Potatoes! Chip! Wedges! Besides ancient temples and geothermal activity, Dieng is Indonesia’s largest producer of spuds, tasty carbs to warm you up on a cold day any way you serve them, although in Dieng it’s mostly fried or re-fried ... or re-fried again.
Stalls lining the sights will fry you up a serve, but you may want them to hold the thick sweet sauce we saw on some. If you’d like to wash your chips down with a cold beer, first cab off the rank, well the only place we found that sold beer (and promptly ran out) is Losmen and Restoran Bu Djono, Dieng’s quintessential travellers’ central. Bu Djono serves the best chips in town too (15,000 rupiah). They also offer standard rice and noodle dishes and some warming soup. Try the soup jamur, mushroom soup, (17,000 rupiah) to keep to chill at bay. If they run out of beer, their kopi jahe (ginger coffee) has a kick (5,000 rupiah). They also dish up solid local info too.
If your toes are feeling the chill, warm them up on some hot coals. A number of eateries around town seem to entice with cosy brazier, and we were enticed at Ikan Bakar Cobek Djeng Sri. Hot coals and ikan bakar—what more could you need? Friendly, and the food was tasty enough but like most places in town, let’s just say it won’t be winning a Michelin star. Along with our fish we were offered “for free” a rather dubious jam jar full of pink “alcohol”, supposedly fermented for over one year. At your own risk. Ikan Bakar Cobek Djeng Sri opens daily except when they are closed! We love their logic.
Hipster style (for a warung) Selera Raja Dieng is one of a row of warungs in the street leading to the Arjuna Complex. Dark walls, mood lighting and funky plywood trophy heads almost convince you you’re in a city cafe, well except for the plastic stools and local menu. Mie ongklok is the signature dish here, and a Dieng local speciality—yellow noodles with cabbage and leek drenched with a thick, starchy, almost Chinese-style sauce mixed with spices, palm sugar and dried shrimp, finned off with a sprinkle of fried onion. You can order “biasa” (10,000 rupiah) or with satay ayam (15,000 rupiah), although the more traditional version is with beef satay rather than chicken.
Along the same strip as Selera Raja, Warung Makan Klotho dishes up a variety of goat, beef and chicken satay as well as other meaty fare along with the usual mie and nasi. Half the menu is in English, hopefully the half you are keen on. We tried the satay ayam (16,000 rupiah), and though it was quality meat cooked well, it was too sweet for our taste, but adding the fresh red onion and chilli from the side cut the sweetness.
We were a little surprised to find both Kedai Dieng and Coffee Washoku Dieng, fancy-pants (well for Dieng) manual brew artisan cafes. Kedai Dieng on Jalan Telaga Warna is the more basic of the two, a lean-to warung by the side of the road, and though they don’t have an espresso machine, a variety of methods for brewing your coffee are offered. These guys take their coffee seriously, and it tasted good, but could have been a bit warmer (coffee 8,000–15,000 rupiah). Kedai Dieng serve chips (10,000 rupiah) too.
Stop by on your way back from the temples and crater. Coffee Washoku Dieng feels more like a bar than a cafe but offers a similar deal—decent coffee! Here served in a large but cosy exposed brick and timber building with chilled tunes and a pleasant view of the surrounding fields “open until the coffee is finished”, but unfortunately no food to snack on.
Coffee Washoku Dieng Jalan Raya Dieng, Dieng; .
Ikan Bakar Cobek Djeng Sri Jalan Raya Dieng, Dieng; T: (0822) 2107 4147; https://www.facebook.com/IkanBakarDjengSri/ Mo–Su: 10:00–22:00 (except when closed!).
Kedai Dieng Jalan Telaga Warna, Dieng; T: (0857) 2990 1992; Mo–Su: 08:00–20:00.
Losmen and Restoran Bu Djono 27 Jalan Raya Dieng, Dieng; T: (0286) 3320 168, (0852) 2664 5669, (0812) 2611 465; http://www.losmenbudjono.com Mo–Su: 07:00–21:00.
Selera Raja Dieng Jalan Komplek Candi Arjuna, Dieng; T: (0813) 2872 8646, (0813) 3369 4940, (0813) 2826 13; Mo–Su: 06:00–22:00.
Warung Makan Klothok Jalan Komplek Candi Arjuna, Dieng; T: (0812) 4745 3949, (0821) 3749 4426; .
Sally spent twelve years leading tourists around Indonesia and Malaysia where she collected a lot of stuff. She once carried a 40kg rug overland across Java. Her house has been described as a cross between a museum and a library. Fuelled by coffee, she can often be found riding her bike or petting stray cats. Sally believes travel is the key to world peace.