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What Are the Chef’s Favorite Local Foods?

What Are the Chef’s Favorite Local Foods?

Monika Febriana
30 August 2023


From comforting soupy dishes like meatballs to flavorful suckling pigs, these culinary experts reveal their cherished local food preferences.


Local delicacies holds a special place in everyone’s heart, including our talented chefs. From comforting soupy dishes like meatballs to flavorful suckling pigs, these culinary experts reveal their cherished local food preferences.

What’s Your Beloved Local Dish?

If you were to ask about my favorite local dish, without hesitation, I’d say Soto. This delightful soup comes in various forms across Indonesia, but for me, the ultimate Soto experience lies with Soto Mie Bogor. This dish features a light broth teeming with noodles, sliced meat, risoles, fried tofu, and more. Pairing Soto Bogor with warm rice, especially on chilly days, is an absolute treat.

Surprisingly, Soto is also a beloved choice among our chefs’ favorite local foods. Apart from Soto, there’s a wide array of other flavorful local dishes that have captured these chefs’ hearts. Let’s delve into their personal stories and their cherished local flavors.

Our Chef’s Favorite Local Food

Hans Christian

Chef-owner of August Restaurant, he has brought honor to Indonesia by securing The Coveted Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants’ American Express One To Watch Award. For Hans, Babi Guling (suckling pig) is his local dish of choice. Although he hasn’t singled out a specific restaurant, he expresses his fondness for Nasi Babi Guling all around Bali.

“I love Nasi Babi Guling, anywhere in Bali.”

Kade Chandra

Chef Kade Chandra, the Principal/Managing Partner of NoolStrala Café, NoolStrala Bread Factory, and Maple & Oak/MØ, finds solace in cooking, viewing it as a creative therapy. His favorite local dish is Soto, a coconut milk-based soup with succulent meats and crispy accompaniments. His heart belongs to Santan-based soto, particularly H. Mamat’s with its exquisite oseng daging and emping topping.

“My undeniable love for Santan-based Soto. H. Mamat’s is the best. Out of this world, topped with oseng daging (stir-fried meat) and emping (crispy chips).”

Kim Pangestu

Who can resist meatballs? Chef Kim Pangestu certainly can’t. Bakso Urat Wonogiri is renowned for its delectable meat and rich, flavorful sauce. Chef Kim’s preferred spot for this dish is the Green Garden Complex, where she indulges in Bakso Urat.

“Bakso urat from street food. The best one is from Bakso Wonogiri in Green Garden Complex. It’s the best.”

Nabila Yoestino

BIKO’s Pastry Chef Nabila Yoestino holds Nasi Padang close to her heart. Her chosen menu includes Gulai Tunjang and Sayur Daun Ubi, best enjoyed with steaming rice. Her preferred Nasi Padang joint is Pagi Sore for its fantastic dishes.

“Nasi Padang! It has been my favorite since a long time ago because they have varieties of side dishes and are served with hot white rice. Pagi Sore has always been my first choice, their Gulai Tunjang and Sayur Daun Ubi Tumbuk are the best!”

Richie Pratadaja

Despite living in the United States for 11 years, Chef Richie Pratadaja’s love for local cuisine remains strong. This CRIO chocolatier’s heart belongs to Soto, and his preferred haunt is Soto Bang Mamat at Raden Saleh.

“Soto is one of my favorite local dishes. Soto Bang Mamat is one of my favorite places to get Soto or the small kiosk in the Raden Saleh area.”

Vallian Gunawan

Having gained extensive experience in Singapore and worked for renowned Michelin-starred establishments, Chef Vallian Gunawan’s love for Babi Guling (Suckling Pig) from Bali endures. He frequents Babi Guling Sari Nadi in Denpasar for his Suckling Pig cravings.

“I live in Bali, so Babi Guling (Suckling Pig) is definitely a favorite. I usually get my fix from Babi Guling Sari Nadi in Denpasar.”

Wiem Kahyang Isha

Soto maintains its place as a beloved local dish among many chefs, including Chef Wiem Kahyang Isha. His preference leans towards Soto Ayam Surabaya, known for its savory gravy and delightful crunch from flavorful ebi (dried small prawn).

“My go-to comfort food is Soto Ayam, and Soto Ayam Pak Pardi Surabaya is my favorite! Savory with a hint of sweetness, topped with crunch from flavorful ebi (dried small prawn). Whenever I’m in Surabaya, I always go there to savor this delicious dish.”

Yuda Bustara

Celebrity urban chef Yuda Bustara, renowned for his cooking tips and recipes on YouTube, has a strong affection for Bakso (Meatballs). He finds solace in Bakso Solo Samrat, celebrating its delectable meatballs and rich beef broth.

“Bakso! On any occasion, I will always have Bakso, for me the best meatballs with deep beef broth would be Bakso Solo Samrat. Fun fact Samrat stand for Sam Ratulangi, it was their first-ever address, but they are available anywhere now, even online.”

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