WARUNG OMAH BU AGENG
A Plate of Indonesian Delicacy That Even Mark Zuckerberg Had Tried Happily
Phone : (0274) 387 191 0812 2301 7999
Updated on 6/9/2018
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Open Tuesday - Sunday
11 am - 11 pm
Foreign tourists passing by have been a common view in the neighborhood of Jalan Prawirotaman and Tirtodipuran, including when YogYES team arrived there. This time, our destination would be a restaurant managed by the renowned humanist, Butet Kertaredjasa, and his family. The restaurant is known as Warung Makan Bu Ageng. The name briefly reminded us of the fictional characters created by the author Umar Kayam in his work, Mangan Ora Mangan Kumpul (1995). However, it turned out that the name was chosen because that's how Mr. Butet's grandchildren used to call his wife, Mrs. Rulyani Isfihana.
While our eyes were busy exploring the line of dishes in the menu handed by the waiter-from snacks, processed vegetables, side dishes, to the main dish i.e. nasi campur-a paragraph in the menu drew my attention.
"Amenangi jaman luwe.
Wong sing ora luwe rasah melu-melu luwe.
Kudu tetep mangan.
Sak begja-begjane wong mangan, isih begja wong sing kelakon mangan ing warung kene.
Mulane ojo kapok mangan.
Mengko ndak luwe maneh."
[This is the age of hunger.
If one is not hungry, keeping himself away from hunger is better.
One should not cease to eat.
Lucky are those who can eat; eating here, you'll be luckier.
Don't cease to eat. Or else, you'd go hungry again.]
The quote was originally a verse of the Javanese poem "Zaman Edan" (literally translates as "The Age of Madness") created by Javanese poet Rangga Warsita, which had been parodied into "Zaman Luwe" (literally translates as "The Age of Hunger"). I, who didn't have any knowledge in literature, would interpret that the paragraph means that Warung Omah Bu Ageng is the right place to go when hungry, though there are many other dining places. This place can attract even those who are not hungry to have meals here and even return some other time for the addicting taste of the foods.
From the many options of homey dishes on the menu list, we chose Nasi Campur Lele Njingkrung, Ayam Nyelekit, Pecel (vegetable salad in peanut sauce)), Bubur Duren Mlekoh, Jeruk Keprok, and Tomato Juice. Among those selections were this restaurant's signature dishes. While waiting for our orders to come, I casually asked the waitress at the cashier. "Miss, is there any way for me to see Mr. Butet?" Meeting an artist sure is a rare opportunity, I thought. But the comedian, who specializes in monologue, wasn't there that time. He would only take his time to be in the restaurant at certain occasions, i.e. when the restaurant is in busy hours.
Having failed in my attempt to meet him, one of Bagong Kussudiardjo's sons, I spent my time there observing the building of the restaurant-operating since 26 December 2011, a joglo typical to that of classic Javanese architecture. Serving typical Javanese foods combined with the delicacy of Borneo's Kutai taste, the restaurant adopts the concept of a homey restaurant. Aside from the menu, the atmosphere around here also reminded me of Javanese vintage houses. On the back most wall of the building was a Wall of Fame containing black-and-white pictures of renowned Jogja's artists, politicians, and public figures-an emphasis to the thick Javanese air we'd commonly find in a vintage Javanese house.
Not long after, our orders were served. One serving of nasi campur-rice topped with tuna floss, potato chips, kuah areh (thick coconut broth), sambal (hot sauce made mainly of chili with other spices as secondary ingredients) Kutai, kerupuk (deep fried crackers) legendar or kerupuk karak, and also the side dishes, lele (catfish) njingkrung or mlungker (both means curled up) were the first dishes we devoured, since this was indeed the restaurant's signature dish. A plate of the unique nasi campur offers a combination of Indonesian delicacies-mixing both Javanese and Kutainese seasonings. It's exactly in line with the restaurant's philosophy the owner wanted to convey: "Finding Indonesian delicacy on a plate".
Aside from our order, nasi campur with Lele Njingkrung, there were also several other side dishes prepared to accompany the main course, such as Paru Ketumbar (cow's lung in coriander seasoning), Baceman Kambing (sweet marinated lamb meat), Lidah Masak Semur (cow's tongue cooked in soy sauce), Terik Daging Sapi (beef cooked in coconut milk), or Ayam Bakar Suwiran (sheets of grilled chicken meat). In addition to the side dishes served as a package along with nasi campur, there were also different side dishes you can order separately, such as Ayam Nyelekit that we ordered. Those who are into hot dishes will love this-slices of chicken meat is boiled in a mixture of seasonings, soy sauce, and chili, and then fried. It didn't taste as nyelekit(Javanese word for 'bitingly sharp') as I've imagined, though.
The next favorite dish we tried was a portion of pecel which, despite being eaten without rice, was able to completely fill our stomach. This is a signature dish from East Java, made of boiled vegetables topped by peanut sauce, and is the perfect choice for vegetarians, those who are on a diet, or simply those who live in the City of Gudeg but have been missing typical East Javanese cuisine-just like me. However, the soft-textured sambal tasted a bit too sweet for an East Javanese dish.
After finishing the main courses, it's time for the dessert, Bubur Duren Mlekoh. Made of durian flesh, slices of plain bread, and coconut milk, this is the most favorite dish in Warung Omah Bu Ageng. One of us regretted the decision of ordering a small-size instead of the jumbo one. If it wasn't for our completely full stomach, we would have ordered another bowl of Bubur Duren Mlekoh.
The homey menu offered in the restaurant has not attracted only tourists visiting Jogja but also famous artists who happened to know Mr. Butet personally, like Rima Melati, Jajang C. Noer, Happy Salma, Didi Petet, Eros Djarot, and Slamet Rahardjo. Even the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, had once chosen to have his lunch at the restaurant during his visit to Jogja, despite the fact that, as a City of Culinary, Jogja has countless famous restaurants. Another uniqueness is that customers can also enjoy some of the dishes, like Ayam Nyelekit, Sambal Kutai Udang, Terik Daging, and Oseng Mercon Dor, without having to go to Jogja since they are available online in cans and can last one year.
Text DIAN NORRAS Photography JAYA TRI HARTONO
Copyright © 2016 YogYES.COM
How to get there:
from Jalan Prawirotaman I and Jalan Parangtritis to the west - go straight from the intersection to Jalan Tirtodipuran - Warung Omah Bu Ageng.