Ayam penyet, or smashed fried chicken slices, is a familiar favorite for many of us — but what about its glorious cousin ayam geprek, which sees spicy sambal smashed right into the meat? That’s an intersection of efficiency and umami bombs that we can appreciate.
The basic building blocks are the same. Like its predecessor, ayam geprek consists of fried chicken, rice, and sambal. But instead of using Indonesian-style fried chicken, ayam geprek uses ayam goreng crispy, which is colloquially known as American-style fried chicken. Chicken is smashed together with chili (hence the ‘geprek’), instead of served as a topping or on the side like ayam penyet.
Ayam geprek got its first boom in popularity around 2016 or 2017, but the dish has actually existed since 2003, when a woman named Ruminah created ayam geprek after a university student asked her to put sambal on top of her crispy fried chicken. At the time, Ruminah specialized in selling various Javanese dishes at her stall in Yogyakarta, but after that encounter with the student, she founded Warung Ayam Geprek Bu Rum, probably the first warung ayam geprek in Indonesia.
Indonesians’ love for spicy food and chicken rice basically culminates in ayam geprek. It’s exactly our kind of junk food — you can’t go wrong with warm rice, juicy fried chicken, and any kind of sambal. Now, you can easily find ayam geprek anywhere with any kind of sambal, and toppings like mozzarella. Below are some of our favorite ayam geprek places with various level of spiciness in Jakarta:
This is probably one of the spiciest ayam geprek places in Jakarta. You can choose from level 0-7, but whatever level you choose, you better have a glass of teh manis ready. In addition to ayam geprek with crispy chicken, you can also opt for Ayam Pop Geprek, which uses Padang-style boiled and fried chicken. The true connossiuer, however, will complement his or her geprek with side dishes like tempeh, tofu, and fried mushroom. Ayam Geprek ala carte is Rp21,000 each.
Jl. Pangeran Antasari Blok 67 J, Fatmawati, South Jakarta. Instagram
Ayam Geprek Kriuk Bu Ani
One of the more distinctive spots on this list, Ayam Geprek Kriuk Bu Ani serves ayam geprek with kriuk or kremes or fried chicken crumbs. It’s hard to resist warm rice, crispy spicy ayam, and that extra crunchiness from the kriuk. You can choose spiciness level from 0-5, with various combo like sunny side up and mozzarella starting from Rp20,000.
Ayam Geprek Kriuk Bu Ani has 5 branches in South Jakarta, North Jakarta, Serpong and Karawaci in Banten. Instagram
Ayam Gepuk Pak Gembus
This ayam geprek, or ayam gepuk, is one of the biggest franchises in Indonesia, and can essentially be found anywhere in the country. Per 2018, Ayam Gepuk Pak Gembus own 700 branches throughout Indonesia and Asia-Pacific. Originally from Yogyakarta, Ayam Gepuk Pak Gembus uses special sambal made of chili, garlic, and cashew nuts.
There are probably hundreds of Ayam Gepuk Pak Gembus branches in Jakarta so we suggest to find the closest one to you on Go-Food or GrabFood. Instagram
I Am Geprek Bensu
Before deciding to order I Am Geprek Bensu, we need to remind you that you’ve got to be patient. It’s commonly held knowledge that it usually takes more than one hour for the delivery to get into your hands. The queues are usually long near lunch time, too.
Initially owned by local celebrity Ruben Onsu, I Am Geprek Bensu is now owned and operated by people who aren’t Ruben Onsu. The “original” one remained as “Geprek Bensu”, but I Am Geprek Bensu is also good. Whatever brand it is, it’s one of the most popular ones — and it’s known to be affordable, too, with a portion of rice and ayam geprek going for as low as Rp15,000. Spiciness level is from 0-10, and you may add shredded cheese or mozzarella, or even fried noodles. If you’re feeling adventurous, then we’d recommend the Ayam Geprek Cabe Ijo (green chili) or Telor Asin (salted egg).
Ayam Keprabon Express
Originally from Solo, Central Java, Ayam Keprabon Express now has numerous branches throughout Indonesia. There are various levels of spiciness, from original to Level 1 to Level 5 (with each level equaling 4 chilis added). If you’re really into cheese for this dish, then rejoice — Ayam Keprabon Express is pretty generous with their serving of mozzarella. The original ayam geprek and rice will cost you Rp19,000, while Geprek Blenger (with mozzarella) is Rp31,000. There’s also Geprek Jumbo and Geprek with sambal kari rica if you’d like to venture into the unknown.
There are 20 branches of Ayam Keprabon Express throughout Jakarta, Depok, and Tangerang so we suggest to find the closest one to you on Go-Food or GrabFood. Instagram