Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by indohoyindohoy on 12 January 2011 • Itinerary
I’ve been to Solo before and I knew that there aren’t too many things we can do there. It’s a slow moving city with short distances everywhere, and our budget wouldn’t allow a batik shopping spree (d’oh!). However, Solo provides so many kinds of traditional food, and we love eating so much, that we decided this trip to be a culinary trip. Gobble gobble gobble!
Ps: for other info on Solo (ie. activities, getting there, getting around, sleep, and budget, check our previous entry.
Soon after we checked in the Djayakarta hotel, the first thing we did was take showers.. Ohhhh it felt so heavenly after about 18 hours since leaving home and got sweaty and all. And then swoosh we went to the famous Pasar Klewer (Klewer Market) to have some Tengkleng for lunch.
It’s a stew with goat parts (the bones, skin, and innards), basically the parts that can’t be made into satay or gulai (another kind of stew). I know most of you probably would be grossed out just imagining eating these parts, but most Indonesians don’t have a problem with it, it’s one of our daily menu, so to speak. I personally like the innards, but I couldn’t handle too much skin if it weren’t crispy fried – I grew out with too much KFC perhaps.
This famous Tengkleng of Pasar Klewer is sold in a kiosk next to a security guardhouse, just a few meters from a gate next to the main hall of Pasar Klewer. It was really crowded, telling you it’s a good Tengkleng. The man from the beverage kiosk next to it was kind to lend us his stools so we could eat our Tengkleng and rice in peace. He probably hoped we’d buy beverages from him, unfortunately a cup of dawet was already in our each hand.
A portion of Tengkleng and rice cost IDR 15,000. I couldn’t finish it because, besides I was almost full, they put too much of the goat skin in it. But Vindhya loved it, she finished her portion well, good girl.
This is something I had never missed on any one of my trips to Yogyakarta (link trip Jogja yg ada ttg dawet) or Solo. Of all traditional beverages in Indonesia that I’ve tried so far, dawet is my favorite. The sweetness is just right. And several times I tasted dawet (or ‘cendol’ in Indonesian language) in Jakarta malls, I’m always disappointed, nothing compares to the real one here in Central Java.
We didn’t pick any certain dawet, we didn’t even put dawet in our to-eat list. But once I saw the dawet wagon near Klewer market, I just had to have a go, so did Vindhya. It cost us IDR 3,000 / cup.
Before resuming our sleep that was much disrupted in the train trip, we stuffed our tummies with another delish dish called Sate Buntal. You know what sate (or satay) is, right? It’s those bbq meat pieces on skewers. Well, Sate Buntal is a little different. The meat doesn’t come in little pieces, it’s minced meat which then lumped into one piece for each skewer.
We were too stuffed to eat it with rice, but we just wanted to taste it. So we each had only one skewer, costing us IDR 12,000 / portion (consisted of 2 skewers). And what’s great, other than the yummy salty taste of the meat, is that the diner was just across our hotel. So, a delicious meal, and then straight to the bed for a couple of hours nap.. Zzzz…
Our growling stomachs woke us up at almost 7 PM. Wow, that was the longest nap I’ve ever had. That train trip really sucked out my energy! Washed up a little bit, and then off we went for another culinary treat, the Galabo.
Galabo is an open-aired food court that opens at night, located at the east of Gladag circle, in front of the Beteng Trade Center and PGS. It consisted of a very long row of food kiosks and a very long row of tables. The menu ranges from the modern to traditional beverages and food. As advised via text message by my Solo-originated friend, Mustika, we ordered the chopped fried cow’s tongue (* gasp * so barbaric!), fried chicken skin, and rissole with gravy at the Bestik Harjo kiosk, plus crispy mushroom and sekoteng at other kiosks.
The whole food that we had only added up to IDR 65,000 and maximum stomach capacity a.k.a stuffed to the max!
Nasi Liwet Bu Darto
Turns out, we chose the right hotel. Exactly outside of the gate stands Bu Darto’s Nasi Liwet hawker.
What differs nasi liwet (nasi = rice) from the regular rice is that it’s cooked with coconut milk instead of water. It’s served with varied side dishes from which we can choose one or more. I had the rice with shredded chicken meat, half of a boiled chicken egg, shredded pumpkin, and this white dressing made of coconut milk, I think. I would say that I’m not too picky when it comes to food taste, but I’m guessing that it’s quite a favorite nasi liwet in the area because the diner was quite packed with consumers.
I liked the food, it’s savory and sweet at the same time (um, can you imagine what that actually tastes like?), and it’s only IDR 5,000 for my portion (that’s a mere 50 cent in US Dollar! Now that’s a bargain.)
Serabi is sort of like pancake. But there are 2 kinds of serabi that I know of. The one I’ve tried in other areas (like Bandung, Bandar Lampung, and Jakarta) resemble the western pancake more than the Solo serabi. Solo serabi is more moist and soft, with thinner and crispier round edges, and not eaten with a sweet coconut milk.
Serabi Notosuman is so famous that it even opens branches in Yogyakarta and Tangerang (those are the only ones I know). We’re lucky to have a chance to taste the ones in Solo – a taste of originality always spruces up an experience, ain’t it?
Plain serabi IDR 1,800 / pc
Chocolate serabi IDR 2,000 / pc
1 box of 10 mix serabi IDR 19,000
I forgot the address, perhaps it was on Widuran street, but just ask a local, I bet they all know where the stores are. Oh, and you could eat it in the shop as well.
Sami Luwes department store
On our quest to find some local tea recommended by our friend Regina, we went to the Sami Luwes supermarket. I believe it’s a local owned supermarket, at least it’s not a chain supermarket throughout the country. It’s got many choices of local tea that comes in small to smalles packages, and later on we found out that the prices are half or even third of the same items in bigger supermarkets at the mall.
Jl. Honggowongso no. 2
It’s not really a Solo traditional culinary, and it doesn’t taste differently than other bakso (meatballs with smoother surface) you can find in so many other places in Indonesia. But just in case you have a craving for this soupy dish with meatballs and noodles, I’d recommend Bakso Alex. It’s located at a street corner not far from the Sami Luwes department store, and only IDR 8,000 / portion.
Jl. Gajah Mada 64; Phone: 62 815 678 00004
Jl. Yosodipuro 12 B; Phone: 62 271 630 614
Solo Grand Mall
For those of you who’s afraid to get the Bali Belly (you know, constantly having trips to the loo for #2) with traditional food, this is an option where you can have more modern and familiar types of food. Like the KFC, for instance. And that’s where we had our last lunch in Solo. Not because of the Bali Belly, it’s just sort of a tradition that Vindhya and I (and some other friends of ours) have been keeping since our first trip together (link to Karjaw entry).
Solo Grand Mall
Jl.Brigjend.Slamet Riyadi No.273