The East Javanese university town of Malang is also home to Lunpia Semarang Hok Lay, a 65-year-old Chinese-Indonesian restaurant located on the edge of the town's old Chinatown district.
Since 1946, "Hok Lay" (the name of the restaurant in Hokkien-Chinese meant "Prosperity Come") has been serving some of the best "lumpia" or deep-fried Chinese spring rolls in town. The owner (2nd-generation) told me that their "lumpia" contained "rebung" (bamboo shoots), "wortel" (carrots), chicken forcemeat, onions and her family's secret spices. Served on a pool of sweet-sour sauce, the hot, crisp rolls were light & delicious. Side accompaniments to the rolls included pickled cucumbers, fresh spring onions and Chinese lettuce leaves. My colleague is Chinese-Indonesian from Semarang (Central Java) but he said that this East Javanese rendition of the dish from his hometown was not as authentic - the sauce was not sweet enough.
The other house specialty was "Pangsit cwie mie" - the local Malang-Chinese noodle dish of thin wheat noodles (home-made here at Hok Lay) topped with minced chicken, "ijo ijo" (chopped scallions) & a pair of crisp wantons, dressed in chicken stock. A little bowl of clear soup with pork balls were served on the side.
For drinks, we has the retro, childhood favorite drink of many Javanese baby-boomers: Fosco - which was essentially chilled, chocolate-flavored cow's milk, incongruously served in old Coca Cola glass bottles. The choc milk was deeee-licious. I don't know - I'm a baby-boomer myself and I grew up on Brownes and Masters milk in Australia - I thought that this choc milk here was every bit as good.
Dessert: We shared the "Es Puding Manalagi" (or "Where Else Iced Pudding"), a refreshing shaved iced dessert with different sorts of jellies & fruit cocktail, dressed in rose syrup and evaporated milk, and topped by a tortoise-shaped custard pudding. This place certainly served nostalgia to its patrons in oodles.
Lunpia Semarang Hok Lay
Jl. KH. Achmad Dahlan 10
Malang, East Java
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