Serombotan – Balinese Vegetable and Bean Salad with Coconut Recipe

Serombotan is a salad dish from Bali, specifically Klungkung region. It is made from local vegetables such as winged beans, snake beans, Thai eggplant, bean sprouts and so on, and topped with spiced grated coconut and homemade sauce called koples. Typically, it is served with fried bean toppings and sometimes also eaten with nasi sela, which is rice cooked with sweet potato.

Serombotan is tasty, healthy, and cheap. You can find it easily at any Balinese local markets, though nowadays many high-end restaurants serve it too.

Serombotan vendor at Pasar Senggol Gianyar, Bali
I love that red bumbu koples!

How to make serombotan

I used many kinds of vegetables that are also used in Balinese kitchen to make it as authentic as possible. However, if you can’t find them in your Asian supermarket, don’t worry – it will still taste delicious with for example, cabbage, bean sprouts, and green beans. All of the vegetables are blanched and then topped with spiced grated coconut called sambal nyuh and thin chili sauce called koples.

Sayur serombotan

I also used soybean sprouts that I sprouted by myself a few days earlier. You can substitute them with mung bean sprouts which are more widely available.

I also used bitter melon in this recipe. Some people may be turned off by the bitterness, but there are some ways to remove most of it. In Indonesia, we rub salt over the bitter melon, massage it, and rinse it. Magically, the bitter melon turns less bitter afterwards hehehe… Of course, some people prefer to leave a bit more bitterness than the others. You just need to repeat the process to reduce the bitterness until it reaches the level that you want.

One tips from me, serve each of the vegetable on a big plate and separate each of the toppings. Let your family or friends assemble their own serombotan plate so they can also choose which vegetables and legumes they want (plus it’s more fun!).

Finally, I just want to say that even though the preparation may take a while, this dish is super healthy and delicious, especially eaten during hot summer days. It will remind you of the tropical jungle and rice terraces of Bali – at least I feel so 🌞

Happy cooking!

Assemble your own plate 😋🥬


Balinese Vegetable and Bean Salad with Coconut
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Main Course, Salad
Cuisine Indonesian
Servings 4 people


  • 100 g morning glory, cut into 3 cm sticks
  • 100 g snake beans, cut into 3 cm sticks
  • 100 g soybean sprouts (substitute with mung bean sprouts)
  • 100 g bitter melon
  • 100 g Thai eggplants, thinly sliced
  • 50 g black eyed peas, soaked overnight
  • 50 g small red beans, soaked overnight
  • 50 g soybeans, soaked overnight
  • 50 g peanuts
  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • 1 tbs salt

Sambal nyuh (coconut sambal):

  • 200 g grated coconut
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 red chilies
  • 2 bird eye’s chilies
  • 1 slice galangal
  • 1 tsp terasi (shrimp paste)
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • To taste salt

Bumbu koples (koples sauce):

  • 3 red chilies
  • 1/2 tsp terasi (shrimp paste), grilled
  • 1 tsp kecap manis
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 3 tbs water
  • 1 tbs nasnaran mandarin (jeruk limau) juice (or substitute with lime juice)
  • To taste salt


  • Halve the bitter melon and scrape out the white part inside. Discard it. To remove the bitterness from bitter gourd, add 1 tablespoon of salt into the bitter melon slices in a bowl. Massage for about 2 minutes and let it sit for 15 minutes. Rinse thoroughly under running water and boil until soft but still slightly crunchy.
  • Blanch all the other vegetables separately, except for eggplants and peanuts. Soak the eggplant slices in water while you prepare the other things. This is to prevent them from turning brown.
  • For the beans, boil them until soft but not mushy, about 10 minutes for small red beans, and 20 minutes for soybeans and black-eyed peas.
  • Make the sambal nyuh by dry roasting grated coconut until slightly browned. Pour this in a mixing bowl. In the same pan, heat up 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Fry garlic, chilies, and galangal for about 2 minutes. Add terasi and stir fry for 30seconds. Transfer the mixture into a mortar together with salt, and sugar. Grind until smooth and mix with coconut.
  • For the peanuts. Heat coconut oil in a pan. Pour in peanuts and stir fry for 5 minutes until the peanuts are browned.
  • Make the koples by grinding chilies, terasi, salt and sugar. Add lime juice, water and kecap manis. Mix well.
  • To serve, arrange blanched vegetables on a plate according to your taste. Top with sambal nyuh and pour bumbu koples on top. Sprinkle some roasted peanuts on top.


Using coconut oil is a must to give the serombotan a nutty aroma. Please, do not substitute it with olive oil! 😊
Keyword serombotan

Nasi Tim – Steamed Chicken Rice with Broth Recipe

I had a first taste of nasi tim when I was traveling to Semarang for the first time with my parents. I was severely ill at that time due to bacterial infection in my gastrointestinal tract. I have lived in the Netherlands for quite a while and I haven’t visited Indonesia that often ever since. Hence, I always get stomach problem every single time I come back as my tummy is not used to Indonesian hygiene anymore. It really sucks when you love food so much, especially spicy food. When that happens, I usually just eat bland food like porridge or bouillon.

I remember waking up with a severe stomachache in my hotel room on the first day of our travel, and for the next few days I could only watched my parents and sister ate good food while I was resorting to bland soup and water. I couldn’t take it anymore on the third day, and I was thinking hard to get a proper meal that does not hurt my tummy – mind you, Indonesian food is generally spicy and hot, which is not good for somebody with a stomachache like me.

That’s when I found nasi tim.

Nasi tim – Steamed chicken rice with broth

What is nasi tim?

In Indonesian, nasi means cooked rice and tim means steamed. Chicken meat and rice that is cooked with broth and seasoning are stuffed inside a small bowl and steamed for a long time. It is a perfect blend of the succulence of the meat, the fluffiness of the rice, and the rich flavor of the seasoning. Nasi tim is usually served with a bowl of clear broth on the side.

As it is always left in the steamer and only taken out when being served, nasi tim is always warm. Because of this, it is considered comfort food for many Chinese Indonesian people. Furthermore, as it is easy to digest, it is also popular among kids, old people, as well as ill people.

I was easily categorized as “ill people” that day😂.

How to make nasi tim?

I cannot deny that nasi tim is a laborious food to make. It took me half the day to complete the process – from the preparation until the end. With that being said, it will yield quite a lot of portions (depending on how big your rice bowl is, mine is quite big). You can easily store them in the fridge and heat it up every time you are hungry, and they are still really good!

To make nasi tim, you want to make sure you have several rice bowls. If you don’t, you can also use a big bowl. But in this case, you may need to divide it into several portions later on. Beside that, you also need a steamer. I have a big steamer which can easily fit 6-7 rice bowls. If you have a small steamer, you need to steam the rice in several batches.

For the meat, chicken is the most common so that everybody including Muslim people can eat. But, in some really traditional Chinese Indonesian restaurants, they use pork. I used both pork and chicken, but it is entirely up to you if you want to do the same combination or go for 100% chicken/ pork. If you are vegetarian, you can even substitute the meat with mushrooms or vegetarian meat. In that case, use also mushroom or vegetable stock instead of chicken broth.

I ate nasi tim with pickled cucumber, shallots, and green chilies. The shallots and chilies soaked up the vinegar and they taste tangy and crunchy.

This food is so hearty and comforting. I do not regret spending hours in the kitchen making it. I hope you give it a try and let me know how you like it!

Nasi Tim

Steamed Chicken Rice with Broth
Prep Time 3 hrs 30 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indonesian
Servings 6 people


  • Steamer
  • 6 rice bowls


  • 1 whole chicken, deboned and minced (600 grams), save the bones for broth
  • 2 l water
  • 150 g minced pork (or substitute with golden straw mushrooms)
  • 4 tbs oil
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 250 ml rice bowls (or more, depending on how big your rice bowl is)

Marinade for the meat:

  • 1/2 tbs dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbs light soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbs oyster sauce
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tbs Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tbs corn flour
  • 1 tsp sugar


  • 4 tbs oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 750 g rice, soaked for 2 hours
  • 2 tbs light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt


  • Egg yolks from pasteurized eggs (optional)
  • Coriander leaves
  • Pickled cucumber with shallots and green chilies
  • Chopped spring onion
  • Fried garlic/shallots


  • Mix the pork and chicken with the marinade. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Make broth by boiling water and chicken bones for 1 hour and let it sit.
  • Heat oil in a wok under high heat and add sugar. Stir fry for about 2 minutes until it caramelizes. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds.
  • Add pork and chicken and cook for 10 minutes while keep stirring and chopping the meat with the spatula.
  • Now, prepare the rice. In another wok or pan, heat oil on high heat and stir fry garlic.
  • Add rice, soy sauce, and salt and stir for about 5 minutes.
  • Take a bowl and add a few tablespoons of meat. Top with rice until 3/4 full. Add chicken broth until full. Continue with other bowls until all the ingredients are done.
  • Steam for 1 hour. Remove from the heat and flip on a plate. If you want to add egg yolk, make an indentation with the back of the spoon on top of the rice. Place a yolk on top of it. Garnish with pickles, spring onion, fried garlic/shallots and coriander leaves.
Keyword chicken rice, nasi tim, steamed rice

Pangsit Mie Ayam Jamur – Chicken & Mushroom Wonton Noodle Recipe

Pangsit means wonton; mie ayam means chicken noodle; and jamur means mushroom. Thus, you get the idea what this dish is all about. It is one of the perfect examples of Chinese Indonesian cuisine. Through trading, Chinese people brought along noodle to Indonesia hundreds of years ago. Since the majority of Indonesians are Moslem, chicken was use instead of pork. The spices and seasoning were also adapted to the local taste.

Nowadays, there is a lot of versions of Indonesian noodle with various styles, ingredients, and meat (pork, beef, prawn – you name it). But mie ayam is truly the classic. Typically, it comes garnished with a lettuce leaf or blanched greens, dumplings, and a small bowl of broth, though every vendor and region have their own variation. Oh, on the table, there will also always be some pickled cucumber (acar timun) and green chilies and/ or sambal!

Pangsit mie ayam jamur

When cooking at home, I always make my own pickled cucumber. Mostly because I can’t really find it in the Netherlands (No, it’s not the same as augurken or Surinamese tafelzuur!) and it’s super easy to make, why bother buying it?  You can even make a big batch in advance because they last long.

In this recipe, I also use straw mushroom, which is very delicate and soft. You can also substitute it with dried shiitake mushrooms if you like. Soak the shiitake mushroom in hot water for 10 minutes or until soft. Slice them thinly and add to the chicken. Don’t forget to also add the soaking water in the chicken so you won’t waste the mushroom broth. You can also use canned button mushrooms. I don’t know why, but in Indonesia we tend to use a lot of canned mushroom rather than the fresh one for noodle.

Removing the cucumber seeds – it’s a must!
Homemade Indonesian style pickled cucumber
Canned straw mushroom
Chop the mushroom!

When I cook pangsit mie ayam jamur, I always cook a complete version, with meatball soup as the side dish. But if you don’t have time, you can omit this. The meatball soup is for cleansing your palate between the bites and helping you devouring the noodle and chicken. For the pangsit, you can even make it in advance and freeze it. For 1 portion of noodle, I usually boil 1 wonton and deep fry the other one. Thus, you enjoy both textures. But you can boil both or deep fry the wontons if you wish.

Wonton filling
Ready to boil and fry!

Another important element in pangsit mie ayam jamur is the seasoning. I like using homemade garlic oil to add aroma. You can also use chicken oil made from frying chicken skin on a low heat for a long time, rendering the fat. But I didn’t have chicken skin at home, so garlic oil will also work (the best is using both…nomnomnom🤤)

Homemade garlic oil
Mix all the seasoning in your bowl!
Braising the chicken and the mushroom together

Alright, let’s get cooking!


Pangsit Mie Ayam Jamur

Chicken and Mushroom Wonton Noodle
Prep Time 1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indonesian
Servings 4 people


  • 250 g dried/ fresh egg noodle
  • 500 g minced chicken
  • 1 can (425 g) canned straw mushroom, drained and quartered
  • 2 tbs or to taste light soy sauce, plus more for serving
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp white pepper, plus more for serving
  • 4 tsp sesame oil
  • Water, for boiling noodle

Homemade garlic oil:

  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 6 tbs peanut/ sunflower oil (or other neutral-flavored oil - do not use olive oil!)


  • 1 l water
  • 10 beef meatballs (bakwan)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbs chicken bouillon powder
  • 1 handful chives, chopped

Pangsit (Wonton):

  • 100 g minced chicken
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbs light soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 14 sheets wonton wrappers
  • A small saucer filled with water to seal the wontons later


  • Green leaves vegetables (caisim/pakchoy), chopped into 3 cm sticks and blanched
  • Beansprouts (optional), blanched
  • Pickled cucumber (acar timun)
  • Fried shallot
  • Chopped spring onion or chives
  • Sriracha sauce or sambal bawang (garlic chili sauce), optional


  • Pangsit: Mix all the ingredients in a bowl except for the water. Place a wrapper diagonally in front of you, so you see a diamond shape. Put 1 teaspoon of filling in the middle of the wrapper. Brush the corner of the wrapper with tiny bit of water with your fingertips. This is done to help sealing the wonton. So, it acts like a glue. Fold the bottom end to the top so you have a triangle. Press gently so it is sealed completely. If you want to deep fry it, fry it under medium heat for about 2-3 minutes until golden brown. If you want to boil it, boil it for about 2 -3 minutes until the meat is perfectly cooked.
  • Broth: Boil 1 liter of water. Add chicken bouillon powder and stir to dissolve. Add meatballs and simmer for 5-7 minutes and sprinkle with chives just before serving.
  • Homemade garlic oil: Meanwhile, make the garlic oil by heating up oil in a pan and stir fry garlic until fragrant and slightly golden under low heat. Transfer the oil and garlic into a bowl or a jar but leave about 2 tablespoons of oil in the pan.
  • Add chopped 5 cloves of garlic in the pan. Stir fry for about 10 seconds until it's fragrant and add chicken mince.
  • Stir fry the chicken until it's perfectly cooked while chopping it into small pieces with spatula for approximately 7 minutes.
  • Add mushroom, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and white pepper. Stir until combined for around 5 minutes. Add a bit of broth if it dries up. Turn off the heat.
  • In 4 separate bowls pour into each 1 teaspoon of light soy sauce, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 teaspoon of garlic oil, and some dashes of white pepper.
  • In a pot, boil water and add noodle. Cook per the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Drain the noodle and divide into 4 bowls which already have seasoning. Mix with forks or chopsticks until well combined. In the same water that you use for boiling noodle, blanch beansprouts and green leaves vegetables.
  • To serve, put the chicken mushroom topping on top of the noodle. Garnish with blanched greens, blanched beansprouts, pickled cucumber, chili sauce (optional), and wontons. Sprinkle with some chopped chives or spring onion, and fried shallots. Serve with a small bowl of broth with meatballs on the side.


  • Instead of using instant chicken bouillon powder, you can also make homemade chicken broth by boiling chicken bones in water. 
  • You can substitute straw mushroom with button mushroom, it is also delicious!
Keyword mie ayam jamur, pangsit, pangsit mie ayam, pangsit mie ayam jamur



Trying Softshell Turtle Soup at Pujasera Tay Kak Sie

After we ate at Lumpia Semarang at Gang Lombok, we went eating for lunch at Pujasera Tay Kak Sie – a sort of food court nearby. We ordered food at Nyoto Roso stall. They sell swikee, which is frog’s legs soup cooked with fermented beans (tauco) and another dish called pimbak.

What is pimbak?

From the appearance, pimbak is similar to swikee – both are soupy, brown, flavored with fermented soybeans, and sprinkled with lots of fried garlic and Chinese celery. The only difference is that pimbak is made from softshell turtle.

Softshell turtle is different from ocean turtle. It lives in fresh water, usually muddy river. In the past, it used to be wild and was considered a pest. But nowadays there are some farms specialized in breeding it. It is a delicacy and considered a super food in Indonesia, especially among Chinese Indonesians.

The softshell turtle meat is boiled in spices like ginger and pepper for a long time, making it soft and herby.

Noto Roso stall
Swikee and pimbak
Frog painting

I think the texture of the softshell turtle is similar to fish, though the taste is closer to mutton. There was no odor at all, so I think boiling it with herbs and spices really works. The meat pieces have lots of gelatinous bits – not a surprise, as it is high in collagen.

After eating it, I felt my body gradually becoming very warm. The taste was actually ok, and the broth is very savory and garlicky especially with the added chili sambal and lime juice. But I don’t know why, the more I ate it the more I felt bad. Probably because I used to have a tortoise as a pet 🐢 when I was a child. So, this felt like eating my own pet. Thus, I am not sure if I will eat it again in the future. But, if you are feeling adventurous and, in the area, you can give it a try and see if you like it.

After lunch, we went exploring Klenteng Tay Kak Sie, which is just next to the food court. Although not so big, it was a beautiful temple.

Tay Kak Sie Temple
Temple guardian
Klenteng Tay Kak Sie entrance

Anyway, it was a nice relaxing afternoon and we headed back to our hotel to rest. See you at the next post!



Swikee & Pimbak “Nyoto Roso” Pak No

Pujasera Tay Kak Sie, Jl. Gang Lombok 62


Opening hours: 10.00-17.00 everyday

Pasar Gang Baru – The Best Market in Semarang!

When we were in Semarang, we visited one of the famous markets there, Pasar Gang Baru. It is located in the middle of Chinatown and open in the morning. Here you can find any meat products, fruits, vegetables, basically almost any kinds of ingredients that you will need to cook Chinese Indonesian food. Since, the majority of the customers are Chinese Indonesian, you can find a lot pork product.

Even if you don’t buy anything, the market is fun to explore and you can find myriad of local produce in any colors and shapes.

What was unusual for me to see was a seller of sea grapes – called latoh. In Indonesia, many people miscall sea grape as seaweed. The seller said you could eat it raw with freshly grated coconut and chili. This particular dish is popular in the northern coast of Java and is called urap latoh. It’s similar to Balinese rujak bulung.

Freshly harvested sea grapes (latoh)
Stinky beans, mangoes, sweet potato leaves on display

We found a vendor that sells various Indonesian bread and cake like kue moho, cucur, and risoles. Kue cucur is a type of cake made from rice flour. It is popular not only in Indonesia, but also other countries like Thailand, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Brunei. Of course, each country has slightly different recipes, but the shape and ingredients are more or less the same.

Kue moho, kue bikang, kue cucur, risoles

A bit further, we also found another kue moho seller and she is very sweet. We bought a lot of from the auntie. My mom said that kue moho reminded her of her childhood. It is similar to bakpau but with rougher texture (in Indonesia we call it “nyereti”). This bread is also used as an offering in the prayer altar by the Buddhists. It is one of the examples of foods brought by Chinese immigrants. The original name in Hokkien dialect is morhor. Unlike the normal kue moho which is empty, the auntie also has kue moho filled with mung bean. The texture was so soft and fluffy.

Kue moho in various forms
Fresh vegetables
Krai – smaller kind of cucumber, very delicious steamed and eaten in rujak (Indonesian salad)
A vendor selling preserved mustard leaves as well as other preserved vegetables
Bakcang – triangular dumplings with meat filling

There was also a vendor selling yellow tofu as well as brown tofu (not pictured). She said the brown tofu is actually spiced and used for making bakmoy – pork and prawn cake soup. There were also several stalls selling ready-made food. You can just buy it to be reheated later at home and eaten with white rice.

Sausages made of egg white and egg yolk. The yellow one is also called biji cuki

Pictured below is laksa. Laksa is peranakan noodle soup while perkedel is potato fritters. It’s possibly from the Dutch frikandel, only in the past people could not afford meat and substituted it with potato instead.

Laksa and perkedel
Ready-made food
Kare rajungan – blue swimmer crab curry
Gorengan (fritters), arem – arem (stuffed rice with meat filling), liver satay

We bought from a lady that sells pepesan a parcel of pepesan telur ikan. Pepesan is ingredients wrapped in banana leaves then grilled with charcoal. This one was made from fish egg and lots of chilies. It was delicious.

Pepesan telur ikan (Grilled fish egg in banana leaves)
Semur jengkol (Curried dogfruit)
Gembus – crackers made from tempe gembus (tofu dregs)

We spotted a lady selling jajan pasar/ lenjongan. This was special because it has ketan biru a.k.a. blue glutinuous rice. No, the color is not superficial – it is from bunga teleng or butterfly pea flowers.

Ketan biru (blue sticky rice) and friends

My mom bought a bundle of blady grass (in Indonesian we call it alang – alang). According to Chinese Indonesian, blady grass can cure sore throat or just soothe throat in the hot summer. So, my mom was planning to boil it at home with some rock sugar.

Blady grass, salted duck egg, sweet potato, pumpkin

We also bought from a very nice uncle a lot of meatballs. I think he sold the most complete selections of meatballs in the market, around 20 or so. He also sells homemade tauco (fermented bean paste for cooking). We chatted for quite a while and he even gave us his name card and some food recommendations. “Behind the market there is a very good siomay vendor called Siomay Cap Kauw King” he said. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to go there. What I enjoy from talking to the locals is that they always know how to give you good recommendations.

A friendly uncle with his extensive meatball selection

At the end of the market there was a young guy selling what he called “kuotie”, although it was actually not kuotie. Kuotie is more like fried gyoza. This one was more like a chai kueh, a steamed pastry with sweet radish filling. Nevertheless, it was good. I wish I bought more!

Kuotie (?)

Overall, it was a very fun experience to visit Pasar Gang Baru. I always love traditional market. Although many people, especially the youngsters, think it’s dirty, I enjoy the experience. I like it when I get to see new food ingredients that I never know before, or even just chatting with the vendors about everyday life, politics, or random stuffs. A traditional market is where you see real life: no fancy stuffs, straightforward, people trying to make a living.


Pasar Gang Baru

Jl. Gang Baru


Opening hours: 05.00-12.00 everyday



Lumpia Semarang & Es Campur Kolang-Kaling

If you go to Semarang, of course it’s incomplete if you don’t eat lumpia Semarang.  The most famous lumpia vendor in the city is called “Lunpia Semarang Gang Lombok”. It is also the pioneer of lumpia in Semarang.


What is lumpia Semarang?

Lumpia Semarang is a type of spring roll which is originated from Semarang City in Central java. Typically, it is filled with rebung (bamboo shoots), egg, ebi (dried shrimp), and meat (normally prawn or chicken). The wrapper or skin is made with flour and it looks similar to crepes. There are two versions of lumpia Semarang: basah (steamed) and goreng (deep fried). The basah version is similar with popiah. In Semarang itself lumpia is sometimes spelled and called “lunpia” or “loenpia”.

Lumpia Semarang Gang Lombok began about 100 years ago with the love story of a Chinese man called Tjoa Thay Joe and a Javanese woman called Warsih. At that time, Tjoa Thay Joe was selling food with pork and bamboo shoots, while Warsih was selling food with prawn and potato. They fell in love and co-created a new dish combining the ingredients that they sold before: prawn and bamboo shoots, and have them wrapped in flour skin.

Little did they know, a legendary food item in Indonesia’s culinary heritage history was born.

Lumpia (or Lunpia) Semarang Gang Lombok
Special lunpia with “boom” flavor😂

When we arrived at Lunpia Gang Lombok, the queue was crazy. A lot of people elbowed each other inside. The more “peaceful” people stayed outside LOL. The cook was super busy. He told us that we needed to wait 1 hour…huk! That’s how busy it was. A guy was even buying 10 boxes of lunpias – one box can fit 6. But well ok, for the most famous lunpia in Semarang, let’s give it a try.

All these people were queueing

While waiting, we just headed next door to another old school player in the field, Es Campur Gang Lombok. We ordered the normal es campur and it came in a plate full of crushed ice, pink sugar syrup, candied mango, papaya, cincau hitam (black grass jelly), and manisan kolang – kaling (candied palm fruit). The price is quite high because they made everything by themselves from scratch. I like the candied mango and palm fruit! You can also buy a jar of their candied mango – I think it was about IDR 50k or so.

The façade of Es Campur Gang Lombok
Ingredients for es campur in jars – so old school, I love it!
Es campur Gang lombok

After refreshing ourselves with the ice as well as chatting with a random uncle, we checked on our order. Yayy it was done!

The lumpias were packed in a traditional bamboo basket

We ate them all in the car before even taking picture of how they look, SORRY! The filling was bamboo shoots and dried shrimps (ebi). The lunpias were cooked with charcoal, not a gas stove, so they taste smoky – yum!

With that being said, I think the flavor is not that phenomenal. Something was missing, like not really enough umami flavor. Also, the deep fried lumpia skin or wrapper is not as crispy as I expected. So, if I can sum up all the pros and cons of this place, here are what I can come up:


  • It is the oldest and original lumpia (or lunpia) maker in the city
  • Old school atmosphere and authentic experience
  • The lumpia has nice smoky aroma


  • The queue is inhumane – it might not be ideal to include in your itinerary if you have limited time
  • The lunpia goreng (deep fried spring roll) is not very crispy
  • Expensive for what you get (IDR 17.5k per piece)
  • Average taste

Of course, this is all just my own opinion. If you have never tasted lumpia before and if you visit Semarang for the first time, you might still want to check it out for the authentic experience. In a way you can help preserving one of the oldest culinary tradition in Java.



Lunpia Gang Lombok

Gang Lombok no. 11a


Opening hours: 08.00-17.00 everyday


Es Campur Gang Lombok

Gang Lombok no. 9


Opening hours: 08.00-17.00 everyday

Gecok Ganem – Steamed Beef Meatballs with Coconut Milk Recipe

This recipe is adapted from the cookbook of Yogyakarta’s royal family. I asked my mom to send the recipes to me since she has the cookbook. Originally, this dish uses green tomato to give it a slight sour taste and freshness. But since green tomato is rare in the Netherlands, I used small yellow cherry tomatoes that were still slightly green. You can also use normal red tomato or even belimbing wuluh (bilimbi fruit).

This dish also calls for shallots. If possible, please try to use Asian shallots which are smaller in size but brighter in color. You can buy them at the Asian supermarket (or if you live in the NL, at the toko). They have stronger aroma than the western counterpart. You will also need kencur. Kencur is a sort of aromatic root widely used in Southeast Asian kitchen. Don’t use the powder form as the flavor is not the same. In Indonesian cuisine, we barely use dried or powdered herbs. We tend to use everything in the fresh form.

This dish is steamed inside banana leaves. Banana leaves play a huge role in Indonesian cuisine too. When you steam food inside them, they give it a beautiful aroma that is not substitutable by foil or any other wrapping. Before using banana leaves, fan them on top of your stove or fire. This helps soften the leaves, so they won’t rip easily when you wrap. Gecok ganem is sometimes also called bucok bunem and it’s a variant of garang asem dish famous in Java. It’s not difficult to make, so please give it a try.

Gecok ganem or bucok bunem
Asian shallots, smaller in size but stronger in flavor


Gecok Ganem

Steamed beef meatballs with coconut milk
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indonesian
Servings 4 people



  • 300 g minced beef
  • 1 egg, use only the white
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • A pinch of white pepper

Spice paste:

  • 6 Asian shallots
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 cm kencur (sand ginger)
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 2 red chilies, sliced
  • 3 green chilies, sliced
  • 2 green tomatoes (substitute with 10 yellow cherry tomatoes or 2 bilimbi fruits if not available)
  • 2 daun salam (substitute with bay leaves if not available)
  • 2 cm galangal
  • 4 bird eye’s chilies (omit if you don't like spicy)
  • 1/4 maggi bouillon cube, crushed
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Banana leaves, for wrapping


  • For the meatballs, mix all the ingredients and make balls as big as walnuts. Boil in hot water and take them out when they float.
  • For the spice paste, simply grind everything in your mortar and pestle or food processor
  • In a bowl, add the meatballs, spice paste, and the rest of the ingredients except for the banana leaves. Adjust the seasoning. Put them all inside the banana leaves and secure it with a stick. To prevent the food from spilling, place the parcel in a bowl.
  • Transfer the bowl into a steamer and steam for 40 minutes. Enjoy with a plate of white rice!
Keyword bucok bunem, gecok ganem, meatballs

Depot 369 – Shanghai Dumplings & Noodle House

We lunched today at Depot 369. This 50-year-old restaurant is a specialist in Shanghai style food.

We ordered our favorite dish, babat item. It’s made of beef tripe, cooked, and mixed with sesame oil and coriander leaves. It was top notch, as usual. Although it looks like alien tentacles, the taste is nothing cosmic (well, the texture might be strange for some people). The sesame oil penetrates the tripe well and it was very fragrant.

I also had sup shanghai, which is pork soup (I think ribs?), steamed inside a ceramic mug. When I was a child, my mom often brought me here to eat this soup when I had a cold. It has a soothing effect and is very warm to your body. I don’t know how they make it but boy, that soup is really good. It is actually quite plain; but the broth is so fresh and pure tasting that you won’t need any other seasoning.

My mother had song mie. It was good but nothing spectacular. I like Mie KJ better. The other side dishes that we had were fried mantau (bakpau goreng) aka fried mantou bun. Need I say less that anything fried is almost always good? It was juicy and crispy, very nice.

We also ordered bakpau lipat, a sort of folded bun, served with braised pork belly (khou ruk), as well as xiao long bao.  I always like fatty pork, so no question that I love this khou ruk bun. I can taste the soy sauce and star anise in this dish. For the xiao long bao, yeah it was a proper xiao long bao. When you bite it, there needs to be broth inside. You need to slurp it before you eat the entire dumpling with ginger vinegar sauce.

We also ate our tahu pong that we got from the store LOL sshhhh…🤫

Clockwise from top; Bakpau goreng; Bakpau lipat & khou ruk; tahu pong; xiao long bao
Clockwise from top; Babat item (black tripe salad); Sup Shanghai (double-boiled soup); blady grass tea (alang – alang); Song mie (chicken noodle)

On the way back home, we passed by what seemed to be a local festival. The locals were hanging sort of lanterns in various forms. They were waving at us happily👋🏽.

Local festival


Depot 369 Shanghai Dumplings

Jl. Manyar Kertoarjo V/16


Opening hours: 10.00-22.00 everyday

Royal Javanese Cuisine at Bale Raos

The royal family of Yogyakarta is apparently also into food. About 15 years ago, the daughter-in-law of the 9th Sultan of Yogyakarta launched a cookbook. It has become my family’s collection ever since. Most of the recipes were never disclosed before to peasant and were only served to the royals.

A few years ago, the royal family opened a restaurant that offers dishes from the cookbook. So, I am very familiar with the dishes. The restaurant is called Bale Raos. The palace personal chefs directly trained the Bale Raos chefs to assure the quality.

Roti jok

I ordered for myself roti jok. This dish is cute because the “roti” looks like a yellow muffin. I learned later that this dish got Dutch influence and it was the favorite food of Sultan Hamengkubuwono VII. I guess this is an adaptation of poffertjes. It came served with semur ayam (braised chicken with kecap manis). I really like the roti because it is fluffy, light, and has a slight savory flavor – thanks to the margarine used in the batter. The chicken tasted good and I like it that it has some onion chunks. I just wish there was more sauce as at some point it’s a bit dry in the mouth.

Daging singgang

We also got some dishes to share. Daging singgang is a type of satay, only the beef pieces was bigger and when the chef grilled it, he also basted it with thick coconut cream.

Gecok ganem
Gecok ganem or sometimes called bucok bunem is a dish consists of beef balls that is mixed with egg white, chopped green tomatoes, red chilies, and steamed with coconut milk. At Bale Raos somehow, I could still taste some young coconut pieces too, so it was nice.
Gudeg manggar

The last dish, gudeg manggar, was special. Manggar means the flower of coconut plant. It is very special because if the flower is harvested, then the tree will not produce any fruits anymore. That’s why it’s expensive. The version at Bale Raos was quite good, although I thought it could have been better. I read the famous gudeg manggar in Yogyakarta is by Bu Tinur. We didn’t have time by then, so I’ll keep it for next time.

Dad liked his beer Jawa!

My dad had beer Jawa. Due to religious belief, the Sultan didn’t drink alcohol. So, when he had guests, he drank a non-alcoholic beer only. Beer Jawa or Javanese beer is made from secang bark, ginger, cloves, and lemongrass. It is quite similar to wedang uwuh. The color is as golden as beer, but the taste is not even close hehehe… It is spicy, warming, and sweet. I think the chef’s idea is very brilliant though. This drink is somehow similar to bir pletok – Betawinese non-alcoholic beer that was created during the Dutch colonialism period. 

Bale Raos
Keraton Jogja (Royal Palace)

Overall, Bale Raos is enjoyable. The food is good, although I cannot say it’s 10/10 because probably it is slightly adjusted to foreigner’s taste. I saw there was a Japanese tour group eating there, which kind of explained a bit why the food was not spicy, and a bit toned down. But I like the whole idea of disclosing royal food to  the peasant. Food treasure like this should not be kept secret, it should be disclosed to the people so we all can help preserving our rich culinary tradition.



Restoran Bale Raos

Jl. Magangan Kulon 1

DI Yogyakarta

Opening hours: 10.00-22.00 everyday

Bakso Ito – Homemade Pork Meatball Soup in Yogyakarta

When I was in Yogyakarta, I got badly ill. I think my stomach was not used to Indonesian bacteria anymore 🦠. So, we went to eat homemade pork meatball soup at Bakso Ito.

Bakso Ito is a famous pork meatball soup eatery since the old time. We ordered hunceng kuah (pork intestine soup with noodle), bakwan campur (mixed meatballs), and bakwan goreng (fried meatballs).

Bakwan goreng




Bakwan campur


Bakwan campur


Hunceng kuah

The bakwan (meatball) was very tender and properly seasoned. There was a subtle taste of white peppercorns in the broth which made it very warming in the belly.  If you order bakwan campur, you can get several types of items in a bowl: meatballs, fried meatballs, intestines. The intestine was clean and not tough at all. The fried meatballs were also very crunchy yet soft inside. They are also delicious when dipped in the broth.

What I think quite funny is the name of the place itself. In Indonesia we have two kinds of meatballs: bakso and bakwan. They are similar, yet very different – different texture and way of serving. The term “bak” means meat and it derived from Hokkienese language.  Bakso is often made by chopping meat with the blunt side of the knife and it usually contains more flour than meat. It doesn’t have to be shaped completely round. Bakwan on the other hand, is made with more meat than flour, and it is always round in shape. Furthermore, while bakso has more savory broth and is served with yellow noodle, blue vermicelli, celery leaves, and fried shallots; bakwan has lighter broth and is served with chives. Based on the meatball appearance and broth profile, I would say Bakso Ito’s meatball is more bakwan; while the way of serving is close to bakso because it has noodles in it. So, I conclude that their meatball is a bakso-bakwan hybrid😂.

The price per bowl is not as cheap as in other places (around IDR 20000-40000 or EUR 1.5-2.5), but the taste and quality are excellent. That is enough reason of why this place has survived since 1983.


Bakso Ito

Jl. Maratam 59


Opening hours: 09.30-21.30 everyday