Bloggers and Media Gathering at Dapur Solo Panglima Polim Jakarta

First of all, let me take this chance to personally thank Dapur Solo Panglima Polim and especially Mrs. Swan Sumarga (the owner) and Caturguna from Jakarta Seru for inviting me along with some other bloggers and medias to attend the celebration of the 269th birthday of Solo city that fell on February 17th 2014! Solo is a city that's located in Central Java and it's known for its heartwarming hospitality from its citizens and of course their gloriously various food and most of them are great.

Fortunate enough, you don't need to travel to Central Java to fulfil your cravings for authentic Solo food because Dapur Solo by Ny. Swan is bringing you the most complete, authentic and guiltily delicious Solo food straight from their kitchen, I mean, I don't even need to explain Dapur Solo for it is one of the most famous restaurants in Jakarta generally or even THE MOST famous Solo restaurant in Jakarta. Ny. Swan Sumarga is the owner of this major brand and along with her 'majesty' in building this empire, Dapur Solo which officially became a dining restaurant in 2006 now has four branches spread around Jakarta and they're located in the busy areas like Sunter, Panglima Polim and the growing neighborhood, Serpong. Soon, they're opening their fifth branch in Matraman, I am very impressed by how Dapur Solo has grown to this giant brand and the fact that Indonesian food (specifically, Solo) as the main stars <3.






SNACKS
Since you guys are probably hungry already (or you happen to read this on the wrong time, your fault), let's dig in! I am going to start explaining about the food one by one because Dapur Solo was really generous in preparing the meals for us! I have been raving about Solo food because of its variety! They have great range of food starting from the snacks or light bites to the main courses and desserts and Dapur Solo has great range of Solo food even though I believe it's not all.

Generally, I am impressed with how unique Solo dishes are, I wouldn't say it's generally 'good' because when it comes to taste then it's really relative right, but I could securely say that Solo food is really unique. Now let's enjoy the food tour!

Left to right: Pastel, Mendut, Jadah Blondo, Meniran (wrapped in Banana leaf).
The four I mentioned above all tasted good, my favorite out of the four must be the Mendut because it's actually made from Taro and since I'm such a sucker for Taro so here you go. Jadah Blondo actually tasted pretty unique but in a good way, the brown stuff on top was actually the unused shredded coconut (unused doesn't mean it's garbage!) that has been through a slow cooking process for hours and stirred until it's dry. If you ever had Gudeg and you noticed this brown side dish in it, then this is what I've been talking about, the flavor was in between savory and sweet but mixed with the wicked quality of coconut flavor.

Semar Mendem
According to Mrs. Swan, Dapur Solo's version of Semar Mendem was actually modified from its original form, if you know Lemper, then Semar Mendem is the Solo version of it, still made of sticky rice and stuffed with shredded chicken, but this one is wrapped with thin pan fried egg and dressed in a special sauce made out of Maizena flour plus a little seasoning. This was good and one of my favorites of the day, I had probably...3, 4 or 5 not so sure because it's freaking addicting, and besides they're small *defensive*.

One thing I gotta tell you is that Solo people are very creative in the naming, Semar is actually a character in the old Java folklore and the Semar was described as this character who's crazy about this particular food (Semar Mendem it is) and he ate it until he's overloaded or full as hell, and in Java language, 'drunk' or 'overloaded' is called "Mendem" and there you go, the name Semar Mendem for this food.

Sosis Solo
There are two types of Sosis Solo, the fried or the steamed one, technically it's marinated shredded chicken wrapped with fried egg, the steamed one was not really my thing, I have tried the fried one during my trip to Solo and to be honest I prefer the fried one because it was more savory, tasty, in a way salty and best served hot. However, the shredded chicken actually tasted quite nice, it had that awesome balance between sweet and savory.
Bubur Jagung Solo (Solo Corn Congee)
From all the snacks or this one could go as dessert, Bubur Jagung was my most favorite dessert, it's made out of Corns, Pacar Cina (chinese jelly), as simple as those two ingredients and along with the awesome cooking skill, this flew to the top of my list. It came to my surprise that this was actually not in the menu and it's actually FIRST introduced TO US...TO ME!!! Apparently not only me, but those who were in the event actually felt the same way, this was freak-a-lickin awesome!
Jajanan Pasar
Some of Solo's signature snacks are Tiwul, Grontol, Sawut Singkong and Cenil. Tiwul is technically cassave that's mixed with palm sugar in the cooking process, Grontol is steamed corns with shredded coconut dressing, Sawut Singkong is the Java name from Steamed Shredded Cassava) while Cenil is made of Cassava flour and coloring process is included in the production process (according to Mrs. Swan to enhance the look). Frankly speaking, I wasn't fond of the these, they're just not my cup of tea, they were generally dry, has this distinct smell but who knows if maybe you'll like it.

Bubur Lemu (Lemu Congee)
Okay, this one got me 'died' of deliciousness! They call this Lemu (javanese for 'fattening') because if we eat this too much we'd gain a lotta weight since it's made from coconut milk! The congee also consist of coconut milk in the cooking process, it had this stickier and more solid consistency comparing to other congee or porridge and the original flavor's a little creamy, milky and slightly salty.

The congee's companied by this soup called "Opor Ayam" that's made from coconut milk (told ya) and chicken broth. Generally Opor dish consists of Chickens and eggs and shallots. The flavor of the Opor Ayam was just beautiful, let me tell you this, you're silly if you skip this, at least have a freaking bite and forget about weight for a while, life's too short man. I love the balance of everything here especially that broth and the tender chickens, I am drooling now! CERTAIN MUST TRY!


Brambang Asem
Brambang Asem is a dish made of steamed Ubi Jalar leaves that's being dressed in Brambang sauce and you could have this with a little sides like soya bean cakes (Tempe Bacem), the Brambang sauce has this spicy hint to it and it's actually made from the mixture of a few ingredients like palm sugar, chili, shallots, orange leaves and Asam Jawa (ingredient to add sourness to the course, mostly used for food like Sayur Asem). Okay, gotta tell you this. I LOVE THIS FOOD, first, the Brambang sauce's really the main star, well thanks to the fantastic surprising flavors that attached to it the plain Ubi Jalar leaves absorbs the sauce nicely and just like that it burst in your mouth, you got that tangy, spicy, sweet but overall vibrant flavor play in the taste bud. The leaves were on the appropriate level of cooking, not too soft or hard it was just perfect! This you really need to try.

Ironically, Brambang Asem is actually one of the few authentic Solo dish that's on the edge of extinction, it's awesome that Dapur Solo has this on their menu list. I mean like HOW COME a food this decent's not preserve well enough, you seriously need to wake up peeps!



Cabuk Rambak
This particular dish might look boring or plain as hell but the flavor and the quality of this dish was actually impressive. Okay, it was the most basic base... rice cake, but it's the sauce that made this dish so alive (same with the case of Brambang Asem), the sauce was actually soybean sauce with the mixture of sesame oil and shredded coconut. The sauce had this major hint of nut flavor but the shredded coconut balanced everything. The word "Rambak" actually reffered to the crackers, it was also a beautiful cracker, I don't know how to put in sentence because I'm really lost for words right now but it had this crunchy texture with hint of flavor like burnt soybeans (mean it in a good way). Unfortunately like Brambang Asem, this dish is almost gone even in Solo because people seem to lose its interest on it and this honestly broke me to disappointment.





MAINS
Nasi Langgi
This one is Dapur Solo's signature dish, most popular dish, (almost) everyone's favorite as well as best seller. Did I mention that Dapur Solo also arrange catering for offices or private events? In one day, approximately 300 boxes of rice box being sold everyday!

Nasi Langgi is actually "Yellow Rice", the yellow coloring came from the ingredient called Turmeric, so it's safe to say that the coloring is natural and yikes no artifical one! One portion of Nasi Langgi Dapur Solo consist of Nasi Langgi (Nasi Kuning/Yellow Rice), Fried Chicken/Empal, Chili Potato, Deep Dry-Fried Potato, Fried Egg, Serundeng Kelapa, Fresh raw vegetables and Chili, I know right, so many delicious items in a dish but that's the beauty of Indonesian cuisine, talk about variety! The rice was appropriately cooked, a little savory and fragrant (which is sort of essential), I love the fried chicken it was nicely fried and pre-seasoned, just crunchy but without leaving the chicken to be completely dry, the chili potato's also nice and spicy, simply another MUST TRY!




Nasi Liwet Solo
Nasi Liwet is rice that's being cooked in coconut milk and chicken broth, and no wonder why the flavor is really tasty and no exception to Dapur Solo's version, the rice was just served warm, decently cooked. One portion of Nasi Liwet Dapur Solo consist of Nasi Liwet, Chicken Liver and Gizzard, Beancurd, Boiled Egg, Shredded Coconut and Squash and its broth. Overall this was a pretty decent dish but as in for overall flavor and variety, I still root for Nasi Langgi.


Selat Solo
Selat Solo is a dish that consists of beef, vegetables (carrots, potatoes and beans), egg, potato chips and Acar (fermented veges). This might sound insane but it actually tasted like a steak soup but in a good way, so let's say if you have a beef steak and then you pour it with a savory broth made from beef bones, that's what Selat Solo is for me, this was one of my favorites of the mains because it had this lovely play of flavor, the broth was just perfectly seasoned, and actually everything on the place was pretty decent! Must try!

Lontong Solo
Lontong Solo is another dish with rice cake as the main base and the soup was made from coconut milk called Opor. Dapur Solo is really good in making the potato chili as I would love to highlight that, credit to the chef *applause*, however, I think it's not that much difference with the common lontong sayur or opor ayam but still good.


Tengkleng Kambing
Short to say, Tengkleng Kambing is the Solo version of rib soup, the soup had this light flavor, even though I was honestly expecting a bolder kick from the soup, the lamb was cooked nicely, juicy, tender and stink-free.


BEVERAGES
Es Dawet Daun Suji
Es Dawet has been known as the cure for sore-throat, the dawet's made of flour and the green color's originally from the Suji leaves. It was just a light refreshing beverage.

Wedang Uwuh
This particular beverage was pretty unique because 'Uwuh' itself is actually the Java language for garbage, but don't worry, the ingredients used here were not taken from the dustbin and recreated into a beverage, who the hell wants to drink that kind of drink by the way, well not me, it's called 'Uwuh' because the leaves used here actually look like garbage, this best served hot and it had this spicy hint from the ginger but overall pretty fragrant and herbal-like.

Wedang Ronde
Wedang Ronde has got to be one of my most favorite beverage, on the daily basis, especially in rainy days like this, one portion of this could really keep me on the right track, I love the spicy flavor from the ginger, it's slightly lighter than Wedang Uwuh and it balanced nicely with the sweetness from the sugar, it's nice of Dapur Solo to prepare the "Asem Jawa" to whoever wants a little kick of sourness, technically I never did that and for a first timer, certainly not bad.

Fiuh.. This has been one heck of a long post but typing this actually really fun because it kept me drooling and realize how much I love Indonesian food (more specifically in this case, Solo food). I think I really need to start writing more about Indonesian food because if the younger generations like you and me don't want to act, then we'll lose our own identity. Remember out roots, we should really keep all those glorious Indonesian food going!

Okay, a little story I need to share about Mrs. Swan, I truly adore her story because it's pretty much similar like mine, but clearly she's more experienced because she's more senior than me. She started this business with 'passion' and her love for Solo food as her main capitals. Her life story's truly inspiring because she has faced the ups and downs: starting from losing costumers to almost broke. Also with the great support system like her husband along with her passion and drive to be success, she slowly made it to the top and see, she already owns 4 Dapur Solo outlets that's almost always packed everyday. Short to say, she told us during a sharing session to never give up on our dreams and to pursue your dreams, ups and downs are normal, but you are the driver and you choose your own path, but make sure you have passion because that will take you somewhere you want or more and don't worry about money, it will come naturally.

Then I started to reflect, the little part of her life story was actually me and what I have achieved from blogging, I wouldn't point that out because it will sound cocky but yes to the money part and all those chances, it's naturally pleasantly God's gifts to me and I am very grateful for that ;").

Okay before this gets anymore dramatic and since I am very sleepy too, I should end this post </3.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH DAPUR SOLO, MRS. SWAN SUMARGA AND CATURGUNA FOR HAVING ME IN THE CELEBRATION!!!
Had a pleasant time along with my fellow blogger friends!
photo credit: Food Liberator

and of course...
HAPPY 269TH BIRTHDAY SOLO!
I hope you'll stay as one of loveliest tourist destination (even more!) and keep on spoiling us with your authentic feasts! eatandtreats loves ya!

Until the next post, off to bed! kthxbye!

Dapur Solo
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Jl. Panglima Polim I No. 95
Kebayoran Baru, Jakarta Selatan
021 - 722 2311

Jl. Danau Sunter Utara No. 7
Sunter, Jakarta Utara 14350
021 - 2961 5353

Jl. Danau Sunter Utara R 35-37
Sunter, Jakarta Utara 14350
021 - 640 5812

Ruko Melati Mas Square Blok A1 #22-23
Jl. Raya Serpong, Tangerang
021 - 5315 0505