Over the past few months, we’ve managed to visit hundreds of eateries, roadside warung, and hawker stalls on the islands of Java, Bali, and West Nusa Tenggara, as well as a few cities in the northern region of Sumatra. Scores of delectable dishes have been sampled – although only on those rare occasions did we experience proper customer service. Seeing as good street food and decent service tend to not come together, we thought it would be appropriate to list down the places that do provide the two in unison.
To rate them, we opted to refer to Travelers United, which states that restaurants with five-star service should be able to impart a more personal attention towards customer to make them feel special, solve problems in a blink of an eye, show genuine friendliness, ensure that the dining experience is worth the price tag, and gain customer loyalty. These criteria – along with the fact that we didn’t find even a strand of hair in our food – were used to justify the inclusion of these five street food vendors.
Soto Kuning Pak Salam
Located by the side of the road on Jalan Suryakencana, it’s a safe bet that Soto Kuning Pak Salam would be packed with punters every day once it’s open for business. Despite the state of its place and its crowd-pulling capabilities, rarely will you see its crew without a smile on their face. Chairs here are of limited quantity, yet the very attentive staff – including Kang Iwan, the founder’s son – would always be on hand to assist you in getting a seat once you’ve place your order. At the end of your meal, pay your bill and Kang Iwan will then say “Selamat” before you leave. When asked why he does that with every one of his customers, he replies, “It is to wish them a safe journey, so that they can always come back to us for more Soto.” A very nice touch, and the food here is great too.
Sambal Bu Rudy
A very popular joint, Sambal Bu Rudy is a joint that attracts huge crowds on a regular basis. Its dishes are of top quality, and the customer service here isn’t too shabby either. At times, Bu Rudy herself would get her hands dirty by helping out her customers to find a place to sit or to go through the menu with them.
Specialising in first-class Acehnese noodles, Mie Ayah’s posse of personnel are a very amiable and customer-oriented bunch. During our visit, they pointed out that we didn’t finish our Martabak. Upon this discovery, Nur Rahmi – the founder’s daughter – immediately went over to ask what was wrong and gathered intel from us in order to for them to improve. Add to that its reasonable pricing – we forked out Rp.60,000 for a sizable bowl of noodles with crab – and you’ve got yourself an eatery worth visiting right here.