop.
Hope you're ready to ascend to the rooftop where Babi Tong is at. Upon stepping to the stairs, you'll be greeted by the leafy environments full of ivy plants, potted plants, and lush trees almost like it has an atmosphere very reminiscent of one of Studio Ghibli's movies.
You can't miss the colorful window shutters on the wall when passing through the corridor while the direction flyers keep telling you to go up just like you're playing RPG reaching to the intended spot. After a few steps of stairs, you will arrive on the rooftop floor where the sight of a lush mini garden, a high pile of wood, and a smoker that keeps on producing a tempting aroma line up in one place.
Run by Anton Ismael, a professional photographer, videographer, art director, and creative director who found cooking is a reward for satisfying taste and portions on each plate for those who enjoy it. Babi Tong presents the flavours of local on every plate and then combines with slightly different smoking techniques to present a new taste. The smoking process usually takes hours around eight hours to produce the smoky roasted pork and pork crackling that is not only perfectly crispy but also the flavourful fat still seeps inside. It still goes through a drying process under the sun.
The star of their dishes is their roasted pork, for first-timers Nasi Babi Asap Rempah Hitam is a must-order. It’s all about the consistency in the black spice. The black spice is made from various Indonesian spices, for example, black spices are a combination of Javanese and Balinese heritage ingredients. There is a little Balinese spice, and taking inspiration from Javanese recipes, they add kluwek so the color becomes black. The dish comes with a plate of rice, aromatic cassava leaves, a fried pork meatball, and a dollop of chili oil. Producing a well-balanced of savoury and spicy flavours, you will go quiet while eating this, taking down one spoonful after another in silence.
If you're fond of well-blended savoury and refreshing notes on your palate, you can go with Nasi Babi Asam Segar. This is the dish to get if you manage to enjoy smoked pork in a succulent way. The smoked pork topped with Dabu-dabu-inspired condiments comes humbly on a plate of rice and a crispy crackling. It's fresh, flavourful, and zesty with a spicy kick like you're going to want to get enough rice and eat it together with crackling for the crispy textures.
Baikut Sawi Asin goes along with any kind of dish here. This hearty fermented Chinese mustard soup with pork ribs in broth is a staple traditional food that can be an option for a soupy dish and also as a palate cleanser because it tastes sour and salty in the mouth.
If you just can't get enough of the Bakso Babi Goreng (fried pork meatballs), they sell them in a separate full side dish to dig in. The fried meatball is consummately rounded. It is crispy on the outside and a bit dry inside but still palatable especially when you dip it into the chili oil. It's a perfect bite for sharing during the meal or you can go in full force mode enjoying alone for a satisfying indulgence.
Jl. Nangka I No.6, Cipete Utara, Jakarta 12150