Yogyakarta is a paradise for food lovers. Cheap food is abundant and most of them are on the good side. If you’re looking for authentic Javanese food, Yogyakarta is also the right place to get your exploration hat on and sample as much of the sweet and savory blend that is Javanese cuisine. I put that hat on in Yogyakarta and made a lot of great findings.
1. Sido Kumpul – Bukit Bintang
I’ve talked about this place earlier in another post, but let’s talk about this place again. Aside from boasting an amazing view of Yogyakarta from higher ground, I have to say that the food was pretty good to. The air is incredibly chilly here so their nasi goreng (IDR15.000) and hot tea can definitely give your stomach the warmth it needs. It’s a great place to have a romantic dinner without needing to dig to deep into your pockets, trying to pay the bill.
Sido Kumpul Resto | Jalan Jogja – Wonosari Km 15, Bukit Patuk, Gunungkidul | 0274-2619021
Vegetarians, listen up, because I’ve found a great place for you to eat. Unlike a lot of places in Indonesia where meat is the main item in the main course, jeJamuran actually puts mushrooms in the spotlight. Every single dish in the place either fully uses mushroom as it’s main ingredient or at least contain some element of mushroom in it. These mushrooms don’t just come from random places, but all the mushrooms used in this place are home-grown. You can actually see the mushroom plantations so you’ll know where your food comes from.
Some of the highlights of the menu include their mushroom foe yung hay (with heavenly sauce!), mushroom satay, mushroom soup, and crispy enoki. These dishes are all cooked so perfectly that even people who don’t like mushrooms (aka me before visiting this place) will convert into mushroom-ism. Those who don’t want to be converted into a mushroom-loving state of mind, fear not, as there are dishes like rice and fried chicken for you. Funnily though, the dishes comprised mostly of non-mushroom elements such as their shiitake omelette and otak-otak didn’t taste as good as the ones primarily made of mushrooms.
This place also has great service and a nice folk live band. Another thing to know about jeJamuran is that they have their own shop which sells – among all things – their very own mushroom chips. A lot of mushroom chips tend to be greasy and taste like oil, but theirs is cooked with less oil which makes them a gem. Pricing here ranges from IDR3.000 – IDR25.000 so not a lot of budget is needed.
jeJamuran | Jl. Magelang Km 11, Sleman | 0274 – 868170 | Opening hours: 9 AM – 9 PM | www.jejamuran.com
3. Mie Jawa Pak Pele
Again, I’ve mentioned this place earlier in another post, but we need to talk about it again. As you’ve probably read before, Mie Jawa Pak Pele is dubbed as “one of the best noodles in Yogyakarta.” For IDR20.000, you can get noodles with sauteed veggies and chicken, sitting on the porch of an elementary school building with a street musician playing 80s rock songs. I would say that’s value for money. The stall is open from 5.30 PM, so you can chill at Alun-Alun Utara which is located right across it while waiting for the stall to open.
Mie Jawa Pak Pele | Jl. Pojok Tenggara Alun-Alun Utara, Panembahan, Kraton, Yogyakarta
4. Lesehan Sego Wiwit
This place isn’t much of a looker, to be honest. It looks like it’s seen better days as a family gathering spot with its rusty swing sets, shallow swimming pool, creepy toilet, and numbers of brightly colored saung with battered roofs. Honestly, the place looks like one of those camps in movies that are bought by the main character and then transformed into something awesome.
But the food is its saving grace. My my, the food is fantastic. We had their specialty – sego wiwit – which is rice with hard-boiled egg, urap (vegetable mixture), salted fish, and soybeans, traditionally served as a form of gratitude by farmers for their harvest. It was a brilliant dish, especially if you have it with Sego Wiwit’s special sambal and fried chicken added to the plate. They put a fierce amount of chili in the sambal for Javanese standards which gave a lot of heat but not overwhelming enough to make you cry.
Other dishes we had included deep fried gourami, deep fried calamari, tempeh and tofu, and sauteed water spinach with garlic. They were all moderately good, but couldn’t outshine sego wiwit. I couldn’t remember the exact pricing, but it was pretty fair for Yogyakarta standards. I do wish they would improve the place’s conditions to attract more customers though.
Lesehan Sego Wiwit | Jl. Selokan Mataram, Ring Road Barat, Sleman, Yogyakarta | 0274 – 3002154
5. Westlake Resto
This place is located right next to Sego Wiwit but has a completely different vibe compared to it. For one, everything was well-maintained – from the lake, children’s playground, saung, dining areas, even the toilets and gutter. One of the specialties of this place is their lake for catch and release fishing. What sets them apart from places which offer a similar service is that their lake has predator fishes like the arapaima aside from your typical freshwater fishes. I asked the waiter and he said that there were about seven arapaimas in the lake which all weigh around 70 kilograms. I saw four of them when I visited the place and when they said that those fishes were big, they mean that they’re big. Another strength of this place is its service. The staff were generally helpful and wouldn’t mind answering your random questions.
Now let’s talk about the food. We had grilled shrimp, deep fried calamari, deep fried tofu and tempeh, sauteed water spinach, deep fried gourami, deep fried sweet potato with Westlake’s signature chili sauce and sauteed yellow burr head (now you notice my family’s dining staples right?) They all tasted wonderful, but the portion was way too humongous for four people. I think one portion of each dish would serve 7-8 people because it was that big of a plate, so do keep that in mind if you visit.
Fortunately, they have a policy which allows us to throw our food into the lake for the fishes to eat so we did that instead of letting them go to waste. It was fun watching the fishes compete for food only for an arapaima to sneak among them and gulp them easily. Pricing was also very reasonable considering the portions so if you’re craving for seafood in Yogyakarta, this is a great place to go.
Westlake Resto | Jalan Ring Road Barat, Bedog, Trihanggo, Sleman | 0274 – 7150001 | www.the-westlake.com
That’s all of my findings for now. Like I said earlier, basically everything in Yogyakarta is cheap and good – which is all I want in life. So if you’re heading to Yogyakarta anytime soon, do give these five places a visit and tell me what you think, don’t think too much about how much you’ll spend there – believe me, it would be nowhere near the budget for places like Bali, Lombok, or Jakarta. After all, life is too short to be overthinking costs in a place like Yogyakarta.