Javanese Food

“Aren’t you sick of Asian food?” a German friend asked recently. Interestingly, I’m not. Well, not yet anyway. True, Tony and I are a little sick of rice, deep-fried foods, and the surprising lack of vegetable dishes here in Indonesia. This is especially strange because the markets are full of fresh produce – if only the restaurants knew about it. As it turns out, one did.

When we stumbled upon a little eatery just outside of Borobudur offering veggie and tofu based Javanese cuisine, we were quite delighted. Sitting behind a sheer lace curtain protected from inquisitive flies were a dozen different dishes. This wasn’t your typical fried Indonesian fare. Instead, sweet’n spicy cabbage, green leafy vegetables, stewed jackfruit, and spicy green beans sat next to soft and crispy tofu dishes, marinated eggs, chicken and fish curries as well as several sassy tempe creations. (Tempe, a soybean cake made of whole beans, is our new favorite food.)

It took us way too long to understand that this worked like a buffet-style lunch. For less than a dollar, we could fill our plates with everything but meat. Chicken curry and deep-fried catfish would have cost just a little more, but that wasn’t for us. Our bodies craved vegetables – the greener, the better. And what made this meal absolutely perfect was the home-made pecel, an aromatic peanut sauce with ginger, lime leaves, garlic, chili and shrimp paste. Yum!

Sure, in the end, there it was again – nasi putih, steamed white rice. But, evidently, I’m not so riced-out when it’s covered in peanut sauce. 🙂

10 responses to “Javanese Food”

  1. avatar Ian Willson says:

    I’m diggin’ your website, especially the videos. What kind of video cam do you guys use and what software do you use to produce the videos on the road?

    • avatar Tony says:

      We are not using a video cam, we are using a Canon G12 to shoot video, which also allows us to shoot underwater photos/video more affordably. We have used different software packages for various videos. We still haven’t really found the perfect software.

  2. avatar Ian Willson says:

    Since you guys are in Indo, might as well climb Mt Rinjani on Lombok and see if my friend Ali still works at Pondok Rinjani just North of the Sengiggi area. He is the reigning chess champ of Lombok and Sumbawa and has played against Karpov!
    He can also hip you to all the incredible waterfalls near Senaru.

  3. avatar Tony says:

    Back to the food, I should really mention here that Javanese food was a HUGE surprise. That little warung (cheap restaurant) that Thomas mentioned in his post is seriously some of the best food we’ve had in Indonesia. If you are visiting Indonesia and sticking to higher end restaurants, take the plunge and try a really good Javanese warung. Just ask the locals for a good recommendation. The vegetarian dishes and the amazing tofu dishes are out of this world. Seriously, the best 80 cents I’ve ever spent in my life!

  4. avatar Greeneyes says:

    Do you think you might be able to convince someone there to share their peanut sauce recipe?

    Ken would love this.

  5. halo, im indonesian n just happy to read this post :). thx for coming to our country.
    btw peanut sauce called sambal pecel. you can search the recipe in google.

  6. avatar ajwar says:

    Hello, I live in Indonesia. Btw, the picture looked so yummy. It’s one of my favorite foods.

    Nice post 🙂

  7. avatar Celso says:

    Can’t you tell which restaurant is it? and the address?

    • avatar Tony says:

      We didn’t see a name on the restaurant. It’s a small place next to the office for the Joglo Homestay. Joko, the man who runs the homestay, is the one who showed us the restaurant. It’s very simple, but it has great food. If you happen to discover its name, please let us know.

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