Indonesia – Fried Chicken Dinner at Ayam Goreng MBok Berek, Jogjakarta, Central Java
I had one of the best dinners I’d ever had in Indonesia today at Jogjakarta’s legendary Ayam Goreng MBok Berek – yes, *THE* restaurant which purportedly started the Jogja fried chicken craze. Today, it’s run by the original MBok Berek (Ronodikromo)’s great-great-grandson, Agus Setyanto, a friendly, genial host who took a genuine interest in his clients.
What we had today:
- Jogja-style fried chicken, which were free-range (“kampung”) chicken which had been simmered in Javanese “bumbu” spices first, then deep-fried to a crisp upon order. The fried chicken was topped with crisp tapioca flour-spice mix to form a delicate lacy golden-brown crust.
- Golden crisp-fried “gurame” freshwater fish, which was actually the tastiest dish we had this evening.
- Deep-fried tempe. This was okay, but not as tasty as the version one gets in Malang, East Java.
- “Nasi goreng” (Indonesian fried rice) – extra-spicy version served up here with a fried egg and a piece of fried chicken.
- “Bebek bakar” - barbecued duck, basted in sweet dark soysauce. It was pretty tasty but chewy.
- “Sop asem” – spicy sweet-sour vegetable soup. Unfortunately, we found out that MBok Berek actually made tepid, one-dimensional “sop asem”. Not recommended here.
Liked the keropok (prawn crisps) though - fresh, and don't have the floury, mealy taste of inferior quality ones. Definitely a must-visit for any foodie to Indonesia.
Ayam Goreng MBok Berek
Jl Raja Magelang Km 9
Jawa Tengah, Indonesia
P.S. - The most popular fried chicken chain in Jogjakarta is called Ayam Goreng Ny. Suharti - it's actually started by Mbok Berek's grand-daughter, but is now a rival to the MBok Berek chain itself, as they're run by rival branches of the same family.
I'd not tried the original outlet of Ny. Suharti here in Jogjakarta as its location was quite a distance outside the city centre (about 7km away, according to my hotel concierge) towards the royal town of Solo. But a previous food trip to Ny. Suharti's branch in Surabaya (East Java) was fab!
Also worth noting that Ny. Suharti also served "Nasi Gudeg", a Jogja specialty with curried jackfruit & buffalo hide, and tofu & hard-boiled eggs simmered in soysauce, palm sugar & Javanese "bumbu" spices. MBok Berek do not offer this item.
My tips for going to Ayam Goreng Ny. Suharti is on your way to/from the airport. I took a cab from Phoenix hotel in downtown to the restaurant. Since it is on the main road, it was very easy to get another cab to the airport.
From my other dine out experiences in Yogja, the cab driver would stay and wait for you in the parking lot or around the block without extra charge on the wait time. they are just too happy to get a customer without driving around.