After living in the Jakarta area, I forgot how expensive everything is; especially food. I couldn’t believe my eyes with all these lip-smacking good food in Jogja that will not break your wallet. Try these place to save your bucks and tastebuds.
1) Gudeg Bu Haji Amad
Gudeg is a must and they have best in town in my opinion. It is basically unripe jackfruit that is slowcooked with spices until it becomes this “almost meaty” jackfruit dish. It is typically serve with chicken, “krecek” and other side dishes.
Most of the Gudeg in Jogja is actually really good but the biggest deciding factor for me is the sweetness. Typical Javanese people love their food really sweet and this can come as a shock for the untrained tastebuds from Jakarta or other parts of Indonesia. Gudeg Bu Haji Amad has the perfect balance between salty and sweet thus making me believe that theirs is the best. Interestingly enough, I found out that even though my hired driver was born and raised in Jogja, he himself preferred his food to be not as sweet and believes it’s becoming a recurring preference in the younger generations.
Left is Bu Haji Amad and right is Yu Djum
I compared Bu Haji Amad’s Gudeg with Gudeg Yu Djum (both really famous Gudegs) and found Yu Djum’s to be a little too sweet, Bu Haji Amad’s was also a little more fragrant. We ate here twice in our trip just because we know we can never find Gudeg this authentic and delicious back in Jakarta!
2) Rujak Es Krim Pak Nardi
Rujak (a fruit and vegetable salad) is a favorite among most of us Indonesians and it is a common sight for street food. One of my favorites is rujak bebeg because of its perfect balance of sweet, salty, sour and spicy – almost all the flavors! Pak Nardi took it a step further and added “Es Puter” (traditional coconut ice cream) into this already delicious rujak bebeg that he makes. Though it is essentially two different dishes mixed into one, the flavors mingled perfectly for each other as the creaminess offsets the tartness of the rujak. Even the Es Puter is delicious on its own.
It is not exactly traditional to do this but he is the pioneer and famous for making the best Es Krim Rujak in town. I really suggest that you try it if you are in Jogja as it is so unique and refreshing. (TIP: He closes once he runs out so get yours early!).
3) Sego Jangan Lodeh
I was walking down the streets of Jalan P. Mangkubumi and passed by this eatery with a waft of heavenly delicious scent. It was “warteg” style where the side dishes are displayed openly to eat it with rice. It was all Javanese dishes but it felt so homemade and almost had a “grandmother’s cooking” quality to it.
Everything they made was divine. I was shocked at the complexity of flavors yet so deliberately blended spices; like a “perfect chaos” quality to it. Definitely did not expect such amazing food at a place I found by a complete accident. My favorite dishes were their tofu kecap manis, fried bihun omelete, and of course their lodeh! Honestly, just try a little of everything because nothing disappointed me.
Another thing that I have to point out was Aya, this lady who was very kind from the start and had such patience answering all my never-ending questions of each dish and just random questions my head has (and there is a lot! Haha). She probably saw how I was so into food and even invited me to join her and Bude, the chef, the next morning to learn cooking from them! Now THAT was true Jogja hospitality…
4) Bakmi Jawa Mbah Gito
So.. uhm.. this is one of our past presidents I guess (idk who coz it looks nothing like the actual person) haha
Bakmi Jawa (Javanese noodles) was something I frequently ate as a teenager but never actually had authentic ones. Located a little outside of the city but definitely worth the distance. They had a unique village style architecture to their restaurant with interesting wooden carvings of our past and present presidents.
Straight to the point, you have to order their Bakmi Jawa Goreng or Bakmi Jawa Godog – either the fried style or soup style of the noodles. My personal favorite is the Godog (soup) but my parents enjoyed the fried style more: it really is your preference. The best situation is if you have a companion to try both the styles or just get really greedy and order both for yourself…
(Tip: I got curious and ordered their nasi goreng. Let’s just say stick to what they are famous for.)
5) The Phoenix Hotel Bakpia
Not exactly a place to eat but their Bakpia is worth mentioning. Bakpia is essentially an Indonesian pastry with different kinds of filling, usually from chocolate, cheese or beans. Theirs are made from black beans but the skin that covers the filing is very different from the usual bakpia. The common bakpia is crumbly but theirs sorts of just stays intact while being very delicate and chewy in the mouth. They call it Bakpia basah (Wet Bakpia).
So, they actually order their “Bakpia Kumbu Hitam” from Bakpia Kencana BUT only theirs were specially made with cashews in it so you can’t really get it anywhere else. The price is the same if you got other flavors from Bakpia Kencana so it’s not being marked up through the hotel (Phew!). Be sure to ask about it from the reception because it is amazing! It’s perfect for gifts to bring home.