Warung Pedes: a Modern Conception of Traditional Indonesian Dishes

Modern nuances with mural paintings on the walls make Warung Pedes as an instagramable restaurant. (photo: IO/Aldo)

IO, Jakarta – Indonesia’s cultural variety, typified by the availability in Jakarta of various characteristic dishes from all over Indonesia, is interesting to observe. This is particularly so in Warung Pedes, Kemang, whose menu features uniquely Indonesian dishes. The sort of dishes on its menu is vastly different from that of most other restaurants in Kemang, South Jakarta. Its concept is ‘folk food’, or a higher level ‘warteg’ (‘warung Tegal’ or common street side stall); with its unique and ‘instagrammable’ interior, this eatery has a different ambience to offer.

Established in 2016, Warung Pedes remains consistent with its serving of Indonesian dishes by maintaining the authenticity of its menu over the past two years. With sambal chili paste a main selling point, a majority (but not all), of its dishes are fiery-spicy: the menu advertises 70% chili dishes and 30% mild dishes, and makes this chili house a place that most people can still go to.

‘Since I am aware not everybody likes spicy foo, as the head chef I make various types of chili foods that most people can enjoy anyway. We serve various types of sambal, such as the Balinese sambal matah, the extra chili sambal dadak, as well as sambal goreng (‘fried chili paste’),’ Mulya, head chef, explained.

On entering Warung Pedes, the unique interior feels welcoming. The walls are decorated with a mural that extends throughout a room, depicting intriguing pictures and language: many visitors use it for photo background. By mixing concepts for a restaurant and a warteg, Warung Pedas is a self-service eatery with a characteristic warteg ‘touch screen’ feature: guests serve themselves rice, then point out the dishes that they want to accompany the rice through the fronts of glass cases. The waiters and waitresses of Warung Pedas will quickly serve the dishes that you want on your plate.

Warung Pedas is based on the rice stall concept ubiquitous in Bali, which serve rice and various chili dishes. The management of Warung Pedes Kemang feels that Jakarta has a target market for such a menu. It serves various ‘warteg’-type dishes, such as cumi balado (boiled squid in chili paste), ayam suwir (tiny strips of chicken), ayam bumbu kecap (chicken in sweet soy sauce), kulit ayam goring (fried chicken skin), terong balado (boiled eggplant in chili paste), usus goring (fried intestines), telur ceplok balado (sunny-side-up egg in chili paste), teri kacang (fried anchovies with peanuts), sayur asem (tamarind stew), tumis kangkung (stir-fried water spinach), and many more. There are more than 20 ‘common folk’ dishes that you can try for your satisfaction here. Another nice perk of the restaurant is that if you feel that you haven’t got enough rice, you can take more at no additional charge.

Just as in most warteg, the menu served is different every day, so you won’t get bored by a repetitive menu. In addition to what is in the glass cases, you can also check the menu on a big blackboard on the wall. Its unique attractions tempt culinary lovers – Warung Pedes is visited not just by ordinary folks, but artists and government officials crowd in to enjoy the dishes on its menu as well. With its offering of various folk dishes, Warung Pedes is the place for you whenever you want simple common dishes. With its pocketbook-friendly prices, Warung Pedes is your place to go for Indonesian folk dishes.

Warung Pedes is open 24 hours a day, but you don’t need to worry about the quality of the food. The chef himself guarantees that the food being served is always freshly made, never leftovers. ‘I always tell my crew, “Don’t ever serve the leftovers the next day!” I really focus on the quality of the food we serve,’ Mulya said. For him, food quality is the main factor, ‘…especially since the restaurant is open 24/7. It’s unethical if we serve leftovers to the guests,’ Mulya said.

As a reference for enjoying Indonesian dishes, Warung Pedes of Kemang is one of the best places for those of you who love Indonesian folk dishes. With its varieties of sambal as the main attraction, Warung Pedes will impart to you a very Indonesian experience of folk dishes.

(Muhammad Akbar)