Fook Yew

JakartaEating Out

Fook Yew

Cheeky Chinese restaurant is anything but subtle...

When as restaurant with the name Fook Yew tries to sell you some bollocks about the name meaning “fortune and friendship”, we’re sorely tempted to file it in the bin without a second look. At least the owner of the Phat Phuc Chinese takeaway in my neighbourhood has the decency to admit he’s just having a laugh, being called neither Phat nor Phuc (he probably had to tell the local plod a tall story to get his business licence though, they’re not the laughing kind of policemen).

Luckily for Fook Yew Shanghai Bistro Bubble and Tea House in Jakarta, the shots they sent us of the interior were eye-catching to even the most cursory of glances, so we gave the place a thorough once-over. Everything here has been done at the visual equivalent of 100 decibels – pretty much every shade in a Dulux sample book crops up somewhere or other – but the mainstays are the big boys: red, blue, green and yellow. And just in case you were in any doubt about the Chinese-ness of this fun Chinese restaurant, there’s a rickshaw parked in the corner and a festival’s-worth of decorative lanterns hanging from the ceiling.

Once your senses have adjusted you notice more refined aspects hidden among the maelstrom – zodiac placemats, beautifully decorated face-mask characters, and of course plenty of Chinese lettering that we all find so attractive. Bit embarrassing for our mate Dave though, we’ve just had a closer look at some of those boxes stacked around Fook Yew and it turns out his “peace love and freedom” tattoo actually translates to “monosodium glutamate”. So the next time we’re asked for a restaurant recommendation in Jakarta, we hope the answer doesn’t cause offence…

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