The Right Place to Savor The Simplicity of Jogja in Its Entirety
Updated on 15 September 2018
Open daily (closed on Monday)
00.00 a.m - 08.00 a.m
Angkringan (a traditional Javanese street vendor) is a commonplace sight in Yogyakarta. Its wooden vending cart is commonly spotted on street with full provision of many snacks served on its small flat table. Among countless popularly renowned angkringan in Yogyakarta, there exist an ever-memorable angkringan every time I visit the gudeg city.
I refer to it as angkringan 'bapak' since the owner is a friendly middle aged person who treats me like his own son. Indeed, the angkringan is not listed as one of the most popular angkringan in Yogyakarta since it does not even have an exact name. However, it means so much that ever since I visited this angkringan in 2010 I fell crazy in love with it.
The Angkringan is owned and run by a middle aged man of 65 years old who push the cart all alone and go around his usual track to sell the food. What makes it distinctive from others is the fact that he only start vending food when most of the citizens are about to go to sleep. Commonly, when the clock is about to strike midnight, the 'bapak' wake up to organize his goods, turn on the fluorescent lamp, burn the charcoal, heat the water, and put on the snacks on the wooden cart.
When everything is all set and the water in the kettle vaporizes, the man will turn on the radio on his favorite station. He will occupy his usual spot in front of the rippling stream of Winongo River water with the strain of melodious Javanese songs of high language. For me, savoring every mouthful spun of warm 'nasi kucing' while listening to the Javanese songs brings a highly traditional Javanese atmosphere in the air.
Apart from the fact that it is always open at midnight, there are always loyal customers who visit this angkringan. Some insomniacs who may find it difficult to keep eyes shut at night will commonly visit the place just to have a sip of warm glass of hot tea and devour a wrap of 'nasi kucing' and some fried snacks while spending the night. To every customer, the 'bapak' will always provide his best smile, greet them warmly, ask them to sit down, and have chit chat and warm jokes with them.
Since I graduated and decided to move to Jakarta a year ago, I have been missing this kind of special atmosphere. I always have something soothing inside of me when I come to eat all the simple feasts in this angkringan. In addition, the warm friendliness of this middle aged person I called 'Bapak' who always eagerly serves his customers with a chat is a distinctive feature that I never find in many other angkringan which are always crowded by people.
To date, a wrap of warm 'nasi kucing' in angkringan bapak is still labeled with merely 2,000 rupiahs. Moreover, the various fried snacks are labeled with only 500 rupiahs. What I can say is that amidst the all ever increasing price of many other goods, angkringan bapak is still the only one which provides us with an invaluable value of simplicity which is not only about moneymaking. To my personal view, the angkringan bapak is not only a wooden cart full of snacks, but also a dim place to savor the simplicity and authenticity of Jogja in its entirety.
A short visit to angkringan bapak even convinces me that the expression that Jogja is made of longing, home, and angkringan is proven to be true.
Text Aryanto Wijaya Translation CILAS UII
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