Warung Siska serves 100 percent authentic Indonesian local foods


The world of Indonesian culinary never stops spreading the goodness of the country's food, especially certain movements led by the Indonesian diaspora to bring their homeland's cuisine to the world's attention.

This isn't a brand-new concept. At least one or two diasporas in practically every country have launched an Indonesian restaurant with distinct ideas. 

One Indonesian restaurant captured the world's attention since it is presented by Indonesians directly and is recognized by the Michelin Guide as one of the best Indonesian restaurants. Warung Siska is the name of the restaurant.

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Bringing the hawker stall concept to Redwood City, California, Warung Siska is an Indonesian restaurant that provides traditional Indonesian foods founded by chef Siska Silitonga alongside Ervan Lim and Anne Le Ziblatt in mid-2021.

Siska and Ervan are Jakarta natives, whereas Anne is a Vietnam War refugee who has already had experience promoting Vietnamese food to the world. As a result, she collaborates with Siska and Ervan to bring Indonesian food to the same level of exposure.

Inspired by traditional food hawker stall (warung) culture, Warung Siska's appearance looks exactly like how you would imagine a warung would be - a small restaurant on the side of a small road that serves a range of home-cooked cuisine at fair prices.

Translating recipes and 'warung' culture

Siska, who grew up in Jakarta, began her career as a home cook by following in her mother's footsteps, who owns a catering business and has previously worked at a restaurant.

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Her previous attempt to introduce Indonesian meals was ChiliCali, a pop-up store that highlights the dishes featuring processed chili sauce and Indonesian spices.

"I couldn't start a restaurant because I didn't have the funds," Siska added. "I finally decided to do a pop-up because it was a trend approximately seven years ago."

Siska continued, "Warung Siska delivers a seasonal menu, which means it is adjusted to the availability of ingredients in the country, but how to make the available components generate meals that are 100 percent present Indonesian flavors."

Warung Siska's menus have included lemper, rujak, bakwan, otak-otak, and es cendol, among other snacks and soft drinks. Meanwhile, they eat chicken satay, Ternate gohu fish, betutu duck, and other hefty dishes.

Siska said the restaurant's menu consists of Indonesian dishes and other Asian fusion meals typically served by Asian or Indonesian restaurants in other nations. According to Ervan, Warung Siska not only offers Indonesian cuisine but also adds its own twist to it.

"We aim to create a food hawker stall that is not just accessible but also intriguing, especially for those who are unfamiliar with the term 'warung'. As a result, it's a small window into art from the perspective of its culture," Ervan told VOA Indonesia.

Just two months after its launching in July 2021, Warung Siska was featured in the 2021 Michelin Guide ranking as the greatest Indonesian restaurant globally, with 10 other restaurants in several countries. However, the others were not established by native Indonesians, like Wayan's restaurant in New York, for instance.

It is a usual occurrence that Indonesians do not always develop the existence of Indonesian restaurants outside of their home country. As a result, this is still a difficulty that we must tackle, whether from the diaspora or the Indonesian side, so we can own the glory of our culinary heritage.

"Indonesian cuisine is comparable to French and Italian cuisine. Our cuisine is excellent, and it should be a dish that the American people enjoy," Siska concluded.



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