Bebek Sambal Ijo
If you are looking for spicy food that makes your ears ring but your palate sing, then bebek sambal ijo is a go-to. But, which to order?
When the craving for spicy food comes, there are several dishes that cross my mind and the good-old fried duck with sambal hijau – or more colloquially, sambal ijo – is always at the top of the list. It’s a heavenly combination of savory meat, green chilies and garlic.
Imagine the sinful duck fat melting inside your mouth combined with the sweet flavor and dense texture of the duck meat. For the perfect pairing: a mixture of fried green chili and garlic – among other ingredients.
I compared two famous and always crowded duck shops in Tebet: Bebek Ginyo and Bebek Kaleyo. Both merchants started serving their customer in 2007, but Bebek Kaleyo started their business at Cempaka Putih and kept growing until they opened multiple branches, including one in Tebet, an upcoming lifestyle and culinary hub straddling the border of East and South Jakarta municipalities. Bebek Ginyo, on the other hand, is a native of Tebet and has yet to open other branches.
I ordered similar dishes to compare their price and found out that Kaleyo was slightly more expensive. You can get Kaleyo’s fried half duck (breast and thigh) with sambal ijo, veggies and rice for Rp 39,000, while the same dish at Ginyo is almost Rp 10,000 cheaper.
Even if you go for the package with more sides: veggies and fried tofu and tempeh, Ginyo still cost Rp 47,500 and Kaleyo Rp 52,200.
Size-wise, both are on par. The clear difference you can spot visually is the color. Kaleyo is darker, the result of more time spent in the high-heat frying oil. Consequently, Kaleyo’s has crispy thick skin because the fat has almost completely fried away, with the gamey smell of duck gone, allowing the savory flavor of duck meat to come forward.
Ginyo is on the opposite side: lighter color with thick fat skin, the signs of less frying. The natural umami flavor from the fat combined with the soft meat will completely take over your palate in no time and you’ll dig deeper and faster into the dish.
How about the sambal ijo? Once again, both are of different styles, apparently in accordance with their different frying style. Ginyo uses big green chilies, so it has a milder heat with a fresh fragrance. Ginyo smears the sambal right on the duck so you can taste the sambal mixture infused into the duck.
Kaleyo’s sambal ijo is more adventurous. It uses green bird’s eye chili which is famous for in-your- face hotness and leafy flavor. Needless to say, Kaleyo packs more heat – tasty, addiction-inducing heat.
Verdict? Personally I’d like to have Ginyo’s duck with Kaleyo’s sambal. That would leave me with Kaleyo’s duck and a side of Ginyo’s sambal. Wanna come and try it with me?
Jalan KH Abdullah Syafei
No. 49, Tebet
T: +62 21 95400088
Jalan Tebet Utara Dalam
No. 12, Tebet
+62 21 8292343