NASI CAMPUR DEMANGAN
Hunger Buster at Night, Demangan Traditional Market Is Within Sight
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Updated on 11/22/2017
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09.00 PM - Sold Out
It's almost predawn and tens of vehicles were still standing in line, occupying one side of Jalan Gejayan, just in front of Ardi Farma Pharmacy. Some of the owners of these cars were busy gathering, waiting in line for their order. Some others had been on the plastic tables and chairs, as well as on the mats provided. The cold air that night after the rain didn't seem to discourage the customers from really finding a cure for their hunger or just trying a taste of the food booth that has been considerably popular among college students.
Here in Jogja, nasi kucing (literally translates to "cat rice" due to its portion that fits the portion for a cat) with anchovies sambal is the typical dish easily found in angkringans. However, at this food tent not so far from Demangan traditional market, you won't find rice and anchovies sambal served in palm-size wraps but in plastic plates, along with different vegetables and main dishes just like nasi rames (rice and mixed vegetables/main dishes). Various names have been dubbed to this untitled food tent, such as Nasi Campur Gejayan, Nasi Campur Demangan, Nasi Campur Sambal Teri, Nasi Campur Pak Wal, Nasi Campur Pak Yo, Nasi Campur Mbah Dul and many other names. Culinary fanbase, most of which are college students, even dubbed the named the food tent "Mc. Dul".
As a proof of how legendary Warung Nasi Campur Gejayan is, some of its fans are even willing to queue hours before the food stall even opens. Sometimes, faithful customers who have known the food stall "all too well" could not wait until later at night. They would come to the owner's house, into an alley not far from the food stall.
Done with the parking, YogYES joined in the queue. Amidst the crowd, we saw a table full of pans containing lodeh, various dishes on wide plates and even in large bowls-gorengan (any kind of deep-fried snacks), scrambled eggs, salted eggs, balado eggs, fried chicken, balado chicken and many more. Strands of raw petai (Parkia speciosa) were hung right above the table, sending temptation to anyone who's loving it.
Despite the numerous customers who didn't seem to be leaving immediately, it took not so long for YogYES to order a plate of mixed rice, complete with anchovies sambal and other main dishes. With great agility, Mr. Waluyo and his wife served each and every order of the customers, including ours. Mr. Waluyo and his wife are the second generation running this very food stall on Jalan Gejayan. He inherits the legendary culinary business from his father, widely known as Mbah Dul or Mr. Abdul, in 1993.
From among the customers waiting in the line, someone suddenly asked, "This is gudeg, isn't it?"
I instantly thought that it might be the first time this particular customer visited Nasi Campur Gejayan. Responding to the question, Mr. Waluyo only answered briefly while serving customers, filling portions of warm rice onto empty plates. "What gudeg? We don't serve gudeg here."
Aside from kering tempe (deep-fried tempeh in small pieces) and anchovies sambal, different variants of lodeh have been one of the distinguishing dishes served at the food stall that have been a legend since the 70s. You can find slices of squash/chayote, string beans, and young jackfruit in a soup cooked with coconut milk and hot spices. Perhaps it's the young jackfruit, the primary ingredients for gudeg, that often cause customers to mistake that the soup with the well-known typical food of Jogja.
A portion of mixed rice and a glass of warm orange water were on each of our hands. YogYES chose to sit on an empty corner of matted lesehan spot, illuminated by the light from shop and street lamps. We could no longer wait to savor the warm mixed rice in that night's cold air. The first spoonful, we realized that, although using the same ingredients and looked indeed quite similar to gudeg, the young jackfruit soup created by Mr. Waluyo was a lot different. While gudeg tastes sweet and a bit crunchy, this lodeh soup is more of being salty, crunchy and spicy. It tastes even better with anchovies sambal that feels good on the tongue of those loving spicy dishes. Those who don't really like spicy culinary should better be careful of the "traps" you might find while enjoying the food under those dim light. It'll be safer if you just order mixed rice without anchovies sambal.
With various toppings on a portion of mixed rice, you can imagine just how much nutrients you'd get from squash/chayote, string beans, young jackfruit, tempeh, anchovies and other dishes. Better still, the anchovies sambal is made of small fishes belonging to the Engraulidae family, known as one of the source of high protein as an alternative for egg, meat and milk. In addition, as these little fishes-often known as Bilis fishes-can also be eaten all with their bones as they provide calcium and phosphor. However, although Mr. Waluyo's mixed rice does provide us with a lot of nutrients, it's not too good to consume it too often, as the lodeh soup, cooked with coconut milk, may trigger cholesterol increase. So, if you find yourself addicted to this culinary, at least make sure that you're not taking it every night!
On Sundays every two weeks, Warung Nasi Campur Gejayan usually closes. To avoid disappointment, you'd better ask the available contact.
Text DIAN NORRAS Photography JAYA TRI HARTONO
Copyright © 2016 YogYES.COM
How to get there:
from UGM - Jalan Colombo - Colombo T-junction, turn right to Jalan gejayan/Affandi - Nasi Campur Gejayan (across Ardi Farma Pharmacy, right side of the street)