Best Eats: Borobudur Celebrity Foodie Recommendations

Best Eats: Borobudur Celebrity Foodie Recommendations

Taste a bite of the rich Javanese cultural traditions in the history capital of Borobudur

The region of Yogyakarta is home to Java’s most important historical sites with traditions that are still adopted up to today. From enchanting temples to the calm city life, the charm of Yogyakarta lies in every nook and cranny – and in every dish served.

Getting to the city by flight takes 1 hour from Jakarta’s airport, with just an hour’s drive from the magnificent Borobudur temple complex. As the Javanese embody their culture in almost everything they do, it paints the habits of their everyday life, including their food. To dive deep into its culinary scene, take it slow and easy with this Best Ever Eats guide from your favorite foodies.

Yuda Bustara, Chef & Culinary Diplomat

Recommendation: Gudeg

No journey to Yogyakarta would be complete without taking a bite of the sweet, comforting gudeg.

Yogyakarta is often dubbed as the city of gudeg and many say you can taste the region’s history from a bite of gudeg. This sweet, nourishing dish is ubiquitously found in every corner of the city, and at any time of the day. A favorite of locals, this dish has even won the hearts of any traveler that passes through the city. 

Gudeg predates all the way back to the 1500s during the reign of the Mataram Kingdom. It was born since there was an abundance of jackfruit, after its trees were ordered to be cut down. Many find that gudeg truly encapsulates Javanese culture as it uses a slow cooking method that requires patience and extra care. 

A plate of gudeg komplit comes with tantalizing sides that light up your taste buds, with a multitude of textures.

Due to its tediousness, this heavy-bodied meat-like stew could take years to master. There’s a reason why the best gudeg establishments have been around since occupation years, with recipes that have been passed from generation to generation. In every recipe, you will find many components to the dish with a cooking time of no less than 6 hours. 

With a blend of sweet and savory flavors, you can taste the richness of the coconut milk and palm sugar at every melt-in-your-mouth bite of gudeg. Commonly served with pairings like curry chicken cooked in coconut milk, spicy sambal goreng krecek made from crispy cow hide crackers, and a blanket of savory coconut sauce over your steamed rice, gudeg komplit is a dish that will complete your Yogyakarta travels.

Sarah Benjamin, Chef & Content Creator

Recommendation: Nasi Liwet

An authentic bowl of nasi liwet comes served in a rattan plate with a piece of banana leaf for extra fragrance.

A nation of rice lovers, there are many yummy varieties of rice across the archipelago. In Javanese cuisine, one that you can’t miss out on is Nasi Liwet, where the star of the show is its rich, savory rice. Coated with a creamy taste of coconut milk, this simple rice dish has been the favorite for Yogyakarta royals of all time. 

What makes nasi liwet special is what happens behind the dish. Making it requires a 3-part contraption that’s almost like an art: a clay anglo blazier filled with charcoal for the heat, a tall copper dandang tembaga pot for boiling the water, and a woven bamboo kukusan basket for steaming the rice. 

A simple dish that celebrates the beauty of rice, nasi liwet is traditionally wrapped in banana leaves and comes with spoon made from banana leaves.

The aromatic rice is often served with a generous pour of areh, a savory coconut milk sauce cooked in a herbaceous spice mix. You can enjoy it with just a simple omelet or complete the meal with its equally delicious sidekicks like the sweet tahu bacem, tender opor ayam, fragrant pindang egg, and hearty chayote labu siam soup. 

Typically sold in street stalls and restaurants alike, you know it’s authentically traditional when your nasi liwet comes served in a rattan plate and banana leaf wrap. It accentuates the comforting fragrance of the dish and a timeless eco-friendly practice that’s still honored up to today.

Health & safety protocols to note

When you’re traveling around Indonesia, don’t forget that health and safety protocols are still strictly enforced. Major tourist destinations will have temperature checks and won’t let you enter without your masks. Vaccine certificates are also required upon entry across all establishments, so have it ready from your PeduliLindungi app. 

Certain international travelers are allowed to enter Indonesia with strict regulations, so be sure to keep checking before you book your tickets and start packing. Domestic travel across the archipelago is open for vaccinated travelers, but remember to remain safe and be responsible for yourself and others. 

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