Pork certainly isn’t outlawed in Indonesia, and it’s not hard at all to find it in Jakarta if all you are simply seeking is a dish containing some form of babi – you can find tonkatsu ramen, nasi campur babi, and pork-laden Western foods at restaurants all around town and especially in big malls.
But given the relatively small percentage of Jakartans who do eat it, finding restaurants that serve rare porky delicacies remains tricky business, especially ones that truly do them justice.
So while the restaurants on this list aren’t exactly ‘secret’ in the sense that they’re hidden from the public and you need a password to get in, they are harder-to-find eateries that only true pork connoisseurs tend to seek out.
Located in the basement of the Mid-Plaza 1 building (which houses a surprisingly large number of great Japanese restaurants almost exclusively patronized by Japanese businessmen) the slogan of this restaurant is “THE MAXIMUM SATISFACTORY FOR YOUR SPECIAL (pork) NEED!”
If you need convincing beyond that, the tantalizing menu at this pork specialist should do the trick. The tonkatsu (fried pork cutlets) are great, of course, but beyond that we’d highly recommend the tender and flavorful rafute (Okinawan style stewed pork belly) and the shirukake gohan (rice in rich pork soup with various toppings). Most lunch and dinner sets come in well under Rp 100k making it quite reasonably priced for this sort of place in Jakarta.
Mid Plaza 1, Lantai Basement. Jl. Jendral Sudirman. 021 2514585. Website.
Discreetly located in the Lippo Kuningan Building next to Setiabudi One, the way most people have found out about this fantastic little pork specialist is through word-of-mouth (and the word is strong now – make sure to try and get a reservation to avoid disappointment). This place specializes in a wide variety of delicacies, both Western and Asian. Their main attraction is the pork belly, which comes in huge fatty cubes featuring thick, crisp skin.
But what I really love here are all of the local pork specialties – I’d recommend coming with 2-3 friends and ordering the “Indonesia Big Pork Plate” (Rp 225k). Like a nasi campur babi out of your wildest dreams, it’s an enormous dish featuring a heap of rice surrounded by deliciously spicy and beautifully cooked pork dishes from a number of different provinces.
Lippo Kuningan, Jl. HR Rasuna Said, Setiabudi. 021 29110145. Facebook page.
Din Tai Fung Chef’s Table
The Din Tai Fung chain of Chinese restaurants can be found all throughout Jakarta and market themselves primarily on the promise of their Michelin-star winning xiao long bao (soup dumplings). But the vast majority of DTF outlets in Indonesia are halal and thus cannot recreate the recipe of the pork and crab xiao long bao that earned the original DTF in Taiwan that coveted star.
However, there is one non-halal DTF outlet in all of Jakarta (distinguished by the “Chef’s Table” addition to its name) and it’s located in Taman Anggrek. There, you will find not only the original pork and crab xiao long bao but a number of other great dishes unique to this outlet. I’d definitely recommend “Grandma’s Braised Tung Po Pork in Brown Sauce with Steamed Bun” – delectable doesn’t begin to describe it.
Mall Taman Anggrek, 3rd Level, Jl. Letjen. S. Parman Kav. 21. 021 563 9973/74. Website
FYI #1: Imperial Chef is the special name for outlets of the always dependable Duck King chain that serve pork (one on Hayam Wuruk and one in Lotte Shopping Avenue) – their babi samcan (crispy pork belly) is on point.
FYI #2: Paradise Dynasty is the only Chinese restaurant chain in town that rivals Din Tai Fung Chef Table in the pork xiao long bao department. Everything there, pork or not, is pretty damn good IMHO.
This beloved cafe in Kemang certainly doesn’t hide its pork-centric leanings. As the name suggests, they’re particularly proud of the bacon served here, which is homemade and available for purchase for your home baconing needs (or if you want to sneak it into places that dare serve the culinary abomination that is ‘beef bacon’). The crisp and salty strips of pork are showcased in a number of dishes including bacon and cheese fries, candied bacon, the beautiful brioche BLT and the Baconerie Burger, which features a 50/50 bacon and beef patty topped with, you guessed it, peanut butter (no, just kidding, of course bacon). They also make their own ham, sausage and baked goods – look out for the bacon doughnuts!
Jalan Benda No.1, Pasar Minggu, Cilandak, South Jakarta Selatan. 02178838291. Instagram page.
Babi Guling Ko Made
When pork lovers from Jakarta travel to Bali, they always try to make a pilgrimage to eat at one of the island’s legendary babi guling (roasted pork) eateries like Ibu Oka. But did you know you can actually find excellent babi guling right here in Jakarta? There are a few restaurants here that sell it, but the best seems to come from Babi Guling Ko Made in Pluit, an eatery which puts serious effort into recreating the Balinese delicacy in the capital. Their paket babi guling besar (Rp 48k) comes with the works including tender pork meat, crispy skin and cracklings, sate lilit, lawar and the requisite sambal matah.
Jl. Pluit Karang Indah Timur, Blok L 9 Timur No. 23, Pluit. 0878 78639089. Instagram page.
Bao Ji / Taco Local
A two-for-one because they’re located in the same complex and both pull off particularly spectacular pork dishes you won’t find elsewhere. Bao Ji specializes in serious sandwiches using Chinese steamed mantau bread and innovative toppings, and their roast pork belly bun and deep-fried panko pork belly bun are both amazing in their own unique ways.
Taco Local offers not one but two pork preparations for its meaty tacos and burritos – the morish al pastor with roasted pork shoulder and the flavorful carnitas which come with crispy bits of pork rind. You can’t go wrong either way!