CJ Tom Yum
Looking to spice up your dining experience? This Thai eatery certainly packs a tasty punch!
Tom Yum is a great little Thai restaurant in the capital. The casual, no frills eatery is nestled on a leafy road in a residential area of Lebak Bulus, South Jakarta. Owned by a Thai gentleman whose wife is an Indonesian, CJ are the initials of their son’s name. The head chef is also Thai; so you know that you’re in for a genuine treat!
Thai cooking puts an emphasis on well-prepared dishes with strong aromatic components. The spiciness of Thai cuisine is quite well known. As with other Asian cuisines, balance, detail and variety are of great significance to Thai chefs. Thai food is known for its balance of three to four fundamental taste senses in each dish or the overall meal: sour, sweet, salty, and bitter.
We visited CJ Tom Yum recently, on a weeknight and the restaurant was busy! When we arrived, there were already a number of patrons there and we also saw many reserved tables just waiting to be filled. Before long, the place was packed! If you’re thinking of coming on the weekend, it is recommended that you call ahead and reserve yourself a table. Business is good for this almost-one-year-old restaurant!
Our culinary journey to Thailand began with the most popular dish, the Tom Yum soup. Seafood Tom Yum (37.5k for small, 57.5 medium), to be exact; a hot and sour broth made from lemon grass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, dried chilies and lime juice, and generously filled with prawns, crabs, squids, New Zealand green mussels, and gindara or black cod fish. This dish is great as an appetizer or as a main dish when served with rice. Its robust fragrance is sure to tempt your taste buds. For a bigger group, supersize your order to the Special Seafood Tom Yum for 155k.
Thai Style Boneless Chicken Feet Salad (27k) is another great starter. It is a spicy mix of boneless chicken feet, with sliced lemongrass, shallots, mint, and cilantro. The dressing of lime juice, sweet chili paste, pounded garlic, and fish sauce, is superb.
Fish sauce is a very common ingredient in Thai cuisine which adds a complex saltiness to the dishes. Chicken feet not your cup of tea? After having a taste of this dish, you’ll surely become a convert!
As our mains started to arrive, the waiting staff were getting slammed with new orders from the quickly-filling house. We ordered the Baby Buncis (or string beans) with Shrimp (22.5k), and the Stir Fried Bamboo Oyster (30k). These are more of the Chinese-influenced varieties of Thai dishes, and both were luscious in their own right.
Another picked of ours, the Steamed Nila Fish with Lemon Sauce (47.5k) was downright outstanding. The fish was succulently steamed to perfection, and the sauce was just exquisite. Salty, tangy, and dare we say, refreshingly zesty?
Another iconic dish was the Thai Style Fried Rice in Pineapple (27.5k) which also made its way to our table. We consensually loved it, and it was devoured in no time flat! As for drink, don’t forget to cool yourself down from all the spiciness with the Thai Ice Tea or Thai Ice Coffee (20k).
There is plenty to applaud at CJ Tom Yum. This hidden gem is being discovered by more and more of Jakarta’s foodies, and rightly so.
CJ Tom Yum
Jl. Adhyaksa No. 5,
Lebak Bulus, Jakarta Selatan
Ph: (021) 759 214 05
11.30 am – 3 pm (Lunch)
6 pm – 10 pm (Dinner)