The taste of Jakarta at Ketoprak Uleg, Denpasar, Bali

Among the sea breeze, white sands, and fresh air of Bali, Jakarta left quite a gap in our present dietary options. For example, its Nasi Uduk: sold in the morning, it's steaming hot emitting the aroma of coconut milk and daun salam (Indonesian bay leaves), enriched by the ever familiar scent of fried shallots. Eaten with sambal terasi and sliced omelette, Nasi Uduk is a flavorful and scentful breakfast missing from our mornings in Bali. At nights, the stalls selling Nasi Uduk along with Betawi's signature dishes like semur jengkol can easily be found in the center of Betawi's settlement around the city, like Rawa Belong in Jakarta Barat.

The other one we really missed would be Ketoprak. Different with in the one in Central Java, Ketoprak is not a form of drama shown on stage, but it's a dish containing ketupat (rice cake), tahu (tofu), and tauge (bean sprouts). While it's quite similar with Kupat Tahu Bandung, the main difference is that Ketoprak Jakarta contains beehoon as well.

Together with Nasi Goreng & Mie Tektek, Ketoprak is among the most common dish sold by street peddlers. You can easily find Ketoprak sellers among the dense skyscrapers in the city, or around the suburban settlements at nights.

That is why we got very curious upon seeing a new eatery "Ketoprak Uleg" opened up at Jl. Teuku Umar, Denpasar. We did hesitated for a while, until finally land our feet to try the place out.

The Place

Ketoprak Jakarta has a modest but clean settlement occupying a single ruko unit, with most of the interior spaces are used as kitchen and display. Tables are laid out front on the roofed porch, utilizing the best of open air circulation to dissipate the heat. Well the place is still hot for my thick stature though, even at nights.

The Food

Upon inspecting its neat and minimalism menu, we found both of Jakarta's signature dishes here: Nasi Uduk, and Ketoprak. As with the Ketoprak, they even have two variations: Ketoprak Betawi (15K), and Ketoprak Karet Tengsin (18K). While the firs is what I described earlier, the later consisting of more elaborate ingredients like telur asin (salted duck's egg), and potato chips.

As with the Nasi Uduk, they have it with fried chicken (18K), and with empal (24K); both are served with this delicious bacem tahu. The Nasi Uduk itself while it doesn't really taste coconutty, but the traces of daun salam aroma is strong; quite a relief after finding so many failed attempt at creating a good simple Nasi Uduk at Denpasar's eateries. No Semur Jengkol though.

Beside those two, you can also find other of Jakarta's specialties here like Soto Betawi (24K), and various other Indonesian dishes like Soto Ayam Kampung (18K), Lontong Sayur (16K), and Rawon Solo (24K).

Among the drink it's too bad they don't have Bir Pletok, but they do have this Air Sereh (lemongrass) which is quite unique.

Taste wise it's good, and looks like it's quickly becoming a favorite dinner place for workers around Simpang Enam, and Eastern Teuku Umar, including those ordering for takeaway. Parking space for cars is a bit tricky though, as the cellphone voucher seller opening next door is quite adamant in keeping his part of the roadside free from parking cars, while there's only enough space for two cars in front of Ketoprak Uleg. However for motorcycles there's ample of parking space available, a typical case with shops in this district though. (byms)