Indie Guide Jakarta Restaurants: Review of the Spiciest Place Ever- Mbah Jingkrak

Your mouth will need an exorcism but well worth the partial death

This place feels like you've walked into the imagination of a child or more likely some guy's mushroom trip visions. The restaurant, Mbah Jingkrak, meaning something to the effect of Granny Extreme Fun Dancing Granny (its appropriateness will become clear when you hear of the food), is set up in a house and backyard with eccentric decor everywhere. Enter a world with underwater gnomes chillin' in the swimming pool, crazy masks hanging from trees, walls filled with endless array of hats and so much more. There's not much consistency in the decor, but the quirky ambiance it creates instantly made me warm up to the place. And yes, as this blogger mentions, they do have the TV on in the living room playing. It's odd even if it's supposed to be all vintage cool. Opt to sit outside in the garden, it's way rad.

However, not just anyone is badass enough to handle this resto. The food may just make you sweat fireballs from how spicy it is. It's true, I had been warned by locals that it was for people with a high tolerance, but after eating Manadonese food, I thought not even Satan could touch me. This was FALSE.  The sambal (chili sauce) is known as Devil's Sambal (a label that I blatantly ignored) and to my detriment I mixed a whole spoonful into my rice to eat with my bamboo curry. I think the earth stood still at this point. Make no mistake, I have a very high tolerance (being brown and all), but this folks, was just too much. I peeled off my jacket, I had started to sweat. It felt like red ants had mopped the inside of my mouth with their poison, and my lips..well refer to the picture below. 

When Naruto and co try to unmask Kakashi and imagine what is under his ninja mask. I couldn't get this image out of my head as my face was on fire.

While I was trying to look cool in front of my French friend, Axel, he was enjoying dishes of stew beef that had a sweet flavour and chicken made with chili and onions and some sort of tangy but spicy sauce. Despite having taken the mildest of dishes, he was already at his spicy limit. Me,  kind of bitter from Dante's Peak in my mouth, I thought it would be funny to convince Axel to try the Devil's Sambal as well. Being a tourist, I used his ignorance to convince him that 'sambal' is a special sauce that accompanies Indonesian dishes and since it was his last night in Jakarta, he couldn't NOT try it, jeez, grow a pair, yadi yadi. He looked at me dubiously and finally took the most minute amount and mixed it with his rice and ate it. There was nothing but silence for a while. I thought it was fine. But then..he uttered a couple words, "I hate you."

"I don't care about the background, or taking a picture of myself. I want to remember this moment as the moment I stopped feeling my mouth." - Axel

He said he couldn't speak, he couldn't smile he couldn't feel his mouth anymore. I, on the otherhand was dying of both pain and laughter at this point and I was sadistically satisfied. The food, was tasty as hell but painful. Really, you should go and consider it  a challenge. The Sambal Challenge. Honestly though.. beware. I went home and the challenge didn't end for another couple days. In sum: Lavapit.stomach.hurt.middleofthenight.chocolaterain.nextday.ontheway2work.emergencystoponOjek.embarrased.

In the end, we had a lot of fun with the food and the decor. It was a perfect place to bring a visiting friend, but I'm also excited to show the other interns this funky spot. The service is good and the prices were reasonable. For three dishes and drinks (Bamboo curry, Chicken, Beef, 3 rice and 5 waters) it came up to 75k IDR which is about 7 euros.

I thank slash curse my fellow uni mate, Soraya who had grown up in Jakarta for the recommendation !

Also, if you want a review not filled with adjectives like rad and awesome and with some facts, check out this article about Mbah Jingkrak in the Jakarta Globe.

Jalan Setiabudi 11
Off of Sudirman.
by Kopaja (little green bus): Get off at Prudential building, or Setia Budi bus stop and find the road Jl Setiabudi. You'll have to walk about 15 minutes to find it. It's not simple to find but it's well known so ask around.

Evil Sambal. 

Crazy hat collection, which apparently comes from all over the world. 

Recovery. Different, more classic feel on the inside with traditional masks and wayang (shadow puppets).

More cool stuff about Jakarta, like partying and shopping, art, whatever


  1. "Jingkrak" is a verb to jump/hop up and down/around. They used to tell me it was because the Mbah, the Granny, ate too much of the sambal iblis..and you didn't just use that as a condiment, you ate it like an indonesian.

    Glad you enjoyed it! And nice photos of the place too, I have to admit I rarely pay attention to the decor, too busy am I sweating from the spicyness.

  2. oh gitu!!! I loved the place, but I think next time I'll hold on the Sambal. Thanks again for the reco!

  3. Felicia, great to see this fellow Sciences-Po blog! My internship here in Jakarta is just over, too bad I discovered your blog only now...
    having a goodbye dinner at Mbah Jingrak tonight :-)
    btw: my blog about jakarta and other stuff:


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