MELBOURNE | My list of best Melbourne Indonesian food reflects the experiences that I’ve had over the past two years with this cuisine. I’m not Indonesian, and will admit that I’ve only scratched the surface of what this diverse cuisine has to offer. I have, however, had a lot of delicious Indonesian food in Melbourne over the past year, and been introduced to many new spots and flavours by Indonesians.
My list, updated as at late 2021, reflects these adventures exploring Indonesian cruising. I provide a variety of places offering some of the best Indonesian food in Melbourne, including several regional specialties. I’ve placed them in alphabetical order, and they’re all delicious. Are any of your favourites listed below? Are there any places that you think should be on the list?
Ayam Penyet Ria
Founded by Ibu Ruth in 1998 in South Melbourne, this family-owned Indonesian restaurant now has four Melbourne locations and two in Sydney. Ayam Penyet Ria is a celebration of family recipes and Indonesian street food, with the namesake ayam penyet smashed friend chicken being a highlight.
D’Penyetz & D’Cendol
This Indonesian chain has over 100 outlets across South East Asia, and is known for it’s authentic, delicious food. The signature item at D’Penyetz & D’Cendol is Ayam Penyet. It’s fried chicken that is smashed with the pestle against mortar to make it softer, served with sambal, slices of cucumbers, fried tofu and tempeh.
The full name of this restaurant is “Garam Merica Original Warteg Nasi Bungkus”. Nasi Bungkus translates to “wrapped rice”. It’s a banana leaf wrap filled with assorted lauk – meat, vegetables, and other accompaniments. There’s a variety of versions on offer here, along with other tasty dishes.
Jaen Jumah was started by three Indonesian chefs during 2020’s lockdown, as a way to keep themselves ticking along financially while giving Melburnians a taste of home. Out of lockdown, they’re operating the occasional pop-up, with plans to open their own bricks and mortar restaurant in the future. Keep posted for updates.
Located on King Street, the unassuming Kedai Satay is popular with Indonesians looking for a taste of home. Their menu is diverse, with a focus on satay skewers, and grilled beef and lamb ribs on yellow rice. The egg balado with chicken is also very popular.
This Indonesian restaurant sees owners Tasia and Gracia Seger put a modern spin on the food they grew up with. Most of the Makan menu is linked to family recipes, and specific experiences and memories, which makes the food that much more special. It’s a celebration of vibrant colours, fresh ingredients, and bold flavours.
Chef Nicole founded Mangan Yuk while out of work during lockdown in 2020, bringing the flavours of her Indonesian heritage, more specifically Batak and Jakarta, to Melbourne. Out of lockdown, she still runs the business, delivering menu favourites and rotating specials across Melbourne.
Pempek Si Bontet
Pempek Si Bontet was started by South Sumatran born and former 400 Gradi and Ettamo chef Stifany Jakub at the start of lockdown in March 2020. She still operates out of lockdown, delivering her signature pempek, mie celor, and more, around town.
Pondok Rempah was opened by Cambodian-born baker Ian Mok in 2016. Mok decided to open a restaurant serving Indonesian food because, quite simply, he likes the food, and has an interest in Halal cooking. The small, simple restaurant is staffed by Indonesian cooks and staff, and is popular with Indonesians looking for a taste of home.
Salero Kito Padang
Hidden at the rear of Tivoli Arcade is small restaurant Salero Kito Padang. Owners Afdal Utama and Tika Kartini’s focus at the restaurant is on Padang cuisine, which originates from West Sumatra, Indonesia. What’s on offer varies on the day, but the favourites, like nasi goering, chicken curry, and beef rendang, are always on the menu.
This family owned business has been operating in West Melbourne since 1989. Three generations of the family take care of things, offering home style Balinese food with friendly service in a space that makes you feel like you’re being welcomed into their home. Warung Agus‘ babi guling (suckling pig), is one of the best you’ll find in Melbourne.
YOI is unashamedly a fusion restaurant, where brothers Dion and Michael Sanusi, with the help of their mother, serve up traditional family recipes with a creative twist. Their signature Indomie noodles with fried chicken and salted egg sauce is just one of many things you need to try here.
Have you tried any of this best Melbourne Indonesian food before? Check out my Melbourne City Guide for more tips on where to eat and drink, and what to do in Victoria’s bustling capital.