Welcome to Karimunjawa, a paradise nestled in the Java Sea, renowned for its stunning beaches and vibrant marine life. However, this island gem offers more than just picturesque landscapes; it boasts a diverse culinary scene that will tantalize your taste buds. In this article, we’ll guide you through the gastronomic journey of eating out in Karimunjawa, revealing hidden gems and local flavors that will leave you craving for more.
A Taste of Local Traditions
Since Karimun town is quite a small place, you can’t expect to find a great number or variety of eating establishments. Some guesthouses offer their guests meals or kitchen facilities, but most travelers end up heading out in the evenings to discover the best Karimunjawa eating out options.
Your food options in Karimunjawa are fairly limited. Variations of egg, rice, noodles, chicken, tofu, fish and soups for the Indonesian dishes. Pizza, pasta and burgers for the Western dishes.
If you search around, you can supplement these with grilled corn and sweet or savoury pancakes. However, it’s not easy to find fruit other than bananas and a few mangoes. There is a market with a fruit shop, but this was closed most of the time. Even when we found it open, there wasn’t a lot of choice.
One discovery we did make was Salak. This is a small roundish fruit with interestingly-textured skin like snakeskin. The hard cream-coloured fruit has the texture of a carrot with a slightly sweet taste like an apple.
Most of the eateries serve tea, hot or cold. A few of the tourist-oriented restaurants serve beer from IDR 45,000 (€3) for a large bottle. You can buy also freshly-made fruit juices at the night market, but beware the colorful dragonfruit juice: It tastes like water with an aftertaste of grass, and acts as a very rapid diuretic!
Meet ‘n Greet
Very popular with foreigners looking for a taste of home, Meet ‘n Greet offers a variety of burgers and pizzas, and you can buy alcoholic drinks. Definitely one of the more expensive places in town to eat.
Sunset at Amore’s
Karimunjawa offers numerous beachfront dining options that combine breathtaking views with a variety of meals.
Amore’s is a very pleasant and relaxing seafront gardened area and restaurant. We ate here on several early evenings, enjoying the sunset view over the bay, looking towards Menjangan Besar island.
This also isn’t the cheapest place to eat in Kariman. On average, we paid around IDR 180,000 (€14) for an Indonesian meal for two, including 2 large bottles of the local Prost beer. A Western meal for 2 with beer is slightly more expensive, typically costing over IDR 200,000 (€14).
Take some advice, and don’t bother ordering the beef and potatoes.
Karimunjawa Street Food
For the more budget-conscious, why not go for one of the specialties offered by the street vendors?
Martabak Telor is a classic Indonesian specialty: A spicy folded omelette pancake filled with bits of vegetables or minced meat. For a sweet pancake, try one of the varieties of Kue Bandung on offer.
You can buy these treats freshly-made on the street for around IDR 20,000 (€1.50).
Alternatively, head on over to the Night Market and order some freshly-made chicken satay.
Warungs and the Night Market
For an authentic experience, visit the local warungs, which are small, family-owned eateries. These charming establishments offer a wide array of local dishes at affordable prices. From the aromatic “Nasi Campur” (mixed rice) to savory “Soto Ayam” (chicken soup), warungs are where you’ll find the true taste of Karimunjawa.
The Night Market was the place we frequented the most. This is a busy, vibrant hive of activity where you can order a variety of noodle soups, grilled fish – catch of the day – nasi or mie goreng, tea and fruit shakes and juices.
You can sit down and eat close to the food stalls. Very low tables are arranged on sheets of tarpaulin on the nearby football lawn. If you’re into yoga – or supple enough – you’ll be sufficiently comfortable while you strike the lotus position and eat.
If you’re like me, you’ll just grin and bear it. The food is really good.
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