From simple Nasi Rames, the Rijsttafel Buffet until the Daily specials
Many Dutch guests in the restaurant in Semarang insisted that Toko “OEN” also participate with the Pasar Malam Besar in The Hague. Many people who once lived in Indonesia are longing for the nostalgic kitchen of Grandma Oen. As from 1994 Toko “OEN” Semarang opened a tavern on the Pasar Malam in The Hague.
In organizing these events came also various challenges due to Toko “OEN”’s nature that is operating from Indonesia. Fully equipped professional kitchen equipment had to be hired, the inspection service wanted this, the fire brigade wanted that, et cetera.
Chefs were flown from Semarang in The Hague and had to do their duties without their many-headed kitchen brigade. They were assisted by other staff. Before everyone realized and accustomed to it, the Pasar Malam is already over.
The original dishes such as Nasi Rames, fried chicken and freshly roasted satays are were highly appreciated by the audience. Snacks like spring rolls, lemper and risoles were flying out of the counters. Various artists, including Hartono, the singer from Semarang took care of their own live music, to give a true good old day’s atmosphere.
Rijsttafels, Ikan Bakar, and Daily Specials
The Dutch naturally want to dine altogether at 6 o’clock and everyone wants to get his order, but because everything is freshly prepared was the kitchen during peak hours the pressure on hard times. To overcome since 1997 a new formula was introduced: the term rice table buffet. Guests were able to choose what they wanted food and then find a spot to sit down.
After years buffet, a few years ago the specialty dishes from the Central Javanese cuisine like nasi gudeg, lontong capgomeh, ikan bakar and ikan goreng were launched. These dishes are only effective when they served them in the right composition and therefore these are separately from the buffet freshly prepared in the kitchen.
During the Tong Tong Fair 2009, something new was introduced: the daily special. Every day a different combination of dishes are composed. Guests got a luxurious dish for a reasonable price. Also new on the menu was the mie bakso, the dish that enjoys great popularity among the younger generation in Indonesia.
The “Lumpia Toko Oen” and “Lumpia Semarang”
An egg roll (spring roll) is originally a Chinese dish that later on included in Indonesian cuisine. The Indonesian word “Lumpia” might come from the Chinese “Lun Pia” (潤餅) what might means “soft pancake. Usually, they are eaten as dim sum appetizer or snack. It consists of an elongate bag made of a thin piece of dough, which itself can be eaten, containing meat and vegetables. The dough is folded like an envelope and then fried, or eaten raw.
The Lumpia Semarang dates back many centuries ago, from the time that the first Chinese immigrants settled in the Central Javanese port of Semarang. The recipe was adapted from the Chinese mainland. The filling consisted of bamboo shoots, shrimp, ebi (dried ground shrimp) and crab. Since these ingredients are quite expensive, the recipe changed and got the modern Lumpia Semarang filling with bamboo shoots, chicken and egg as we know it today.
Incidentally, the spring rolls were also introduced in the restaurants in the Netherlands. These were seems little more on the original spring roll, but designed to sell to the Dutch consumers who wishes a meal-size dish and also adapted to Western tastes.
During the Tong-Tong Fair 2009 Toko Oen let visitors become acquainted with “Lumpia Toko Oen”, the original spring roll recipe containing ebi and bamboo shoots. Guests can also indulge the “Lumpia Semarang” from the Indonesian people’s kitchen.