Friday, 24 February 2012

Indonesia's Nasi Goreng (Fried Rice), Street Style

There's no such thing as too much fried rice (nasi goreng).
'Bejo', street fried rice stall

I am proudly declaring that I am, in fact, a nasi goreng nazi. I am addicted to this popular dish. When Roo's complaining about how he is bored with nasi goreng (after I tagged him along to eat nasi goreng at several places for days), I don't share the same idea.

For me, a good fried rice shouldn't be soggy, but not too dry either. The seasoning has to be perfect, along with lovely 'wok hei' or wok breath, and complete condiments (acar, fried shallots, and kerupuk) are a must.

So here's a post about those days, when all I want for dinner is fried rice.

First day, nasi goreng Bejo ('Bejo' fried rice). The simple dining 'tent' sits just a few blocks beside Superindo supermarket in Taman Palem area. It is quite well known, and almost always packed with (mostly) hungry teenagers late at night. They start the business at around 5 p.m., so don't waste your time looking for them in the morning or at noon.

The 'kitchen'

The seating is limited, only one long communal table which is partly acts as the serving bench, plus a few individual wooden tables. When they are really packed, I usually just asked for take-away, because some people love to hanging around the place for sometime.

I usually opt for their nasi goreng ayam baso (fried rice with chicken and meatballs), but that day they ran out of the meatballs. The simple nasi goreng ayam (chicken fried rice) it is, then.

It is, undoubtedly, one of the best street fried rice I have ever had. The rice is a bit grainy but still has some moisture, which is really great. It's also light and seasoned very well, with adequate amount of heat. I would love to have it spicier, still. Shredded chicken, eggs, and chopped shallots enliven the dish, and thank God the condiments are complete.

Nasi goreng ayam 'Bejo' (Bejo chicken fried rice) - IDR 8,000 ($0.95)

Roo chose a steamier option that day, mie ayam rebus (noodles soup with chicken). The soup are piping hot, and very well seasoned. The noodles are great, the shredded chicken is given generously, but I still prefer my fried rice. This is a good choice if you want something warm and soupy in a cold night.

Mie rebus (noodles soup) - IDR 8,000 ($0.95)

I have also tried the so-called rival of 'Bejo', the next door street fried rice vendor, 'Riyanto'. It's not actually next door, across would be a better word. Riyanto is nearer to Superindo, but unfortunately I cannot provide the exact address. This one seems to be the more popular and I always notice that their seatings are occupied, even at early 5 p.m. To be honest, I prefer Bejo's fried rice. Riyanto's a bit too dry for me, although it's also tasty and even cheaper.

The second day we went to a simpler vendor, nearer to home. I don't know the actual name of it, but I can tell you that the cart is in front of Indomaret Citra 5. Find the minimart, and you'll definitely find this fried rice spot.

Their best seller is nasi goreng gila, or literally translated to crazy fried rice. Why it is called crazy, I am not completely sure either. Some say that the name is invented because the fried rice involves so many toppings (chicken, meatballs, sausage, eggs, etc.), it looks so messy like a crazy man. Other say that the rice is made with crazy level of spiciness, hence the name. Some other people also say that the name comes because the fried rice is served in a crazily enormous portion.

Do you know where the name comes from? Do tell me your theory.

Clockwise from top left: the simple fried rice cart, price list, take away fried rice, preparation bench

They're quite popular among the neighbourhood, but there's not much seating there. No wonder I often see people wandering around the cart, waiting for their take-away orders.

Look at how messy is my nasi goreng gila (crazy fried rice). The great thing is, with so many things going in the fried rice, none overwhelms the other. Everything works together harmonically, letting the real flavour of the fried rice shines through. The flavour combination is beautiful, but I'll skip the artificial sausage next time. Anyway, this is my fav nasi goreng gila so far.

Nasi goreng gila (crazy fried rice) - IDR 13,000 ($1.4)

The third day brought us to a street fried rice vendor in Citra 2 area, just across the Pizza Hut restaurant.

Nasi goreng ayam bakso (fried rice with chicken and meatballs) is pretty much mediocre, although when you are really hungry this can be a tasty and filling meal. The rice is actually good, with perfect dryness and moisture levels. However, the lack of acar (pickled veggies) and fried shallots is not rejoiced.

Nasi goreng ayam bakso (fried rice with chicken and meatballs) from Citra 2 vendor

The fourth day, I decided to try a fried rice vendor at Citra 3 food court, around the block B of the housing. This nasi goreng ayam baso (fried rice with chicken and meatballs) is a bit peculiar, as it involves chopped choi sim (Chinese spinach). I am not complaining about that, as the sogginess of the rice is more disturbing for me. Having said that, I am grateful that the seller gives complete condiments, and the flavour itself is really nice.

Nasi goreng ayam bakso (fried rice with chicken and meatballs) from Citra 3 vendor

Sometimes, I enjoy eating street fried rice more than the ones from restaurants. The simplicity and homey feeling win me over, and sometimes street fried rice tastes better than restaurant's fried rice. Really, I've experienced that.

Of course, that doesn't mean I hate restaurant's fried rice, I am all game for any delicious fried rice, honestly. And yes, I know you must have your own favourite fried rice sellers, so do inform me about them, I'd like to try them one by one.

Soooo.. fried rice for dinner today, anyone?



Nearby Superindo supermarket (they're very popular, if you can't find them ask the people around)
Jl. Permata Taman Palem Blok C-01 
Taman Palem, Jakarta Barat


In front of Indomaret minimart
Citra Garden City 5, Kalideres
West Jakarta 11830

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  1. Hmm, yum...nasi goreng tektek ngilerrrr =P

    1. aduhhh itu juga gue demen banget nyam nyam. malem" panas" gt kann yuum :9

  2. *glek* ini nasi goreng bejo langgananku, memang mantab bgt :)

    1. aduh gue juga suka banget bejo Jen hehe. Pernah coba Riyanto?

    2. Riyanto pernah, emang rame sih... tp gw tetep lebih suka Bejo, biasanya sih pesen nasi goreng ati, trus minta super pedas.. :)


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