Pasar Beringharjo is a perennial shopping stopover for both local and foreign tourists. Founded in 1925, this legendary may be more renowned for as home to a great deal of wallet-friendly batik, yet it is also a culinary gold mine as well. From a hearty meal to light bites, you could find anything either within the market or at the exterior of the premises. Just remember to haggle your way to a better deal if you find the opening asking price a bit too steep, and you’re set.
Sup Kembang Waru Beringharjo
Commonly served only when there is a wedding in Yogyakarta, now you can enjoy it any time you want at the food court on the second floor of Pasar Beringharjo. Inside its clear soup are carrots, long beans, cuts of beef or chicken feet, with an additional flower-shaped Siomay Bungkus Dadar (dumplings wrapped in omelette) or Siomay Kembang Waru, as the locals call it – the origin of its moniker.
A signature treat from Kotagede, the green-coloured Kue Kipo (glutinous rice flour cake filled with grated coconut and brown sugar) is long and flat in shape and is as small as one’s thumb in size. The word on the street says its name is short for “Iki Opo?” (“What’s this?” in Javanese), which is what unfamiliar prospective buyers would ask when inquiring about this sweet bite. Made from grated coconut and brown sugar wrapped in a luscious skin made out of glutinous rice flour, it is very flavourful and chewy. Unfortunately, Kue Kipo can only last for 24 hours as it is concocted using natural ingredients and without food preservatives.
A unique Soto (meat soup) which fresh taste comes from its brownish-coloured soup that is put together using kitchen spices, palm sugar, half a bottle of sweet soy sauce and artificial flavouring. The broth is then poured on top of an amount of rice and bean sprouts. If you ask for a spicy Soto Pithes (beef soup), then the seller will grind a few bird’s eye chilli on the lip of the bowl – a process called “mites” in Javanese, which is where its name came from. You could choose to have it with Peyek (deep-fried flour cracker), Keripik (crackers), or Kerupuk Kecil (small fish/prawn crackers). And don’t forget to order a glass of Wedang Kolang-Kaling (sugar palm fruit tea) that can be drank cold or hot.
Found at the anterior of Pasar Beringharjo, Pecel Urap (steamed vegetable salad with peanut sauce and grated coconut) is served in a bowl made from banana leaf called pincuk. Filled with various vegetables including spinach, bean sprouts and Chinese mustard greens, it is then topped with peanut sauce. You can also add Tahu Bacem (sweet marinated tofu) and Tempe Bacem (sweet marinated tempeh) or Tempe Gembus (fermented tempeh dregs). Order a portion of Sego Pincuk (rice with side dishes wrapped in banana leaf) if you’re having your Pecel Urap for lunch.
Mi Pentil (tapioca flour noodles) has a chewy texture thanks to its main component and is smaller than your common noodles. It is cooked plain without any additional ingredients apart from garlic, candlenut, and salt. Served in a simple manner with just a sprinkle of fried onions and raw sambal that are stirred together with the noodles, you can add some Gorengan (fritters) to go with your meal.
Pecel Lontong Mbak Sri Cilik
Although there are a lot of Pecel (vegetable salad in peanut sauce) sellers here, the most crowded of them all is Pecel Lontong Mbak Sri Cilik. Located just in front of the entrance to the market, it is served with Lontong (rice cakes) or Bakmi (noodles). It consists of three different vegetables: papaya leaves, spinach, and daun turi(sesbania grandiflora leaves). The shop also offers other side dishes, ranging from satay to Baceman (sweet marinated fare).
Akin to Kue Kipo, Legomoro (glutinous rice flour cake filled with beef and coconut milk mixed with shallots, garlic, coriander, bay leaves, laos leaves, and sugar) is shaped like a Lemper (meat-filled glutinous rice) because it is also wrapped in a banana leaf but slightly smaller in size. Flavourful due to the combination of coconut milk and seasoned beef, Legomoro has its philosophy behind it: when one comes to an event, one’s heart must be sincere. It is derived from the two words that make its name – “lego” (“lega”, or “relieved” in English) and “moro” (“datang”, which means “come”). Hence, this snack is usually offered during traditional ceremonies.
Empal Bu Warno
One of the most sought-after dishes in Pasar Beringharjo by both locals and tourists, its Daging Empal (fried beef) and Iso (cow’s intestines) can be enjoyed with rice and sambal. You could also bring the two home as a gift. Empal Bu Warno serves Babat (tripe), Koyor (cow’s tendon), Sayur Asem (vegetables in tamarind soup) and Sayur Lodeh (vegetables in coconut milk). Drop by during lunchtime to get a chance to sample everything before they run out.
Its name may sound a wee bit funny – “kere” means “broke” in English – but Sate Kere (beef fat satay) presents a delicious flavour that is both savoury and sweet. You could get a bit of beef or some brisket amongst the fat if you’re lucky too. Available from 10am to 4pm when Pasar Beringharjo closes, you can find it in the southern part of the market.
This no-frills bread looks like Cakwe (deep-fried dough) but with smaller pores. It is quite large and puffed out, yet light and not as firm as it seems. Sweet and with a pillowy texture, some categorises it as bread but others classify it as cake because it reminds them of Bolu (sponge cake). Its simple ingredients consist of eggs, flour, sugar, and a leavening agent to raise its batter – no butter, no chocolate, no other additional toppings. It could only last between 7-10 days as it does not use any preservatives, and most locals would advise to leave it for a day or two so that you’ll get a firmer texture once you’re about to eat it.