Yogyakarta, also known as Jogja, is a vibrant city located in the heart of Java Island, Indonesia. It is a popular destination among tourists, especially food lovers. One dish that stands out in Yogyakarta’s culinary scene is satay, a skewered and grilled meat dish that has been around for centuries. In this blog post, we will explore the history, ingredients, and the best places to enjoy satay in Yogyakarta.

History of Satay in Yogyakarta
Satay has been a popular dish in Yogyakarta since the 18th century. It is believed that the dish was introduced to the city by Arab and Indian traders who traded in the area. However, over time, the dish has evolved to suit the local palate, and today, Yogyakarta is known for its unique style of satay.

Ingredients used in Yogyakarta’s Satay
The meat used in Yogyakarta’s satay is typically chicken or beef, although pork and goat are also popular choices. The meat is marinated in a mixture of spices, which typically includes turmeric, coriander, cumin, garlic, and shallots. The meat is then skewered and grilled over hot charcoal, giving it a smoky and slightly sweet flavor.

One of the unique ingredients used in Yogyakarta’s satay is kecap manis, a sweet soy sauce that is made by combining soy sauce, palm sugar, and spices. The kecap manis is often brushed onto the meat while it is grilling, giving it a sticky and caramelized glaze.

Best Places to Enjoy Satay in Yogyakarta
There are many places to enjoy satay in Yogyakarta, but some of the best places include:

1. Warung Sop & Sate Sapi Pak Bayu – Perhaps the best satay in Yogyakarta is located in the Sinduharjo area, their specialty is beef satay and one incredible dish they call ‘Dinosaur Ribs’. The meat is of course grilled over charcoal and served with a jus made from the meat and kecap manis (a thick sweet type of soy sauce), service is quick and friendly. The restaurant is located about 30 minutes by taxi north of the city, it’s very well known locally and any driver worth their salt will instantly know the name ‘Pak Bayu’.

Dinosaur Ribs at Pak Bayu
Dinosaur Ribs at Pak Bayu

2. Satay Klathak Pak Pong – This restaurant serves various types of satay, including chicken, beef, goat, and lamb. The meat is grilled over charcoal and served with a special sauce made from coconut milk, lemongrass, and other herbs and spices. The restaurant is located in the Klathak area, about 30 minutes south from the city center.

3. Ayam Goreng Jawa Mbah Cemplung – Located in the Prawirotaman area, this restaurant is known for its delicious chicken and goat satay. The meat is marinated in a special blend of spices and grilled over charcoal. The peanut sauce served with the satay is made from roasted peanuts, chili, and other spices, giving it a rich and savory flavor.

4. Sate Kambing Sari Cempe Neng Lia – This restaurant is famous for its lamb satay, which is grilled to perfection and served with a spicy sauce made from peanuts and chili. The restaurant is located in the Tegalrejo area, not far from the city center.

In my opinion, the best satay in Yogyakarta has to be Pak Bayu, not just for the high quality of the food, but also the traditional atmosphere and friendly staff. Satay is a must-try dish when visiting Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Its unique blend of spices and sweet soy sauce makes it a flavorful and delicious dish that will leave you wanting more. Whether you prefer chicken, beef, pork, or goat, there is a satay joint in Yogyakarta that will cater to your taste buds. So, if you’re planning a trip to Yogyakarta, make sure to put satay on your list of things to try.

If you want to read more about food in Yogyakarta see our previous post ‘Where to eat in Yogyakarta