Must-Try Foods in Semarang: A Culinary Journey Through Central Java

Must-Try Foods in Semarang: A Culinary Journey Through Central Java

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Best Food in the Capital City of Central Java

Semarang, the capital city of Central Java, Indonesia, is not only rich in history and culture but also a haven for food lovers. This bustling city offers a wide variety of delicious and unique dishes that reflect its diverse cultural influences. From savory street food to sweet treats, here are some must-try foods in Semarang that will leave your taste buds craving for more.

Lumpia Semarang

Lumpia Semarang is undoubtedly the most famous culinary icon of the city. This Indonesian-style spring roll is filled with a savory mixture of bamboo shoots, chicken or prawn, and eggs, all wrapped in a thin, crispy pastry. Often served with a sweet and tangy dipping sauce, Lumpia Semarang can be enjoyed either fried or fresh. The combination of textures and flavors makes it a perfect appetizer or snack. Don’t miss out on trying it at Lumpia Gang Lombok, a legendary spot known for serving some of the best lumpia in the city.

kuliner semarang

Tahu Gimbal

Tahu Gimbal is a traditional Semarang dish that features deep-fried tofu topped with a hearty salad of cabbage, bean sprouts, and lontong (rice cakes), all drizzled with a rich, spicy peanut sauce. The dish is named after the "gimbal," a type of shrimp fritter that adds a delightful crunch. This flavorful and filling dish is a staple of Semarang street food, often enjoyed as a lunch or dinner option. For an authentic taste, head to Tahu Gimbal Pak Edy, a popular spot among locals.

kuliner semarang

Bandeng Presto

Bandeng Presto is a beloved fish dish made from milkfish marinated in a blend of traditional spices and then pressure-cooked until the bones are soft and edible. The result is a tender and flavorful fish that can be eaten whole. Often served with sambal (spicy chili paste) and steamed rice, Bandeng Presto is a must-try for seafood lovers. Many visitors flock to Bandeng Juwana Elrina, a well-known shop that offers high-quality Bandeng Presto and other fish delicacies.

Nasi Gandul

Nasi Gandul is a unique rice dish originating from the neighboring town of Pati but has become very popular in Semarang. The dish consists of steamed rice served with tender slices of beef or buffalo meat cooked in a rich, coconut milk-based gravy. The flavors are enhanced with spices like coriander, cumin, and turmeric, creating a savory and aromatic meal. It’s typically served on a banana leaf, which adds to its authentic presentation. Try Nasi Gandul Pak Memet for an unforgettable culinary experience.

kuliner semarang

Pisang Plenet

Pisang Plenet is a delightful street food snack made from grilled and flattened bananas topped with various sweet condiments such as chocolate, cheese, or sugar. The bananas are pressed flat on a hot grill until they caramelize, creating a deliciously sweet and slightly crispy treat. It’s a perfect snack for those on the go or anyone looking for a light dessert. You can find Pisang Plenet vendors throughout Semarang, especially in the evening markets.

Kue Lekker Paimo

A modern twist on traditional Dutch pancakes, Kue Lekker Paimo offers a variety of savory and sweet fillings. Popular options include sausage, cheese, and mayonnaise for savory lovers, or chocolate and fruit for those with a sweet tooth. The crispy and thin pancakes are made to order, ensuring they are fresh and delicious. Visit Kue Lekker Paimo, a famous stall that always has a long line of eager customers.

Es Congklik

To cool down after exploring the city’s culinary delights, try Es Congklik, a traditional Javanese shaved ice dessert. It’s made with a variety of toppings such as grass jelly, sweetened condensed milk, and various syrups, creating a refreshing and colorful treat. Perfect for a hot day, this dessert can be found at many street vendors and traditional markets in Semarang.


Semarang’s culinary scene is a vibrant reflection of its cultural diversity and rich history. From savory dishes like Lumpia Semarang and Tahu Gimbal to sweet treats like Wingko Babat and Pisang Plenet, there’s something to satisfy every palate. Exploring these must-try foods will not only delight your taste buds but also give you a deeper appreciation of the city’s unique culinary heritage. So, the next time you visit Semarang, make sure to embark on this delicious culinary journey and experience the best that the city has to offer.

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