Nasi gudeg is one of Yogya’s specialties. And it’s good. I had already developed a liking for it before I came to Yogya, so on my first night here I went on a mission to find some. I was starving cos my stupid AirAsia flight was delayed by hours.
I didn’t have to search hard. The main street of Yogya, Jalan Malioboro, is home to a number of warungs dishing out the gudeg goodness.
The most exciting part is that they have no chairs! You sit on the floor on woven mats and you leave your shoes at the entrance to the warung. It’s got a cool communal vibe that way. The people sitting next to me were Yogya locals (Yogya locals I have found are frightfully friendly) who thought my Indonesian was hillllllllarious, especially their small children. They spoke a bit of English and we had a bit of a chat.
The pink-jilbabbed matriarch of the family was shocked I was here sendiri! (on my own). Repeat that sentiment times a million and you will get a general idea of what it’s like to travel around Indonesia on your own as a woman. People are just generally quite shocked that you are doing it, but they don’t think badly of you or anything (I think)… they are just surprised. But throw in a marrage proposal or two from a becek driver (yep… add another to the tally of marriage proposals screamed from the side of the road)..
Anyway, sitting on the floor brings me to one of the fundamental differences between Jakarta and Yogya… there is no way in hell I would sit on the floor in a warung in Jakarta. It’s just too filthy. I’d be worried the giant rats would attack me and knaw me to death. While Yogya is filthy as well, it’s much less filthy than Jakarta. There is a scale of filth.
On to the food. I ordered a nasi gudeg komplit and an ice tea. Confusingly, when I tried to ask if the ice was made with bottled water, I was delivered a bottle of water. Indonesian language FAIL once again.
Wow, I’ve made it this far without actually explaining the wonder of gudeg. It’s stewed young jackfruit, served with some tempe, tofu, egg and grilled chicken in this case. And rice, of course. The chicken was amazing, so tasty, and the gudeg had been stewed until it was a lovely sweet-savory goop with the interesting texture of the jackfruit. A lot of fruit and veg when they are stewed go super soft, but the jackfruit in gudeg retains some of its firmness, giving it an unusual texture. Tempe had been finely sliced and served in the gudeg with this one… mmm.
It was awesome. I need to eat more street food. Where I live in Jakarta, I am rarely in the street. How sad is that.