If you thought fried chicken was just an American thing and just another obesity-inducing fast food export from the Yanks for the rest of the world, think again.
Yogyakarta in Indonesia’s Central Java is known for its fried chicken or ayam goreng, and in no way is it just ripping off that colonel from Kentucky.
After reading this WSJ article by Eating Asia‘s Robyn Eckhardt (who has also been so lovely on Twitter giving me food tips during my travels) about Yogya’s best ayam goreng pitstops, I decided I better give one of the most famous restaurants a try: Ayam Goreng Ny Suharti.
This restaurant, on the road out to Yogya’s airport, has a very popular local following… so popular, in fact, that Yogya people can be seen buying boxes of the stuff to take on the plane or train to their relatives who live out of the town.
The chicken is pretty damn tasty. Soaked in a bumbu spice mix before being fried, it (like Robyn says in her story) just falls off the bone. On the outside, it’s coated with crispy bits. Much, much, much better than KFC.
I’m not usually a fried chicken fan, personally. I’ve had heaps of fairly crappy bland tasting chunks of ayam goreng at warungs in my time here in Indonesia. But this was something else. Yes, it was greasy and probably really damn unhealthy, but it was deliciously devilish.
I also really enjoyed the sambal that came with the chicken, which in typical Java style was a little sweet, but only a little. The Es Kelapa Muda (young coconut drink pictured above) was truly Java sweet… that means super super sweet. But delicious. I love kelapa muda so much 🙂
The decor of the restaurant itself was basic but varied. There were many different dining rooms, evidence of extension after extension due to the growing popularity of the place. In the room where I sat, there were painted portraits everywhere of Nyonya Suharti, the founder and owner of the restaurant, staring down at us diners from the ceiling with her fried chicken benevolence. It was a little hilarious. They were not too dissimilar from politicians portraits… one of her standing, one of her with the family, all painted in that same dramatic style used for portraits of Yudhoyono and Boediono in town halls and schools across Indonesia.
Anyway, the chicken was awesome, so maybe she does deserve God-status.
Ayam Goreng Ny Suharti has a few outlets around Yogya, and even some in Jakarta. (For Yogya, you don’t really need the address… all the taxi drivers in town know it)