Review: A Taste of Authentic Chinese-Indonesian Cuisine at Kota88

Review: A Taste of Authentic Chinese-Indonesian Cuisine at Kota88

Zi-char classics fused with Indonesian cooking styles, sauces and spices is Kota88’s calling card. By Jessica Chan

Glodok, Jakarta’s famed Chinatown and dining destination, has made its way into Singapore and, evidently, into the hearts of Siglap residences. Kota88 opened its doors in 2018, introducing easties (an endearing local term for east Singapore dwellers) to Chinese-Indonesian fare, otherwise known as Masakan Tionghoa-Indonesia. Lunch or dinner, the casual eatery is often packed with diners digging into dishes that straddle between Chinese zi-char favourites and Indonesian street food. 

Many are familiar with the cuisine associated with predominant Muslim population. But as the world’s largest island country spanning 17,000 islands, it is actually home to many diverse cultures and, of course, delicacies. Most popular of this subset is the Chinese-Indonesian fare that prospered within the many Chinatowns that pepper the country. There, Chinese immigrants adapted to the local culture, ingredients and taste to create what is now known as Masakan Tionghoa-Indonesia.

Kota88’s menu sticks closely to tradition, with a focus on larger plates for communal dining. There are also individual portions for those coming in smaller groups but, chances are, you’ll want to fill up the seats to sample their incredibly extensive menu.

Sate Babi. Photo: Jessica Chan 

The meal starts strong with the Sate Babi ($15.88/10 pieces). Pork satay, ranging from sate babi manis (sweet marinated pork) to more adventurous options of sate usus (intestines) and sate kulit (pig skin), are ferociously charred over coals and doused in a sweet soy sauce. 

Nasi Campur Babi. Photo: Jessica Chan 

Those wanting a little more variety can go for the Nasi Campur Babi ($12.88) that includes one sate babi manis along with a plethora of porcine delights, including the BBQ pork, braised pig ear, homemade siew mai, ngoh hiang and - the pièce de résistance - crisp yet succulent chunks of roasted pork belly. 

Mie Goreng Spesial. Photo: Jessica Chan 

Noodle fiends will take to their signature Mie Goreng Spesial Kota88 ($14.88). Teeming with bits of chicken, beef, pork, Chinese sausage and fish cake, these thin, curly noodles coated in the same sweet soy sauce are heavily infused with the coveted wok hei (breath of the wok). Up the ante with a side of seafood, namely the Kerang Saus Padang ($15.88) of baby clams stir-fried in the piquant padang sauce. 

Ayam Goreng Nanking. Photo: Jessica Chan 

Another highlight of Chinese-Indonesian fare (and a dish expertly recreated by Kota88) is the Ayam Goreng Nanking ($13.88). Minced chicken is mixed with shrimp, carrots and seasoning before deep-frying, creating a sumptuous meat patty that’s the ideal combination of sweet and savoury. Not only does it make a great side dish for dinner, it is also a worthy bar snack to go with its late night happy hour deal ($31.88/person for two hours, from 9.00pm).

Kota88 continues to impress with its dessert menu. Classics, such as Es Teler ($6.88) and Es Cendol ($6.88) are available alongside a beefed up Es Milo Alpukat ($7.88) with milo and avocado. 

The interiors are reminiscent of a traditional Chinese eatery, albeit with a contemporary touch. It’s the place where you’d get to enjoy all your Glodok favourites without having to break a sweat. Best of all, they’ve a well-stocked bar to keep even the finickiest diners jovial. 


Address: 907 East Coast Road, Singapore 459107.

TeL: +65 6242 2645

Mondays to Sundays | 11AM - 3PM (lunch) | 5PM - 11PM (dinner)

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