If you’ve travelled to Indonesia and fell in love with the food there which is typically served in small portions but loaded with flavour, you can find yourself taken back to those moments when you sit yourself at Pondok Jawa Timur. The food is packed full of flavour and affordable, and the portions won’t leave you too full or bloated.Pondok Jawa Timur was set up by Madam Indah Saputrajaya. She arrived in Singapore in 2001 setting up her first stall at Indonesian Embassy’s staff canteen, wanting to share her love for her ethnic cuisine – Javanese fare. After being inspired by a famous restaurant owned by a childhood friend back in the 1980s. Equipped with her home recipes she served hungry and home-sick Indonesians. She lovingly pooled beloved family recipes which she grew up on and engaged chefs from Indonesia who best understood the intricacies of Javanese cuisine the way she did, in order to bring these recipes to lifeBefore their current venue at 737 North Bridge Road, they were also at Far East Plaza, Plaza Singapura and Wilkie Edge. The staff at Pondok Jawa Timur has also followed Madam Indah from their days at the embassy up till today. Besides telling you how authentic the food there has got to be, it shows the kind of working environment Pondok Jawa Timur has for its workers- almost like family and wanting to share the taste of East Java with diners.
In the hands of a daughter
Madam Indah’s daughter, Aveline Saputrajaya with a background in hospitality, decided to help her mother with the family business. The only siblin who decided to do this, she moved to Singapore in 2008. They tried out serving food grilled style and Nasi Padang style but found the food concept not suitable for the working crowd they were trying to attract. They decided to introduce to Singaporeans more Indonesian food.”I find that there is a misconception of Indonesian food. Nasi Padang has been quite localised already, and Indonesian food is more than just Ayam Penyet!” says Avelin.”We have so many types of peanut sauce for example, for the Pencil dish, the Gado-Gado dish, and the tahu telur. We make everything sold here in-house, and we keep our prices affordable because we consider it a home restaurant.”
What to Try Here (Besides Ayam Penyet)
There are so many types of dishes here and if you only keep eating Ayam Penyet, you’re losing out. Yes, their Ayam Penyet is only $6.90. For a restaurant located among other halal cafes, this is quite cheap, but you really have to try their other dishes!Their Nasi Uduk is really like Nasi Lemak. White rice dyed green, served with fried chicken, stir-fried long beans with tempeh, omellette and sambal ikan bilis (anchovy) with peanuts. Their curry is also different from the local Indian or Malay curry. It’s sweeter and more soupy so you can down it even when you’re done with your rice platter. When you want to have a simple lunch you can try the Nasi Rendang Pecel Kediri ($8.90) white rice served with beef Rendang, and salad with spiced nutty sauce (which is like gado-gado) and homemade crackers. Their crackers taste fresh and everything is portioned really evenly.A MUST TRY is their Bakwan Jagung. Fried fritters of prawn and corn. Sweet, crispy, and when accompanied with prawn meat, it’s the perfect afternoon snack with any of their homemade specialty drinks, from Es Cendol, a drink with green bits of rice flour, served with coconut milk, sugar palm and shaved ice, to Soda Gembira, a sweet drink found all over Indonesia, made with three ingredients, soda water, sweet condensed milk, and coco pandan syrup.So with these few dishes as a suggestion, try to open your tastebuds to the flavours of East Indonesia instead of just sticking to the safe choice! You won’t regret it, especially if you love eating local food.
Address: 737 North Bridge Road, Singapore 198705Telephone: 68845853Opening hours: Daily, 11 AM to 10 PM!
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