Nasi becek must have been my most sinful treat during my travel recently to East Java. But then again, this also reminds me of a similar treat back in Jakarta, gulai tikungan, but when it comes for a more exotic selection and when you happen to be around the town of Nganjuk, it’s a must try!
The sleepy town of Nganjuk is a hometown of my best friend’s wife and it’s almost the time for dinner when we got there. Without hesitation I simply asked my friend where to dine here and he hinted the town’s specialty, nasi becek!
Literally means ‘drenched rice’ but well from what you see is quite similar with how we usually serve nasi soto. Here, the warm fluffy rice soaked in a particular gulai - soup made from coconut milk, herbs, the usual ingredients alongside the innards of lamb. The innards are already diced and also to be eaten alongside lamb satay. So what you see is basically a very indulging treat and filled with parts that are not usually used anywhere in this world. Indonesians somehow pride themselves with the motto ‘nothing’s wasted’ and there you go, the fatty and savory nasi becek!
For me, it’s a treat for once in a while but then again, I didn’t really feel the kick. I expected a more powerful, deep, intense flavor within the soup and it’s pretty much not too impressive. The lamb meat was also not that special as I had been expecting more meat to be served rather than the fatty parts, which I assume can also be excluded if only the proprietor let us know earlier. Another relative of mine back from Yogyakarta in fact recommended the neighboring Nasi Becek ‘Pojok’ as the one that possess better taste although the warung is somehow smaller.
Anyway, during my visit I took the liberty to take pictures of everything only to found that the mama-san felt offended with what I was doing. Well, honestly I didn’t ask her permission first and that’s only natural for people who aren’t get used in getting publication from media, especially in a small town like Nganjuk. Then she got a bit angry in Javanese language, but I immediately apologized though until now I don’t know whether that pleased her.
So guys, better be careful next time. Although I have been doing this stuff for years, there’s no telling if the proprietor’s in a bad mood or not. Good luck!
Must eat: Nasi becek & sate kambing
Price: IDR 10,000 (nasi becek)
Address: Jln. Dr. Sutomo no. 13 – Nganjuk, East Java – Indonesia
Opening hours: TBA