Gado-gado, Betawi traditional food made of vegetables topped with peanut sauce dressing and sprinkled with crackers, often becomes the favorite choice of lunch. If you happen to take a tour to Kota Tua, West Jakarta, make sure to visit pecinan in Glodok.
In this location, you will find Gado-Gado Direksi. It is named ‘Direksi ’ (director) because of its customers. Most of them are the directors and officials.
Sie Man Tjauw pioneered the gado-gado business in 1967. At that time, Bank Indonesia was still located in Kota Tua. The officials of the bank often ate her gado-gado stall. Now, the stall is passed to her descent, Giok Lie. To manage this stall, Giok Lie asked her cousin, Taw Kak Liang or known as Keke, to join her.
Keke said the officials still ate at the stall even though the bank was moved to MH Thamrin, Central Jakarta. The Minister of Finance, Agus Martowardojo, was often seen eating when he took the position as the director of Bank Mandiri.The delicacy of Gado-Gado Direksi becomes the favorite of state officials, started from the Former President Gus Dur and Megawati, until the ministers, Mari Elka Pangestu and Joko Suyanto.
At the first glance, it seems nothing special with this gado-gado. It is only several blanched vegetables added with tofu and mixed with peanut sauce dressing. On top of it is a sprinkle of fried shallot, shrimp crackers, and crackers.
But, when the dressing meets our tongue, you will understand why this gado-gado is fancied. The dressing made from peanut, brown sugar, lime, tamarind water, and chilies give us the sensation. The mixture of nutty fragrant, sour, and sweet blend perfectly.
Keke said the secret was in the mortar and pestle. The ingredients are also the best. The peanuts are specially brought from Tuban. The vegetables also should be fresh. “It is bought in the morning in Petak Sembilan Market. No ingredient is refrigerated,” she said.
This gado-gado is the favorite of the officials, but the stall is very simple. Its wall made from plywood. It is very narrow and can only hold up to four customers. Yet, the building does not hold back its customers.
“Most of them choose to take away the gado-gado,” she said. On a day, Keke and Giok Lie can sell more than 100 portions of gado-gado.
Many offer the business to become franchise, but they refuse. They are worried the quality cannot be maintained. “Quality is number one. If we do franchise, the quality can be different,” she said.
If you are curious on its taste, Gado-Gado Direksi opens from 09.30-16.30. A portion is 20,000 IDR, a little bit expensive for a plate of gado-gado. But, the money that you pay is equal with the taste you get.