MBAH CEMPLUNG FRIED CHICKEN
From Semanggi Village, Mbah Cemplung Competes Against Crispy Chicken
Updated on 2/3/2016
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IDR 25,000 - 45,000 / portion
IDR 100,000 - 180,000 / whole chicken
08.00 - 17:00
YogYES finally found a small direction board read "Ayam Goreng Mbah Cemplung" after more than an hour of wandering around in confusion. We were greeted by a very large parking area, almost twice the restaurant area itself. Several big banners with the name of Mbah Cemplung Fried Chicken were displayed on the outer wall.
A woman took YogYES team into the restaurant established in 1980. We chose a table near the entrance. From here, we could clearly see all the activities-either inside or outside the restaurant. More banners were also displayed on the inside walls, similar to those on the outer wall. The semi-permanent walls were like a high-rating TV broadcast, attracting various products and services to compete with each others to obtain a space of advertisement.
Our orders were served fifteen minutes later. Fried kemanggang chicken with a plate of thick, soft rice, sambal (ground chili with spices), and fresh vegetables were served before us. The chicken was golden in color and has successfully attracted our appetites. Perfect. This is the simple menu behind the legendary name of Mbah Cemplung within the fried chicken business in Jogja. The crisp, soft traditionally-bred chicken meat served here has also been the reason for many to go "into the deep" of the feet of Mount Sempu, all just for a portion of fried chicken. There is, indeed, no special process to make the delicious fried chicken a legend that skyrockets throughout Indonesia and appraised by those outside Jogja. The key is just a family recipe that has been perfectly formulated 34 years ago.
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Traditionally-bred chickens of no older than 3 months are cooked by ungkep (boiled with seasoning or coconut milk) twice to allow better absorption of the seasoning as well as to make the meat softer. The last process is to cook the meat in hot frying oil for only a short length of time, before eventually serving it on a plate on the table for the customers, who will certainly finish it off in just a blink of the eye.
There will be no chicken supplies left at the end of the day. All chicken are always sold out. In a single day, Mbah Cemplung Fried Chicken Restaurant can serve approximately a hundred portions of tempting fried chicken. This is not uncommon, actually; within the period of only an hour, tens of customers would have come and gone. Cars, either from Jogja or other cities, keep coming and leaving the parking lot. We've even seen a very long line of people queuing in front of the cashier.
From Semanggi Village, Mbah Cemplung struggled to fight against the domination of crispy chicken. The family recipe that once was just ordinary has now turned into a must-have item for many. Situated far from strategic locations, the restaurant has indeed made it to gain numerous customers. The restaurant is humble, but is legendary.
Text YOGAKU PUSPITA RINI SAGALA Editor KEN SAVITRIE Photography YOGAKU PUSPITA RINI SAGALA, IKHSAN HADI PRABOWO Translation WIDIANA MARTININGSIH
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