Indonesia - Soponyono in East Java, another oldie but goodie
Soponyono Restaurant in Lawang once did a roaring trade with its trademark “Tahu Telur” (tofu-egg omelette dish) in the 1950s.
The proprietress at the time, Bu Daeng, was a gifted chef from the island Sulawesi, in the heart of Indonesia’s fabled Spice Islands. Her restaurant plied customers with expertly-cooked East Javanese staples – their own version of “Nasi Campur” - a mound of perfectly-steamed rice surrounded with curried ox-tongue, a turmeric-laden curried chicken drumstick, a chilli-sambal-topped tofu cubes, half a hard-boiled egg topped with ultra-spicy “sambal petis” (chilli paste spiked with fermented shrimp sauce), and curried potatoes.
Their trademark “Tahu Telur” was fantastic – a fragrant frisbee-sized tofu and egg omelette, dressed in a salty-sweet, piquant “petis”-flavored sauce, and topped with slivers of “lontong” (compressed rice cakes), boiled potatoes, and a scattering of coin-sized “krupuk” (rice crisps).
Another tofu-based menu item we tried was the “Tahu Goreng Petis” – huge cubes of fried tofu, the size of those large plush dice which some folks dangle on their car rear-view mirror.
Soponyono’s version was denser and heavier than the ones I tried elsewhere in East Java.
The restaurant’s now run by the 3rd-generation in the family, but business has quietened down somewhat, perhaps due to the presence of newer rivals in the neighborhood.
Depot Soponyono – Bu Daeng Lawang
Jl. Dr. Wahidin No. 45
Lawang, East Java
Best tofu dish I'd tried thus far? Definitely Tahu Lontong Lonceng in downtown Malang. Beats most places I'd tried in Lawang, Surabaya, etc. Not a surprise since it's the ONLY dish served at this eatery:
"Nasi Campur" is harder to evaluate since each restaurant has its own take on the side-dishes that go with the rice. Anyway, am ready for other cuisines besides Indonesian right now ;-)