Tuesday, September 11, 2012

depot nguling rawon

Around the corner from Warung Brintik is a slightly more famous eatery. The more recent reason of this fame is due to a visit from a certain indonesian vice president during his official visit to Malang. But mostly because Depot Nguling has consistently been serving the best rawon in Malang, way before the aforementioned VP's visit.

My relatives from out of town, as close as Tegal and as far as Jakarta, love eating there and have been doing so since I can remember. So much so that they would get servings upon servings of rawon for take away, to freeze at our place and bring back with them.

Nasi rawon - Rp 18,000
My own relationship with Depot Nguling's rawon is more tumultuous. When I was a young girl, my parents would take us here almost every Sunday. I wouldn't want to eat it, because of the strongly spiced taste of rawon. But, my parents, the proper strict asian parents that they are, would get me to eat it despite my reluctance. As they see it, this was what I was getting for lunch, no ifs and buts necessary. As I grow older though, I started to actually enjoy the dish, not because I've been forced to eat it all these years. But because as I got older, my palate started to develop to distinguish spices. I've come to appreciate dishes that I may have been not so fond of previously. For example, I couldn't stand the smell and taste of coriander before, it's green, it's smelly, what is there to like? But as I got older, I seem to be putting it in everything I eat and liking it.

My obsession with Depot Nguling's rawon is worse now that I don't live in Malang anymore. I would occasionally daydream (there maybe some drooling involved) about the next time I'll be able to savour Depot Nguling's rawon, what with its tender meat and gellatinous tendons, bathed in the savoury broth stained by the black keluak, rich in beef essence and spices. Add a dollop of sambal and it's perfect.

Es dawet - Rp 6,000
To neutralise that super extra spicy sambal, I needed something sweet and cold to cool my tongue and wash the rawon down. In this occasion, I ordered the es dawet, a sweet coconut milk drink infused with pandan, inside are floating green-coloured worms! I fib, of course, they're made of rice flour, no worms were hurt in the making of this drink.

Nasi campur - Rp 18,000
Eventhough rawon is what Depot Nguling is famous for, it also serves many other delicious dishes. Like its nasi campur -- steamed rice with javanese chicken curry, boiled egg topped with spicy sambal, krengsengan kentang (diced potatoes stir fried in chillies & spices), pickled whole chillies, carrots and cucumber. I actually have had this dish probably twice or three times before, everytime I would regret for not having the rawon instead, so then I would order a plate of rawon after I finished my nasi campur just to alleviate that regret. It's not because the nasi campur is not good, because it is delicious, it's just because I love the rawon so much. What is a girl to do??

The eatery also serves gule kambing, a dish with spicy coconut-milk-based curry sauce and goat meat that has been cooked slowly to the point just before the meat falls off the bone. This is quite a popular dish with the locals as they believe goat meat is somewhat of an aphrodisiac. Yes, an aphrodisiac.

Gule kambing - Rp 18,000
With any order you make here will arrive a plate of various sides: blocks of golden fried tempe (fermented soybeans); perkedel (fried mashed potatoes); paru goreng (fried beef lung); babat manis (beef tripe); otak goreng (fried beef brain); empal goreng (fried beef in sweet spices); limpa goreng (fried beef spleen). Though these are not the things we usually eat in the "west", but it is very much within the indonesian approach of nose-to-tail eating. And if you're feeling adventurous, don't forget to tell the cashier what you ate so that it'll be included in your bill.

Depot Nguling is really easy to find, it is located in between a church and a boutique. Parking is hard to come by if you're driving, but there's always a parking attendant around who'll try to find you a spot.

Depot Rawon Nguling
Jalan KH Zainul Arifin 62
Open 7 days 7am-3.30pm
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