Indonesia - Incredible Tofu Lunch at Tahu Lontong Lonceng
Any place which has been selling what are essentially fried egg-tofu ("tahu telur") and compressed rice cakes ("lontong") on a sauce based on "petis" or fermented shrimp paste since 1935 has to be doing something right.
And when that little place is still doing rip-roaring business, despite its unflattering location right next to a mortuary, it has to be serving something irresistible. And that was exactly how I found the food here - abso-bloody-lutely amazing.
Its trademark dish was "Tahu Telor Lontong" - where the mix of flavors (sweet, salty, piquant) and textures - the lovely, satiny tofu, the crisp-at-the-edges egg omelette, the "lontong" rice cake's bland texture providing a perfect counterpoint to the sharp stab of flavor from the "petis" shrimp sauce, and the little curls of crisp "keropok" fish crackers on top - all melded together in perfect harmony. I was well & truly in foodie heaven :-D
As they say here in Malang, "Depot Pak Abdulrohim tak pernah sepi" - meaning Mr Abdulrohim's eatery is never silent. With the constant parade of customers going in and out of the tiny 10-15 capacity place, it certainly holds true :-)
Depot Tahu Lontong Lonceng
Samping Apotek Erlangga
Jl. Martadinata 66
Malang, East Java
Could you pinpoint where the tahu is? The whitish substance just below the sliced pieces of omelette at about 10-11 o'clock? Or is the tahu mixed in with the egg and fried? The "sliced pieces" on top of the possible-tahu and the pieces in the center of the plate have different colors? The pic of the many-fingered roundels of fried stuff in the 3rd pic does suggest an admixture of tofu/tahu and egg before frying?
What then would be "normal" tahu lontong? [tahu lontong biasa on the menu shown]
I googled the item but without going through the results in detail the images I see from the topmost results are somewhat indeterminate about what the tahu looks like in this dish.
(BTW in the process I found this blog... http://cilialimantara.blogspot.com/20...)
I gather that krupuk rambak is made from cow hide or water buffalo hide; whereas both krupuk palembang and krupuk tengiri appear to be made form tuna. What's the difference? Just shape? (I can find pics of krupuk tengiri as mostly sort-of-ball-like while pics of krupuk palembang are mostly disc-like) Also, krupuk ikan (fish crackers) is stated in the Wiki article on krupuk to be popular in Palembang (the city)...so... ?
huiray, those whitish pieces were the "lontong" - compressed rice cakes, called "nasi himpit" /"ketupat nasi" in Malaysia/Singapore.
The pieces of tofu will be mixed with beaten eggs, then fried till you get a delicious golden-brown "frisbee". The cook at Tahu Lontong Loncheng first put various pastes & powedered spices in the serving saucers. He mixed the spices/sauce up, then laid the pieces of lontong on top, before piling on the cut-up pieces of tofu omelette, before garnishing the plate with krupuk, blanched beansprouts and cucumber slices.
My 2 Indonesian colleagues and I all ordered the "tahu telur" version which used Japanese-style egg-flavored tofu to be mixed with the beaten fresh eggs. The "tahu biasa" will combine fried tofu with tje rice cakes, vegetables and condiments - you'll get something very similar to Malaysian/Singaporean gado-gado.
Coincidentally, I asked my Indon colleagues about the various types of krupuk there. The krupuk rambak was similar to those pork-skin crisps favored by Filipinos, though mainly-Muslim Indonesians will opt for the halal buffalo or ox-skin version.
The fish krupuk tasted exactly like the fish crackers which we get in Malaysia, Singapore or Thailand. I'll have to find out more about the krupuk Palembang vis-a-vis other types & get back to you. That's the advantage of being here "on the ground" in Java - I can just go around asking the folks here.
Spoke to couple of Javanese colleagues here this morning, and both indicated that Palembang is very famous for their krupuk (much like Penang for "fried koay teow", Ipoh for "hor fun" or Ampang for "yong tau fu" in Malaysia, and Katong for "laksa" in Singapore, I guess).
So, the krupuk Palembang which we see on Tahu Lontong Lonceng's signboard was probably highlighted as a marketing gimmick. My colleagues were not able to explain if there are any difference in taste between the krupuk Palembang and the krupuk Tenggiri (made from Spanish mackerel, the fish of choice for krupuks).