Ever wanted to experience life as a time traveller, but couldn’t because of budget issues and the fact that it hasn’t been invented yet?
Then live out your fantasy in the second largest city in East Jawa!
Malang was once run by Dutch colonists and its cool highland weather and rich cultural history drew tourists from all over the globe.
Some even left their heritage and furniture behind!
Today, Malang is covered in ancient Hindu ruins, colonist structures and old homes littered with antiques. But another power is slowly taking over the land. The power of pop culture!
Modern hipster cafes and contemporary pop-up food joints have become the latest fad amidst age-old monuments – making Malang a city that offers a truly unique dining experience.
To give you a better idea of the palate pilgrimage ahead, we’re splitting this list into two parts; Heritage Cafes and Modern Pop Cafes.
a) Heritage Cafes
While most of the places on our list feature European influences, this one purely has Chinese-Javanese factors, and it does it to the maximum.
Photo Via Syafalia
We’re talking floor-to-ceiling filled with all sorts of decor and trinkets!
Photo Via Minumkopi
It looks like a little villa decorated tastefully by a historical hoarder. At a glance, the crowded walls and corners might seem messy, but stare longer and you’ll notice a method to this madness.
Photo Via Arichrysalis
Photo Via Jessy Itung
Photo Via Syafalia
It’s this madness that attracts couples to make this a favourite spot for pre-wedding shoots.
Photo Via Joe Photographie, Prewedding Malang
Pictures don’t do justice to this place, so watch this short clip:
2. Pizzas, pastas, and best of all? Cocktails. – Rumah Opa Kitchen and Lounge
Rumah Opa translates directly to “grandpa’s house” which explains the concept and décor of this place.
Photo Via Aokichan
It resembles a classic Javanese home back in the day, with mismatched furniture and vintage appliances and finishing.
Photo Via Rierastephana
But make no mistake, you won’t find any of grandma’s cooking here. Their signature dishes are pizzas and pastas! The biggest draw? Their cocktails.
Photo Via Rumahopa, Merli Sansan, Alexetiawan_, Agamhutayo
You’ll find herds of young adults here boozing until the wee hours, something they can’t do at their real grandpa’s house.
Photo Via Andryko, Inijie
Photo Via Aokichan
3. Jungle Book & Good Food – Taman Indie River View Resto
Most of the places in this list are located in the city, and offers a trip down memory’s lane by way of vintage décor and antique props.
Photo Via Irwantan
Photo Via Fir.dayanti, Ellenruth Aristhya, Inijie
What makes this restaurant different, is that it teleports you back to the pre-colonial era – when the Javanese lived off the land, by growing rice and fishing from rivers.
Photo Via Yunitapus
Taman Indie River View Resto is located along the riverbanks of Sungai Bango (Bango River), sandwiched between paddy fields and lush forestry.
You can eat like how the locals ate many years ago before foreign feet arrived – and rest assured, the food is just as authentic as before!
4. Dine in a museum, something even Indiana Jones has never done! – Rumah Makan Inggil
Kicking off our list of edible excursions is this museum restaurant. No, it’s not a restaurant next to a museum.
Photo Via Agnes-Sulistiya
It’s literally a restaurant, IN a museum!
Photo Via Novianarh,Ingsiau,Estiyagita,Sitihardyati333
Feast on traditional cuisines, surrounded by antiques like weapons, typewriters, grandfather clocks, furniture, pots and pans, Javanese festival masks – and loads of old black and white photos from days before colour photographs were invented.
Photo Via Nicolashalim
Photo Via Nofiolive
How often can you say you’ve dined in a museum before? Even Indiana Jones and Lara Croft have never done this.
And if you get bored staring at old creepy things, then feast your eyes on the traditional Javanese music and dance performance put on by the restaurant. Do note that this performance is only available for dinner!
Photo Via Sandy-Suryadinata
5. The Lost Temple & Colonial Assemble – Tugu Hotel Malang
Tugu Hotel is a luxury “boutique museum” chain of hotels that romanticises Indonesia’s pre-and post-colonial history.
Known for its impeccable service and romantic vibes, Tugu Hotel Malang is a wonderful place to go – both for a romantic date, or an adventurous night out with the little ones.
When you’re here, walk along wide spacious courtyards dressed with long red drapes, and admire the Chinese-Peranakan decor, Jawanese statues, Dutch furniture and modern French architecture.
These influences can not only be digested visually, but through your tastebuds with these restaurants too!
5-i. A heavenly hotpot of all things colonial! – Melati Restaurant
Tugu Hotel Malang’s 24-hour restaurant takes all of the hotel’s colonial influences and throws them into one giant hot pot of heavenly history.
Photo Via Valoniairene,Momiqtya
Chinese-Peranakan, Dutch-Javanese, and French cuisine styles are all married into one fine dining experience. So don’t be afraid to overwork your tastebuds.
From the carvings to the paintings, from the marble tables to the lights, this restaurant is the closest thing to an ancient Chinese home with Jawanese stone carvings and modern day European furniture. Yes it sounds complicated, good luck captioning your Instagram.
Photo Via Muhamad Rizky R
5-ii.Dine in ‘Angkor Wat’ with the Lost Temple dinner – Royal Angkor
Royal Angkor is an event hall decorated to look like the Cambodian Angkor Wat, with old stone walls and pillars. In the center, sits a giant statue of Hindu God, Jayawarman.
The Lost Temple dinner is a food-and-theatre performance that pays homage to the story of King Jayawarman II and King Suryawarman II who had their roots both in Java and Cambodia – so expect music and dancing in between each bite.
This by-reservation-only meal is perfect if you would like to visit Angkor Wat, without having to brave the mozzies, humid jungle heat, and Tomb Raider wannabes.
6. What does dim sum and Cleopatra have in common? – Cleopatra Restaurant, Hotel Gajahmada Graha
Hotel Gajahmada Graha is one of Malang’s most iconic hotels, famous for its Greco-Roman architecture. You’re not gonna believe this, but the building looks like it was plucked out of a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale!
Photo Via Malang Guidance
The Cleopatra Restaurant on the other hand, looks like a Valentine’s Day gift from Julius Caesar to the Queen of the Nile.
It doesn’t have any Egyptian stuff, mostly Roman pillars, naked marble statues, European-styled furniture – and serves local Javanese, Chinese and European cuisine.
But here’s the weird part; their signature dish is dim sum. Fans claim one of the best “yum cha” grub is right here.
Being 20 minutes’ drive from Abdul Rachman Saleh airport, this is a classy spot for a last minute dine-and-dash.
So enjoy Chinese food in a Greco-Roman looking hotel filled with European furniture in Indonesia, that is named after an Egyptian queen. While dim sum and Cleopatra have absolutely nothing in common – this mishmash of cultures is definitely unique!
Photo Via HeloMalang, Indoturs
b) Modern Pop Cafes
Thank you for making it this far, time to dust off the cobwebs and let’s travel into the future!
7. Quirky and charming! – Madam Wang Secret Garden
Madam Wang Secret Garden cafe is the kind of place you would want to have a look around before choosing a place to sit. And even then, it would be a tough decision to make between the outdoor vine garden, or the incredibly cosy indoors that somehow reminds you of your grandparents’ house.
Photo via foodyfloody
Photo via dewiyuda, jessicamarthas, karenndevita, titisekaaprilia
If you’re looking for something heavy, Chicken Gudeg, native dish of Yogyakarta, will certainly keep your appetite full and happy. On the other hand, the most popular item on the menu has to be the apple strudel – to remind you that you are in Malang in case you’ve forgotten!
Photo via saskiasesoria, yoeriztaratu, melskape
Not just a cafe, Madam Wang Secret Garden hosts a small boutique, with its own collection of batik garments, as well as raw materials such as threads and weaved cloth.
Photo via fatmahas29, hadiyahhayati
Write up for Madam Wang Secret Garden feature contributed by Matin Firas Harahap
8. Selfies & Coffees – Akalpa Cafe
Tired of taking selfies – said no one ever!
One of the main factors that make Instagram posts beautiful (and garner the most likes!), is the background – and you won’t suffer a shortage of those at this cafe.
Photo Via Apriliarach
Most of the walls are covered in patterns, mock sceneries, witty posters and quirky images. They even have an English phone booth for you to pose in!
Photo Via Anyatazha, Tiiaaraaputri
Once your camera battery is low, dig in to some of their famed desserts like pancakes with ice cream. Or waffles with ice cream. Or ice cream with ice cream. #teehee
Photo Via Akalpa Cafe, Rezaiqbal, Syafalia, Malang Foodgram
9. It’s all steampunk and wooden ‘junk’ here – Golden Heritage Koffie
As far east as Malang is, it still couldn’t escape the scourge of the hipster movement. Hipster cafes are sprouting up as fast as you can say #YOLO.
Photo Via Elymagh Firoh, Felicflo
These coffee bars usually look like the offspring of a warehouse that mated with a log cabin.
Photo Via Devita Lesmana
Rough brick walls ?
Timber ceilings with exposed metal beams ?
Steampunk inspired lights ?
Shipping container walls ?
Wooden crate boxes ?
This Koffie house boasts that their coffee beans are slow roasted daily, so you won’t get that “flat” tasting coffee from leftover beans.
Photo Via Yurike T
They also offer a wide range of local and imported beans for you to try, so drink away!
Photo Via Ndapermataa
10. Sail past a lighthouse in a harbour-themed restaurant – Festival Dermaga Kuliner
Ever wanted to have a picnic on the pier but couldn’t because you can’t swim? Well, stay dry and sail past a lighthouse in this harbour-themed restaurant!
Decorated to resemble an actual dock, this cool diner has actual boats and fishing nets parked around the tables.
Photo Via Irwantan
Photo Via Fideliaclarinda, Dwi Benny
One corner is even painted to look like the beach with real pebbles and seashells stuck on the walls.
Ladies who fancy men in uniform are in for a treat as the workers are dressed as sailors! ;P
Not just one single uniform, but various kinds of sailors’ outfits. From the old Popeye outfit to the modern US navy – you can touch these strapping young lads with your kind words but not your hands.
Photo Via Irwantan
11. Dine at the restaurant built around a giant pond – Pondok Desa Kampoeng Telaga, Dusun Telaga Boutique Villa Resort
Some eateries have water features or giant aquariums in it, but this restaurant is built AROUND a giant pond!
Photo Via Ghinaal Fiyah
Situated on a 35-hectare piece of land, the owners had a giant space to fill and so they filled it with water and tons of koi fish.
Photo Via Ikka-B
No matter where you sit, you’re guaranteed to get a good view of the pond.
Photo Via Safiradinialf
On the menu, you will find a good selection of goodies from grilled snapper, to fried calamari and sauteed Kale to fill your bellies.
Photo Via Ikka-B
The resort itself is surrounded by lush greenery, and the restaurant staff will encourage you to take a stroll around the gardens after dinner – but not before paying your bill that is!
Photo Via Dimasdiandra_
12. Grape Vines & Great Views – Grand Canyon Cafe & Resto
Now don’t be fooled by the name, you won’t find any mountains or canyons here.
If you’re tired from all the ancient ruins or hipster cafes, this spot might break the monotony of your day.
Photo Via Yanemaritaf
Dine on long patio-like balconies overlooking the city – with lots of creeper plants that dangle from above, giving shade and creating a vineyard ambience.
Photo Via Praz Bejatz
But instead of grapes and cheese, you can feast on the house specialty – steak or chicken with coffee sauce. This unique blend gives it a sweet and savoury taste with a mild bitter afterthought.
Photo Via Foody Floody
If trying new stuff doesn’t float your boat, then try their other signature dish; Korean pancake dessert. Yum, yum.
13. Where your food is cooked in the Volkswagon kitchen – VolksWaffle Streatery
Apart from cafes, the hipster cult also introduced a new trend that serves trucking good food.
Photo Via Intancintya, Stefannyhidayat
Can’t afford to rent a whole shop? Can’t afford to buy furniture? Can’t afford fancy kitchen equipment? Then get a food truck.
Photo Via Volks Waffle Mlg
Rumoured to be one of the first “cafe trucks” in Malang, VolksWaffle Streatery is a no-frills dining concept where diners sit on wooden stools propped up along walkways.
As the title mentioned, the most unique part of this “Streatery” is the kitchen.
The kitchen is located inside a VW van where your food is cooked!
Photo Via Volks Waffle Mlg
Belgian waffles are used as main elements in most dishes so there’s dessert waffles, savoury waffles, and oh did we mention there’s waffles?
14. One of the most romantic spots in Malang – Skyroom, Best Western OJ Hotel
We saved the most romantic spot for last, because if you choose to propose to your significant other here – then it’ll be the most unique adventure ever!
Photo Via Regina Monicaa_
The best time to go is during sunset and even supper time, as the lights of the city, stars, and flash photography add to the lovely atmosphere.
Even if you’re not here for a proposal situation, it’s still cool – you’ll still get to enjoy the panoramic view of the city skyline, and the surrounding mountains from this open air rooftop on the 12th floor.
Photo Via Fanesaayu
Photo Via Eviliyan
On the menu, you’ll find everything from desserts and drinks to Indonesian fare. With incredible views and yummy food, you’re sure to have both your mind and bellies fully satisfied.