Warung Jakarta: Bringing Indonesian Taste to the World

Story By
Cita Arsita Farani

Restaurateur and cake expert Yudhi Harijono believes it’s about time to put the spotlight on Indonesian food.

“You can find any food from all parts of Indonesia in Jakarta,” Yudhi Harijono said when asked about the reason behind his newest project’s name, Warung Jakarta. It started from a proposal by a Polish acquaintance who made a survey and found that Indonesian food are well received in his country. Later, Yudhi conducted food tasting for the public and VIP guests. Both highly successful, further convincing him that Indonesian food can indeed take the center stage as long as someone is willing to bring them there.

Yudhi contacted his friend, Peter F. Gontha, Ambassador of Indonesia to Poland, and received immense support. Turned out the project is in line with the plan of the Indonesian government under President Jokowi to introduce Indonesian cuisine to the world.

Currently, they’re preparing to open the first Warung Jakarta in Warsaw on September 2016. In Poland alone, they’re planning on 30 branches. “A lot of people have also contacted us and wanting to open their own Warung Jakarta in various countries,” Yudhi said. “We’re elated by the response, but we prefer to wait until we can make a model out of this first branch.” Bulgaria, Dubai and Georgia might be next in the near future. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also providing support in promotions and asking them to open in Suriname, Austria and France among others.

The Indonesian cuisines featured in Warung Jakarta include Tahu Tempe Bacem, Soto Ayam, Sate Ayam, Mi Ayam, Rawon, Rendang and Gado Gado. Instead of targeting Indonesian people who live in foreign countries, Warung Jakarta is designed for the locals with the aim of raising the awareness and love for Indonesian food. In each country, the taste will be adjusted according to the local palate. Some might prefer stronger tastes while the others love them subtle. But the heart of the cuisines remains truly Indonesia.

Most of the ingredients are sourced locally, but the seasonings are produced in their own factory in Indonesia. These seasonings have passed the inspection of the health department in Poland and are ready to be exported. With this system, franchising is made easy and requires no special chef.

Apart from Warung Jakarta, Yudhi is preparing unique buns with a variety of filling choices, almost like the prettier, healthier version of sandwiches. You can get them around October at Central Park Mall and Pondok Indah Mall, Jakarta. He’s also creating color-changing yoghurt for your dessert cravings.