7 The Most Popular Typical Surabaya Foods

Avatar photo

Surabaya, the dynamic capital of East Java, Indonesia, is known for its rich cultural heritage, bustling streets and diverse culinary scene. From savory street snacks to aromatic traditional dishes, Surabaya offers a variety of tantalizing flavors and textures that captivate the senses and leave a lasting impression on visitors.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll embark on a culinary journey through Surabaya Special Foods, exploring the unique ingredients, cooking techniques and cultural significance that make them a staple of the city’s culinary traditions.

1. Rawon

No culinary tour of Surabaya would be complete without sampling its iconic dish, rawon. This hearty beef soup is characterized by its dark, fragrant broth, which is flavored with a blend of local herbs and spices, including keluak (Indonesian black nut) and kluwek (candlenut).

The soup is typically served with tender chunks of beef, bean sprouts, and a side of steamed rice. Rawon’s distinctive flavor profile, rich aroma, and velvety texture make it a beloved comfort food in Surabaya and a must-try dish for visitors eager to savor the authentic flavors of East Java.

2. Soto Ayam

Soto ayam, or chicken soup, is another beloved dish that holds a special place in Surabaya’s culinary heritage. This fragrant soup features tender chicken pieces simmered in a flavorful broth infused with aromatic herbs and spices such as lemongrass, galangal, and turmeric.

Soto ayam is typically garnished with a medley of fresh herbs, shredded chicken, crispy fried shallots, and a squeeze of lime juice for added zing. Served with steamed rice or rice cakes (lontong), soto ayam is a comforting and nourishing dish that is enjoyed throughout the day, from breakfast to dinner.

3. Lontong Balap

Lontong balap is a popular street food dish that originated in Surabaya and has become a beloved culinary symbol of the city.

This savory dish features a medley of ingredients, including rice cakes (lontong), bean sprouts, fried tofu, and lentho (deep-fried mung bean fritters), all drenched in a flavorful peanut sauce and topped with crispy shallots and sambal (spicy chili paste).

Lontong balap’s irresistible combination of textures and flavors, from the crunchy tofu to the creamy peanut sauce, makes it a favorite snack or light meal for locals and visitors alike.

4. Rujak Cingur

Rujak cingur is a unique and flavorful salad that showcases Surabaya’s culinary creativity and love for bold flavors. This traditional dish features a colorful assortment of fruits and vegetables, including cucumber, green mango, pineapple, and young mango, all topped with slices of beef snout (cingur) and served with a tangy tamarind-based dressing.

The contrasting textures and flavors of sweet, sour, spicy, and savory create a harmonious balance that tantalizes the taste buds and leaves a lasting impression on diners.

5. Tahu Tek

Tahu tek is a beloved street food snack that highlights Surabaya’s love affair with tofu (tahu). This indulgent dish features deep-fried tofu cubes topped with a generous drizzle of sweet and savory peanut sauce, crispy fried shallots, and slices of fresh cucumber.

Tahu tek is often enjoyed as a quick and satisfying snack or appetizer, offering a delightful combination of crunchy, creamy, and flavorful elements that are sure to please the palate.

6. Sate Klopo

Sate klopo is a regional variation of Indonesia’s beloved grilled skewered meat dish, sate (satay), that hails from Surabaya. What sets sate klopo apart is the addition of grated coconut (klopo) mixed with aromatic spices, which is used to coat the skewered meat before grilling.

The result is tender, succulent meat skewers infused with the rich, nutty flavor of coconut and a tantalizing blend of spices. Served with a side of peanut sauce, rice cakes (lontong), and fresh vegetables, sate klopo is a flavorful and satisfying dish that is perfect for sharing with friends and family.

7. Semanggi Surabaya

Semanggi Surabaya is a refreshing salad made with boiled semanggi leaves (water clover), bean sprouts, fried tofu, boiled eggs, and shredded chicken, all tossed in a tangy lime dressing. This vibrant dish is bursting with flavors and textures, from the crispness of the vegetables to the creaminess of the tofu and eggs.

Semanggi Surabaya is a popular street food snack that is enjoyed as a light and nutritious meal, particularly during the hot summer months when the refreshing flavors provide welcome relief from the heat.

Conclusion

Surabaya’s culinary landscape is as varied as it is delicious, offering a wealth of flavors, textures and aromas that reflect the city’s rich cultural heritage and dynamic street food culture.

From savory soups and hearty stews to crunchy snacks and refreshing salads, Surabaya’s most popular specialties showcase regional culinary creativity, a passion for bold flavors, and a passion for simple, healthy ingredients.

Whether you explore a bustling street market, dine at a local restaurant, or sample authentic dishes at a family-run stall, the East Java Specialty Food adventure promises to delight the senses and leave you craving for more irresistible flavors.