It all begins with the story of a young boy and his journey to his beloved hometown in Padang, West Sumatra. Born from the Minangkabau family – an ethnic group of indigenous to the Minangkabau highlands, of West Sumatra- who lived in Jakarta, his father don’t want the kids to forget their origins. So to preserve the memory of their ancestor, every year his father bring him and all the family member to visit their hometown in Kampung Pondok, South Padang.
During their visit to Padang, they stayed in rumah gadang -literally means “big house”, the traditional home of Minangkabau- belonging to their family. Every morning they went to the small coffee shop in that area for breakfast. The coffee shop owned by local Chinese people named Lee Chi Kwang. Just like any other traditional kopitiam this small coffee shop has become a melting pot for local people and migrants either from Indo-China, Arab, and India.
In a traditional typical kopitiam, the drinks stall is usually run by the owner who sells coffee, tea, and other beverages as well as food for breakfast like kaya toast, soft boiled eggs, and kue. And outside the coffee shop, there are many of food vendors who are preparing a variety of food dishes.
The coffee shop has transformed over the generation, but the memory of having coffee and breakfast in Lee Chi Kwang’s coffee shop last forever. Fond memories of the childhood during the trip in Padang that’s inspired Dr. Ivan Sini and his wife Fenti Sini to open Cikang Coffee and Restaurant.
Many restaurants have captured the essence of Padang fare with popular food dishes like rendang, gulai, and dendeng balado, but not many have focused on the little-known subset that is Peranakan cuisine. Aims to preserving the cultural heritage Cikang coffee and a restaurant serves a rich array of the culinary menu for breakfast, lunch, afternoon snacks, and dinner that inspired from Peranakan cuisine and Lee Chi Kwang’s coffee shop.
Last Saturday me and some bloggers visited Cikang restaurant. Besides listening to the story behind the establishment of Cikang restaurant from Dr. Ivan and his wife, we also learned about Padang and Chinese Culinary assimilation from Arie Parikesit, founder of Kelana Rasa. After the discussion a chef from Cikang restaurant show us how to make Mie Alang Lawe.
Mie Alang Lawe is a soupy noodles dish, it served with julienne carrots, beef chunks, and reddish beef broth. The addition of beaten eggs to the soup give the unique texture to this noodle soup, and it slightly reminds me to Chinese egg drop soup.
After the noodles we tried Katupek Sayur (Ketupat Sayur Padang). It consist of sliced ketupat (rice packed) served with gulai pakis, hard-boiled egg, beef rendang, and crackers. Usually ketupat sayer served with sliced chayote or unripe jack fruits curry, but Cikang’s ketupat sayur is different because they use gulai pakis (young fiddlehead ferns that cooked in rich coconut sauce with spices).
For dessert we had Lamang Tapai. Lamang is a white sticky rice that cooked with coconut milk in young bamboo and served with fermented black sticky rice (tapai). Lamang has a slightly chewy texture, and it taste bland with a hint of coconut milk on it, and tapai has a natural sweetness due to the fermentation process.
Cikang Coffee & Resto
Graham Anam, Ground Floor
Teuku Cik Ditiro, Menteng
Central Jakarta 10350
Instagram & Twitter: @cikangresto