10 Best Local Semarang Dishes You Need To Try! - Updated 2023

Best Semarang Foods
| 3 min read

Semarang, the capital of Central Java, used to be a bustling trade center dating back to the 16th-century. It’s no surprise the gem has embraced influences from Dutch, Chinese, and Javanese cultures, resulting in a melting pot civilization - this is most noticeable in the food around Semarang.

Here are 10 awesome Semarang foods to try:

1. Lumpia Semarang

Loenpia Semarang with sauce
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Midori used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Lumpia Semarang is a type of fried spring roll thats comes with savory sweet bamboo shoot fillings – chicken, shrimp, and egg are usually added. The dish essentially boasts the blend of Chinese and Javanese flavors. Snacking on the top-ratted fusion delicacy is incomplete without dipping it in the sauce made of brown sugar, soy sauce, and corn starch.

Lunpia Delight (Lumpia)

Address: Jl. Gajahmada No.107, Miroto, Semarang Tengah, Semarang City, Central Java

Opening Hours: 5 am to 10 pm

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2. Bandeng Presto Semarang

Bandeng Presto Juwana
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Midori used under CC BY 3.0

Bandeng (a type of milk fish) is notoriously tough to eat – it is much bonier than other seafoods. On the contrary, Bandeng Presto, the pressure cooked milk fish, is super tender and delicate. You won’t feel the bony texture anymore once the dish lands in your mouth. Additionally, the aroma of bay leaves, turmeric, and grilled coriander can be sensed.

Bandeng Juwana Elrina

Address: Jl. Pandanaran No.57, Randusari, Semarang Sel., Semarang City, Central Java

Opening Hours: 6:30 am to 11 pm

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3. Tahu Gimbal

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

For those seeking a tofu-based dish and prawn, try the sweet and spicy Tahu Gimbal. This typical Semarang dish consists of fried chunks of tofu, compressed rice cake, gimbal (battered and deep-fried shrimp), egg, and beansprout. A sprinkle of fried peanuts and chopped celery is also added. What makes the food so mouth-watering is the light peanut sauce.

Tahu Gimbal Pak Is

Address: Jalan Menteri Supeno Mugassari, Semarang City

Opening Hours: 9 am to 12 am

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4. Tahu Pong

Fried tofu
Source: Photo by Flickr user goblinbox_(queen_... used under CC BY 2.0

Tahu Pong is another tofu dish – it’s actually a kind of snack enjoyed in the afternoon – you can’t miss it. The fried tofu is called this as it’s empty inside (Pong means unfilled). The dish is interestingly crunchy outside yet smooth inside. It’s usually served with radish pickles and petis dipping sauce. After blending them, the salty, sweet, sour, and peppery flavors will appear.

Tahu Pong Semarang

Address: Jl. Gajahmada No.63B, Kembangsari, Semarang City

Opening Hours: 11:30 am to 8 pm

Tip from Trip101 local expert

Must Visit Must Visit

Baba Kopitiam is a newly-established cafe in Semarang! I visited this cafe around March 2023.

This place is where you can enjoy kopitiam at Semarang. In the frame, we have nasi hainan and teh tarik. Yum! (P.S. The nasi's tahu a.k.a. tofu has big cuts - a typical Semarang cafe way!)

Trip101 Local Expert for Indonesia

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5. Es Cong Lik

vanilla ice cream
Source: Photo by Flickr user stu_spivack used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Es Cong Lik should be included in your must-try culinary list. The legendary dessert was popularized by an old man named Cong Lik in the city’s Chinatown. The traditional ice cream comes with different types of flavors such as chocolate, coconut, durian, and avocado. The additional elements could be mutiara sago, agar-agar jelly, mung beans, and tropical fruits.

Es Puter Cong Lik

Address: Jl. KH.Ahmad Dahlan A No. 11, Semarang Tengah, Karangkidul, Semarang City

Opening Hours: 6 pm to 12 am

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6. Nasi Ayam Semarang

Nasi Ayam
Source: Pexels

If Yogyakarta has Nasi Liwet for its specialty, Semarang is always identified with Nasi Ayam. This typical food can easily be found through the entire Semarang when the night comes. The steamed rice is doused with the yellow chicken gravy named “kuah opor ayam” and served with additional dishes such as sautéed chayote, shredded chicken, and sweet satay.

Nasi Ayam Bu Wido

Address: Jl. Melati Selatan, Brumbungan, Semarang Tengah, Semarang City

Opening Hours: 4:30 pm to 11 pm

Tip from Trip101 local expert

Good Tip Good Tip

Speaking about traveling for foods while in Indonesia, Semarang is the best city in Indonesia with robust traditional culinary characteristics that they manifest in their local foods, like, nasi goreng, bihun goreng, and tahu gimbal (the local food you can only find in Semarang).

When you visit Semarang, you will find these three dishes: Nasi goreng ruwet, bihun goreng, and tahu gimbal, in most warong tenda (tent warongs), depot (small restaurants on the roadsides), warkop (traditional Indonesian food stalls on the roadsides), and if you're staying in any 3-star hotels and above, you will most likely find these traditional dishes in the restaurants' menu book!

Trip101 Local Expert for Indonesia

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7. Babat Gongso

毛血旺 Special boiled pork combination in hot chilli potage - contents - Tooraking
Source: Photo by Flickr user Alpha used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Some of you will probably feel disgusted seeing cow’s tripe on your main course menu, won’t you? Don’t be surprised when your lunch meal is Babat Gongso, a reddish brown meaty dish favored by most out of Semarang people. The mammal’s intestine is diced and simmered with sweet soy sauce and aromatic spices such as bay leaves, galangal, and lemon grass.

Babat Gongso Pak Karmin

Address: Kauman, Semarang Tengah, Semarang City

Contact Number: +62 85100564005

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8. Soto Bangkong

Soto Bangkong
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Gunawan Kartapranata used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Are you a true soto enthusiast? Don’t miss out on the chance of tasting the delicious Soto Bangkong. The likable food’s name is taken from the location of the first restaurant selling it – the Bangkong crossroads. It highlights clear yellowish chicken broth, shredded chicken, and special seasonings comprising of turmeric, coriander, and pepper. It’s often served with rice vermicelli, spring onion, beansprout, and celery.

Soto Bangkong

Address: Jl. A. Yani, Jl. MT Haryono and Jl. Brigjen Katamso, Semarang City

Website: Soto Bangkong

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9. Kue Lekker Paimo

Kue Lekker
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user @orajoo used under CC BY 2.0

Are you curious about the Dutch culinary delights in Semarang? Check out your Google Maps and navigate your car to Leker Paimo, a legendary eatery which has been existent for many decades. It’s where you can enjoy a European crepe with varied fillings such as peanut crumb, chocolate, cheese, and banana. You’re not a fan of sweet things? Try the sausage and tuna flavors.

Kue Lekker Paimo

Address: Jl. Karang Anyar No.37, Brumbungan, Semarang City

Opening Hours: 10 am to 5 pm

Tip from Trip101 local expert

Must Visit

"I'm not from Semarang, but every time I go to Semarang, I always make sure to stop by this restaurant! The restaurant is Antarakata A Yani on Jalan Ahmad Yani No 162 (opposite Haka Hotel A Yani).

In this frame, we have ""Antarakata Big Breakfast"" consisting of sausage, egg, loads of chips, baguettes, spinach, baked beans, and other ingredients. The portions are so big here! We also have two cups of cappuccino to accompany Antarakata's unique Big Breakfast, only in Antarakata, and only in Semarang."

Trip101 Local Expert for Indonesia

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10. Pisang Plenet

Bbq bananas for a change!
Source: Photo by Flickr user shankar s. used under CC BY 2.0

The last but not ever the least is Pisang Plenet, a flattened and grilled banana. It’s been the local youngster’s favorite snack forever, great for a fun night out with friends. The tropical fruit is pressed, greased with margarine, and grilled until burnished brown. In order to be more tempting, it’s topped with sugar powder, cheese, jam and chocolate.

Pisang Plenet Pak Subandi

Address: Jl. Pemuda, Pandansari, Semarang City

Opening Hours: 1:30 pm to 11 pm

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Go discover Semarang to enjoy the incredible fusion foods

Semarang surprisingly renders a vast array of great foods you can’t imagine. The Chinese-style Lumpia, Babat Gongso highlighting the culture of Java, and the Dutch crepe named Kue Lekker are just few things that Central Java’s capital has to offer.

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Rofiq, hailing from East Java, Indonesia, is a passionate explorer who thrives on discovering new places, encountering diverse people, and immersing himself in various languages and cultures. His...Read more

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