Gudeg. Photo from Resep Menu Indonesia
When in Yogyakarta, eat gudeg. It is a traditional Central Java dish made of young, unripe jack fruit boiled for hours in a concoction of coconut milk, palm sugar and spices. You take it with rice and maybe a boiled egg, chicken, fried tofu and tempeh. Definitely not for those who prefer savoury.
But you have to try it, especially if you’re in the city of its origin where they make the best gudeg. But with so many gudeg restaurants in Jogja, where can one find the best of the lot?
According to my affable Jogja guide, no other gudeg comes close to his favourite, Gudeg Yu Djum. As he was quite convinced about it, we were much inclined to believe him.
I do not remember where this particular Gudeg Yu Djum branch is. There are other Gudeg Yu Djum branches in the city so you could ask a local for directions.
Gudeg Yu Djum’s menu is straightforward: steamed white rice with gudeg and sambal goreng krecek. Then you choose add-ons, such as boiled egg, chicken, fried tofu, tempeh etc.
What is krecek? It’s a chili dish made of cow skin crackers. It is considered the spicy savoury yang to sweet gudeg’s yin.
The basic combination of rice + gudeg + krecek + boiled egg + bottled tea will cost you Rp14,000 (approx RM4.00 or US$ 1.30).
According to a traveler who saw the cooking process, it takes a lot of time, effort and manpower to make gudeg. Check out his post on the kitchen of Gudeg Yu Djum: *click*.
What does it taste like?
I thought that gudeg tastes like artichoke, boiled too long in sickly-sweet syrup. I enjoyed the smooth texture of the young jack fruit, but the sweetness overwhelmed me. Thankfully the spicy savoury krecek balanced the taste; it helped a very little.
My guide laughed and said, “Yeah most Malaysians will only try it once.”
He was right. This is my one and only blog post on nasi gudeg