The planeloads of Jakartans, Singaporeans and Malaysians who regularly hit the factory outlets in Bandung have more than nabbing a bargain in their plans, they are also here to sample the huge range of local delicacies, check out the latest upmarket restaurant or sip some serious coffee as Bandung is known as Java’s culinary capital—just saying, if you do visit the bargain shops, buy the next size up.
Sundanese food features heavily among the well-developed eating scene, and unlike some regional Indonesian cuisines that are heavy on oils and sauces, the style here is more fragrant and fresh. Popular dishes include nasi timbel (rice cooked in banana leaves with sides of chicken, tofu, tempe, salted fish and raw vegetables with sambal as an accompaniment) often served with sayur asem, a sour tamarind based vegetable soup.
Try the various pepas, chicken, fish or tofu with fragrant spices steamed in banana leaves or batagor is another popular choice said to have originated in Bandung, the name is a portmanteau of bakso tahu goreng (fried tofu meatballs) and is made from fried fish dumplings usually with a peanut sauce or in a clear broth. Siomay is often sold by the same vendors, and basically is a steamed version of these dumplings, very similar to dimsum.
Bubur ayam Bandung is the local take on chicken rice porridge (congee) and this stomach-lining dish can be found 24 hours a day. As for local drinks, besides coffee served at the ubiquitous (and seriously decent) hipster cafes, bandrek is the local brew, a sweet hot ginger based drink with pepper, cinnamon and coconut and if you’d like something a little stronger, the city has no shortage of bars.
Braga Street offers something for everyone, and if you don’t know where to start, pop into The Kiosk at Braga CIty Walk set up like a mini food market. The menu has pictures to help you choose from the large selection and dishes are served in the traditional way in clay pots, bamboo baskets or on banana leaves. One of their specialities is nasi liwet jambal roti which is rice cooked with coconut milk and tiny white salted fish that almost look like long grains of rice with eyes, served with fried chicken, tofu, tempeh and raw veggies (35,000 rupiah). The local drinks and juices are delicious too, but service can be a bit slow so be prepared for a wait.
If you’re too hungry to linger, join the lunch time office worker crowd at Roemah Makan 88 for self-service fare. If you pick out the fried chicken, they cook it up fresh with a crispy grated coconut topping, worth trying.
Warung Cepot is set in a lovely garden behind a streetfront shop on Jalan Pasirkaliki with wayang golek puppets adorning the walls (Cepot is one of the names of the traditional characters) and traditional music drifting softly into consciousness to give a feel that is unique in Bandung. Here you can try Sundanese recipes usually reserved for special occasions, such as weddings. Once you’ve enjoyed your meal stock up on some souvenirs in the shop selling traditional lollies and snacks—you can even buy old fashioned chocolate cigarettes (we like the really strong peppermints sold here too).
Another terrific place to try Sundanese food is Warung Misbar smack in the middle of the factory outlet area on Jalan Riau. You may think you are walking into an old cinema with movie posters adorning the awnings, and once you’ve served yourself from the wide selection, you can sit down to watch one of the old movies that run on a loop.
Sedep Malem is a popular Sundanese restaurant in the south of town, not far from Jalan Asia Afrika with fish the main specialty, though there are plenty of other options. We love the sambal bar here where you can help yourself to a variety of sambals and lalapan (raw veggie accompaniments).
Don’t be surprised at Sambel Hejo Natuna when you sit down and the table is immediately covered in food, even if you are eating alone. You are not expected to eat it all, but whatever you try will be added to your bill. Saves printing menus. Don’t worry about the prices, it’s very reasonable and a price list is available at the counter. If you are not sure what you are being offered, just ask—we loved the fragrant pepes here and the perkedel (Fried balls of mashed potato) are some of the best we’ve had in Indonesia.
If you have fussy eaters in tow, try Lekker 188 which resembles a hawker centre in a historic building on Jalan Asia Afrika, you’ll be offered a menu here with everything from local fare to fish and chips. Nasi Kalong is almost a Bandung institution, this outdoor nighttime eatery with live music is often packed, although we’d come more for the atmosphere than the food (although it’s decent enough).
Other nighttime fare worth trying is Ibu Eli’s streetside stall Nasi Kunning and Nasi Uduk Ibu Eli with dishes in point-and-pick pots accompanied by either nasi kunning (yellow turmeric flavoured rice) or nasi uduk coconut rice. We tried the nasi kunning, packed with flavour and though all the dished looked brown, they were equally delish (we did skip the flouro pink krupuk though).
An excellent spot with myriad of choices and a great atmosphere is Paskal Food Market at the back of the upmarket shopping mall Paskal 23 not far from the train station. This outdoor nightmarket (also open during the day) can get crowded with long queues, and the payment system is overly complex and a little annoying—you queue to order at your preferred stall, then queue again to pay at the cashier then take your docket back to the stall, grab a number and sit and wait. But you’ll soon forget that when you’re settled with your (hopefully) delicious meal and cold beer—yes, they have a bar which is not so common at markets in Indonesia. We tried sate ayam from Waroeng Sate Kardjan that has been in business since 1925, and we can see why, they sure know how to make a good satay. If you venture here by taxi, ask them to drop you at the food market, not the mall as it’s a bit of a hike.
Sometimes it can be daunting when you are not exactly sure of the ingredients if you are vegetarian or vegan, especially with terasi (shrimp paste) added to many dishes, but you can relax at Kehidupan where, although many of the dishes look like meat this is all vegan (we know because they said so). The cafeteria style joint is point-and-pick with posters and videos accentuating the benefits of veganism. It can feel a bit cultish like you are been preached to, but the food is delicious and feels sort of heathy.
Conversely, if you’re craving the taste of porky pig in this Muslim majority town, KenKen Bigul Kitchen with De’Doctor Beer Clinic may hit the spot. They bill themselves as “pork basecamp” and declare that they are “porkatarian”. Pork ribs, knuckles and Balinese babi guling are the specials in this place that feels a bit like a sports bar. The beers are cold and the service is friendly too.
Aside from the restaurants and warungs with a multitude of choices, a couple of one dish joints (or famous for one) worth checking out include Bebek Garang on Jalan Braga which serves duck (or chicken) with their famous sambal in a fast food setting (don’t worry the local flavours are authentic). Dishes are around 20,000 rupiah. You can buy jars of the sambal to take home too.
In a somewhat more authentic setting, Mie E’ncek dishes up excellent handmade noodles with the addition of bakso, pangsit or siomay (meatballs, wonton or dumplings) if you wish. We tried yamien asin pangsit (29,000 rupiah) noodles with a fish stuffed pangsit and baso tahu kuah (9,000 rupiah) with fish and tofu meatballs, a little pricey by local standards, but a simple and delicious breakfast option—they open early.
Also popular with mostly beef based bakso is Bakso So’un and Mie Ayam Lodaya, but you’ll have to wait for a bit later in the day to enjoy your noodles and meatballs here.
Good for breakfast or anytime as they open 24 hours, is Bubur Ayam Bejo, although you may have to standby for a spot to sit in this tiny stall. Point to what you’d like in your rice porridge, from shredded chicken, eggs, fried tofu, liver and a few other bits, then spoon on the other toppings including sambal and spring onions at the table and enjoy. A great start before a day’s exploring.
For a refreshing sweet treat, Es Durian Pak Aip Sakinah offers fresh durian (go on give it a go) with ice and palm sugar (20,000 rupaih) as well as a few other optional additions. If you really don’t like durian, other ice treats are on offer too. There seems to be a few branches of this joint or perhaps some copycats as one we visited to the south of the train station was far superior to another we tried with the same name.
Bandung is known for its colonial architecture, and a couple of restaurants score historic homes some with colonial menus to match alongside the Indonesian selections. Indischetafel is set in a beautiful old building in the heart of one of Bandung’s upmarket eating districts. The antique-filled rooms with formal dining spaces almost make you wish you’d packed a safari suite and pith helmet (it’s Ok you can get away with more casual attire). We went for the colonial menu here and tried Vis Ala Meneer (65,000 rupiah) dory fillets with sautéed potatoes, mushrooms and lemon butter sauce as well as Broodpudding (bread and butter pudding) (25,000 rupiah), old style comfort food.
On Jalan Braga, popular Braga Permai mixes the old and new in their establishment opened since 1923. Listen to live music, enjoy a cocktail or a glass of wine with a menu that spans the globe, including some original dishes from the early days.
Across the road from the railway station, Kampiun Bristro on Jalan Kebon Kawung is a comfortable place to wait for a train. The vibe is relaxed and the Western and Asian menu specialises in grills. Wednesday to Saturdays you can catch a band in the evening and although it’s not on the menu, they serve cold beer too.
Bakso So’un & Mie Ayam Lodaya 3 Jalan Veteran, Bandung; T: (0224) 231 145; Tu–Su: 11:00–21:00.
Bebek Garang 34 Jalan Braga, Bandung; T: (0224) 209 835; http://bebekgarang.co.id Mo–Su: 10:00–22:00.
Braga Permai 58 Jalan Braga, Bandung; T: (0224) 233 778; http://www.bragapermai.com Mo–Su: 07:00–24:00.
Bubur Ayam Bejo 41 Jalan Baranang Siang, Bandung; Mo–Su: 24 hours.
Es Durian Pak Aip Sakinah 81 Jalan Kebun Jati, Bandung; T: (0221) 403 120; Mo–Su: 10:00–22:00.
Indischetafel 19 Jalan Sumatera , Bandung; T: (0224) 218 802; Mo–Su: 07:00–23:00.
Kampiun Bristro 24 Jalan Kebon Kawung, Bandung; T: (0224) 202 769; Mo–Su: 07:00–01:00.
Kehidupan 63 Jalan Pajajaran, Bandung; T: (0224) 205 445; http://kehidupantidakpernahberakhir.com Mo–Su: 06:00–21:00.
KenKen Bigul Kitchen 17 Jalan Dr. Rajiman, Bandung; T: (0224) 204 721; Mo–Su: 10:00–22:00.
Lekker 188 188 Jalan Asia Afrika, Bandung; T: (0224) 230 273; Su–Fr: 11:00–23:00 Sa: 11:00–24:00.
Mie E’ncek 24 Jalan Guntur, Bandung; T: (0227) 307 519, (0812) 2300 2424; Mo–Su: 07:00–17:00.
Nasi Kalong 102 Jalan RE Martadinata, Bandung; T: (0811) 205 855; Mo–Su: 19:00–24:00.
Nasi Kunning & Nasi Uduk Ibu Eli 71 Jalan Pasirkoja, Bandung; Evenings.
Paskal Food Market Paskal Hyper Square, 25–27 Jalan Pasirkaliki, Bandung; Mo–Fr: 10:00–23:30 Sa–Su: 10:00–12:30.
Roemah Makan 88 88 Jalan Braga, Bandung; T: (0224) 205 943; Mo–Fr: 07:30–15:00.
Sambel Hejo Natuna 29 Jalan Natura, Bandung; T: (0224) 218 961; http://www.sambelhejonatuna.com Mo–Su: 09:00–20:00.
Sedep Malem 11 Jalan Burangrang Raya, Bandung; T: (0227) 303 966; Mo–Su: 10:00–22:00.
The Kiosk Ground Floor, Unit 56, Braga City Walk, 99–101 Jalan Braga, Bandung; http://thekioskfoodmarket.blogspot.co.id Mo–Su: 10:00–22:00.
Warung Cepot 106 Jalan Pasir Kaliki, Bandung; T: (0224) 203 181; http://www.warungcepot.com Mo–Su: 10:00–21:30.
Warung Misbar 28A Jalan RE Martadinata, Bandung; T: (0812) 2481 8300, (0812) 2224 2483; https://www.facebook.com/WarungMisbar Mo–Su: 09:00–22:00.
The cafe scene in Bandung is bursting at the seams with choice, outside our accommodation we counted seven hipster-style cafes within a five minute walk, and all of them seemed earnest in their desire to produce the best coffee in Bandung—you won’t be left wanting for a caffeine fix, this is assuredly a town to “ngopi” (hang out and drink coffee).
Before you can make a cup of coffee, you have to have the beans and the Dutch first planted coffee in the hills around Bandung in the 18th century. In the bustling streets of Bandung’s Chinatown near Pasar Baru, Kopi Aroma has been roasting these beans in its Art déco factory since the 1930s (check out the beautiful old logo on the building) and the queues are testament to the quality, although you won’t be able to have a cup of coffee here, but this is a great place to buy a souvenir with some of the least expensive and freshest coffee you’ll find. Robusta sells for 20,000 rupiah per 250 grams and mokka arabika for 25,000 per 250 grams, but be prepared to queue (our kind friends waited 1.5 hours to buy us a couple of bags). Kopi Aroma don’t have any other outlets nor sell online or even do deliveries, but a handful of shops in Bandung stock their coffee at a marked up price, but it does avoid the queues, and one such place is Warung Cepot.
If the aroma of Kopi Aroma’s coffee is making you crave a fix, head 400 metres south to Warung Kopi Purnama, Bandung’s oldest cafe. Family run and now operated by the fourth generation, the cafe almost unchanged from the day it opened in 1930 with original tiles and wooden chairs (although we think the John Lennon poster is more recent). As well as coffee, the simple but tasty meals here include noodle and rice dishes with roti kukus (steamed bread) and roti bakar (toast—but not as you know it) their specialities. Roti kukus keju (steamed bread with cheese) (20,000 rupiah) was soft and almost cake-like, and very moorish too (we tied our friend’s) and our kwetiua noodles (32,000 rupiah) were full of veggies and flavour.
Over on Bragga Street you could be flying if you stopped in for a coffee at every cafe here. In the north end of the street is cute cosy and popular Wiki Koffie. On weekends live music livens the crowds. Heading south is a branch of Warunk Upnormal who along with their coffee, have given Indomie (instant noodles) almost gourmet status.
Stylish Braga Art Cafe in an art and artefact-filled heritage building offers the usual cafe menu at very reasonable prices with most mains under 50,000 rupiah, friendly service too, and if the sun is over the yard arm, they serve icy cold Bintang (actually they’ll probably serve it before the sun reached any great height if you so desired).
Across the road, Kopi Toko DJawa is a cute as a button hole-in-the-wall cafe that opened in early 2018 and was previously a bookstore. They have kept the bookish theme with books and magazines, but it seems it’s more as an instagram prop than for actual reading. The speciality is es kopi (iced coffee) (18,000 rupiah), however it saddens us to see that they serve it in plastic cups rather than glass, we guess because the place is so small much of their business is takeaway, thankfully the hot drinks use proper china. A few cakes and croissants are available, but here it’s mostly just about the coffee. While you’re in Braga Street wander into Sumer Hidup, an old Dutch style bakery that’s been baking biscuits and bread since 1929, we can’t imagine it has changed much either, it’s a wonderful time warp!
Heading over to the Jalan Riau factory outlet area, Hummingbird Eatery on Jalan Progo is everything you’d expect from a good Western-style cafe, delicious food, great ambience and decent coffee too, the only minor letdown was that as a single patron we felt a bit ignored, but once we were served, the service was friendly. The menu offers substantial Western and Asian mains, snacks, pasta soups, salads and sandwiches as well as crepes and waffles. We tried the wild mushroom soup (39,500 rupiah) which came with a swirl of cream and hot buttered sourdough toast and for a simple light meal it was perfect. If you enjoy the food here, you may want to check out their guesthouse too, one of the top choices in Bandung. Across the road Mom’s Artisan Bakery does what it says on the box, really good bread and baked goods. They also make a mean sandwich and you can get a coffee too.
Everyone in Bandung has their favourite cafes, so we checked out a few in random places across town as well (or got lost and didn’t actually find some that were recommended). In the southeast of town, Mr. Guan Coffee & Books is in a character-filled retro-styled old house with a breezy garden, a pleasant spot to while away an afternoon if you’ve exhausted all of Bandung’s activities. They offer manual brews as well as regular espresso and a few standard rice dishes and snacks and yes they do have books to read too, but mostly in Indonesian.
Dreezel Coffee was doing a roaring trade when we popped by, with chairs spilling out into the narrow laneway with espresso, cold brews and manual brewing as well as chocolate drinks and mocha too. Choose your chocolate by region (as well as your coffee), very serious and scientific but no food in this tiny artisan joint. Next door to Dreezel is a branch of Yellow Truck Coffee. This industrial style hipster cafe is fun and friendly and the coffee is decent (if you go the double shot).
If these two places are full, head around the corner to Blackbone Coffee, grab a seat in the shaded courtyard of this lovely old building and watch the world go by as you sip your fancy brew or one of the more gimmicky coffees from their long list. Try the creme brulee coffee with a caramelised sugar topping or a coconut coffee served in a coconut shell.
Blue Doors to the east of the town centre is tucked away off Jalan Riau, so tucked we went back and forwards a bit to find it, but this friendly cafe as worth the search, with its decent coffee (again go the double shot here) and relaxed atmosphere in an industrial style setting. A limited menu of cafe snacks is available too.
Of all the cafes we visited, our most favourite coffee was not in a cafe at all, but inside Eiger outdoor store (well, a small cafe within Eiger outdoor store), so while you’re checking out the backpacks and hiking gear, stop for a coffee too it may give you the energy to attempt the climbing wall outside.
Blackbone Coffee 22 Jalan Panaitan Bandung; T: (0224) 230 352; Mo–Fr: 10:30–22:00 Sa: 13:00–23:30; Su: 12:00–22:00.
Blue Doors 61 Jalan Gandapura, Bandung; T: (0222) 054 1043; Mo–Su: 07:00–22:00.
Braga Art Cafe 68 Jalan Braga, Bandung; T: (0228) 4281 268; https://www.facebook.com/bragaartcafe/ Mo–Fr: 10:30–23:00 Sa–Su: 10:30–02:00.
Dreezel Coffee 61 Jalan Sunda, Bandung; Mo–Su: 08:00–22:00.
Eiger Coffee 23 Jalan Sumatra, Bandung; T: (0224) 213 480; Mo–Su: 08:00–21:00.
Hummingbird Eatery 14 Jalan Progo, Bandung; T: (0224) 212 582; http://hummingbird-eatery.com/guesthouse/ Mo–Su: 07:00–23:00.
Kopi Aroma 51 Jalan Banceuy, Bandung; T: (0224) 230 473; http://kopiaroma.id Mo–Sa: 09.00–14.30.
Kopi Toko DJawa 79 Jalan Braga, Bandung; T: (0819) 1065 1810, (0898) 647 6315; Mo–Su: 10:00–22:00.
Mom’s Artisan Bakery 18 Jalan Progo, Bandung; T: (0224) 235 383; https://www.facebook.com/momsbakeryindonesia/ Mo–Sa: 07:00–19:00 Su: 08:00–17:00.
Mr. Guan Coffee & Books 22 Jalan Tampomas, Bandung; T: (0857) 2068 0439; Mo–Su: 07:30–22:00.
Sumer Hidup 20–22 Jalan Braga, Bandung; T: (0224) 236 638; Mo–Su: 09:30–15:30.
Warung Kopi Purnama 22 Jalan Alkateri, Bandung; T: (0224) 201 841; Mo–Su: 06:30–22:00.
Warunk Upnormal 78 Jalan Braga, Bandung; T: (0877) 805 8098; https://www.warunkupnormal.com Mo–Su: 10:00–02:00.
Wiki Koffie 90 Jalan Braga, Bandung; T: (0224) 269 0970; Mo–Su: 09:00–23:00.
Yellow Truck Coffee 65 Jalan Sunda; Bandung; T: (0228) 686 8669; http://yellowtruck.id Mo–Th: 09:00–22:00 Fr–Su: 09:00–23:00.
Procuring an alcoholic beverage in Java sometimes proves to be a bit of a challenge, but Bandung seems to be the exception, with popular bars and beers widely available (but not always on menus). For a night out, head to Braga Street where you’ll find bars, some quieter cafes and restaurants with a wine list and karaoke (if you must).
Tiny Roempoet hidden behind a mini jungle of potplants during the day hosts live music with the crowds spilling onto the footpath when it’s busy, and neighbouring North Sea Bar has room for a few more bods with live music and a pool table. This joint has a bit of a bar girl scene but it seems pretty low key and even the glowing blue neons don’t make it feel too sleazy. Further down the road, Hangover is the roomiest bar along the strip with the ambience of a friendly local pub with music and dance here too. A wall full of beer fridges offers no lack of variety of the amber liquid.
In the north of the city, the popular expat bar Bamboo Shack Cafe is a good spot to stop after trekking in Taman Hutan Raya Ir. H. Djuanda or on your way back from Gunung Tangkuban Parahu or just to pass the time while your travelling companions hit the nearby factory outlets.
If you’re just after a beer to take away, Beer Mart is much as you would expect—a shop that sells beer as well as other alcoholic beverages, although a bit above supermarket prices but outside is a pleasant covered courtyard with streetfood stalls and tables to sit and enjoy a cold one before you head home. Botol Booze and Beers on Jalan Veteran provides home delivery, but you can also sit for a quick one in their tiny bar before you select takeaways from their large range.
Bamboo Shack Cafe 462D Jalan Ir. H. Djuanda, Bandung; T: (0222) 533 529; https://www.facebook.com/bambooshackcafedago/ Mo–Th: 11:00–23:30 Fr–Sa: 09:00–01:00 Su: 09:00–23:30.
Beer Mart .
Botol Booze and Beers 18 Jalan Veteran, Bandung; T: (0819) 866 688; Mo–Su: 17:00–02:00.
Hangover 47 Jalan Braga, Bandung; T: (0224) 260 491; Mo–Su: 11:00–01:00.
North Sea Bar: 82 Jalan Braga, Bandang; .
Roempoet Mo–Su: 18:00–02:00.
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.