A New Manhattan Eatery Lets You Choose Your Own Noodle Adventure
Instant noodles, elevated by way of Indonesia’s iconic Indomie.
Most people leave relics from their dorm days far behind them, but one thing often endures: the appeal of a steaming bowl of instant noodles. The quick, comforting, and universally beloved food offers endless versatility when enhanced with flavorful condiments and fresh toppings—or a hit of nostalgia for those who crave consistency across the decades.
Meal-in-a-cup enthusiasts will most likely agree: few brands incite stomach grumbles quite like Indomie—especially if you're Indonesian. The green logo is synonymous with tasty and satisfying instant noodles. Since the 1970s, the ultra-convenient fare has been a popular staple in the Southeast Asian country (and has even gone on to develop an enthusiastic following in further-flung locales like Nigeria and Australia)—slurped down as everything from a midnight snack to post-workout fuel to an energizing breakfast. Indonesian households might keep their pantries stocked with Indomie, but it’s also easy to find the ready-to-order noodles at any local warung kopi, which translates as “coffee shop” and functions as a café and convenience store rolled into one.
Riffing on the intimate, fast-casual dining experience of neighborhood joints that pepper street corners across the country, a new Indomie-focused eatery just opened its doors in Midtown Manhattan. Like its namesake shops, Warkop NYC serves handcrafted coffee drinks, small bites, and bowls of the famed noodle.
If it feels like a warm hug, that’s not by accident. Co-owners Cut Lakeisha Salsabila Pradhanitya, Omar Karim Prawiranegara, and Teguh Chandra were feeling homesick for their home country during the pandemic—and really craving their go-to dish. “All Indonesians have an emotional attachment with this noodle,” explains Pradhanitya. “It's just our comfort food that we like to eat.” So, at the end of 2021, the trio decided to work together to bring the warung kopi experience, an emblem of Indonesian society, to their adopted city. A few months later, Warkop NYC began serving its first patrons in a cozy, no-frills space lined with bright red stools and sunshine-yellow walls.
At Warkop NYC, diners can order their noodles dry or in a broth and select from an array of toppings, including beef meatballs, shrimp, and Chinese broccoli. Garnishes, says Prawiranegara, are a big part of the reason many people in Indonesia opt out of cooking the noodles themselves: “We can make it at home, but if we want something special, we go to a warkop.” And there’s something to be said for the café service and ambience: “They say Indomie is more delicious when someone else is cooking it for you,” adds Pradhanitya.
The beauty of the Indonesian noodles is that there is no correct way to dress or top them. But Warkop NYC offers rough guidelines to hit maximum noodle enjoyment—whether you’re dining at a warung kopi or whipping up a bowl in your kitchen.
There’s nothing like a bit of extra crunch to take a dish from good to glorious. That’s why every noodle order at Warkop NYC is garnished with a sprinkling of fried shallots. The popcorn chicken, crackling on the outside and tender on the inside, is also a crowd-favorite topping choice. Vegetables, too, like carrots, Chinese broccoli, and achar (a pickled condiment) can bring added bite to a bowl of Indomie. Love a spicy kick? Adorn your instant noodles with sliced chiles to dial up the heat.
Every package of instant Indomie noodles comes with a few packets of seasoning, including sambal (a chile sauce featuring shrimp paste, garlic, and lime juice) and kecap manis (a sweet soy sauce); these sauces steer a simple bowl of instant noodles straight into Flavortown. To punch up the slurpable sauciness, notes Pradhanitya, “some people like to make it with milk. It’s more creamy.” A lightly fried egg with a still-runny yolk amps up the lusciousness even further.
Rich toppings like corned beef, sausage, and meatballs add briny flavor and umami to a bowl of Indomie. For something a little milder, try opting for shelled shrimp or chicken thighs. Plant-based proteins with meaty textures, like mushrooms and tofu, also absorb and impart oodles of flavor.