6 Excellent Places to Eat Indonesian Food in NYC
While you can find Southeast Asian cuisines like Thai, Vietnamese and even Malaysian all over the city, Indonesian food is still somewhat hard to come by—but there are some gems if you know where to look. So whether you’re dreaming of a tropical trip to Bali or just looking to expand your gastronomic horizons, here are some great spots to eat Indonesian food in NYC.
This Nolita newcomer is the first solo venture by Cédric Vongerichten (the son of Jean-Georges, that is). His upscale eatery serves Indonesian cuisine with a European influence in a stylish interior featuring Balinese carved wood accents and a sleek wraparound marble bar. Expect dishes like Jimbaran-style clams (baked with coconut, kaffir lime and cilantro), steamed fish served in banana leaf, and tender baby back ribs glazed with soy tamarind sauce and sesame seeds.
20 Spring St.; wayan-nyc.com
2. Awang Kitchen
Elmhurst, Queens, is a must-visit neighborhood for any fans of Southeast Asian cuisine, and if you’re looking for Indonesian fare, don’t miss Awang Kitchen. Don’t be deterred by the neon lights illuminating the doorway or the seemingly out-of-place sushi bar—we’re here for the food, and it happens to be great. The menu is mostly inspired by the flavors of Java, highlighting dishes like deep-fried fish cakes with peanut sauce, battered soft-shell crab in chili sauce, beef rendang stewed in coconut milk, and spicy goat curry. (Oh, and as for the sushi bar, we suggest sticking with the Indonesian fare.)
8405 Queens Blvd. #1C, Queens; awangkitchennyc.com
3. Sky Café
This closet-size restaurant in Elmhurst specializes in dishes from the province of North Sumatra, just below Singapore and Malaysia. Don’t expect anything fancy here: It’s just delicious food at prices worth leaving Manhattan for, with almost everything on the menu costing less than $10. If the menu seems overwhelming, you can’t go wrong with the lontong sayur (a creamy and savory soup made with steamed rice cakes, beef rendang and a spicy, crispy boiled egg) and the mie ayam (thick egg noodles stir-fried with shredded chicken, vegetables and wontons).
8620 Whitney Ave., Queens; skycafephilly.wixsite.com
4. Selamat Pagi
Selamat Pagi, which translates to “good morning” in Indonesian, is a light and cheery spot in Greenpoint, just minutes from McCarren Park. Between the palm-print wallpaper, basket-woven lampshades and tropical soju cocktail list, a meal here is the easiest way to trade the New York winter for tropical Southeast Asian vibes, if even just for an hour or two. We have a hard time resisting the sweet and tangy chicken wings, which are glazed with palm sugar and ginger, and the creamy pumpkin curry, loaded with hearty vegetables, Thai basil, pepitas and rice. There’s something for everyone on the menu here, thanks to the plentiful vegetarian and seafood options.
152 Driggs Ave., Brooklyn; selamatpagibrooklyn.com
5. Bali Kitchen
This casual café-style spot is a great option for a quick lunch or low-key weeknight dinner. The menu nods to Indonesian street food and most dishes are inexpensive, with plenty of options for health-conscious and vegan diners. Start with chicken or mushroom satay coated in shredded coconut and topped with sambal matah (the Balinese take on tomato salsa) before moving on to the larger dishes. We love the gado gado—a colorful bowl of vegetables, rice cakes and boiled egg in a sweet and tangy peanut sauce—and the nasi goreng, a comforting bowl of Indonesian fried rice topped with chicken or tofu and a fried egg.
128 E. Fourth St.; balikitchen.com
6. Java Indonesian Cuisine
Even if you’ve visited Indonesia, chances are you’ve never experienced a meal like the one you’ll have at this modest and cozy Park Slope eatery. Java specializes in Indonesian rijsttafel, a Dutch-inspired Indonesian cuisine made up of dozens of small plates all served with rice (the word rijsttafel translates to “rice table”). You can order à la carte, but the better option is to choose the 15- or 17-course rijsttafel tasting for two, which includes a sampling of favorites such as soto ayam (Indonesian chicken noodle soup), bakwan (vegetable fritters) and sambal udang (spicy stir-fried shrimp).
455 Seventh Ave., Brooklyn; 718-832-4583 or https://java-