Semarang: Bakmi Jowo Pak Gareng

“The Bakmi Goreng was a tad on the sweet side with a peppery aftertaste – exactly how your typical Bakmi Goreng would taste like.

As I boarded the plane that was to take me to Semarang, all I could think of was Bakmi Jawa. I go gaga when it comes to noodles. Heck, even a simple bowl of instant noodles would be enough to make me die a happy man if I were to shuffle off this mortal coil the next day. So to be able to sample a proper authentic serving of Bakmi Jawa in its natural habitat was a dream come true. As soon as I arrived at my designated hotel, I immediately quizzed a security guard who was loitering around in the lobby about bakmijoints in town. He pointed me to the nearest shop, which is called Bakmi Jowo Pak Gareng. A quick search on Google describes it as one of the best in the city. Lucky me!

Intriguingly, Bakmi Jowo Pak Gareng – established in 1970 – has a branch over at Mall Ciputra Semarang, which I assumed denotes its successful track record. Once on location, I ordered Bakmi Goreng (fried noodles) and a portion of Bakmi Godog (noodles soup). The shop is relatively small – it could probably fit to about 25 people at one time – while no proper lighting renders the interior a bit dark despite the sun shining brightly outside on that day. Pictures of famous celebrities dining at the place adorn its walls, suggesting that its popularity has transcended the local community and has caught the eye and the tummies of visitors to Semarang.

It took quite a while before my food was ready, which was due to the fact that they usedanglo (charcoal stove) to prepare the bakmi. And then came the time to assess their creations. The Bakmi Goreng was a tad on the sweet side with a peppery aftertaste – exactly how your typical Bakmi Goreng would taste like – and consists of noodles, chicken slices, scrambled egg, kekkian (wheat-based dough), tomato, cabbage, and green mustard. While the Bakmi Godog features more or less the same ingredients – apart from it not being fried – there was no trace of sweetness at all. Instead, it’s a zesty little concoction that was salty and peppery. All in all, a pretty good start to my culinary adventure in Central Java.

semarang-classic-bakmi jowo pak gareng
Jl. Wotgandul Dalam No. 171,
Semarang, Central Java
T: 024 356 0708
Open daily from 10am-11.30pm
Rp.25,000/US$1.80 per person

A die-hard fan of authentic Indonesian delights who loves the idea of travelling to the cradle of those enticing local treats. Yet, you might often find this young lad busy with his guitar – be it alone in his room or, sometimes, on stage.


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