What is a trip to Yogyakarta (also affectionately known as Jogja) without tasting its local cuisine? Bursting with flavour and diversity, Yogyakarta’s culinary offerings are a dream for any self-professed foodie and is the best way to get an insight into local culture. Below are seven of the best scrumptious street food you have to try the next time you’re at Yogyakarta.
1. Kue Lupis
Pronounced as “koo-eh low-pis”, this is a very popular street food in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. Usually eaten during breakfast or tea time, Kue Lupis is a sweet dessert made out of glutinous rice that is cooked in banana leaf and topped with shredded coconut and palm sugar syrup. It can be found in marketplaces and is sold by dessert and snack vendors. Many locals flock to the ones made by Mbah Satinem, who was featured on a Netflix show on street food.
Ask the locals what their favourite Indonesian staple is and they’ll most likely say bakso. This comforting dish is widely available at many restaurants and push carts with each vendor serving their own specialty. Bakso is essentially a dish of large beef meatballs swimming in a peppery beef broth topped with green onion leaves. It’s usually paired with slippery noodles. This dish is simple and easy to come by and even in Yogyakarta’s sweltering heat, you’ll want seconds.
Another common breakfast or dessert item, Nagasari is a traditional Javanese steamed snack with a chewy cake-like texture. Rice flour and corn flour are mixed with coconut milk and combined until it reaches a firm consistency. It is then divided into pieces, filled with a slice of banana, wrapped in banana leaf and steamed. Nagasari are usually green – due to pandan leaf extract – or white in colour, while some vendors produce a blue variation using colour from butterfly pea flowers.
As one of Yogyakarta’s traditional dishes, Gudeg is popular with the locals. The star of the dish is an unripe jackfruit which is cooked in coconut milk, palm sugar and seasoned with chilli and other spices. Gudeg on its own could be considered a vegetarian meal, however, it is commonly served with eggs or chicken. There are many variations of Gudeg – dry which has less milk and is thicker, or a wetter version which is prepared with more coconut milk. If you get one from street stalls it is usually packed in besek – a rectangular package made out of bamboo leaves. Also featured in Netflix’s Street Food show was Mbah Lindu, who had been selling gudeg for over 80 years. She passed away in July 2020.
5. Kopi Joss
Kopi Joss or charcoal coffee, gets its name from the sound that the sizzling hot charcoal makes after being dropped into coffee. The idea behind this concept is that the charcoal neutralises the coffee’s acidity but it doesn’t affect the overall flavour of the beverage. The beverage is first prepared in the usual Javanese style, with loose coffee grinds and sugar added to a cup and hot water poured on top, then topped with a flaming hot charcoal. Let the charcoal sit in the coffee for a moment. Then simply remove it with a spoon and enjoy.
A traditional sweet dessert, Jenang is a thick porridge made with glutinous rice and served with coconut milk or brown sugar. It is usually served on banana leaves and eaten with suru (spoon-shaped banana leaves), but increasingly local street vendors are improvising by serving the treat in bowls to be eaten with spoons. Locals enjoy their Jenang with slices of jackfruit which helps to enrich the flavour of the porridge.
Well loved by children for its glutinous and toffee-like consistency, Dodol is a a sweet confection made from coconut milk, rice flour and jaggery. It is characterised by its dense, chewy texture, and is typically cut into squares, strips or triangles. The dessert comes in many flavour combinations such as vanilla, durian, mango, banana and coconut and is popular not just in Indonesia but throughout Southeast Asia.
Please check the establishments’ respective websites for opening hours as well as booking requirements before visiting, and remember to adhere to safe-distancing measures while out and about.
The information is accurate as of press time. For updated information, please refer to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website.
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