Often, restaurant reviews focus on the obvious dining places, the ones on TripAdvisor, the popular upscale local restaurants. But there are far more unknown or out-of-the-way dining establishments that get little publicity.
For those of you who may visit the kampung bule bar district in Nagoya (aka, the Nagoya Entertainment District), there is a new food court that has been created in the past few months that may warrant a try.
Located in front of Lusy’s Oarhouse, the Angkringan food court is nestled under the shade of a huge tree. Until recently, this plaza was just a haven for between-work taxi and ojek drivers, who played dominoes all afternoon and into the evening. The clack of a domino being slapped on the table fills the air for hours. This little triangular plaza seemed to exist almost in secret, until someone discovered a great location (5-way roads in front, kampung bule in back) for food stalls. A little renovation with concrete, tiles and bricks, a little greenery added underneath the big tree’s limbs, and you have a mini-foodcourt.
There are three warungs within the renovated park-like area, plus a cigarette/soda stand. Different types of Indonesian food are offered at each stand.
In addition, there are two “pop up” restaurants nearby, their tent-like covers and furniture assembled every evening about 6 and disassembled at 5 the next morning. These restaurants both serve a selection of fish and chicken meals. The one furthest away from the plaza tends to have more diners then the one right next to the plaza, suggesting a difference in food quality, as the prices are basically the same (Rp25,000 for chicken/rice/greens).
I have eaten at all three of the warungs under the tree. One of these only serves lunch, and specializes in curries, with a huge wok full of kari ayam displayed out in the open daily. Well worth the Rp3,000 if you are in the neighborhood.
The other two stalls feature female “chefs.” The one at the western end of the park offers a variety of Indonesian dishes and the woman doing the cooking has a flair for stylish presentation of her meals. However, the bakso I tried was already prepared and only needed the noodles for completion. It was so-so but that could be because I took it takeaway in a plastic bag.
In contrast, the warung directly across the street from Lusy’s features a young woman who cooks everything from scratch. Watching her work the spatula and the wok is amazing in itself. She’s really something of a cooking artist. She and her husband have set up a clean and attractive stall. They don’t speak any English but there are several taxi drivers who hang out in this park who are more than willing to assist in that regard.
I have had the nasi goreng and mei goreng at this stall (Rp25,000), and while it was a bit too spicy for me, it was delicious, and far to much for me to consume in one sitting.
On another occasion, a friend and I brought some large cleaned and deveined prawn and asked if they could make us a special, off-the-menu dish. As this was a unique request here, and may even have been a slight on her cooking, we were able, with the help of one of the taxi guys, to convey our request and she made a beautiful and delicious dish for two, with rice (Rp35,000).
Whether you choose one of the pop-up restaurants or the mom-and-pop stalls under the tree, you can’t go wrong at the Angkringan food court.