Ekstra pedas means extra hot in Bahasa Indonesia. From my recent trip to Jakarta and Jogjakarta in Indonesia, which was actually my first time in the country, I have had my fair share of traditional and contemporary Indonesian fare. Many know about Beef Rendang, potentially Indonesia’s version of our very own Mechado or Caldereta, except that it is cooked with coconut milk, lemongrass and other spices. But apart from rendang, here are other Indonesian delights to feast on during your next trip to Indonesia:
#1 Bakmi GM’s Nasi Goreng
Bakmi GM is one of the popular fastfood joints, or if not the most popular one in Jakarta serving Indonesian favorites, including the famous Nasi Goreng, or fried rice.
What makes Hot Star Indonesian? Pair it with Bakmi GM’s Nasi Goreng and season with Extra Pedas
The rice in itself is a feast, with egg, chicken and prawns. Each grain is perfectly coated with right amount of seasoning. For more kick, why not add extra pedas sauce?
#2 Cheese Bakpia
Bakpia, is similar to our hopia. Fillings can range from green mongo, keju (cheese), or coklat (chocolate). We tried the cheese one, as my friend recommended. The flakiness of the crust perfectly matches the creamy texture of the cheese. The cheese filling itself is not so salty, and has a hint of sweetness. I think this perfectly goes with Indonesian coffee too.
Airport snacking: Cheese Bakpia
#3 Monggo Chocolate
Monggo is a native brand to Jogjakarta. It is made from local cacao beans, but crafted using Belgian techniques. Of all flavors, my favorite is the Red Chili. At first bite, it’s like the typical dark chocolate, but once melted in your mouth, the explosion of the red chili bits fills the palate with a slight heat. I also like the texture of Monggo’s chocolates, it’s very smooth and rich.
Monggo’s wide range of flavors: Red Chili, Rendang, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Mango, Strawberry
Monggo also showcases what is uniquely Indonesian. They have the Rendang flavor, which I still have to try yet, and I bought one as pasalubong. Since Indonesians like fruits too, they have Mango and Strawberry flavors as well.
#4 Gentong Ice Cream
They call Gentong as their Haagen Dazs (packaging looks kinda the same too). We found one at small hole in the wall eatery serving Soto Mie or noodle soup with cabbage. Flavors include jackfruit, avocado (which we tried), durian, coffee and chocolate.
Gentong in Jackfruit and Avocado
Considering its price of around IDR 10,000 or roughly PHP 35, it’s worth every Rupiah. It’s creamy, it has fruit chunks, and seems like the maker did not skimp on any ingredient. It’s not too sweet as well, making us taste the actual fruit. It will give those high-end ice cream parlors a run for their money.
#5 The highlight of the trip: Suharti’s Ayam Kremes
Ayam Kremes is simply a fried chicken dish with crunchy bits on top, called kremes. It is so flavorful and crispy, comparable to our very own Max’s because of its “sarap to the bones” nature, but with a distinct flavor. It is best paired with sambal. Though at first glance, the chili looks daunting, it’s actually sweet, and spoonfuls can go together with nasi or rice, to complement the chicken.
Ayam Kremes before
Ayam Kremes after
The original Suharti #LifeGoals
Here’s a little trivia from our tour guide: The couple divorced, and the wife didn’t want the husband to use her image as brand logo – it was common in Indonesia to have faces of owners as logos. Hence the original Suharti is the one with the wife’s face on it. For me, it was the best fried chicken ever!
Suharti’s main branch is in Jogjakarta, but there are outlets in Jakarta too.
That sums up my trip to Indonesia in five dishes, which I insist are must try. The next time you go to Indonesia, don’t stop with just the rendang, go forth and seek the food the locals eat. And if you must, always say: “Ekstra pedas please!”