Indonesian food is amazing! In my efforts to find better and better meals, I’ve tried dozens of warungs, angkringans, rumah makans, cafes, etc.
Especially in Yogyakarta where I’ve based myself for 5 months and counting, I dare say I’ve become an expert on where to find the best food.
Let me prove it to you with this list of authentic places to eat in Yogyakarta. These are the places where locals eat – not fancy restaurants, not burgers, pizzas, and banana pancakes – the actual places where Indonesians go to eat in Yogyakarta.
I mean, can it get any more authentic than sitting in front of a home’s kitchen in the middle of a warung?
Moreover, I’m in love with the Indonesian way of eating, particularly the lesehan (carpet on the floor, low table, no chairs) and the angringkan (a small cart seating 4-8 people where you pick and choose what you want off the table).
Yogyakarta is a 3-day stop on my full 14-day Java Backpacking Itinerary.
Food in Yogyakarta is widespread and here’s my shortlisted selection of the best places to eat in Yogyakarta for different local foods.
Map of authentic places to eat in Yogyakarta:
1. Ayam Bakar at Lesehan Sayidan
If you like chicken, Indonesian cuisine’s got you covered!
Make way for Ayam Bakar, i.e. grilled chicken. It comes covered in sweet, sticky sauce for a finger-licking experience. Order a portion of fried tempeh on the side!
I’ve found the best place for Ayam Bakar in Yogyakarta to be Lesehan Sayidan. On top of the delicious cooking, they have tables right next to the river for a wonderful dinner!
The Ikan Bakar (grilled fish) there is also pretty good. Whatever you order, make sure to ask for a side dish of mendoan – the softer variation of tempeh and a staple of Indonesian cuisine.
2. Mie Ayam at Pak Budi 234
Mie Ayam is my favorite Indonesian dish. It’s a spicy curry noodles soup with pieces of chicken and some greens on top.
The absolute best place for Mie Ayam after trying over 20 different places in Jogja is Pak Budi 234. A bowl of mie ayam costs 12.000 IDR / 0.8$.
3. Gudeg at Gudeg Yu Djum
You can’t visit Yogyakarta and not try the local delicacy – gudeg.
Young jackfruit chunks are cooked in coconut milk and then served over rice with a side of egg, chicken, tempeh, and krupuk.
Beware: very addicting!
The best place to eat gudeg in Yogyakarta is the legendary Gudeg Yu Djum.
4. Yammie at Mie Ayam Asli Bandung 59
Yammie is another one of my favorite dishes. The difference between mie ayam and yammie is in the noodles, the broth, and the toppings.
I advise you to just go and check out the yammie selection at Mie Ayam Asli Bandung 59 (don’t let the name fool you, they mostly sell yammie).
My favorite is Yammie Manis Pedas (sweet and spicy yammie).
5. Sate at Sate Ayam & Kambing Cak Beiri Madura
Sate (sometimes spelled satay) are meat skewers glazed with sweet sauce and served in peanut sauce over rice. They are so, so delicious!
The meat is usually chicken, but you may be able to find goat (kambing), beef (sapi), rabbit (kelinci), or chicken hearts (jantung ayam).
The best place to eat sate in Yogyakarta is Sate Ayam & Kambing Cak Beiri Madura.
6. Bakmi Jawa and Nasi Goreng at Bu Yoyok
Bakmi Jawa (fried noodles) and Nasi Goreng (fried rice, often shortened to just “nasgor“) are the two staples of Indonesian cuisine.
Even though you can find these two meals pretty much everywhere in Yogyakarta, I’ve found an angringkan with the absolute best taste – Bu Yoyok!
She’s not listed on Google Maps, but you can find her exactly here. In the morning this place sells soto ayam (chicken soup), but my favorite grandma Yoyok starts cooking around 16:00.
7. Fried chicken from Olive
Nobody tells you that food in Yogyakarta includes fried chicken. Here I am!
You probably don’t associate Indonesia with fried chicken, but trust me when I tell you that locals love their KFC rip-offs. Moreover, the Indonesian brands cook better fried chicken!
There’s a fried chicken marketing war going on in Indonesia and especially in Yogyakarta.
First came the chain Popeye Chicken and then an aptly named competitor called Olive (Get it?, Popeye’s girlfriend!) also joined, and in the fray was also Rocket Chicken and at least 10 smaller chains AND also local unbranded street vendors.
The best chain in Jogja for me is Olive Fried Chicken and you can find their stores around the city, for example, this one is close to Malioboro.
8. Street food snacks at Alun Alun Kidul
Alun-alun Kidul, or Alkid is simply the best place to try all the Indonesian street food snacks.
Indonesians have a saying that if there’s no rice, there’s no food (tidak ada nasi, tidak ada makan). Everything that doesn’t have rice or noodles is a snack.
Yogyakartans go to the Alun-alun to either get a quick snack before dinner or have a few different snacks which can be considered dinner.
Here are a few recommendations for snacks at Alun-alun Kidul:
- Cimol: fried puffy balls of tapioca flour;
- Cumi Bakar: grilled octopus. The vendors at Alun-alun Kidul make quite a spectacle grilling it and dancing at the same time!
- Bakso goreng: grilled meatballs;
- Sosis Bakar: grilled sausages;
- Jasuke: Corn with condensed milk and cheese;
- Alpukat kocok: an avocado smoothie;
- Leker: small, thin pancakes;
- Baby crab: fried crabs, ready to eat as a whole.
9. Kopi Joss at Angkringan Kopi Jos Lik Man
Kopi Joss is a very weird variation of coffee they serve in Yogyakarta. A piece of hot charcoal is dropped into the coffee for a great spectacle.
Of course, it’s removed prior to drinking!
The best place for kopi joss is the legendary place where it was first created: Angkringan Kopi Jos Lik Man.
10. Bakpia from the Pathok area
For dessert, you must have bakpia when in Jogja!
Bakpia is somewhat synonymous with Yogyakarta. Originally a Chinese snack, bakpia is the most common gift Indonesians take for friends and family when they visit the city.
Bakpia is small pastry rolls with different fillings, most commonly mung beans, sweet potatoes, chocolate, cheese (keju), durian, pineapple, etc.
On Malioboro, you will see many bakpia vendors, most often marketed as Bakpia Pathok, after the area where most of the bakpia is produced. This area coincidentally is just behind Malioboro! Walk 10 minutes for the best bakpia in town!
Most tourists go to Bakpia Pathok 25, which is pretty good. If you’re lucky, you might find a street vendor in the kampung behind this store with freshly baked bakpia.
Note: There’s another variant called Bakpia Kukus, which is closer to being a brownie with a filling.
Both are part of my full list of Indonesian desserts that I’ve tried and rated by taste!
Price for a box of 10 bakpia patuk balls: ~10.000 IDR / 0.7$
Price for a box of 10 bakpia kukus cakes: ~45.000 IDR / 3$
Parting words of advice
As I explore this city further I will come across cool places to eat in Yogyakarta that I will include on this list. If you come back, the selection may have already expanded.
My advice to you is: don’t just eat on Maliboro or Alun-alun Kidul. Venture a little further, go into the back streets, get lost in the kampungs.
Indonesian cuisine is so eclectic, that no two warungs are the same. If you want to really experience the culinary power of Yogyakarta, go off-the-beaten pack, and don’t be afraid to experiment!
Check this out to find out about other things to do and places to see in Yogyakarta.
Or check out all these other experiences and tours in and around Yogyakarta!