When Capcay means another thing somewhere in Java


Once again I got reminded about how important it is to follow up our assumption with confirmation, this time the lesson was given at Gudeg Danukusuman, one of my favourite eateries in Denpasar.

It happens in their new branch at Jl. Teuku Umar, Denpasar, Bali. Outside of their core business of serving good Solonese style of Gudeg, here they also sells Bakmie Jawa. For you who's not familiar, Bakmie Jawa is a label for noodle cooked in contemporary Javanese style, with traces of local and Chinese cooking influence. 

Bakmie Jawa


Though still uses "bak", Chinese for pork, it's usually served with chicken and eggs, the two ubiquitous protein source in Javanese cities. Initially Bakmie Jawa is never known for its lavishness, instead it is famous of its simplicity. The modernized version however, might include seafood like shrimps or fish meatballs.

In the street of Jakarta, this style of noodle is also known as "Mie Tek-tek", with the later word describing the sound the street peddlers creates by tapping on their wok while travelling around.

While the most famous version is Bakmie Jawa kuah, its Bakmie Jawa goreng is also a good alternative, the first one usually consisting of thick sauce with the blend of egg and sweet soy ketchup taste, the later has no liquid but always a bit moist. The kind of noodle used is flat egg noodle, and it has strong flour taste with a tad almost bitter aftertaste.

Bakmie Jaw with Capcay


The thing about assumption-confirmation routine however, arise when I ordered what they label as "Bakmie Jawa Capcay Goreng" -- and expecting my dish to be the sweet tasted Bakmie Jawa, only with a twist of stir fried mixed vegetables poured over, as that's the national convention of what Capcay is.

And so I was very surprised upon finding my dish still looks like a regular Bakmie Jawa goreng, without any traces of whatsoever related to Capcay. Hesitantly I asked the waiter, whether they mixed up my order?

Upon observing the noodles on my plate she quickly commented, "Oh! You must be misunderstanding our menu, that thing is what we called Capcay in Solo", pointing to the sliced kekian/otak-otak like ingredients in between the noodles.

So I was experiencing the "gubrak moment" there, and felt humbled. Years of eating Bakmie Jawa, and most kind of Javanese dishes, yet I'm not aware that "Capcay" means differently in some part of the island.

The Bakmie Jawa Capcay Goreng itself is one fine dish though; not what I'm expected but it's very good. I can sense the strong Angciu and Worchester sauce aroma in it, which adds to its strong dark taste: a good source of glutamate sensation for myself and any umamiphilia alike. (byms)

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