A tweet from NatTravelerIndo streamed through my timeline this morning : “Cikini, Sudut Kota Lama Yang Terlupa” Translated as : Cikini, The Forgotten Part of Old Town.
While that might rings true for the generation above me, I have just recently discovered this area through the beauty of food. Lontong Cap Go Meh Cikini was one of the rare find. This time, it’s the joint nearby: Gado Gado Bon Bin.
Bon Bin was short for Kebon Binatang, the street name it’s on before they changed it to Cikini IV. The place has been around for more than half a century and still maintains its classic beauty. Chinese incense on the beaten-worn-out walls. Wood tables and red chairs that resemble a typical home style Chinese restaurants. The half rounded ceilings. Most importantly the dynamic duo, Ngkoh Gado-Gado & Ncik Gado-Gado, one prepare the food, the other one handle the cash.
One portion cost you IDR23K without lontong, and IDR25k with lontong. Three times the price of any street vendor gado-gado around the area. But I guess it’s the premium people are willing to pay for nostalgia, brand, and taste.
The place has been around for more than half a century and still maintains its classic beauty.
The first thing you’ll notice is the softly grinded peanut sauce. Words on the street they use cashew nuts, thus the rich flavor that sets it apart from normal gado-gado. It was interesting at first, but after a while the lost of texture was too obvious. I will still opt for the much coarser sauce in usual gado-gado. Sorry, Koh. It did impress me, although not for long.
he rest of the dish wasn’t particularly superior in taste, but the fresh ingredients was very noticeable. It’s another kind of hygiene level over here. One that would definitely not include hand germs.
Besides that, it is a very fulfilling portion eaten alone. I would suggest having it shared, and use the additional space in your belly to try the next door lontong cap go meh or asinan. If you’re around the area, might as well.
Gado-Gado Bon Bin
Jalan Cikini IV No. 5
(Formerly Jalan Kebon Binatang III)