The last time I went to Malang was 5 years ago and having too high an expectation, it turned out to be less than what I had hoped for.
This time, I came to Malang with a clean slate. It was a quick weekend trip, so Malang, you better get me impressed in 48 hours! Oh boy, do they deliver. It was honestly one of the best culinary adventure in Indonesia, next to Makassar (which still holds the #1 title).
Since there are several long weekends coming up, see for yourself if Malang is worth a weekend trip and an expanded waistline!
1. Rawon Nguling
Holymoly, this Rawon Nguling is the OG! Rawon is beef soup made from keluak, that gives the soup strong nutty flavor and its dark color. The soup is rich and savory, yet it is still light enough to be enjoyed to the last sip while the beef in the soup is soooo tender. You should order another serving of Rawon Buntut (Oxtail rawon) and Rawon Dengkul (Knuckle rawon), which have different textures than the Nasi Rawon. This alone is worth a trip to Malang.
Jalan KH. Zaenul Arifin 62
2. Nasi Pecel Pincuk Winongo
First of all, let me say this almost doesn’t make it to the list – just because I don’t usually eat nor like pecel much. This one was different, the peanut sauce was light but packed with a LOT of flavours. Throw in some tempe and veggie, voila : a full house of people enjoying Nasi Pecel on a Sunday Morning. It does not get better than this.
Please note that you MUST try tempe in Malang, it is somehow more dense and you can really taste the soybeans better – for a tempe fan like me, Malang is a tempe heaven.
Jalan Panderman no. 11
3. Bakso Gundul (or Gondhol? Not sure.)
Sadly, this one is not Halal but if you are allowed to eat, then you must go here. I thought I was hungry the first time I came, hence my conclusion that everything will taste delicious. I decided to go again, and turned out it IS delicious! The meatballs are on the chewier side, but damn the whole thing is just brilliant.
Jalan Sunandar Priyo Sudarmo no. 31
4. Soto Ayam Lamongan Pak Djari
This soto is in the city of Batu, which technically isn’t in Malang, but it will be a crime not to include it in my list. After all, Batu has really good family entertainment so chances are you will go there, too. The soup is rather heavy compared to other soto, but it was really good! Turned out, every time they finished shredding chicken that goes in your bowl, they tossed the remaining bones back into the soup, making the soup more flavourful each time! I know, don’t drool.
Jalan Diponegoro no. 82A, Batu
5. Rujak Manis Pak Bejo
My mom is a big fan of rujak so despite being pressed on time for our flight, we just had to try this Rujak Manis! So what differs? The peanut sauce is bombarded with a fistful of fried garlic, which are then crushed and mixed together, before you eat it with usual Rujak ensemble : pineapple, jicama, mango, guava, etc. If you prefer more heat, add some chilli paste. It’s a sweet end for our trip, just make sure to brush your teeth afterwards.
6. Soto Rampal Malang
In this crazy heat of Indonesian politics, take note that if there is one thing the current and former president have in common, it is that they both have been here! Some food is worth the early morning, and Soto Rampal is one of them. I came at 9.30 and they already sold out the best stuffs ; by best, I mean beef offals that we Indonesians like so well. You can choose between soto daging, rawon or nasi campur to go along with the side dishes, but I think the main stars are actually the side dishes which are the beef offals I was talking about. I can see why it sold out so early, they are so sweet and juicy and oh so delicious. Yes, it is worth the line!
Jalan Panglima Sudirman no. 71A
Safe to say, my short trip to Malang went beyond satisfactory – for the soul and the tummy. Even if you don’t eat your weight out in Malang (I can’t see why you won’t), Malang and its neighbour, Batu, still have so much to offer for your weekend getaway.
Until next time, Rawon Nguling. I think of you all the time.