Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Whenever someone asks me for a recommendation in Solo, Central Java, I always advise them to indulge in the various food. Solo has limitless kinds of food, and so many of them can be found in this restaurant that I found out on our last trip to the city, the Es Masuk restaurant.
The name “Es Masuk” literally means..um, I’m not sure how to translate it cos the phrase doesn’t even make sense. “Es” means ice and “Masuk” means enter or in. How do you enter ice?? Well, it’s said that there was this small warung or diner that sold many kinds of iced dishes, and that the warung was sort of hidden behind a green concrete wall amongst houses, you’d have to enter the gate to actually see the warung. Hence, Es Masuk. Tadaaa!
Anyway, Yusuf and Taufiq took Kandi and me to the new location of Es Masuk on Jalan Reksoniten in Gajahan area (that’s why it’s also called Es Masuk Gajahan). From outside, the place looked more like a motorbike workshop. There were too many motorbikes parked at the entrance and not enough signs to be considered an eatery. Turns out, those are parked motorbikes that belong to the guests and probably staff of the restaurant. You’d know it’s a restaurant from the banner above the gate that read “Es Masuk Gajahan”. Pretty literal. But once you enter the gate, you’ll see this big wooden semi-gazebo restaurant. Long tables and benches are arranged neatly. Fried snacks are served on plates on some of the tables.
Almost all of the listed menus seemed worth a try! We finally chose Nasil Timlo Komplit, Selat, and Nasi Pecel Telur. I vaguely remember the taste of these dishes but I remember they were all delish. The Nasi Pecel Telur (rice with veggies in peanut butter sauce plus fried egg) was quite spicy from the peanut butter, the Selat (Solo version of salad) was sweet and savory, and the Nasi Timlo was.. hm, wait, I didn’t take a scoop on this one. The food prices range from IDR 6,000 – 10,000 / portion.
As for the iced beverages, I had the Es Coklat Rempah (Chocolate and spices with ice) that was sort of sweet and Kandi had Es Kunir Asem (Turmeric and tamarind with ice) that was sweet, sour with a slight bitterness. The prices range from IDR 2,500 – 9,000 with the variety of menu such as iced hot coffee, iced dawet, iced milk, durian juice, avocado juice, and so on. Yes, we juice our avocados. We do freaky stuff to our fruits.
The service was fine, we didn’t wait long for our orders. The pendopo-styled (more or less a big gazebo) building gave a relaxed feeling, not unlike Omah Sinten restaurant, and it makes a good family restaurant as well as for friends’ hangouts. However, because it is open air, you’d have to be prepared for some cigarettes smokes hovering around you..
All in all, if you’re traveling Indonesia and you happen to be in Solo with hungry tummy or simply in the mood for some culinary adventure, I would recommend Es Masuk to you. They have so many good food and unique beverage options, almost all of them are Solo signature, the place is clean and the prices are relatively budget-friendly.
Have you been to Solo? What is your favorite dining place in Solo?
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