Let Them Eat Laksa

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A narrow alley in the crowded area of Pancoran Glodok, West Jakarta, has become home to many legends such as Tak Kie, Gado-gado Direksi, Mi Kangkung si Jangkung and others. Lao Hoe is an unsung legend, but worry not as we will introduce you to it.

There is something oddly satisfying about a bowl of laksa. Described as the love child of Indian curries and Chinese noodle soups, a bowl of laksa can clear any gloomy day. It is sweet, spicy and fragrant with hot broth, chewy noodles and various garnishes. If you are looking for a great bowl of laksa in the city, go to Lao Hoe in Glodok. This place is located in zigzagging alleyways crowded with people and street vendors selling fruits and traditional pastries.

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Lao Hoe resembles a classic Betawi house with its green color and strips of board called jalusi or krepyak to help with air circulation. The place is small but well decorated. Inside the restaurant, you will find antique furniture, old photographs and calligraphy. In a corner sits a sink with oriental influences. The tables and chairs look quite old. The front section of the house serves as open kitchen and cashier.

If you see a lot of old people, do not be surprised because Lao Hoe means “old people”, or “elderly”. The laksa served at Lao Hoe might not be the best looking laksa you will have in your life, but it has a distinctive flavor with thick gravy and a sharp aroma of basil leaves. It is rich and acidic but also very dynamic.

At Lao Hoe, the food is made fresh. Linda Aliadi, the restaurant owner, said the restaurant only uses local fresh ingredients. She added that the key to her laksa lay in the broth. To make the perfect broth, Linda uses ingredients that are also used to make fried chicken: turmeric, nutmeg and minced onion, mixed with water and coconut milk.

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Apart from laksa, another dish recommended at Lao Hoe is mie belitong. The combination of yellow noodles, sweet broth, potatoes, minced prawn roll, fried shrimp, cucumber and bean sprouts is further enhanced by a sprinkle of crumbled emping cracker. The deep-fried shrimp lends a delightfully crispy texture to the dish. The homemade noodles will leave you wanting more.

Aside from serving laksa and mie belitong, Lao Hoe also serves blood sausage, fried chicken, coffee and various tempting fritters such as fried jackfruit, taro, comro, banana and cassava. Don’t come on Thursdays though; it’s their day off.

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LAO HOE
Jalan Pancoran No. 5 Tamansari,  Jakarta
T: +62 21 6393431


Written by Tatu Hutami Photographs by Tatu Hutami April 28, 2017.

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