“Lethek” is a Javanese word which means worn-out, shabby, or to put simply, dull. Therefore Mie Lethek practically means the dull noodle. But don’t you judge the noodle just yet, not before you tasted the flavor. Because if you did tasted the flavor of Mie Lethek, you will change your mind, just like I did.
I admit, the first time I heard the name, not even one part of my digestive tract that actually craves the noodle. What can I do? I have a very suggestible mind like that. But come one fine day and I decided with an open mind – after also observing that the restaurant sells it always crowded on dinner time – to try the so called dull noodle.
The taste of the noodle was far from dull, if not super far. It was tasty with a hint of traditional touch. And just like the name, the color of the noodle is indeed dull. It’s because unlike the other typical rice noodle usually used to make this dish, Mie Lethek is made from cassava. Hence a duller color compared to the common rice noodle. Another reason that explained the color is because the maker refuse to use any coloring whatsoever and choose to make the noodle traditionally. So traditional that the process doesn’t involve any kind of automatic machinery — it’s practically handmade. The making process, in fact, becomes one of the thing that makes this noodle so special. With a cow involves in the grinding process and everything, I personally think that the process is charming.
The price of one plate of noodle including its pickles is IDR 14.000. You can also choose how spicy you want your noodle to be, just tell the waiter that and he’ll do the best to suit your palate. Not to forget, the restaurant also serves traditional Javanese herbal drinks made from fresh ingredients with a rock sugar as a sweetener. So if you order a ginger drink or Wedang Jahe, like I did, you’ll have fresh ginger, lemon grass, and cloves in your glass for only IDR 4000.
Although Mie Lethek is famously known came from the Bantul District, an area a little bit south of Jogjakarta, you can find one restaurant sells it on the side of north ring road, which is only about a few kilometers from the Jogjakarta’s international airport. So before a safe flight home or after you just got landed here, why don’t you try this dull-looking yet tasty traditional noodle?
/// Written by Rosmanita Dian Ardana R, Indonesia