Javanese Cuisine

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Javanese cuisine is the foods of one of the most significant ethnic cultures in Indonesia: the Javanese people. The Javanese can be distinctively different from one province to another. There are cultural distinctions between the province of Yogyakarta, East Java and Central Java.

Whereas the cuisine of Sumatra is renowned for its characteristic of Indian and Arabic spiciness, Javanese cuisine has remained more true to its strong ties to the indigenous peoples of Java. Javanese cuisine is today much the same as it has been for centuries, and is remarkably “simple” when you consider how rich and flavorful it is. Still there are subtle foreign influences, perhaps the most recognizable being that of Chinese cuisine.

Javanese Cuisine

(Photo Attributed to Author: brother harahap)

There is a tendency within other Indonesian countries to regard Javanese cuisine as exceptionally sweet in comparison to their tastes. And there is some credence to that opinion. Javanese cuisine is noted for its liberal usage of sweet soy sauce (kecap manis) and palm sugar (gula jawa). Javanese people definitely have a sweet tooth, and their favorite foods reflect that markedly

Generally speaking, the foods of Java can be categorized into two divisions: East Java and Central Java. Each division will still serve the same non-spicy and simple dishes, but the cuisine in Central Java is even sweeter than the already sweet cuisine of East Java.

There are also many dishes that are common to both East and Central Java. The similarities in the cuisines are mostly in the basic and simple methods of preparation, with the significant differences being in the flavors. Javanese cuisine in the Central province used less hot spices and more sugar, whereas in the Eastern province the foods are prepared a bit spicier and rely less on the sweet ingredients – including not as much palm sugar. Culinary historians often attribute this characteristic of East Javanese cuisine as having been influenced by Indian and Arabic cuisine, as well as the cuisine of Madurese.

So that’s just a tad bit of cultural and historical background information. Want more? You can Google it. Let’s now get into the real reason you came to this page … the recipes!

For your convenience, the dishes listed below are hyperlinked to a print-friendly page with the recipe of your clicked-choice on it. Have lots of fun, polish off your sweet tooth, and go now into the delicious world of …

Javanese Cuisine!


Ayam Ungkep (Spicy, Twice-Cooked Crispy Chicken)

Chicken Curry (Javanese Style)

Nasi Gudeg Komplit (Sweet Jackfruit Stew with Braised Coconut Chicken and Shrimp Paste Sambal)

Soto Ayam (Javanese Style Chicken Soup)


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