Coconuts Hotspot: Mie Tjwan serves East Java Peranakan-style ‘mie ayam’ inspired by a classic recipe

Mie Tjwan, a mie ayam restaurant in Cipete area, was opened as a tribute to the grandmother of one of the founders, who took care of him and taught him how to cook during his childhood. Photo: Instagram/@mietjwan
Mie Tjwan, a mie ayam restaurant in Cipete area, was opened as a tribute to the grandmother of one of the founders, who took care of him and taught him how to cook during his childhood. Photo: Instagram/@mietjwan

Cipete has been our go-to neighborhood for affordable cafes and eateries (and the OG Tuku café). As your go-to mie ayam (chicken noodle) reviewer, we were particularly delighted that another place has recently opened in the area. It’s called Mie Tjwan — pronounced “choo-one” like cuan, an Indonesian-Chinese slang meaning “profit” — and it opened in June.

We’ve been wondering why Mie Tjwan hasn’t been as popular as fellow mie ayam newcomers in the area such as Wo Ai Mie. But, as we have come to find out, the restaurant clearly deserves to be regarded among the very best of chicken noodle specialists.

Mie Tjwan is located opposite the French International School (Lycée Français de Jakarta) on Cipete Dalam Street, next to the newly-opened coffee shop Socius Coffee House and close to Levant Boulangerie et Pâtisserie, a French-style patisserie. The restaurant actually occupies the space that used to be Kura Kura Eatery, which was closed in April.

Ayam Tjwan and Mie Tjwan. Photo by Nadia Vetta Hamid for Coconuts Media
Ayam Tjwan and Mie Tjwan. Photo by Nadia Vetta Hamid for Coconuts Media

To give this noodle shop a whirl, we ordered signature dish Mie Tjwan and Ayam Tjwan (both IDR35K) over the weekend. Mie Tjwan consisted of noodles, minced chicken, fried pangsit (wonton), and lettuce. Surprisingly, Mie Tjwan does away with the kuah (broth) customary in most mie ayam concoctions, and yet the noodles are already soft and pack a savory punch in every bite.

Another popular dish, Ayam Tjwan is braised chicken upper thigh cooked with a mixture of soy sauce and topped with ginger oil. The result is a soft, fragrant chicken meat that’s not too sweet, and it could go well with your mie ayam or Boeboer Tjwan chicken porridge (IDR35K) and Sajoer Tjwan, or stir fry bok choy with garlic (IDR25K).

If you’re dining in, you may try their Tee Manies Wangie or sweetened iced tea (IDR10K); Tjiengtjao or lemongrass tea with chunks of grass jelly (IDR20K); and Djeroek Peras Moernie or freshly squeezed orange juice (IDR30K).

Toto, a co-founder of the restaurant, told us that Mie Tjwan is owned and operated by the same people behind Kura Kura Eatery. The mie ayam restaurant was opened as a tribute to Liem Kiok Hiang, the grandmother of one of the founders, who was of Chinese descent. During his childhood, she took care of him and taught him how to cook, including cooking noodles Peranakan-style synonymous with Mie Tjwan today.

“The recipe was often cooked during his childhood. There are other recipes, but the one we use for Mie Tjwan is the most significant for him and also enjoyed by others,” Toto said.

Staying true to the ancestral recipe, which Toto said was perfected in 1921, Mie Tjwan doesn’t use any dyes, artificial flavoring, or preservatives in their dishes. The signature Mie Tjwan is of the Peranakan mie ayam school, popularized by Chinese-Indonesian communities in East Java. Mie ayam from the province are usually more salty compared to noodles from the west.

If you like your mie ayam delivered to your home, Mie Tjwan’s dishes don’t lose much of their freshness and great taste, as they are placed inside paper-based takeaway tubs that’s all the rage with hip restaurants these days. What’s more, the tubs hark back to the days of old with classic Indonesian text and cool prints of different species of birds for different dishes. We wouldn’t blame you if you want to post a photo or two of the tub alone.

While their menu is simple, we say that’s where the charm is, and patrons won’t spend a lot of time choosing a dish. All dishes at Mie Tjwan are cooked without MSG and comply with halal standards, as they don’t use pork and lard in the kitchen. After a great first impression, we look forward to going there again for lunch, or, if we’re too lazy, have Mie Tjwan delivered to us.

 

(US$1 = IDR14,011)

 

FIND IT:

Mie Tjwan is at Jl. Cipete Dalam No. 37A, South Jakarta

Open Tue-Sun, 9am-8pm

Phone +62 859 3988 9300

Mie Tjwan’s Coconuts Directory listing, and Instagram

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