Ayam Bakar 7 Saudara
Thirty years ago Lim Fun May opened a food stall in Jakarta. She had a charcoal grill and sold one thing: Indonesian grilled chicken, otherwise known as ayam bakar. Now May’s sons and daughters run her six restaurants. Susanty Affandy Lim is the only family member to operate a restaurant outside of Indonesia.
Ayam Bakar 7 Saudara is in an austere, minimally converted fish-and-chip shop. And the grilled chicken sold here is top notch; it’s tender enough to fall apart after a soft prod and juicy and flavoursome all the way through. It’s close to the Jakarta style, which means sticky, sweet and not overly charred.
There are three options: breast, thigh and spatchcock. Then choose your side dishes. The standard street-stall order would be a skewer of giblets or liver, and a hunk of rich tempeh (a fermented Indonesian soybean product), perhaps alongside a dome-shaped helping of nasi uduk (coconut rice) or nasi kuning (turmeric rice).
Local Indonesian regulars usually opt for lonton sayur (like an Indonesian noodle-less laksa with tender rice cakes), a mix of the daily bain-marie curries (usually cassava-leaf stew, rendang and chilli eggplant) or Lim’s freshly made gado gado (an Indonesian salad of blanched or steamed vegetables) that’s slightly tart from the use of a rare, fragrant lime called nasnaran mandarin, or jeruk limau in Indonesian. For a more specialised Jakartan-style experience ask for a soto Betawi, a tripe and coconut soup thought to have been originally made by Java’s indigenous Betawi people.