If you love spicy, there are a lot of incredibly spicy foods to eat when you’re in Indonesia. But there was one dish that topped them all in the spicy department for me.

When I was in Jakarta, many people recommended I try a type of Indonesian grilled chicken dish, called Ayam Bakar Taliwang, mentioning “since you love spicy food, you’re going to love it.”

It turned out to be a life-changing chicken experience, and I’m about to share it with you below.

best Indonesian food
Ayam Bakar Taliwang in Jakarta

What is Ayam Taliwang?

Let’s first start with a quick overview about the history and origins of Ayam Taliwang.

One of the best things about visiting Jakarta is that you can find Indonesian dishes from all over the country.

Ayam Taliwang is originally from the island of Lombok, which is located to the east of Bali. But I’m glad you can get it in Jakarta as well.

There’s not a lot of history written about the dish (at least in English), but according to Wikipedia, Ayam Taliwang has a little bit of a disputed history of who invented it. But there is a man named Abdul Hamid who says he invented the dish in 1970.

Indonesian food
Friendly staff and incredible grilled chicken

Ayam Taliwang is made with small free range (which in Indonesia are called ayam kampung) or spring chickens, and it can be either grilled or deep fried.

Along with the chicken itself, some of the mandatory ingredients for Ayam Taliwang include crazy amounts of chilies and garlic.

Ayam Taliwang Rinjani
Ayam Taliwang Rinjani

Ayam Taliwang Rinjani

After doing some research for restaurants to eat Ayam Taliwang in Jakarta, I came across Ayam Taliwang Rinjani, and judging from the atmosphere and the photos of the chilies stacked onto the grilled chicken, I knew it was a place I needed to eat at.

From where I was staying in Jakarta at Veranda Hotel, my wife and I jumped into an Uber, and got dropped off at the front of Ayam Taliwang Rinjani. I could immediately smell the aroma of charcoal grilled chicken.

Indonesian street food
The chicken is partially grilled before you order it

The restaurant was partially indoors, but open air, and sort of looked like a garage style restaurant, with the chicken being prepared outside. It was perfect conditions for eating grilled chicken.

At the front of the restaurant there was a glass cabinet filled with what appeared to be partially grilled chickens.

ayam taliwang
After you order, the chicken is doused in sauce

As soon as any customer would order, the cook would grab one of the chickens from the cabinet, drench it in the sauce of choice, and put it onto the charcoal grill.

That way you got your grilled chicken hot and fresh, without having to wait too long for it to cook.

Ayam Taliwang Rinjani
The menu at Ayam Taliwang Rinjani

Menu

The menu was all in Bahasa Indonesia, but it was pretty easy to navigate it, especially if you know a few of the keywords.

You can either go for the ayam bakar (grilled chicken) or the ayam goreng (fried chicken). My wife and I got everything grilled.

From there, you can then choose the different sauces that you want on your chicken including the main ayam bakar Taliwang, the super extra pedas (super extra spicy), and the manis (sweet version). We ordered one of each.

Ayam Bakar Taliwang
Ayam Bakar Taliwang

Ayam Bakar Taliwang

The first version of the grilled chicken I tried was the main ayam bakar Taliwang (I think this one was the ayam bakar plecing), their signature dish.

As soon as I bit into the chicken, I could hardly believe the spiciness and the flavors that came from it.

The chicken itself was delicious, slightly chewy yet juicy at the same time, and it was one of those chickens that released more and more chicken flavor with every bite.

best Indonesian food
The sauce was spicy, salty, and sour

But along with the wonderful grilled chicken, the glaze of chili sauce is what made it so spectacular. It was spicy, quite salty, and along with a squeeze of lime which was provided on the plate, that gave it a little fresh sourness.

Indonesian chicken dishes
Free range, packed with flavor chicken

I ate the entire drumstick in one bite, and it was one of the tastiest drumsticks I can ever remember eating.

Ayam Bakar Super Extras Pedas
The sambal chili sauce used to make Ayam Bakar Super Extras Pedas

Ayam Bakar Super Extras Pedas

At first, I didn’t even order it.

But when I saw the pan of sambal chili sitting next to the grill, and realized that my first grilled chicken didn’t include any of it, I knew I needed to order whatever it was that included it.

It turned out to the be the ayam bakar super extra pedas, or the super extra spicy grilled chicken, as the man on the grill called it.

Indonesian food guide
Life-changing grilled chicken

I think the sambal was almost pure chilies, garlic, salt, and oil, and the chicken first was dunked into the sambal before being grilled. You could smell the aroma of those grilled chilies and garlic when it was being prepared.

When the chicken came to my table, with a centimeter coating of pureed chilies all over it, I knew my taste buds were in for something spectacular.

It turned out to be a grilled chicken moment that I’ll never forget. It was so insanely spicy that it was one of those foods that once you start eating, you can’t stop until you’re finished.

spicy food
For serious spicy food lovers

Despite it looking extremely spicy, and it was pretty spicy, the other normal ayam Taliwang was almost just as spicy. But this one was a little more harsh, tasting like just pure chilies and garlic.

It was simply amazing, and for myself, being spicy obsessed, it’s an Indonesian food I’ve been dreaming about ever since eating it.

Indonesian food guide
The sweet grilled chicken

The Sweet Grilled Chicken

Finally, if you’re not so much into spicy, at Ayam Taliwang Rinjani they also offer a sweet version of grilled chicken, and we ordered one just to try it out.

The sweet version tasted like a tangy sweet barbecue sauce. Also very good.

Plecing Kangkung
Plecing Kangkung

Plecing Kangkung

Another famous dish from Lombok is plecing kangkung, a type of salad made with water morning glory.

The water morning glory was first blanched along with beansprouts, and placed on a plate with some fried peanuts, and finally topped with a chunky garlicky shrimp paste and tomato dressing, that tasted similar to nam prik kapi in Thailand.

The combination of the fresh and crisp water morning glory, with the salty shrimpy topping was fantastic. And it also went extremely well with the flamingly hot grilled chicken.

Jakarta food guide
Here’s our total bill

Total Price

Our total bill came to 165,000 IDR ($12.39), and my wife and I had 3 grilled chickens, along with rice, the salad, and I accidentally ordered some shrimp paste sambal as well (which didn’t really go along with the other dishes we ordered).

Watch the video:

If you have a few minutes, watch the video below to see my mouth on FIRE!

(Or you can’t watch it on YouTube here)

best Indonesian food
If you love spicy food, Ayam Bakar Taliwang is something you have to eat.

Conclusion

Ayam Bakar Taliwang is a type of Indonesian grilled chicken originally from Lombok.

Although I wasn’t in Lombok, but in Jakarta, I decided to go check out a restaurant called Ayam Taliwang Rinjani, famously known in the city for their extremely spicy Ayam Taliwang.

The grilled chicken was both insanely spicy, and unbelievably delicious.

If you love grilled chicken and if you’re obsessed with chilies like I am, this Indonesian dish is a game-changer when it comes to grilled chicken.

Ayam Taliwang Rinjani

Address: Jalan Pesanggrahan Raya No. 50, Puri Indah, Jakarta (check out my Jakarta food map)
Open hours: 10 am – 10 pm daily
Prices: We had 3 chickens and a few side dishes for 165,000 IDR ($12.39)

Do you like the photos on my blog? Check out the camera I use here.



30 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • Ty

    3 months ago

    40 minutes in a cab only be told they weren’t serving. 👎

  • Liandri

    4 months ago

    I am Indonesian, but I am not brave enough to order ‘super extra pedas’ .

  • Iwan Tantomi

    8 months ago

    My Goodness, it’s so yummy!

  • Ashik Ahmed

    11 months ago

    Thank you Mark. Can you please review some kolkata Food?
    this post is very colorful and video is very interesting.

  • Steven

    1 year ago

    Plan a trip to Bali, you would love it so much

  • Fischer

    1 year ago

    Mark, I so respect your videos. The photographs are wonderful – extremely clear. I have watched all your videos and am always looking forward to the next mouth watering experience. Thank you!!!!!!!!!

  • Julianto

    1 year ago

    Very good article to be used as a culinary reference.
    I request permission to use the picture for my article at http://nesia.id
    The url is: http://nesia.id/another-spicy-specialty-food-indonesia-ayam-taliwang.html
    As a reward I’ll put the link source

  • Ian Lutfian

    1 year ago

    Hi Mark, I agree with you. This food is life-changing. I originally come from Lombok and now live in Brisbane, Australia. My love to this food encourage me to make it and sell it here in supermarket in Australia. The sause itself is available in a jar so that people can make their own ayam bakar taliwang at home. I have so many good feedback and repeat orders. I would like to send you a jar of this taliwang sauce and see the possibility to sell it in USA.

    For those of you who would like to buy it in Australia, you can get it at this location http://www.baksorawitani.com.au/

  • KOEN

    1 year ago

    Looks great, I can deal with spicy, but I’m not sure I’m in your league 🙂 (yet!)

  • Aries

    1 year ago

    I love to see your gesture when you eat a really delicious food, I do believe that’s kind of perfect taste 😀

  • Kevin Rustanto

    1 year ago

    Mark, just saw your video in Glodok. I lived there as a child and your reactions really brought back a lot of fond memories! If you get the chance check out some of the fried duck places around Jakarta. Can’t wait for more videos.

  • Karel Stowasser

    1 year ago

    Very ,very interesting..and this goes out from Germany!
    Sir,you’re the reason why i am ReVisiting all your Food Travels. .
    That inspire my total!
    Thank you for all your Videos!

  • melani

    1 year ago

    have you ever eaten a bad meal in Indonesia ? what the name of the food ?
    thanks

  • Bama

    1 year ago

    Hey Mark. It’s been a while since the last time I dropped a comment on your blog, so when I found this post of yours I was thrilled. Compared to other cuisines in the region, Indonesian food is relatively less-known, and most people’s experiences are limited to rendang, nasi goreng, and mie goreng despite the wide array of local dishes one can sample in the country.

    I went to Lombok a few years ago and tried ayam taliwang. I love spicy food, but that ayam taliwang I had was definitely one of the spiciest dishes I’ve ever had. I loved it though, but those who can’t take even the smallest amount of chili should stay away. 🙂 However Indonesian food is not always about chili, as my best friend from Hong Kong learned. Opor (some kind of yellow curry made from different spices, coconut milk, and ayam kampung) is his new favorite Indonesian dish now.

  • Nay

    1 year ago

    Thank you Mark.
    Well, Lombok itself means Chili!
    In hot and spiciness department, Lombok and Manado are the one to beat in Indonesia.
    If you have the time, please visit Manado.
    You can try the real Tinutuan (Bubur Manado), Gohu, Ikan Bakar, Ragey (Spicy pork satay), Mie Cakalang, etc. 🙂
    Authentic Ayam Taliwang and Plecing kangkung in Lombok could be more spicy than in Jakarta. 🙂 Send my kind regards to your wife.

  • Syed Mahmood

    1 year ago

    Hi Mark
    Which country (or city) has the best seafood dishes, based on your experience?
    (And I don’t just mean in Indonesia)
    Thanks.

    • Mark Wiens

      1 year ago

      Hi Syed, as for actual raw and pure seafood, I’ve never seen anywhere like Japan. But it’s a totally different style of eating as opposed to Southeast Asia. When I was in Chile there was also excellent seafood, and also in both Philippines and Indonesia.

      • Syed Mahmood

        1 year ago

        Thanks for the response. I love Sushi and Sashimi (My wife is a Sushi chef). 😀
        Adding Philippines and Indonesia to the bucket list 🙂

  • Lauren Bishop

    1 year ago

    Another mouthwatering post. I’m saving up a list of all the dishes I need to eat when I finally get to Indonesia.

  • Rani Feldbusch

    1 year ago

    OOoh I’m so jealous!! You are so Lucky Mark & I love your taste of spicy foods. Keep posting in your Website/Youtube!! I’m Indonesian living in Germany and this Ayam Taliwang is in my lovely Area! How I miss my homewtown Jakarta and especially my home in Puri Indah <3 *Homesick :'(

    • Mark Wiens

      1 year ago

      Hey Rani, thank you very much for reading. Glad this brings back some good food memories!

  • FARAH Crawford

    1 year ago

    Lombok is mean Chilli …if u want taste spicy food u really need to came to Lombok Island ….all the dish in Lombok Island is spicy …I luv it …I grown up in Lombok Island .

    • Mark Wiens

      1 year ago

      Hi Farah, great to hear you’re from Lombok. I would love to visit Lombok for the chili filled food!

  • Julia Chow

    1 year ago

    I love your Indonesian food tour. It looks so delicious. I know it is good food because I’m from Indonesia. I wish you could also get recipes for us who are so far away. People just aren’t familiar with Indonesian food

    • Mark Wiens

      1 year ago

      Hi Julia, thank you very much for reading. I will try to do more recipes, I would like the recipe for this too!

      • Quan Ngo

        6 months ago

        Very good article to be used as a culinary reference. Thank Mark Wiens!!