My Surabaya City Guide


I read Garance Dore's city guide last night, and opened the newest update of Ayorek at the same time. Am suddenly thinking, yes, people usually brings tourist or guess into a place that maybe touristy, but actually doesn't very comfortable, the food doesn't good enough, etc. Dore's version is more daily place where you can't live without, the reason(s) why you do keep sane in living there.

So I decided for having my own version of city guide. I'm not a fashionista, or a socialites, then you maybe won't have my favorite shop/place list as reliable enough. I'm easily fascinated by books, comfort & beautiful places, and good gourmet. Then, here we go!

How would I describe Surabaya to someone who has never been?
Surabaya is busy bee. A transit place where people come and go. 
Surabaya is a city in a move

What does that term actually means? 
As the city itself, now Surabaya is moving into the better one. In infrastructural and structural, Surabaya does many things. Traffic jam, flood in rainy season, pollution, billboards until the green zone is changing now. So, never listened too much into people whose went to Surabaya 2-5 years ago. Surabaya's better, I guaranteed!

What is Surabaya’s philosophy?
Surabaya's hot, baby. =D It doesn't only because the weather, but how's the people. They could changing degree instantly because of dishonesty or any negative manner, but they're really warm at their heart too. =)

Okay, let's start the tour. What is your perfect breakfast? 
Perfect breakfast would go in Sunday morning, because I don't do it in other day. I would love to have a big glass of STMJ (an abbreviation for Susu Telur Madu Jahe: Milk, Egg, Honey and Ginger) in aside of Dharmawangsa street. I'll drink it while having a lovely chat with the seller, and of course, reading a newspaper. I don't know why, but in every STMJ seller in Surabaya which I know, they always have newspapers there. If I feel starve to death, then I'll have Nasi Kuning in traditional market or Sate Ondomohen in Walikota Mustajab street. Have a big heart for the queue. Hehe.

How about brunch?
Absolutely SMA kompleks cafeteria in Jimerto street! There is a block where you could find 4 high schools in it. School means a lot of snacks and foods. I'll choose Mie Pitik by bang Azat (Noodle with Chicken) with special addition Quail eggs or chicken wings. It will be completed with special Orange Ice from Pacar. 

Where is the best place to unwind?
Unwind means escape from the routinity. I'll choose to go to c2o library in dr Cipto street. A private library where you could feel homy. I love to sip an Earl Grey here and read Enid Blyton's or Hitchcock's for my once-seated-book. You could find my Gathotkaca Studio's merchandise here also. Hehe. If I want a bigger place to bear and several scoops of gelato for melting my mind, then I go to Hallo Surabaya in Bubutan street. Don't forget to bring your camera!

Me and Rida at Hallo Surabaya, almost 3 years ago. =)

Rida & Sheila. Sheila has her marriage reception here, at Hallo Surabaya!
What are the things that you HAVE to eat in Surabaya? Where to find them? 
Duck and Penyetan! The best (and the cheapest) fried duck comes from Surabaya. Every area almost have their best fried duck, you name it. Bebek (duck) cak Sandy, Bebek Bratang, Bebek Kayu Tangan, Bebek Tugu Pahlawan, Bebek Tugu Pahlawan, Bebek Item Pak Sayeki, Bebek Express. Just choose. My favorite are Bebek Bratang at Bratang district and Bebek Item Pak Sayeki at Dharmahusada Street. For Penyetan, which is basically everything fried and goes with steamed rice and -- definitely -- chilli sauce (sambal). I'll have Ho-Ha at Dharmawangsa street, because its delicious sambal will burn your tongue and you can't stop eat it till done. 

Tell me about your favorite shop...
I don't have any actually, but I usually get my Wondershoes shoes or boyfie's shirt in Garlick store, Bawean street. If I need some unique outerwear, then I go to Bigbox Complex, Sumatra street. I'll meet Robe de Noerm coat and KuyaGaya footwear here, and sometimes several dresses.

And what about the vintage? 
The one and only: Tugu Pahlawan Sunday's market! Dress, tops or several cute pieces such as vest, cropped jacket and sweater. Get ready for the heaps, anyway. 

Your favorite beauty habit, how and where?
Facial. I always do that in Larissa, Bali street. If I want some body massage or milk bath, then I go to Alfalfa, Menur street. The last is girl only, fyi. 

Where is the best place to get in a good work out?
I don't do gym and I'd like to practice yoga by myself. But there is one place for my muscles to be exercised: Class 5 Recreational Climbing Center, at the complex Plaza Graha Famili. It is indoor wall climbing ever in Surabaya and East Java. I don't feel like exercising there, I'm just having fun. =D

At Class 5
Could you have any romantic scenes in Surabaya?
Yes, of course. My version will be a picnic style. I would love to bring chocolate, having snacks and drinks from street hawkers such as sugarcane juice or soy milk ice, bakpao Chik Yen, etc. My boyfie brings his guitar and we go to lovely park. Surabaya has many beautiful park nowadays. My favorite goes to Surabaya-Korean park or Prestasi park. Both of them never too crowded or too quiet. If you want to have a romantic dinner, go to Loops at Plaza Graha Famili complex or Citilites in Java Paragon hotel. Unfortunately I haven't had chance to feel the last two places with my couple. *curcol* =P
Surabaya-Korean park
Prestasi park
Where is your absolute favorite restaurant?

What is the best old and chic restaurant?
I found it as ice cream shops. The old: Zangrandi, the chic: De Boliva Gubeng.

Where is the best place to have a coffee and watch people go by ?
I like to watch people go by in Surabaya Town Square (SuToS), a boutique mall, where there are many coffee shops too. I was a coffee addict couple times ago and sober lately, that's why now I choose to have J-Cool frozen yoghurt in J.Co or having my Lemon Crush in Tator, when I go to SuToS. The 2nd choice will go to Dapur Cokelat in Biliton street. I love to have a cup of Hot Chocolate here, with a slice of Opera or famous Rainbow Cake, while watching how people passed by on the road and doodling in my notebook. 

The super non-fashion place you like to go is...
House of Sampoerna, a museum of cigarettes. Sometimes several exhibition were there. You'll definitely love the tour also. HoS made Surabaya Heritage Track tour for public, with different routes for weekdays and weekend. You should try these, at least once when you're in Surabaya. You will feel riding the time machine, back to colonial time with many European buildings in Surabaya. The 2nd is Institut Francais-Indonesia (IFI), where I really love the bibliotheque or the library. The ambience is nice. IFI also have several exhibition, usually in art, photography, or even science. Good place for realizing that the world is vast and explorable.

How do you go around city? 
By motorcycle, if you really could ride it well. Use the standard utilities: helmet, jacket, then masker and gloves if you try avoiding ultraviolet effects. The most important about going around the city is the time. You will be fine riding motorcycle in 8.30am, 3.30pm and 8.30pm. The road will be friendly, and comfortable enough for travel in Surabaya. 

Do enjoy Surabaya, fellas!

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  1. Mbak Vinka ini emang endang banget deh...


  2. Wah, sebenernya aku ini Vinka atau Endang ni mas Ayos? =D