A traditional culinary tour of Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Posted on : 12 December 2012
Categories : Cuisine
One of the most unique experiences that I had on my trip to Indonesia was when I decided to go on a culinary tour in one of Indonesia’s biggest cities, Yogyakarta. I wasn’t really sure what to expect but so far I was loving all of the food that I was eating in Indonesia and hadn’t quite yet felt like I was really “getting to know” Indonesia and its people and what better way than to do it through food?
What I didn’t know was that I was about to experience one of the craziest things of my life.
The first stop of the tour we went to a famous restaurant in Yogyakarta called “Gudeg Yu Djum” and they are known for making the most and very best Gudeg in the city. The tour started off with us taking a tour of the “kitchen”, a rare site that most people normally don’t get to see and also one of the craziest things I have ever seen in my life.
At first you start walking down a dimly lit corridor filled with a bit of smoke and the first thing I came to was a lady sitting on the floor ripping leaves to be used for serving the food. She did it very quickly and efficiently making hundreds of them. As the smoke got thicker the heat did as well and I kept making my way further to the back of the building. I’m not sure what this area of the building “kitchen” was called but what I suddenly saw in front of me was half a dozen boiling bubbling couldrens fill with various shades of liquid and textures under hot burning wood and ash. The smoke was almost unbearable but the workers walked around like it was normal, one even was shirtless because of the extreme heat each couldren/pot was giving off.
I continued walking to my left starting to make a counter clockwise tour of the building and I entered a small room full of maybe 11 people all sitting on the floor with their arms up to their elbows in big bowls of water, chicken, blood and guts. They greeted me with smiles and I was told they were cleaning over 300 chickens to be added to the Gudeg. It was like a small watery slaughter house and was something that I had never seen before.
Continuing left I came into another oven type room with pots boiling everywhere which were filled with Jack Fruit (the main ingredient to Gudeg) and boiling eggs. The smoke started to make my eyes water and the heat was immense. Also in this room closer to the front of the building now was an older lady making a sambal type sauce and a man grinding onions and other food for a sauce.
Words almost can’t describe what the interior of that kitchen was like, but I was somewhat excited to try the Gudeg now that I had seen how much effort goes into creating it.
Served to us on a cut leaf with rice beef skin and an egg the Gudeg aka cooked jack fruit, was a tasty treat however it might be something for now that I leave for the Yogyakarta-ians to have for themselves. Stay tuned for my video on www.travelyourself.ca depicting the whole experience.
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