A classic culinary spot at the heart of the city, Angkringan Tugu presents a kind of atmosphere that will give you the real feel of Yogyakarta. Enjoying the food and drink of the common people, sitting on the sidewalk, and listening to the street musicians have always been parts of the life in the peaceful city of culture.
Angkringan is a local term for roadside eating stalls. Just as its name suggest, Angkringan Tugu is situated on a sidewalk right in the north of the city’s historical train station, Tugu. The bell and typical noise of the trains will not be disturbing. Instead, they will add to the ease you will feel while sipping a cup of the famous hot coffee called kopi joss.
Many people also call the place Angkringan Lik Man—Lik Man, or Uncle Man, is the most popular seller in the place. In other angkringans, people eat on a bench in nangkring position (sitting, one foot up). In Angkringan Tugu, besides on the benches, people can also sit on a mat on the ground or lesehan. Thus, the place is often described as an angkringan with lesehan style.
Lik Man’s actual name was Siswo Raharjo. As for the origin of his nickname, nobody knows. But if Angkringan Lik Man’s existence had to be attributed to one man, he is not Lik Man. It is his father, Mbah Pawiro or Mbah Pairo, who started all.
The story began in the 1950s, when Lik Man’s father, Mbah Pawiro, worked by hawking food about Tugu Station. At the time, Mbah Pawiro, who came from Cawas, Klaten, Central Java, carried his food around with a shoulder pole.
In 1969, Lik Man inherited his father’s venture. At first, he still did the job like his father, hawking from place to place. It was in the 1970s that he decided to settle in one place, on a sidewalk north of the train station.
Despite being modest, you should never look down on Angkringan Tugu. This place has become part of Yogyakarta history. They say Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono IX, who was known to be a humble figure, wanted to have a meal in this place before his departure. Some believe that the farewell event before the sultan moved to Jakarta to work as Vice President of Indonesia was also held here.
Angkringan Tugu is only open at night but the place is always busy as it is located near to Malioboro and Tugu Jogja, two places of interest in the city that seem to never sleep. There are always many people around this so-called urban legend of Yogyakarta.
Like other angkringans, its main menu is sego kucing, meaning literally cat’s rice. It is called so because of the small amount of rice contained in a portion. Usually served with sambal teri (spicy tiny fishes) or oseng-oseng tempe (fried cuts of soybean cake), the rice is wrapped in a piece of banana leaf. Sometimes, it is also served with noodle or oseng-oseng kikil (fried cuts of cow leg skin) as alternative side dishes.
Another unique menu in Angkringan Tugu is, of course, the kopi joss. At a glance, a cup of kopi joss looks no different from other coffees. But then, as you find a lump of searing charcoal inside your cup, you will realize that kopi joss is special.
The “joss” in the name, as some would say, originates from the sound of the charcoal when put into the cup. The caffeine content is also believed to be lower than in usual coffees because it will be, to a certain extent, neutralized by the charcoal.
Besides the coffee, the tea there is so classical and very Javanese. Known for being nasgitel or panas (hot), legi (sweet), kentel (thick), the tea is served in an old glass cover and coaster. The hot, tasty tea is really good to enjoy at midnight.
There are also other drinks such as hot ginger, ginger-milk, lemon, etc.
Tidbits are plenty. Sate usus (chicken intestines satay), sate telur puyuh (quail eggs satay), sate ati ampela (liver satay), jadah bakar (fried rice cake), chicken head, tempe and tahu bacem, and miscellaneous fried foods like fried tempe, tahu susur, fried banana, fried tape (fermented rice hunk), fried cassava, and many others are all served. If you want it hot, you can ask the seller to roast it for you.
It has been an open secret that Angkringan Tugu is frequently visited by famous people. It has witnessed the urban life of Yogyakarta from generation to generation. Since its beginning, many culturalists, artists, men of letters, journalists, and writers has been its customers. Djaduk Ferianto, Emha Ainun Nadjib alias Cak Nun, and Ashadi Siregar are some of the names. They say many of their brilliant ideas came up in this place.
Angkringan Tugu is never short of student customers as well. They come every night to have a discussion, brainstorm for ideas, or just refresh their minds.
Now that people from all ranks and professions frequent the place, visiting Angkringan Tugu will be one unique experience. You may need lots of pennies, though, because as you enjoy your time there, street musicians will appear before you with a nice song and warm smile.
Angkringan Tugu or, as some know it, Angkringan Lik Man, sits in the north of Tugu Station or in the west side of the southern end of Mangkubumi Street, 300 meter south of Tugu Jogja monument. It is very accessible given that it is close to Malioboro.
Like many other things in the city, foods in Angkringan Tugu are cheap. You do not have to take out too much money. The prices for a cup of coffee or tea or other beverages are between Rp 1,000 – 2,500.
A nasi kucing is tagged Rp 1,000. And as for a fried tempe and bakwan, you will have to shell out only Rp 500. As for the satays, they are Rp 1,000 – 2,000 a skewer.
Text: Iswara N. Raditya
Translation: Reza Daffi
Photo(s): Collection of Jogjatrip.com
(Primary data and various sources)