Definition of Ayam Goreng: Breaded, Spiced Chicken fried to a golden crisp and eaten with crisp selections of choice winged beans, cucumber or lettuce to cut thru the sodium high. The Chicken found in Solo are free-range so they're skinny as hell. Yes, it's possible for one diner to finish an entire chicken by himself.
Favorite Dish: After backpacking in Java for over a week, my body was wrecked with pains and the last thing on my mind was food. I booked a massage at Novotel and while the masseuse worked out the kinks on my poor shoulders, I murmured to her how I ate my way through Java. Well, this only got the masseuse all charged up and she immediately asked me if I've tried the wonderful Fried Chicken in town? Well, actually, I hadn't.
Immediately, my masseuse rattled off 2 of the best eateries in town while she pounded me like a piece of battered breaded poultry. After the assault, I tried to recover whatever remaining senses I had and made my way to the 2 eateries. Fortunately, my taste buds were still intact, the chicken was indeed delicious.
Ayam Bakar Malioboro
This joint is just opposite the market that sells junk (Pasar Triwindu). While Ayam Bakar does sell fried chicken, grilled chicken is their specialty. There is something about the grilled birds at Marlioborough. Once the vendor starts to grill the little suckers, an unmistakable sweet scent fills the air and everyone in the eatery will start licking their lips. I kid you not, it happened to me too and the waiter, upon seeing my hungry dog expression, led me to the back and allowed me to photograph him grilling the chicken with a metal clasp. What a nice chap. But perhaps he knew that after photographing him, I would be tempted to order a grilled drumstick. I did.
Ayam Goreng Widuran
Ah, hot, crispy, utterly artery-clogging goodness. What more can I ask for? I could even smell the spices and herbs that go into Javan Ayam Goreng - corriander, nutmeg, indonesian bay leaf, lemongrass, shallots and garlic, garlic and garlic. I should return home and ask my Javanese housekeeper to replicate this dish so that I can have eternal bad-breath.
Honestly, if you haven't eaten Serabi Solo, you haven't been to Solo. This region is famous for the glutinous rice pancake that is soft, sweet and crisp at the edges.
Favorite Dish: I struck up a conversation with a local vendor near the Pasaraya and he convinced me to try his sarabi. It was so good I was convinced to buy 2 at once. He wrapped 2 pancakes deftly, in a banana leaf so that I could take it back to the hotel to eat. And when I opened the leaf, it emanated a lovely fragrance. Ah, the pancakes were heavenly soft. The ones flavoured with Nangka ( Jackfruit ) were delicious. Somehow, the soft, sweet flesh of the jackfruit complemented the floury pancake well. The one with choc chip came to a close second.
Definition of Nasi Liwet: A traditional rice dish swimming with coconut gravy and topped with healthy servings of green papaya, fried krepok urang (prawn cracker), tempe ( fermented soybean cake) and soft tofu.
Favorite Dish: Do you believe in the notion of comfort food? Well I do. After backpacking in Java for over a week, I was homesick and missing the food I had back home in Singapore. But when I sat down to eat this dish, a comforting sense of familiarity flooded over me. Somehow, the thick, coconut gravy poured all over the nasi liwet reminded me of the sayur lodeh (vegetable stew) we have at home, but only sweeter. I dug into the rice eagerly and bit into the chicken which was tender to the bone and crunched into the crispy prawn cracker and green papaya. Somehow,the different flavours meld together magically and gave me a level of comfort I felt at home. It helped too, that the proprietor over at Warung Baru fussed over me like a mother hen and insisted that I finish the Solonese specialty. I felt replete after finishing and would highly recommend this dish to any homesick traveller.
Note:Warung Baru has other local goodies and they organise motorbike/bicycle tours to the rural areas.
Nasi Liwet simply means boiled rice. The rice is cooked with coconut milk, salt and aromatic leaves ( lemongrass, Indonesian bay leaves) until it bubbled over. After it is cooked, it is topped with Tofu, Tempe and Green Papaya which is simmered seperately in a rich coconut stew and crispy prawn cracker ( krepok urang).
1 stalk of lemongrass (bashed) sereh
A dash of salt
4 Indonesian bay leaves
400 gram of rice
800 ml of coconut milk
Most Singaporeans and Malaysians have heard of Bengawan Solo, the famous cake shop in Singapore. In Solo, the cakes are even nicer and cheap too. We bought about 30 different cakes to try and were unable to finish them, but they were all nice.
Definition of Pisang Goreng: Banana coated with a rice flour batter and fried to a golden crisp. Available in most south east asian countries. But the ones in Central Java came with a twist, it is eaten with shredded cheese! An old colonial habit perhaps?
Favorite Dish: Novotel Solo win big points for its visual presentation for the pisang goreng. It looks damm good doesn't it? Esp when it's topped with choc wafer biscuits, ice cream and a cherry. Oh yes, the banana tasted heavenly.
Definition of Krecek: Processed Buffalo Skin, available in the form of a cracker before cooking. It is usually served drenched in curry with Gudeg ( a Yogya Specialty ) or as a crisp cracker with Nasi Liwet ( A Solonese Specialty).
Favorite Dish: Before I came to Solo, I kept wondering what Krecek would taste like. Now that I've tasted it, I would say that the Chinese Fish Gall Bladder comes to close second in taste. The texture is gelatinous and a tad tasteless when it's drenched with curry but it has a faint whiff of beef when it's fried to a crisp. Needless to say, I prefer it fried.
Indonesia local food is something that u must try.. You will never forget the special taste of it. And the price is really cheap. But the problem is almost all the hawkers don't speak english, you will need a local's help to order the correct food. i hardly remember the name of the food.. But just feel free to try everything, it's cheap anyway.
Like all the colourful desserts in Asia, the ones in the Solo, Java are no different. They're made of some starchy material, florid like a psychedelic dream and shot with enough sugar to propel you to the moon. Apparently, there is no one over here on the Atkins diet.
That artistically-arranged set-up that you see over there was shot in the market and yes, every dessert that you see there is made of rice/tapioca flour and coated with coconut. Having greedily tasted everything there, I must say that the little green balls that you see on the right there is my favourite. Just for info, they're called "Klepon" (glutinous rice balls stuffed with palm sugar and coated in coconut shavings).
Must be the best Sate Kambing in Solo because I ate it and its very good (for someone who don't eat Goat, haha) No awful smell of goat on the meat and the sate is served with kicap manis with cut onions, cabbage and tomatoes. Simply lovely..
Mr Obama (our driver) took us here for Sate Kambing, well, he knows the best where to eat in Solo. While waiting for the Sate kambing to barbeque, he had Gule Kambing with white rice.
After having our Sate in the car, we still feel hungry, of course hungry, I only had 3 sticks of Sate. Round and round looking for food in Solo..eating at nearest warong or rumah makan, a NO NO for my friends who had experienced stomach upset eating roadside food in Hanoi. I am having a lot of fast food in Jogja and Solo.
Favorite Dish: Come to McDonalds then :-))
I had Spicy Chicken Burger with Fries and Coke
Nasi Liwet (Liwet Rice) maybe is the most popular original cuisine from Solo, its known almost everywhere, and has been listed as a menu on a major hotels restaurant at a big city across the nation. In Solo itself, Nasi Liwet was very popular and very down to earth, so you can find it easily almost anytime and everywhere. If one likes to taste this cuisine, there are a lot of choices.
operating hours: 17.00 - early morning
Favorite Dish: Nasi Liwet made of hulled rice cooked with coconut milk and chicken consomme, to produce delicious flavored and tasty rice. The rice then mixed with hot and spicy cooked gourd, boiled egg, shredded chicken, and kumut (sauce made of creamy and thick coconut milk). As an addition, one could also add chicken liver, intestine, bacem (sweet cooked tofu or tempe) or rambak kulit (crackled water-buffalo rinds). Another thing that made it interesting is that it's not serves on plate, but on a pincuk (banana leaf folded to form a plate).
Here's a recipe for a really refreshing soda I tried in Solo. The lemongrass soda combines homemade lemongrass syrup with Fanta Ice-cream soda and a slice of fresh lime for a light but tart drink.
Recipe for Lemongrass Syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 lemongrass stalks (core only), sliced
2 lemongrass stalks
1.Combine sugar, water, and sliced lemongrass core in a small saucepan. Simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring to dissolve sugar.
2. Remove from heat and cool. Fill a jar with a few lemongrass stalks. Strain syrup into jar. Cover and keep in the refrigerator.
Waroeng Tempo Doeloe Pecel Solo. The name itself is not so special and it's a commonly used name, but one will soon feel the exotic Javanese ethnic athmosphere by the time they made their first step toward the restaurant terrace
operating hours: 06.00 - 16.00
Favorite Dish: Pecel ndeso: using red rice, a sort of rice that's hard to find right now. And the pecel itself is using a various vegetables such as jantung pisang (core of banana flower), bayleaf, papaya leaf, turi flower and string bean. There are two choices of spicy sauce, nut spicy sauce as usual or sesame spicy sauce with two choices, black sesame or white sesame.
temulawak, and gula asem (kind of Javanese traditional beverages), ready to drink.
Timlo, is one of Solos original cuisines. Timlo Solo is not containing a soun (thin rice noodles) and merang mushroom (mushroom planted on rice straw). Timlo Solo looks like a soup, served with thin chicken consomme, consist of chopped chicken sausages, a sliced pindang eggs and chicken liver.
operating hours: 06.00 - 16.00