Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Cirebon Cuisine

In Cirebon you can find hundreds of food stalls, resto, food carts, cafes with foods from all over Indonesia. The 5 must tries are all originally from the Cirebon.

1. Tahu Gejrot = this is a small portion of tofu served on a small clay plate. The vendor will usually be carrying 2 large baskets across his shoulders and walking around selling this. He will wait while you eat and when you finish collect the clay plate from you. The dish is fried tofu served in a sauce made from onions, tamarind, chillies, soy sauce and Javanese brown sugar.I guess there are various recipes but these are the basic ingredients as far as I know. If you are a tofu lover you should really enjoy this dish. Remember to ask for (sedang) if you’re not into spicy food this dish can be very hot sometimes.

2. Empal Gentong = this is a kind of curried soup with beef. It’s cooked with coconut milk and usually served with rice or lontong (steamed rice in banana leaf). Usually will be served with a chili powder especially made for this dish. Mostly Empal Gentong is a mix of meat and innards/entrails so request meat only (daging saja) if you’re not keen on the latter. You will find this dish served all over Cirebon with many in and near the train station.

3. Nasi Jamblang = this is probably the most famous food in Cirebon. It is rice cooked in teak tree leaves served with various side dishes of your choice. There are many to choose from,fried tofu and tempe (fermented soybean cake), ommelette, mussels and mussel sate, perkedel (like a croquette), potato sate, chicken liver and gizzard, beef (meat, kidneys, innards) boiled egg, tofu, squid, prawn and more. The sauces have a unique flavour, I heard they use a special spice or herb that’s endemic to this area but haven’t been able to confirm that.

There are many of these around Cirebon. Most tourists (local and foreign) tend to try the ones near Grage Shopping mall which are expensive (Mang Dul shop seems most popular near the mall but not expensive). I would just recommend going to any that are busy with locals and then you know you’re getting the real deal. 

4. Nasi Lengko = this is a great dish for vegetarians and peanut sauce lovers. Basically it is a mix of rice, bean sprouts, cucumber, tofu and tempe (fermented soya bean cake), spring onions, soy sauce and peanut sauce. Again this can be found all over Cirebon and is usually very cheap.

5. Nasi Kuning
= I’m not sure if this is really traditional Cirebon food but it can be found all over Cirebon and I have yet to find it in Jakarta. So maybe Cirebon, maybe not (if anyone can correct me on that please do). Anyway, basically its yellow rice (rice cooked with turmeric and coconut milk) served with different variations depending on the seller. Great for breakfast or supper, you really should try this if you're in Cirebon.

  Photos used with kind permission from Vania 


  1. Sebenarnya, di Indonesia, dimana-mana bisa makan enak.
    Salam kenal

  2. Hey! I was just trying to ask my friend about nasi jamblang because she is from Solo. She didn't know about it, so I tried to look up a picture for her. I stumbled across your site. I was thinking who wrote this in English and then I see your picture. Hahah. Saya tau kamu! Kamu teman saya! Great site!