Ayam Geprek: A Guide and Recommendations in Jakarta
If you ask people in Indonesia on the most recommended dish nowadays, people would say Ayam Geprek. Ayam Geprek has recently become quite the hype food in Indonesia, especially among the youth. And strangely, unlike the previous food fads, it seems that its trend is still going strong (if Gojek menus are to be believed).
But really, what’s the secret behind this American junk food that’s been turned into a local invention? How did it tap into the Indonesian food market and gain the following it has now?
Well, you’re here to find out. And while we’re at it, we’ll also be guiding you to order Ayam Geprek like a pro.
So, what exactly is Ayam Geprek?
To put it simply, Ayam Geprek is a crispy chicken that’s put on a mortar and crushed together with sambal. “Geprek” is the Javanese word for “smashed” or “crushed”, so you can guess where the dish got its name from.
More precisely, this recipe originated from Yogyakarta, where it took inspiration from Ayam Penyet, which is also chicken crushed with sambal. However, the chicken for Ayam Penyet uses a traditional yellow paste. Ayam Geprek, on the other hand, is just crispy fried chicken like the ones you find at American fast food joints.
Another difference is the sambal. Ayam Penyet uses sambal terasi or sambal tomat, which are mostly reddish in color. Ayam Geprek, on the other hand, uses sambal with a lot of garlic and cabe rawit (Thai pepper). The sambal is also much more oily and orange-ish in color in comparison to the sambal penyet.
It is a continuously evolving dish. It can have different side dishes, such as basil, fried yellow tofu, tempeh, and deep-fried cauliflower. You can even easily find Ayam Geprek with torched mozzarella now!
Another defining trait of this dish is its budget-friendly price. Starting from Rp 14.000, you can already get Ayam Geprek complete with rice (and sometimes tomato and cucumber slices too). No wonder it’s such a well-loved comfort food among college students, who are always on the hunt for budget meals outside of the usual instant noodles.
Another factor why it’s so popular now is because of the many celebrities that open Ayam Geprek restaurants throughout Indonesia. Examples of well-known Indonesian celebrities that dabble in the Ayam Geprek business, including Indonesian famous Youtuber Ria Ricis and celeb Ruben Onsu (and his widely popular Ayam Geprek Bensu).
Want to learn more about other Indonesian food like Nasi Padang?
What you need to know before ordering Ayam Geprek
First, it’s common to eat Ayam Geprek with your hands. You can choose to eat with a spoon or fork, but eating fried chicken is more fun when you can pick it apart. However, using your hands to eat Ayam Geprek can be oily. That is why some Ayam Geprek restaurants give out plastic gloves.
Next, it’s a gateway to spicy food. Sure, you can ask for a zero spiciness level (more on that later), but why limit yourself? Indonesia is heaven when it comes to spicy food, so better test your taste buds to the limit when you can!
Third, it’s crushed crispy chicken. Depending on the place, you can be pretty lucky to get a big piece of chicken with thick chunks of meat, but other places prefer to focus on the crispy chicken skin. Whatever you prefer, it’s better to look up other people’s reviews before you order from a certain place. (Of course, the thickness of the meat also depends on the part of the chicken you’re choosing).
Fourth, know your restaurant chains. There are dozens of different restaurants serving them, There are even more if you browse through selections in Go-Food or Grabfood, but we recommend those two because of their popularity.
Five, it is not a luxury dish. In fact, it’s quite popular among college students who seek budget meals. Some restaurants even allow you to order Ayam Geprek separately and let you add in as much rice as you want, so it’s a pretty good and fulfilling budget meal.
Recommended Ayam Geprek to Try
So here are the most recommended ayam geprek in Jakarta for you to try!
1. Ayam Geprek Bensu
Ayam Geprek Bensu is one of the popular brands in Indonesia. You could easily find its branches all over Jakarta. It is known to be in the industry for quite some while. They serve many types of ayam geprek, from the classic spicy ones which the level of spiciness you can choose from 1 to 10, and various toppings or addition such as cheese, egg, and more! Check their outlets and promotions on their Instagram, @geprekbensu.
Price: Rp20.000 – Rp32.000
2. Ayam Keprabon
If you’re looking for another ayam geprek that has many outlets besides Geprek Bensu, try Ayam Keprabon! This ayam geprek is one of the most popular in Jakarta. You can choose to eat your ayam geprek with rice or Indomie. The favorite menu here is Ayam Geprek Blenger, chicken with mozzarella topping and egg. The mozzarella cheese is quite generous and still tastes good even when it’s not hot anymore. For more info and locations, go check out their Instagram @ayamkeprabon!
Price: Rp19.000 – Rp34.000
3. Ayam Gepuk Sambal Bawang Pak Gembus
Ayam Gepuk Sambal Bawang Pak Gembus is also one of the popular brands, the uniqueness of this ayam geprek is its seasonings and sambal. You can find this place all over the city. It’s not like the regular seasonings, they combine sweet peanuts and chili peppers, making them taste rich. If you want something a bit different, this menu is one you could try.
Price: Rp23.000 – Rp30.000
4. Ayam Blenger PSP
Different from the other ayam geprek, their level of spiciness is higher because every level means 10 chillis! However, if you’re not a fan of spicy food, they have level 0 which means there’s no spiciness at all. Besides original sambal, they also have sambal matah and sambal hijau (from green chili). Their favorite menu is called Ayam Termoz, chicken with egg and mozzarella cheese. Still need an addition? Try to order tempeh, fried tofu, or chicken skin! Check the locations on their Instagram, @pspayamblenger.
Price: Rp15.000 – Rp25.000
If you really want to try something unique, we highly recommend you try yagochicken! Yagochicken is an F&B company held by Samwon Group. THe concept is that it’s a Korean Ayam Geprek. It combines kimchi with ayam geprek. The unique taste of kimchi goes very well with its secret seasoned Ayam Geprek, they use high-quality ingredients just for you to enjoy!
Recommended dishes for you to try is of course their Ayam Geprek Kimchi Yago. It’s chicken with its legendary seasonings along with kimchi. If you would like to order something classic, you could order Ayam Geprek Yago, it’s a classic ayam geprek menu. All at reasonable and very affordable prices that you’ll regret not trying!
Address: Jl. Kembang Kerep Kel No.27, RT.6/RW.2, Kembangan Sel., Kec. Kembangan, Kota Jakarta Barat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 11610
Price: Rp21.000 – Rp25.000
6. Ayam Koplo by Hangry
This ayam geprek is no less spicy than the previous ones. Ayam Koplo is one of the restaurants from the famous F&B brand, Hangry Indonesia. Here, they serve ayam geprek that are cut into cubes and combined with their signature sambal. The chicken is also mixed with scrambled eggs and serundeng and then sprinkled with kremes. Ayam koplo has 3 kinds of sambal, the original one with 1-5 spiciness levels, sambal matah, and sambal ijo. They also have mozzarella cheese topping. Check out their outlet on Instagram @ayamkoplo.id and try it right away!
Harga: Rp 23.000 – Rp 30.000
7. Wong Sugih
Well, ayam geprek Wong Sugih is also one of the best ayam geprek in Jakarta. Wong Sugih has a spiciness level of 0-7 and always serves small portions of rice. So, if you eat their ayam geprek, the spicy taste is sure to be really good. What’s unique about Wong Sugih is the chicken is cooked in the style of Padang restaurant’s pop chicken and then after that it is crushed. There are 3 menus that they serve: ayam geprek reguler, ayam pop geprek, and paru geprek. Are you curious of how it tastes? Go and order it!
Harga: Rp 21.000
8. Sambel Meledug Indonesia (SMI)
This restaurant does not only serve ayam geprek, but they also serve meatballs, noodles, etc. However, their popular menu is ayam geprek. Their ayam geprek is very famous for its very spicy sambal that can make your lips feel hot. Can you imagine? Their most popular menu is ayam geprek eggs and cheese. Wow, it must be really delicious! If you are interested, go and visit their place!
Harga: Rp 15.000 – Rp 25.000
Alamat: Jln. Kapten Tendean No.34, Mampang Prapatan, Jakarta Selatan
9. Ayam Geprek Mas Eko
This ayam geprek is also quite unique. Ayam geprek Mas Eko don’t just sell chicken geprek. However, their most ordered menu is their Ayam Geprek Mozarella. This menu is a favorite because of their crispy chicken overflowing with melted mozzarella cheese that will slightly remove the spicy taste from the sambal. They also provide several kinds of toppings to be served with their ayam geprek, such as fried tofu and crispy mushrooms. However, what is most unique about Mas Eko’s chicken geprek is that they also offer Samyang to replace the rice. Can you imagine how spicy ayam geprek is when eaten with samyang? Well, if you are curious, just visit one of their outlets.
Harga: Rp 19.000 – Rp 43.000
Jln. Tanjung Duren Utara 4 No.223B, Jakarta Barat
Jln. Rawa Belong, Jakarta Barat
Jln. Prof. DR. Satrio No.249, Setia Budi, Jakarta Selatan
10. Ayam Geprek Master
This last Geprek chicken is also one of the most popular ayam geprek in Jakarta. They serve many kinds of ayam geprek menu starting from original ayam geprek, cheese ayam geprek, and mozzarella ayam geprek. Apart from chicken geprek with rice, they also serve indomie as a substitute for rice. Their additional menu is also no less interesting, there are fried cabbage, crispy tofu, crispy mushrooms, and crispy eggplant. As for the level of spiciness they provide from level 1 to level 10. Delicious, right? If you want to try it, just check the outlet closest to you on their Instagram page @ayamgeprekmaster
Harga: Rp 15.000 – Rp 33.000
Tips on Ordering Ayam Geprek
So, are you ready to order the first Ayam Geprek in your life? To get you started, here are some tips on ordering it for beginners:
1. Know the restaurant’s ordering system
Different restaurants have different ordering systems. To save you from confusion or embarrassment, you should ask how to order from the waiter or a friend who’s familiar with the joint. This way, you won’t be confused waiting for your order to arrive. Some restaurants even require you to pick your order from the counter.
2. Know your packages
It usually comes in packages depending on the topping and prices. However, some restaurants also allow you to order rice and Ayam Geprek as a base and add more condiments according to your preferences. So, ask if you don’t know what a certain menu item contains.
3. Pick your spiciness level
Here’s the fun part: you can choose your own spiciness level! They can come from 0 (not spicy) to 10 (extra hot). For beginners, we recommend that you order a level 2 Ayam Geprek or lower —even level 3 and level 4 may already be too hot to handle!
4. Have drinks ready
We recommend preparing your drink because your Ayam Geprek can end up very spicy, so make sure you already have enough water to down that heat! Some joints offer free-flow drinks, so use them to your advantage.
5. Try sharing with friends
Another thing people like to do is dump their chicken and side dishes together with your friends’ on separate plates and eat together. It’s a bit unconventional, but it’s a way to bring you and your friend (or even significant other) closer! Or you can just order your own plate of Ayam Geprek with different sambal flavors and trade with your friends.
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So there you have your guide through the most recommended dish in Indonesia in 2020, Ayam Geprek. We hope you enjoy eating it! Don’t forget to check out other culinary articles for you to try!