Kikugawa is the first Japanese restaurant in Jakarta, opened in 1969 by Kikuchi Surutake, a Japanese soldier who got sent to Jakarta during the World War, fell in love with a Manado woman, and returned to Jakarta after the war was over. He also opened the first Indonesian restaurant in Japan called Bengawan Solo. I assume Mr. Kikuchi is fond of river since he named both of his restaurant with river – Bengawan Solo is a river in Solo, whereas ‘gawa’ from Kikugawa means river, and he added his own name, ‘Kiku’, in front of gawa.

Kikugawa is hidden in Cikini residential area, which is used to be called Jalan Kebon Binatang, a few houses away from Gado Gado Bon Bin [Bon Bin = keBON BINatang].



They offer many kinds of set menus, and the prices are very reasonable.
20141108_194557 20141108_194627Tamagoyaki. Riri’s favourite dish. This one is the best I’ve ever had. 20141108_200418

Look how happy Riri was when the food arrived, just like a little boy who just got a new toy. 20141108_201412

Riri ordered the Kiku Set, which comes with sashimi, tempura, sukiyaki, yakitori, rice and miso soup. The egg in the sukiyaki looks very nice. 20141108_201416

Thatha had the Kikugawa Set A – chicken teriyaki, gindara teriyaki, agedashi tofu, mini oden, salad, rice and miso soup. I asked the chicken and fish to be grilled, and to replace rice with salad. I like the salad dressing, some kind of yuzu soysauce.  I really liked the agedashi tofu, as the sauce contains ginger. 20141108_201444

What made the special dish became more special was the super spicy chilli powder. Riri asked for togarashi, but turned out that this restaurant offered Thai chilli powder, which fits more to Indonesian taste. 20141108_201834

Look at how beautiful they cut the papaya, looked like salmon sashimi. 20141108_203759

After the free fruit dessert, the waitress gave us a comment form to fill. I gave full marks for each criteria, but I wrote a suggestion to add sake and dessert menu. And maybe it could be much more interesting if they write the history of Kikuchi on the menu book. Thanks to @efenerr for the valuable information.  20141108_204022

Kikugawa is truly a hidden gem. People come here to enjoy unpretentious Japanese soul food, not to enjoy luxurious interior in many famous Japanese restaurants in Jakarta. There are more unpretentious Japanese restaurants in Little Tokyo Blok M, which was developed a decade after Kikugawa, around the 80s. I was a bit worried that there was nobody when we entered the restaurant, but after  we ordered, more and more people came.

Pondok Makan Siti Al Azizah

Pondok Makan Siti Al Azizah is a street food vendor in Cikini area that sells bubur ayam (chicken porridge) and many other stir-fry Chinese food – although the name sounds Muslim. This food vendor is often full of customers and it is open for 24 hours. 20140929_20161420140929_20153220140929_20144420140929_201505

I had bubur ayam biasa (regular chicken porridge) and Riri ordered bubur ayam special (special chicken porridge). The difference between the two is that the special one has an egg. I really like the yellow broth, tastes much richer than the legendary Bubur Cikini (BurCik)20140929_20182720140929_201855There’s another vendor of Bubur Ayam Sukabumi in Tebet that is open for 24 hours, which is listed on Jakarta Midnight Snack by Area Magazine.

Roti Tan Ek Tjoan

Tan Ek Tjoan is one of the oldest traditional bakeries in Jakarta. 20140823_111436

An old fashioned mobile cart 20140823_111442

Roti Dasi (Tie Bread) 20140823_111502

Roti Gambang is originated from Semarang, also known as Roti Ganjel Rel. This bread is a bit tough, but it’s good for digestion and easy to make you feel full. This bread has a long historical value, as the recipe was invented during the Dutch colony. The colour is brown due to the composition of palm sugar; it has sesame topping and a strong cinnamon flavour. Interestingly, the name “Ganjel” is related to the fact that this bread is consumed one day before the start of fasting period. “Ganjel” means without any hindrance, so by eating this bread, hopefully the Muslims are able to go though fasting period smoothly. 20140823_111513

Roti Buaya Kecil (Mini Crocodile Bread) is a type of sweet bread in the shape of crocodile, which is commonly seen in a traditional Betawi wedding ceremonies. During the Portuguese and the Dutch colony, this bread was made of yam or cassava, but now this bread comes in chocolate flavour. Crocodile symbolises the groom’s fidelity, as crocodiles mate with only one partner and they are very patient. However, the meaning of crocodile changed in nowadays society. We callmen who are unfaithful as “buaya darat”.  20140823_111518

Bubur Cikini (BurCik)

Bubur Cikini is one of legendary street food vendors in Jakarta. When I arrived at KFC Cikini, I saw two vendors with the title Bubur Cikini, both are crowded, so I wasn’t sure which one is the original. The first one I saw at KFC parking lot has BCR sign on its cart, which stands for Bubur Cikini Raya.


The second one I saw has sign Burcik H.R. Suleman Cirebon, located in Bintaro Bakery, right across KFC and BCR (the first one I saw). According to my driver, this one  is the original one.

 20140823_09054720140823_084827I ordered Bubur Ayam Telor (Chicken Porridge with Egg). I’m glad that they don’t use “kerupuk warna warni” (colourful crackers), but I’m sad that there’s no fried soybean for topping.

20140823_085000 20140823_085034

The man in black is the porridge master. He scooped the porridge, chicken, cakue, emping, tongcai (冬菜 dōngcài / pickled daikon) and fried scallion. His assistant’s job was only placing a plate at the bottom of the bowl and a spoon inside the bowl before serving to customers. 20140823_090220

The hot tea tasted a bit different from regular tea, and there was 20140823_090117 20140823_090319

There are two carts under the same brand, the first one is the porridge, and the other cart sells Martabak Telor. 20140823_090409 20140823_090609