Gudeg

The round, brown object toward the bottom of the picture is the egg.

The round, brown object toward the bottom of the picture is the egg.

I only ate one meal outside of Alamanda on my brief trip to Yogyakarta. While out sightseeing, our driver suggested Gudeg for lunch, a traditional dish of Java. He drove down a few streets then parked on a road that offered one Gudeg restaurant after another. Every sign seemed to promise the best, but he took us to the one that “really is the best.” Gudeg Yu Djum.

We sat inside among several tables of locals and were given a menu. Our driver, Tono, quickly explained what the options were. It was quite simple: all the dishes were Gudeg. What varied was what part of the chicken you ordered as part of your dish. It started with tofu at the top as the cheapest meal, then gradually got more expensive depending on your chicken part. Prices ranged from 9,000 Rupiah (IDR) to a whopping 55,000.

“Do you think this is expensive?” Tono asked us.

We laughed. No, this wasn’t expensive. The 9,000 IDR plate came out to about 75 cents. The ultimate 55,000 IDR meal? $4.50.

DSCN2328

“It is expensive for us. Most people cannot come to the restaurants,” Tono explained. Which gave me pause.

But most people in Yogyakarta do eat Gudeg. Whether they pay 75 cents or make it more cheaply at home, it is a filling dish. The star of Gudeg is jackfruit boiled for several hours with palm sugar and coconut milk until it is sweet. It is served with hot krecek (crispy cow skin), telur pindang (a hard-boiled egg), tahu and tempe bacem (soya cake), and chicken stewed with garlic, shallot, candlenut, coriander seed, galangal, bay leaves, and teak leaves served over white rice.

The egg is boiled with the jackfruit and spices, which gives the hard-boiled egg a brown color. It was very hard cooked and was my least favorite part of the dish. But the jackfruit and the chicken were delicious! The crispy cow skins were spicy and had an unusual flavor. I probably could have skipped those and eaten more jackfruit.

The dish as a whole was simple, yet filling. My verdict on Gudeg? Good, except for the egg. I’d definitely eat it again.

Do you typically try the local speciality dish?

30 responses to “Gudeg

  1. I usually don’t have problems with tasting local food but I’m not sure if I would like to try this one – it just doesn’t look like it was saying ‘eat me’. actually it says to me ‘I’m brown and you have no idea what I am – run!’ πŸ˜€ but since you made a review if I have a chance I might try it πŸ™‚ you’re still alive and that’s a good sign, haha πŸ™‚

    • LOL. It was a lot of brown. I was hesitant about the chicken because it seemed to be cooked out in front of the restaurant, but I’m a pretty daring eater, so I gave it a try. I’m still alive. Didn’t even have a stomachache. πŸ™‚

    • The description of cow skin was unappealing, because it immediately made me think– leather? But then I decided that maybe it wouldn’t be so different from pork skins, which we eat here in the US. It was similar to that, but not as crispy. Probably because of the sauces.

      I ordered a chicken thigh. Whether that’s what I got or not, I can’t be entirely sure. πŸ˜‰

  2. Errm, crispy cow skin. I don’t know whether that sounds appealing. Sounds like it would clog your arteries. I like jackfruit. Difficult to see where it is in your picture. I like how you pointed out the egg among the mass of brown. Love trying local food though!

  3. I loved reading your post and then reading all the comments and your responses had me laughing too. Especially all the reactions to the crispy cow skin which I initially balked at too, haha! But it’s true, every culture has its own food which would seem odd to foreigners. That brown egg though… not the most visually appealing food I’ve ever seen πŸ™‚

  4. Sounds good, but I think I would skip the egg and ‘cow skin’ as well πŸ™‚ Jack fruit – both raw and as a fruit when fully ripe – is a delicacy in my hometown!

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