Soponyono Restaurant in Lawang once did a roaring trade with its trademark “Tahu Telur” (tofu-egg omelette dish) in the 1950s.
The proprietress at the time, Bu Daeng, was a gifted chef from the island Sulawesi, in the heart of Indonesia’s fabled Spice Islands. Her restaurant plied customers with expertly-cooked East Javanese staples – their own version of “Nasi Campur” - a mound of perfectly-steamed rice surrounded with curried ox-tongue, a turmeric-laden curried chicken drumstick, a chilli-sambal-topped tofu cubes, half a hard-boiled egg topped with ultra-spicy “sambal petis” (chilli paste spiked with fermented shrimp sauce), and curried potatoes.
Their trademark “Tahu Telur” was fantastic – a fragrant frisbee-sized tofu and egg omelette, dressed in a salty-sweet, piquant “petis”-flavored sauce, and topped with slivers of “lontong” (compressed rice cakes), boiled potatoes, and a scattering of coin-sized “krupuk” (rice crisps).
Another tofu-based menu item we tried was the “Tahu Goreng Petis” – huge cubes of fried tofu, the size of those large plush dice which some folks dangle on their car rear-view mirror.
Soponyono’s version was denser and heavier than the ones I tried elsewhere in East Java.
The restaurant’s now run by the 3rd-generation in the family, but business has quietened down somewhat, perhaps due to the presence of newer rivals in the neighborhood.
Depot Soponyono – Bu Daeng Lawang
Jl. Dr. Wahidin No. 45
Lawang, East Java
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