The city of Mojokerto, 50 kilometers southeast of East java’s capital city of Surabaya, is a small and developing destination with great food and interesting sights! Its ideal location sees this city in proximity to historical sites such as the famous Trowulan archaeological site (10 kilometers to the west), which stores remnants and artifacts of the ancient Majapahit kingdom and Mount Penanggungan where more than 80 candi (Hindu stone structures) are scattered everywhere on the mountain slopes. However, Mojokerto has more to offer than just sightseeing. For good food and fun activities, go to Mojokerto city center!
Mojokerto is experiencing quick city developments. Strategically located near Surabaya and with the new highway that is scheduled to start operating in 2016, this city is now seen as a city of opportunity by many multinational businesses. This is no wonder that multinational retailer, Carrefour, has set up its hypermarket in Mojokerto city center beside a new shopping mall named Sun Rise mall. Shopping has been made convenient at this one stop shop and you should visit for a good shopping experience.
Depot Anda: Most famous local restaurant with mouthwatering cuisine
Depot Anda is the most famous restaurant in Mojokerto, not only among the locals, but also international visitors since more than 50 years ago. Many people from Surabaya who travel to Solo or Yogyakarta or the other way around would often stop by inMojokerto for a meal at Depot Anda.
This restaurant sells foods that originally come from East Java, with ‘rawon’ as the most popular dish. Rawon is beef soup (local beef that is more tender than imported beef). The herbs named 'kluwek’ makes the thick beef broth appears black in color. Savory, sweet and bitter best describe the taste of this flavorful dish. Another must-try food is sop buntut - clear cow’s tail soup. The tail is meaty, tender and a bit fatty. The main spices are nutmeg and pepper powder. Along with the tail, carrots in the soup add sweetness to the savory and spicy taste. For those who don’t like soup that much, order 'nasi campur’ (also known as mixed rice or 'nasi lemak’ in Singapore/Malaysia). It’s white rice with assorted 'lauk’ (side dishes) like spicy chicken, sweet and crispy tempeh (fermented soy) and sliced potato, and 'abon’ (shredded beef).
For the beverage, try the local ‘es dawet’ (iced dawet). It is coconut milk sweetened with brown sugar with small chunks of rice flower jelly called dawet inside. If you want a healthy drink, order a jamu (Indonesian herbal drinks) called sinom. It’s made of tamarind and turmeric, believed to be good for health.
Try Onde Onde at Bo Liem cake shop
Another must go place is a cake shop called Bo Liem. This shop is popular for a type of cakes called onde onde (碌堆 in Chinese). This shop has sold this deep-fried sesame seed cake since the 1920s and it has now become the icon of the city. Its residents and visitors often buy onde onde as souvenirs to be given to their acquaintances. In fact, it is so famous that Mojokerto is now called onde onde city! Traditionally, this sweet snack has mashed mung bean as fillings but lately there are more variation to the fillings (e.g. chocolate, cheese). It’s best eaten when it’s hot and crispy, so eat it as soon as you buy. However, if you are buying it as a souvenir, you can keep it in a cooler and reheat it when you want to eat it.
Tip from Trip101 local expert
"What are you thinking when you visit Indonesia and order for some boxes of ondeh-ondeh? Are you thinking of green balls with coconut garnishes like the ones I posted a few days ago? No!In Indonesia, ondeh-ondeh refers to a ball-shaped dessert with sesame toppings as garnishes. The traditional Indonesian ondeh-ondeh has mung bean fillings, yet, as time goes by, we know other fillings, such as red bean or chocolate.Ondeh-ondeh is so easy to make: All you have to do is to roll the dough so they will be shaped like small balls, just like the ones in the pictures I've provided here. It's so widely available that even small-scaled household culinary business communities and SMEs are actively making many batches of ondeh-ondeh."
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Activities in the city park
While in Mojokerto, bring your partner and children to the city park named ‘Alun Alun’ in the evening. It’s nice to take a walk here, as the park is clean and big with not too many visitors on weekdays. You will see some teenagers playing skateboards and children rollerblading with lights on wheels. There are some people who rent roller skates for 1.50 USD per hour. You or your kids may want to try rollerblading for some great physical fun!
Fast food for those who are craving for western cuisine
For the budget conscious and those missing western food, you have choices of fast food such as KFC or Pizza Hut. Despite Mojokerto city being a small and underrated destination, international fast food chains have set up some branches here to introduce more food options to the locals as well as help visitors who are craving for some western cuisines at affordable prices!
If you plan to visit Mojokerto’s historical sites (Trowulan archaeological site and Mount Penanggungan), it is good for you to know there are good foods to eat and some alternative activities you can do in the city. If you are traveling from Surabaya city to the Batik city of Solo or the living Javanese king’s palace in Yogyakarta, it’s also good to stop by Mojokerto city before continuing your journey. There are plenty more to offer in Mojokerto than just historical sites. Come find out on your own!
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