Nasi goreng, fried rice, is easily one of the most famous Indonesian foods.

I wouldn’t call it one of the top Indonesian foods, but I do think everyone can enjoy a plate of nasi goreng from time to time, and I certainly do.

You’ll find nasi goreng all over Indonesia, served at both restaurants and commonly from street food carts.

During my trip to Jakarta, one evening along Mangga Besar road I stopped for a wonderfully comforting plate of nasi goreng.

In this blog post I’ll share with you exactly what I ate.

Mangga Besar Road in Jakarta
Mangga Besar Road

Mangga Besar Road

If you’re a food lover in Jakarta, you’ll inevitably eventually find yourself in Mangga Besar.

Mangga Besar, a district and road of Jakarta, is known for its food, especially for its Indonesian, more specifically Medanese Indonesian Chinese food.

Walking around Mangga Besar in the evening, you’ll find dozens of street food carts, restaurants, and stalls selling all sorts of things to eat, and you’ll notice an abundance of stalls that sell the King of Fruits, durian. It’s just an all around glorious place for any food lover.

A couple of quick notes:

Note #1: I think Mangga Besar is one of the best central areas of Jakarta to stay in if you’re visiting).

Note #2: Mangga Besar is also a red light district in Jakarta, but it’s not in your face, and it’s pretty easy to avoid the nightlife and just focus on the food and energy of the area.

Jakarta street food
Nasi goreng street food cart in Jakarta

Nasi Goreng (Fried Rice)

Like I was mentioning, my wife and I walked out of our hotel one evening and after having a quick look around, I decided I was just in that mood for nasi goreng.

We stopped at the nearest and friendliest looking stall, and I could tell both by the sign on the front of the street food cart, and by the ingredients displayed in the cart that he was selling nasi goreng.

Petai – one of my favorite things in the world

Another thing I noticed that he had in his street food cart were a couple pods of stink beans, known in Indonesia as petai; They are one of my favorite things to eat in the world.

I put in my order for nasi goreng petai.

The nasi goreng vendor, who was very nice, just like many of the Jakarta street food vendors I interacted with during my trip, gladly took my order.

nasi goreng
Jakarta street food atsmosphere

After he finished up with a few other orders in his queue, he then got started with my nasi goreng petai.

With a well used wok and a half broken spatula, he added in some oil and a dab of what I think was either ghee or margarine, heated it up, and first fried an egg. He set this egg aside for later.

nasi goreng
The completed plate of nasi goreng

He then added in the peeled petai, sautéed them in the hot oil for a few seconds, before tossing in another egg, and adding some pieces of chicken, salt, and sambal, and likely a bit of MSG. Then, in went a plate of rice. He fried the rice in such a beautifully rhythmic fashion, clanking on the wok with his spatula.

Finally, one of the seasonings for nasi goreng, that makes it quite different from other types of fried rice such as Thai khao pad, is the addition of plenty of kecap manis, sweet soy sauce.

nasi goreng in Indonesia
I love all the extra toppings on a plate of nasi goreng

Once the nasi goreng was finished frying, it still had some assembling to make it a great plate of nasi goreng.

The fried rice was placed on a plate, topped with the extra fried egg, some crispy shallots, a few slices of cucumber and tomato, some achar pickle similar what I had with Soto Betawi, and finally a good handful of emping.

This plate of nasi goreng was very similar to any plate of nasi goreng you can order throughout Indonesia.

But it occasionally hits that spot, and it tastes so good.

mangga besar
The petai is what really took it to the next level

Again, what really sets Indonesian fried rice apart from any other type of fried rice in the world is the addition of kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) that gives the nasi goreng a slightly sweet and salty, and almost caramelized taste.

Also, for me, what really made this plate of nasi goreng good was the petai, the sambal, the friendly Jakarta street food vendors, and the always energetic ambiance of Mangga Besar.

Price for nasi goreng – 20,000 IDR ($1.50)

durian in Jakarta
Durian is everywhere at Mangga Besar

Durian at Mangga Besar

Did I mention that Mangga Besar is a well known place in Jakarta to eat durian?

The next stall over from where Ying and I were eating nasi goreng, there was a durian stall. And while taking bites of my fried rice, whiffs of humid durian air caught my nose.

So there was only one natural thing to do next…

Indonesian street food
Even hang from a tree on the side of the road!

After a little contemplation, and taste testing a couple of durians, I settled for a Palembang durian, that was nice and extremely ripe, with a sweet and bitter taste.

Palembang durian
A lovely Palembang durian

There are few things that could possibly be better than sitting in the hot humidity of Jakarta, traffic roaring by, but with the peace and comfort of a good durian on the table before you.

They had a couple tables set up along the side of the road, so he sliced our durian, and set it on the table.

Indonesian street food
Creamy, mushy, sweet and bitter

The durian was from Palembang, in Sumatra, and although it couldn’t be compared to a Musang King, I enjoyed it.

It was sweet and creamy, like dense whipped cream, with a soft bitter tinge and a hint of alcohol. There’s no greater way to end a meal than with durian.

Price for durian – 45,000 IDR ($3.39)

Watch the video:

If you have a few minutes, press play to watch the full video of this plate of nasi goreng and durian for dessert:

(Or you can watch it on YouTube here)

Indonesian street food
A great simple evening out at Mangga Besar


Nasi goreng is one of those dishes that you can rely on.

It’s not the most complex Indonesian dish, but sometimes it’s just what you need and want to eat, and it’s commonly available throughout Indonesia.

You’ll find all sorts of street food stalls and restaurants around the Mangga Besar area in Jakarta. This particular nasi goreng cart and durian stall was located on Jalan Mangga Besar, about 50 meters in from Jalan Hayam Wuruk, on the north side of the road. If you’re in the area, another one of the must-eat restaurants is Bakso Akiaw 99.

In any case, Mangga Besar is an interesting area of Jakarta, and a must visit place if you love to eat.

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

  • kurniawan

    8 years ago

    You not try a yellow rice, soto banjar and lontong banjar in borneo indonesia??

  • Andrew Konstantinus

    8 years ago

    Hi ya, If you ever been to Jakarta again, particularly in Mangga Besar, you should also try Kwetiau Goreng Akang Medan just next to Bakso Akiaw 99. The kwetiau goreng (Fried flat rice noodle) there are so special because I think they fried those on wok with charcoal fire so they kinda gives uniquely pleasant smokey flavour and aroma.

    It also cooked with duck egg and topped with not so tiny shrimp, fish cakes, charsiew pork, and lap cheong, also you can ask some crab meat added into it to make it more special :D, The kwetiau goreng itself is not too sweet and more savoury that its many street vendors counterpart although you can still get the sweetness from pieces of lap cheong in it

    I highly recommend it! and its my most favourite kwetiau goreng ever haha 😀

  • Nina

    8 years ago

    Sorry about spelling your name wrong Mark!

  • Nina

    8 years ago

    Hi Matk, I can’t keep up with you! so many places your visiting loads of interesting foods wow!

  • Fnu masraqune

    8 years ago

    Hi mark. My name is bithi and my husbands name is Khaled. We love you so much. We live in Houston, Tx. My 5 year old son and my 11 year old daughter also love you. We are from bangladesh. How come you don’t go to dhaka, Bangladesh. My country has a lot’s of good food and very testy. If you want to go to bangladesh, please let me know, then I can contact my family there. Thanks. Sincerely, bithi, Khaled, Mahrus, Mahdiya.

  • Elkiza

    8 years ago

    Hi mark, I’ve just found ur youtube channel out of nowhere, and i instantly subscribed. I like the way u make these video.. Btw im from Indonesia. And up until now im so amaze that u r so like stink beans and jengkol, as for most people these beans are kinda taboo to eat. Many people here says why do u eat that stinky beans its awful.. And yet u fell for it mark although u r a foreigner. Im also love stink bean and crazy for chillies. .. Keep posting videos.. Cant wait for the next one.

  • Nina Rana

    8 years ago

    Hi Mark, great looking food as always! Is it better to tell them not too put too much salt in so you can put more if you need? The salad do they wash it with bottled water before they serve? Durian I tried for the first time last year in Bangkok it was one big challenge for me and my daughters to try, but we did with mix feelings! Will try and have a durian challenge on holiday next month! 🙂 Thanks x

  • Elle

    8 years ago

    Hi, other than Bakso Akiaw 99, I also recommend Bakso Ayung. It’s right opposite to Akiaw.
    If someday you would come visit Mangga Besar again, try their most sought-after food: Bakmi (noodles). Whether it’s served dry, with soup, stir- fried, or with gravy. And also with your choice of fillings: chicken, pork, beef, seafood, veggie, etc. Although I live in Mangga Besar for almost 20 years, honestly, I have not visit all the food vendors here. It’s just too many…

  • Michael Coleman-Rock

    8 years ago

    Keep it coming with all the great content. I’m glad you take the time to share your travels for local cuisine. Thanks!

  • Heryadi Sirait

    8 years ago

    Have you tried pete eat together with salted fish (Ikan Teri ) and sambal ?
    i suggest you to try. its really nice

    • Heryadi Sirait

      8 years ago

      You have actually eaten that fish while you had botram, they mix it with a rice at that time. Ikan Teri is tiny fish and salty

  • Heryadi Sirait

    8 years ago

    OMG, i am hungry just now seeing this..