Saturday, January 8, 2011

Malang-Surabaya's Food Parade

Despite my family, do you know one of the reasons why I am so patriotic to be an Indonesian? The food. I just can't live without Indonesian food. Period.

I've gone to many countries and train myself to eat international food as my daily diet, not merely Indonesian dishes as before. However, nothing beats the feeling of being home by eating my own national food. The food I ate as I grew up. I crave for real Indonesian food at least once a week, and probably my craving could last for once a month, the longest. Sometimes, it is not that handy to find Indonesian cuisine in Singapore, so the closest I can get to it to satisfy my taste bud is by consuming Malay food. To me, Malay food is still pale in comparison to real Indonesian food. No pun intended, this is just some two-cent thought from a true-blue Indonesian food fan.

Here are a compilation of some good food that I happily gorged into my mouth during my last visit in Malang. Some of them are my "must-eat" kind of food when I go home. I am so proud for being someone who come from Malang, a food heaven when many people deliberately visit for its famous local cuisines in East Java.

My Mom always buys Cakwe Peneleh (Cakwe/You Tiao) from Pasar Atum, Surabaya whenever she has the chance to go there. My family has been buying this since more than twenty years ago. You can't find an exquisite and unique Cakwe topped with shrimp fillings like this in other part of the world.

Originally from Surabaya, the infamous Ayam Penyet Bu Kris restaurant had built its several branches in Surabaya and Malang, for what I know. They serve slightly different style of ayam penyet (smashed chicken) in Singapore's Indonesian restaurant but Bu Kris's ayam penyet is one of the food icon of East Java.

These are some pictures of local Nasi Bungkus (packaged rice) that my Dad bought from nearby stalls, usually for our breakfast. They are simply cheap yet delicious by default. Cenil and Lupis are traditional Javanese delicaces made from starch, sticky rice, coconut and palm sugar. They are usually bought from stalls in traditional wet market or a door-to-door seller in residential area. These days, on average they cost about Rp. 5000 (around S$ 0.80)/pack. Surprisingly, my husband loved this sweet dessert when my Mom bought some for him.

For one dinner, we went to Depot Ayam Goreng Tenes, which is always full house. Their ayam goreng (fried chicken) is a local legend. The herbs were perfectly absorbed in the chicken meat and when you finally eat the fried chicken, you could really appreciate the tasty melt-in-the-mouth chicken. I could not resist eating their fried chicken's skin too, which I usually discard. When we had our dinner there, the fried chicken came last. Before then, my husband commented that the food we had there was more like a camping food i.e. plain fried rice and a bit of fried sea food and sauteed vegetables. Frankly, I was a bit offended with his remark but it was all gone when he said "Wow! This is super good!" once the fried chicken came to our table and my husband had a small bite of it. He ended eating one chicken breast and one chicken thigh.

I was craving Rujak Cingur for the longest time but we didn't have the chance to buy a tasty one from the neighborhood. That day, my Mom brought my husband and I to a small eatery near the bridal salon where I fit my wedding dress. They happened to sell Rujak Cingur, a traditional fruits and vegetables salad topped with peanut and shrimp paste sauce, but apparently this food didn't give good impression to my husband. He didn't quite like the taste of Lontong Cap Go Mek either and still preferred the Lontong Sayur of Malaysia. He ended ordering Nasi Ayam Betutu, which was acceptable for his palate. I guess Rujak Cingur can only be fully enjoyed strictly by locals.

My auntie personally made her specialty Pastel Tutup (Closed Pie), a quintessential Dutch-Indonesian-Chinese dish so my husband could taste this. She occasionally bakes this upon requests and sells this to her friends. It contains diced ham and chicken meat, mushroom, cubed carrots, vermicelli in sweet milk soup wrap with baked mashed potato and cheddar cheese. It's a very tricky dish to make since you need a very good consistency in the mashed potatoes for the cover.


On one late afternoon after shopping some snacks and visited a small Mall in Malang, my sister took us to Bakso Bakar Trowulan, few minutes driving from my house. This place sells grilled meat balls that you can't find in other place in Indonesia, at least with their standard of cooking. We tried to eat similar Bakso Bakar restaurants in Malang, but nothing championed this place yet. Once, this small restaurant was reviewed in national TV too. They charge Rp. 1,500 (about S$ 0.20) /meat ball and free of charge free-flow vermicelli. It was 3pm then, but people flooded their place and fought for their grilled meat balls and vermicelli.

On my second last day in Malang, after we put my Mom's old broken guitar to service, my parents offered my husband, Baby Jennifer and me a Rawon lunch at the most popular Rawon restaurant in town. I said yes, yes, yes! I dare to claim that nobody could cook beef black soup like this place does. Theirs is just extraordinary. I have been eating this since I was a small kid. Then, my parents often brought all their kids to eat there on some mornings on weekend or school holidays or buy some of the soup back to enjoy at home. This was my last lunch we ate out with my parents before we left Malang.

On my last night in Malang, my sister and her fiance brought us to eat grilled corn nearby for supper. It is also one of the icons in Malang. The grilled corn is generally sweet, salty and buttery. If your stomach and tongue can't take hot stuff, don't event think of ordering their hot grilled corn. It could burn your tongue. One of my distant relatives, once tasted the grilled corns in this place, was inspired by this local business and opened his own Jagung Bakar (grilled corn) in Surabaya. I heard his first outlet was so successful and prompted him to open few branches more in the city.

Right before we headed to Surabaya Airport on our last day in Indonesia, we had our lunch in Pasar Atum in Surabaya. I spotted this familiar restaurant when I was accompanying my Dad looking for a suit tailor there. I remember I ate their delicious Sayur Asam (Sour Vegetable Soup) long time ago so I was so keen to try it for one more time. My instinct was correct, I was in the right restaurant I visited many years ago. All of us agreed, their Sayur Asam was very nice.

This is why I love Indonesia, especially Malang! Bless you who stay there or nearby there, at least. Thee shall never run out of good food. By the way, you'd need some local guidance to get you all these food galore in Malang and Surabaya.


  1. hallo , saya Giovani panitia dari Rachel Tea Food Blogger nih. Saya ingin mengundang untuk acara ini. Apakah saya bisa meminta contact personnya untuk lebih detailnya ? terimakasih


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