Updated on the 25/04/2020
Yogyakarta is a true beauty of Java that sits proudly on her emerald throne. It is surrounded by an untrammelled span of greenery dotted with volcanos.
With foreign tourists flooding Bali horrendously all the time, little did they know that Yogyakarta is actually one the most visited cities among the Indonesians instead!
Not only Yogyakarta is a gateway to Borobudur, which is one of the seven wonders of the world, it is also a gateway to lip-smacking street food and tantalising restaurants!
Indonesian food is yummy, but if you have been to Yogyakarta, you will agree with me when I say food in Yogyakarta is divine.
When I was in Yogyakarta, it’s easy to keep on eating as street food stalls or cheap restaurants are everywhere.
With food priced as little as 0.20 USD, it’s really hard to watch those calories. Now you know why I always gain weight after my holidays! Yogyakartans love their food a little bit sweeter. However, food in Yogyakarta can also get really spicy if you can’t handle it!
Here are the food that you must try in Yogyakarta!
Gudeg (Stewed Jackfruit)
You have no idea how much love I have for Gudeg. I mean, it sits at the top of my list!
Ask any Indonesian what food you should have in Yogyakarta. It will be gudeg.
Gudeg is one of the most common traditional specialties in Yogyakarta consisting of flesh of jackfruit that is stewed in special sauces for hours.
The slow-cooking process made the sauces even richer and every single drop of it has so much flavour. With rice, this can be my comfort food forever.
My favourite was Gudeg Yu Yah. I visited this gudeg place at 3am because I was joining my friend for Sahoor.
Read more about my first Sahoor experience here! The special thing about the gudeg here is because it’s cooked in lemak pedas (spicy lard), which upped the game even more.
There are other places specialising in making gudeg in Yogyakarta. They normally have secret recipes that are passed down by generations and hence there are slight variations of gudegs in different restaurants.
Gudeg Yu Djum: Their gudeg is dry. I personally prefer the one in Gudeg Yu Yah which had slightly more moisture.
Gudeg Yu Djuminten: They offer wet gudeg. This restaurant claims that their recipe has been 3-generation old and they are still making it in the most traditional way.
Gudeg Manggar Manding: Instead of the conventional jackfruit, they serve gudeg that is made by coconut flower instead.
Satay is a traditional snack in Malaysia and Indonesia. It consists of juicy pieces of meat on the skewer that is BBQ-ed and served with special peanut sauce.
Depending on the shops selling it, the meat can be chicken, beef, lamb or pork.
There are so many kinds of satay in Yogyakarta. The one I love best is Sate Kambing dan Ayam Samirono. Located near to a university, this shop attracts a huge student crowd.
Prices here are friendly and the restaurant opens 24/7.
Besides the conventional satay, they also serve Gulai, which is a succulent, curry-like dish that is rich with coconut milk.
Head to Sate Klatak Pak Pong if Samirono is located too far away from you. They also serve traditional lamb satay with gulai soup.
Bakmi Jawa (Javanese noodles)
Bakmi Jawa is one of the specialities that is not specific to Yogyakarta, but to the whole Java Island.
Pak Pur Jombor is considered as one of the best shops selling Bakmi Jawa so visit it if you wanna have the best Bakmi Jawa experience.
With 14000 Rp (1 USD), you can get yourself a plate of Bakmi Jawa Goreng (dry Javanese noodles).
This dish is considerably sweeter, so if you feel that’s weird, you can opt for Bakmi Godog (souped Javanese noodles), which I think it’s not as sweet.
It’s much, much easier to have a guide (just like I did) to bring you around because some eateries are very hard to find.
If you want a hygienic experience along with top-notch, authentic Indonesian cuisine, go with Yogyakarta Night Food Discovery! I’m sure you’ll have a lot of fun!
Bakpia Pathuk is a traditional snack in Yogyakarta. It is a small, round-shaped Indonesian Chinese-influenced sweet rolls.
Traditionally, it’s stuffed with mung beans, but more flavours like red beans, coconut, durian and chocolate are introduced to satisfy the customers ever-evolving cravings.
When we were at Yogyakarta, we stayed at an area where factories making Bakpia are located. I reckon the best Bakpia I have had was the one from “Bakpia 25”.
Get the original flavour (mung bean) and you’ll be right. If you are still undecided, you can try their samples.
They sell other specialties as well, so it can be your one-stop shop to buy something home for your loved ones.
Before starting Jejamuran restaurant, the owner has a mushroom farm.
When he started the restaurant, it’s just an attempt of the owner to make use of his mushroom as he had too much of it.
He wanted to let more people know that mushrooms can be tasty (it’s not used a lot in Javanese cuisine) and therefore increase the mushroom consumption to boost up the growth of mushroom cultivation industry.
Every dish on the menu is made with mushroom. It was a hit in Yogyakarta and has become the go-to place for most vegetarian backpackers and expats.
It is located a little far away from the city centre, but if you are going to Gunung Merapi (Merapi Volcano), you can stop by here to experience the authentic cuisine. Even a non-vegetarian will love it!
You might have tried enough soto (soup) in Indonesia, but this will be the best.
Soto Kadipiro restaurant was so famous that CNN Indonesia has a proper news coverage of this legendary shop.
There is only one dish on the menu, which is Soto Ayam (chicken soup). This highly acclaimed soup can look humble from the presentation, but a sip of it will have bliss runs through your food tract. This sumptuous soup can honestly be my comfort food.
Although the line is long, the order doesn’t take that long to come. The soto also comes with a plate of fried goods like fried chicken and tempe (deep-frying fermented soya beans).
Chicken Feet Soup Noodles
This might be a bit bizarre. But if you are a little adventurous, this bowl of hearty soup noodles topped with chicken legs will amaze you.
I remember having this food after visiting Borobudur and it was simply fantastic. To up the game, soak up the broth with some krupuk (fried crackers made with starch).
One of the best shops in Yogyakarta selling chicken leg soup noodles is located at Balungan, Jalan Magelang kilometers 11, Yogyakarta.
We all know that fall-off-the-bone ribs are irresistible. Believe it or not, the rib is actually one of the favourite cuts for Indonesians.
Just like in the USA, there are many Indonesian restaurants which specialise in serving ribs.
Love ribs? Make sure you visit Tengkleng Gajah! Although it’s not located near the city centre, Tengkleng Gajah still attracts a huge crowd every day.
These finger-licking-good ribs will definitely make up for the drive/tuk tuk to Tengkleng Gajah.
There are so many kinds of ribs here. From ribs that are braised for hours in different flavourful sauces to those which are grilled to perfection, you will never run out of choice.
Despite the humble interior design, every piece of the rib is masterfully executed. The meat is so soft and tender that it melts in your mouth!
Make sure you tell them not to make it spicy if you can’t handle spice.
Ayam Geprek (Javanese Fried Chicken)
Don’t leave Indonesia without trying Ayam Geprek.
Ayam Geprek is crispy-fried chicken that is mixed with special Javanese spicy sauce.
The fried chicken is cut into bite-sized pieces and served with rice. With the outside as crispy as chips and the inside oozing succulent juices, you just have to try it.
Ayam Geprek bu Rum might be one of the most sought after Ayam Geprek stall in Yogyakarta.
But if it’s a little out of the way for you, you can go to Ayam Geprek Mbok Moro Terban. Just don’t leave Yogyakarta without trying this. Words (nor photos) will do no justice to this heavenly dish.
Veggies with spicy peanut sauce? It didn’t impress me at first as well. But after having this dish in a Padang restaurant, I immediately fell in love with it.
Lotek (or sometimes called Gado-gado) is an Indonesian salad that is normally ordered as a side.
However, Lotek Teteg upped the game by cooking it with chickpeas and crispy chips, topped with homemade peanut sauce. For 16000 IDR (1.20 USD), you get a big portion that is enough for 2 (or 3 even)!
Deep Fried Duck
Actually, I am not a big fan of fried duck as it can get REALLY dry if it’s not done well.
I try to avoid it as much as possible. But this duck dish at Cak Koting might be one of the best duck dishes in Yogya!
It definitely was a life changing moment for me when I found that fried duck can be crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside!
It’s topped with crispy crumbs and served with a very spicy sambal (Javanese condiment).
Other (very) spicy food
If you haven’t already know, Indonesia is (in)famous for its spicy food. Looking for some adventure? Here are the restaurants that you can go to.
Oseng Mercon bu Narti: This shop specialises in making a super spicy beef dish. You can imagine how hot it is by looking at the name: it literally means fireworks. I mean, can you really imagine have fireworks blasting in your mouth?
Mangut Lele mbah Marto: Eel is commonly consumed in Southeast Asia and this shop specialises in making a spicy eel dish that you blow your taste buds off. If you can’t take it, you can order some other food that’s not spicy.
Entog Slenget Kang Tanir: The specialty here is its spicy duck (bebek). Everyone comes here for this special dish and it’s not to be missed. However, if you can’t take any spice, make sure you ask the waiter to make it less hot. If not, just skip that dish and order something else.
Sambal Welut Pak Sabar: This is another place that’s specialised in serving eel. Sambal means a special Javanese condiment that is a must-have in many Indonesian food, and welut just means eel. There is a non-spicy option as well if you are not keen on spicy food.
Food in Yogyakarta is amazing. Please do not leave without trying gudeg. Your belly will not forgive you.
If you would love some guidance in where to find the best food described above, make sure you book a (cheap) tour!!
In countries like Indonesia where not all establishments are the easiest to find (because they are not on the internet), it’s best to get a local to go with you and show you the wonders of food in Yogyakarta!
Go with Yogyakarta Night Food Discovery and I’m sure your belly and taste buds will thank you very much!!!!
The best way to get around Yogyakarta is to charter a car because the traffic is insane! Book a car now – enjoy a fuss free travel.
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