“The chicken meat was juicy with a trace of sweetness, which is typical of a free-range chicken, or ayam kampung, as we call it.“
Ayam Goreng Jawa Mbah Cemplung is a long-standing eatery located in Desa Wisata Kasongan, which is a clay handicraft centre in Bantul in the southern part of Yogyakarta. A string of shops offering a myriad of export-quality pottery and handmade porcelain ware abound here, with the Ayam Goreng (fried chicken) joint sitting nearby. According to my driver, the shop has been around since 1970 and is a popular spot for local tour guides to take their clients to indulge in its delightful fried chicken.
It was packed to the brim when I arrived. I could see a vacant table inside, but it was just too hot to be eating indoors, especially when the only source of cool air came from a handful of ceiling fans. Instead, I chose to settle myself at a table situated in joint’s porch. There’s a whole-chicken set available on the menu, which I was tempted to try out. However, knowing that I wouldn’t be able to finish it all by myself, I went for a half-chicken portion and a glass of iced tea.
After around five to seven minutes, my food came and it gave me quite a surprise. Despite being half the size of a whole chicken, it was still very huge. A plate of fresh vegetables consisting of daun kenikir (similar to marigold leaves), basil leaves, and cucumber slices was served on the side, along with a small bowl of sambal. The chicken meat was juicy with a trace of sweetness, which is typical of a free-range chicken, or ayam kampung, as we call it. As for the sambal, I had to add a couple drops of sweet soy sauce to reduce its spiciness – yes, it was that spicy.
Upon leaving the parking lot, I saw a group of buses arriving. If I had come a bit later, I might have to fight it out for a table. If you prefer not to eat at a crowded joint, try its other outlet on Jalan Lingkar Selatan Madukismo.
Desa Sembungan, Bangunjiwo,
T: 0274 926 1977
Open daily from 8am-5pm
Rp.60,000/US$4.40 per person