Dec 16

Warung Murah in Bali, Jalan Doublesix, Food Selection and Price TagsAs mentioned earlier – people around the world love and crave Asian food. I’m not talking about your standard Chinese Restaurant. There is more to experience and taste out there. Let’s start to introduce some of the many delicious dishes you can find around this vast region.

Where to begin?

As I’m currently residing in Bali, Indonesia – naturally I have to start with food from Indonesia. Indonesia has a wide variety of tribes, religions, cultures and cuisines. The most dominant food you can find at almost every corner, street or restaurant is Javanese food – originally from Java – and for good reasons:

Javanese Food is the staple diet of most Indonesians, even if they don’t originate from Java.

Healthy ingredients – simply delicious!

The reason for that is simple. It’s basically a simple yet healthy diet, since its ingredients are easily available and relatively cheap. Still it allows for tasty and delicious meals which suit a wide range of taste buds and can be prepared in a short time without great cooking skills.

The basic ingredients are rice, garlic, coconut, eggs, vegetables, soy, salt & pepper. Only a few spice are used to give the meals their distinctive mild taste. Most Indonesians prefer to add some ‘heat’ though, by using either chopped Chili or Chili Sauce. Thick, sweet brown Soya Sauce (Kecap manis) is widely used as well to add sweetness.

In Javanese restaurants or food stalls (called “Warung”) it’s very common to chose from a wide variety of dishes ‘buffet-style’ and sit down with a filled table full of different dishes. You can eat with your hands only (only the right hand is used), but fork and spoon are more widespread now as well.

What I like most are the many dishes made with soya beans, either cooked (Tempe Rebus), fried (Tempe Goreng) or grilled with sweet soya sauce (Tempe Bacam). Those are mainly with the full Soya beans, while Tempe is fermented Soya Bean (Tofu), which can be either cooked or grilled as well. Both can almost taste like meat, which could even convert you to become Vegetarian, if you are into it. ;-)

There is this constant fear amongst Westerners to try local dishes, as they might not be hygienic or are prepared and sold the whole day under the boiling sun.

Try it out and find your favorites!

Just don’t be afraid to try out dishes at small food stalls or food carts!

Although sometimes those little eateries look anything but hygienic, they usually are. After all, everything is prepared fresh and either cooked, boiled, fried or grilled. Go where you see many people eat or what other travelers or locals recommend to you.

During my whole time traveling Asia and Indonesia, I can’t remember a single time that I had an upset stomach due to bad food.

What most likely will cause more problems to weakened western stomaches is the local tap water or the exotic spices used. So start slowly with a common Nasi Goreng (Fried Rice with vegetables), Mie Goreng (Fried Noodles), Gado-Gado (bean sprouts and various vegetables with tofu with spicy peanut sauce on top) Mie Ayam (Noodle soup with chicken) or Sate (mainly fried chicken sticks with peanut sauce).

Favorite Javanese Food places in Bali

Warung Kolega in Bali, Jalan Petitenget, Food Selection and Price TagsIf you happen to be in Bali, you must try out Warung Kolega. This is the best quality of Javanese Food for the best value I came across so far. It’s located in Jalan Petitenget and frequented by locals, expats and tourists alike. A while sets you back around Rp. 7.000 – 10.000 for a complete vegetarian dish, or Rp 10.000 – 20.000, if you add fish, chicken, or beef (for instance the delicious beef rendang in coconut sauce). Drinks start at Rp. 2.000 for an Ice Tea, Rp. 4.000 for ‘Es Jeruk’ (pressed Orange Juice on ice).

Be sure to come before 3pm though, as by then most dishes will be finished and only served fresh the next day again. ;-)

The story of Warung Kolega is this: the Muslim couple from Java who own it, run a furniture factory right behind the house and they used to cook for their employees (thus Kolega) to keep them fit and motivated. Soon word spread around about the true delicacy of the offered food and other people showed up for ‘feeding’. So they decided to open a restaurant next to the furniture factory and sell their food too. It was crowded in now time and is up today – every day! They can even allow themselves to close it one whole month in October for the Muslim Holiday Hari Raya and people still flock to it, once it reopens.

If you want a more touristy taste, Warung Ocha’s at the corner of Jalan Legian/Jalan Dhyana Pura, is a safe bet, although a bit more pricey.

In Jalan Double Six you have Warung Murah (although not that cheap as the name in Bahasa Indonesia suggests) and Warung Melati, serving both a great variety of quality dishes.

The more upper-market Warung Made in both Kuta and Seminyak are frequented mostly by tourists and higher-class Indonesians, as the meals can be quite pricey, but most patrons say well worth the money.

And elsewhere…

While in Singapore, you could try the excellent ‘Es Teler 77′ Restaurant in 5th floor Far East Plaza or that other restaurant (forgot the name) in 4th floor Lucky Plaza/Orchard Road. Both are frequented a lot by overseas Indonesians and most would probably agree that they sample a good selection for reasonable prices.

Where did you try Javanese Food and where are you favorite eating places in Bali or other parts of Indonesia?

Do you eat Javanese Food in other parts of our world?


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written by Chris



25 Responses to “Javanese Food – a simple and healthy cuisine extraordinaire”

  1. MikeNo Gravatar CHINA Says:

    I am a big fan of warungs too. The dishes are simple, healthy and cheap. I like the different varieties you have in Malaysia. I like Chinese food but it does tend to be much richer and often more oilier.

  2. Iklan Baris GratisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Hey do you ever go to “Sushi Tei” ? the location is in sunset road, before carefour..
    this is a new place in Bali but very popular place in Jakarta, my gf always go there (sushi tei jakarta). I have once go there, the place is good, cozy, and they’ve so many variant of sushi and other japanese food..

  3. roffiNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Indonesia food makes you want to go home.. (if your abroad i mean).. I was wondering why your PR (page rank) is now 3? Was it because of the text link ads?

  4. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Iklan Baris Gratis, I don’t know that *Sushi Tei* (yet) – but it sounds very interesting. Will probably give it a try one of these days.

    Roffi, yep – I was affected by that PR downgrade (5->3) recently, when Google decided to punish Bloggers, who try to make some money aside from Google Ads. Tough luck. But as long the TextLinkAds bring a bit more and are less obtrusive than Google Ads, I don’t see the point in scrapping them. So I have to live with the downgrade for now I guess. x(

  5. Renny JaggerNo Gravatar AUSTRALIA Says:

    Yeah…Indonesia food taste better, can wait to eat rice and sambal, here in Sydney…? O God please sent me to Bali soon, i am so fat, already 2kg over weight. Phil Jagger say hi..CU

  6. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Hey hey Mrs Sanur! Don’t eat only Kangaroo and French Fries then. Let Phil show you some real nice healthy Australian diet. In Bali it’s raining every day at the moment. Enjoy your Sydney summer and we catch up soon once you guys are back! And if you meet Mel and Kylie, send them our regards please. ;)

  7. MonNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    I love eating with my hands as well, though I was raised using spoon and fork. I remember one time when there was an issue in Canada about racial discrimination regatding a Filipino kid eating with a spoon. The principal put him in a detention and said that he eats like pigs.

  8. Az AzuraNo Gravatar MALAYSIA Says:

    Im hungry already just by reading this , my favourite is of course keredok , gado-gado anything salady’.in Kuala Lumpur they are few nice Indonesian restaurant serving Padang and Javanese food .

  9. The Carnival of Nutrition and Fitness | Nutrition Fitness Life UNITED STATES Says:

    [...] presents Javanese Food – a simple and healthy cuisine extraordinaire posted at nomad4ever. Chris writes about popular and tasty food dishes in [...]

  10. MarisaNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    My favourite type of Javanese dish is anything served in Warteg or Warung Tegal.
    I love it! ..but also because I HAD to love it.
    It’s the nearest food stall from my house.. actually, it’s right in front of it. :D

  11. OtjepNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    I was born in Bali, half Javanese, half Balinese. Still love Balinese and Javanese food among other. Have any one of you try to eat a french bread with ‘sambal matah’ and ‘jukut ares’? :-) I did. :-)

  12. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Wow, that certainly sounds interesting. But I can imagine the taste of Sambal on a baguette, maybe I have to try it too. But what is ‘jukut ares’? Any Balinese specialty I missed out so far? ;;)

  13. putlieNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    i love javanese food too :)

  14. cinthyaNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    i’m any-food lover. hahahahaa… but i must say asian food is the best. maybe because the spices they have… it doesn’t only taste unique, but smells cute too. it is the smell usually keeps me going on eating and eating… hee hee…
    i love the smell of ‘Pecel Ayam’. not only the smell of the chicken, but also the ‘Sambal’ and ‘Lalap’. hmmmmm… delicious..!

  15. Travel on a Shoestring Carnival: Asia, Oz #2 « Less Than a Shoestring UNITED STATES Says:

    [...] presents a long and enlightening post on Javanese Food – a simple and healthy cuisine extraordinnaire at his blog [...]

  16. Hey Fatty! Get in Shape with these 5 Asian Diet Tips | nomad4ever UNITED STATES Says:

    [...] also wrote some more posts about Asian food as well, here is one about healthy Javanese food, which is very affordable and popular in Indonesia. This one is about famous chef and Asian foodie [...]

  17. Living the Good Life in Bali - a Wrap up after 2 Years | nomad4ever UNITED STATES Says:

    [...] it offers an abundance of Indonesian and Balinese Warungs, Restaurants, Food Carts and Food Places – it’s the international food [...]

  18. zulNo Gravatar MALAYSIA Says:

    mmm.. i really love javanese food especially ayam mbok brek at jalan solo pecel and gado-gado

  19. ryan ZoupNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    L-)oops me one of lover javanese food,indonesian javanese food is perfect. in singapore i dont eat well here so bored the food make me refuse to eat them the way they cooking so lousy the chief just want money but dont cook proper,if i want ate javanese food i must go orchard or far east plaza,everyday i find nasi lemak,and other and smell of BABI so strong not like in bali the BABi guling is so prefect the smell and taste is nice not here the smell make me skinny.i shaking my head how they cooking exactly.the first thing i love variety indonesian dishes from aceh to paua is incredible :D

  20. Bas SteijversNo Gravatar NETHERLANDS Says:

    I took my girlfriend and the kids to Restaurant Gardenia in Medan (on Sumatra). They serve great Indonesian food as well as imported Australian steaks. After two weeks on rice, sate, rendang etc I was craving for a steak… So i took that as a side dish…

    I love es jeruk and es shanghai however I let my “brothers in law” get me that at a trusted toko because you still need to be carefull with eating ice out on the street.

  21. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Bas Steijvers, wow – you even made it to Medan! Glad you liked the food over there also. I only was there once in 2003, but didn’t have time to sample to local cuisine, as I was on my way to Lake Toba. And yeah, with the ice you are 100% right, although some people have less problems with it than others.

  22. basNo Gravatar NETHERLANDS Says:

    well Chris, this was my first vacation to Indonesia and the main goal was to stay with my girlfriends family.

    However we had a long weekend with her family on Anyer beach where a couple of villa’s were rented. After that we stayed with her mom in Cibubur. From there we had some trips to Jakarta, Ancol, Bogor Safari park and Puncak where on a the-compound. Her grandma lives in Medan so that is why we decided to fly to Medan as well.

    Next time it will be Borobudur, Lake Toba and perhaps Bali :-)

  23. aflieftikaNo Gravatar TAIWAN Says:

    it’s really nice that a lot of people love indonesian cuisine.
    i’m studying abroad now and that’s why i loved to search i.net the picts of indonesian cuisine.

    @the writer: do you come from Germany? Ich studiere jetzt Deutsch. German drives me crazy!!!

  24. OzNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    ah… this article is already almost 2 years old but still valid ;-)

    another popular warung is lied close to Joger (popular “word factory” gift shop) which name is Warung Pedas Bu Andika (Mrs Andika’s Hot Spicy Food Stall)…

    It tastes delicious…

    Then you may try too other dishes from east indonesia (Makassar, Manado, Ambon, etc)

  25. AlbertusNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Sure its yummy. If you have time to visit another city, try Yogyakarta because it considered as region that have rich Java culture (maybe like Kyoto in Japan) or if you go to Jakarta, try Ayam Goreng Suharti (Suharti Fried Chicken).

    Also, don’t forget to try Padang food. Nearly all foreigner I told love the rendang (except for one Japanese who said its too spicy, and only ok for like once a month)

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