I am convinced that the main reason I enjoyed visiting Surabaya so much, in spite of the really high temperatures (40+ degrees Celsius) and the poor air quality which gave me a bad breakout, was the super delicious food. And one more thing that will make any Singaporean happy: super delicious food at low prices! How can it possibly be true?! But I enjoyed them all, thanks to my pal’s recommendations – he lives and works in Surabaya and is quite a foodie. And his recommendations were all spot-on (save for one, which wasn’t his fault really).
The least exciting meal I had in Surabaya was at Juanda Airport. I had ordered a bowl of bakso – meatball noodle soup – because of the early flight and how I was craving something hot.
It was just what I needed to fill my stomach with warmth, but it was uninspiring. So… head over to the following 9 places for food when you are in Surabaya. I GUARANTEE you’ll love it all, especially since they are highly recommended by locals! 😀
Recommendation #1: Iga Penyet
My pal asked if I’d like to eat ribs for dinner. And I conjured up an image of baby back ribs (Western style) in my mind. However, Iga Penyet is ribs that have been flattened and are served with a special homemade sambal. On the left, you see the eggplant that I wanted to order ‘cos I truly love eggplant. And on the right is the platter of smashed ribs – it’s like nothing you’ll ever get to try in Singapore. Yummy! And the magic is in the sauce. Indonesians really do get their spices right. The (free) soup that comes with the meal was also happily slurped up.
I was told that there usually is a long queue outside. But we were so lucky that day to get a table immediately without having to wait. 😀
The address is Warung Leko, Jl. Manyar Kertoarjo V-9. Total bill for 4 pax: 146,500 Rp.
Recommendation #2: Pasar Malam (buffet) at Bumi Hotel
Before I even got to Surabaya, I’d already done some research online and read reviews of Pasar Malam at Bumi Hotel (this is why bloggers are awesome!) I got to know about this awesome hotel buffet that allows diners to eat their fill from THREE different restaurants. It’s like I love trying local food but I also want Japanese cuisine, so why not go for this option? 😀 And it did not disappoint. We spent 397,485Rp (S$41) for dinner for 2 pax.
Here’s just a portion of what we ate: satay, kebab, SASHIMI and bean sprouts teppanyaki style, and some rojak(?) 😀 There’s just SO MUCH to eat and choose from. I was too distracted, and didn’t take many pictures. (Remember that I’m not a food blogger, ya?)
There’s indoor seating (air-conditioned) and outdoor seating too (you get your own fan beside each table). What can I say? I really REALLY loved that dinner at Pasar Malam. The next time I’m in Surabaya, I’m definitely gonna head back there. And if I can resist the temptations, I’ll even skip lunch that day.
Recommendation #3: Bakso Pak Djo
This is my pal’s favorite bakso stall. We spent some Rp 93,500 here for a meal for 4 pax. You can find this same stall in Galaxy Mall’s foodcourt but be prepared to pay more for the same thing, ok? Their meatballs have some truly interesting ingredients inside: quail eggs (4 on one stick) or an entire chicken egg within a meatball.
Quail eggs on a stick in the extreme right corner:
Eaten on its own, these ingredients aren’t super tasty – it’s like yong tau foo in Singapore but more exotic. However, you can mix the sauces provided and you’ll enjoy the meatballs more with your very own concoction. 🙂
Recommendation #4: Kedai Tua Baru
Kedai Tua Baru was recommended by my pal. Its exterior looks rather rundown – like it could be a warehouse or workshop or something. However, check out the cool interior:
They even have many interesting spots just for people to take photos for Instagram. But that’s not what we came here for, ultimately.
I ordered the Seafood Kombinasi (32,800 Rp) with cumi, udang, layang, telur, tahu/tempe. (Cumi is squid, udang is prawn, telur is egg) Once again, that sambal is the killer! He had Buntut Rempah (35,800Rp) which is spicy oxtail, and is SO yummy:
Besides the sambal, one other thing the Indonesians truly do well at when it comes to food has to be the keropok! Their keropok standards are out of this world! 😀 I even bought buffalo skin keropok at a stall selling snacks (that’s for another blogpost. Stay tuned)
It’s easy to get to Kedai Tua Baru – it’s just a short walk from Tunjungan Plaza. The address is Jl. Tegalsari No. 25. We spent a total of 154, 560Rp here, for dinner for 3 pax. 🙂
Recommendation #5: Yamagoya Ramen
If you are craving for ramen, you may want to pop by Tunjungan Plaza 4 Lt 5. We spent Rp 190,575 for lunch for 2 pax. The broth is decent (not fabulous like in Japan, of course) and the onsen egg has a strange consistency, like it’s trying to be a preserved egg instead. But if you want a non-halal meal, in a Muslim country, then this is where you should head. My favorite, though, is the udon restaurant next door (my Recommendation #8 in this blogpost).
We also ordered an extra platter of char siew, when we shouldn’t have. We really over-indulged here:
Recommendation #6: Zangrandi Ice Cream at Galaxi Mall
I don’t have pictures for the ice cream. But Zangrandi is kinda like Haagen-Dazs – really famous in Surabaya, I’ve been told. For 2 single scoops of ice cream, I paid Rp 48,000.
Recommendation #7: Sate Ayam stall
Pardon me for raving about this stall. The food is cheap and really good. We spent a total of 120,000Rp for food and drinks for 4! Can you believe it?! Each one of us got 10 sticks of satay! You can choose between chicken satay with the skin removed, or NOT. My pals went for the skin-on fatty ones. LOL. So sinful, right? But so sedap lah.
* I can almost smell the satay again *
I’m feeling so hungry now. I should never ever blog about food at night. But this is such a long post. 😀 Even though this satay (or rather, sate) stall is situated right next to the road, and it’s hot and stuffy within, plus there aren’t many tables, but somehow perspiring while enjoying good satay is actually quite an experience! One I am happy to relive! 😀
Recommendation #8: Marugame Udon at Tunjungan Plaza
* look of hesitation *
We’d popped by pretty late in the afternoon so there weren’t many diners, and we weren’t sure if this place served good udon. After all, it’s Indonesia, not Japan, ya? But this place comes highly recommended by my friend in Surabaya.
I had the beef udon while he went for the carbonara udon (yes, you read that right!) and we ordered an extra serving of egg and a beef (yes beef, not potato) croquette.
And it was DELICIOUS!!! I wanted to head back here the next day but true to character, he wanted to patronize other restaurants. We spent some 135,000Rp here and decided it was a meal to remember. Carbonara Udon! Who would have thought?! If not for my better half’s adventurous spirit, I would never know how this tastes! Of course, there are some hits and some misses – like the time we had wild boar meat in JB that gave us severe food poisoning for a few days. I would never have ordered wild boar meat if not for him too. That’s life, isn’t it? You take the roses together with the thorns. 😀
Recommendation #9: Surabaya Plaza’s foodcourt!
You know that Indonesia is a country of foodies when even the food stalls in foodcourts serve up delicious food. We wanted a cheaper alternative to restaurants, and wondered if the food at the foodcourt in Surabaya Plaza was any good.
We found this stall called “Si Mbok” which, according to my ‘good food radar’, seemed pretty busy (a good sign!) and had interesting options I wanted to try.
I chose bebek penyet (duck, instead of the usual ayam / chicken) and he picked gado gado (what a safe choice!). As it turned out, both were AMAZING.
Who knew that bebek penyet would taste better than any ayam penyet anywhere else?!
The gado-gado was fabulous too. And like I’ve said before, the keropok is better than those in Singapore 😀
And that FINALLY sums up my 9 recommendations for when you head to Surabaya! 😀 (Actually this serves as a food diary for me, so I can go back and revisit these places. HEHEHE)
And, of course, if you spot an A&W outlet, go ahead and indulge in some root beer float and curly fries. I know the temptation is irresistible. 😀
* BURP *
Do check out my Surabaya hotel review blogpost too! And watch out for upcoming posts about the malls and other places to visit in Surabaya! 😀