In Jakarta, the name Monami Bakery pops into my mind when I want to buy traditional kueh (Indonesians call it Kue Basah, while our neighbours call them Nyonya Kueh) outside the muddy and wet traditional markets. I won’t say that it has the best version of traditional kuehs around, but Monami Bakery stands out for 3 reasons: the number of outlets spread all over Jakarta, presentable packaging and the pretty decent taste. Clearly, the prices here are twice or thrice higher than what you will find at traditional markets though.
Probably the best time to pick up the freshest kuehs and most complete varieties would be mid morning (beofre 12 noon). During my visit, I came in the afternoon (around 3PM), so the kuehs were not warm anymore. Those that I picked were:
In my own words, each of these kuehs can be described as follows:
Ø Kueh Ku (aka: Kueh Kura-Kura; Ang Ku Kueh in Singapore & Malaysia): steamed glutinous-rice cake, typically brightly coloured chewy skin (red or green) and has fillings of either: peanut / mashed mung bean / grated coconut soaked in palm sugar. (IDR 2,500)
Ø Putu Ayu: steamed coconut cupcakes. The top white layer is usually slightly savoury from the grated coconut and the green layer beneath it, is sweet. Somewhat like the lighter version of chiffon cake. (IDR 2,500)
|Putu Ayu & Kue Ku|
Ø Wajik: diamond-shaped, steamed glutinous-rice cake, sweetened and coloured with palm sugar. (IDR 2,400)
Ø Cantik Manis: made from hunkwe (mung bean starch) and laced with colourful tapioca pearls (pacar cina / sagu mutiara), has the consistency like pudding. (IDR 2,700)
|Wajik & Cantik Manis|
Ø Semar Mendem: a savoury snack, made from sticky rice and shredded chicken filling, just like lemper ayam, but the glutinous rice is wrapped in thin egg omelette. (IDR 3,800)
Ø Jongkong Hitam: black-coloured, steamed tapioca-flour cake served with grated coconut. The black colour is a result of using 'merang', a type of natural edible food colouring. (IDR 3,000)
|Semar Mendem & Lemper Ayam|
Ø Onbijtkoek: a type of sponge cake that had its origins from the Dutch, but uses tropical spices such as cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. The brown colour is the result from the palm sugar used. (IDR 2,500)
Ø Ongol-Ongol: this is Indonesia's version of Taiwanese Mochi or Turkish's Turkish Delight. Colourful, no filling, sweet and chewy. (IDR 2,800)
Ø Talam Ubi: made up of 2 layers. The top is white, savoury, coconut milk-based layer and the bottom layer is made of sweet potato. (IDR 2,800)
If the French have butter, milk & cheese, then comparably, Asians (at least South East Asians) have coconut milk, palm sugar and sticky rice. Of all those traditional cakes, I can at least conclude that most of the sweet snacks use coconut milk & palm sugar, while the savoury snacks use sticky rice. Don't you just want to dig in these delightful, uniquely Asian light bites?
JL. Boulevard Raya Blok FY No. 18
Ph: +6221 45840853
Kelapa Gading - North Jakarta
Complete list of outlets can be found here.