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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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)
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