For a spacious outdoor eating venue at night, nothing beats Chinatown Surabaya. Chinatown in the East Java capital is a road 750 meters long and 20 meters wide full of hundreds of food and beverage stalls.
During noon time, the Chinatown road becomes a hectic street for trade and an economic center for the Eastern Region of the country. Some claim that the avenue is similar to Wall Street, only crazier and maybe even louder. By evening, roads are then lined up with hundreds of food stalls and beverage sellers ranging from Chinese, European, American to Javanese cuisine.
Also known as the Kya-kya Kembang Jepun where kya-kya translates to hanging out or sightseeing in Hookien, Surabaya’s Chinatown is not only a foodie’s avenue but is also a great place to witness live entertainment as well. No other avenue comes alive with great music as much as Surabaya’s Chinatown does. Occasionally, there are exhibition stages and promotional spaces set-up to cater to the thriving artists.
The government of Indonesia has long noticed the potential of this avenue. Centuries ago, this exact street was already established as a trading area and it fostered strong economic and cultural ties in the northern area of Surabaya. Naturally, the early Chinese were the first to have settled down in this area in Surabaya during the Dutch colonial era. This part of the city is the oldest, biggest and architecturally richest part of Surabaya. Up to now, some ancient Chinese buildings and houses are still seen on the southern part of the avenue. This historical value has turned Kembang Jeoun into a powerful area. Today, the spirit of the avenue is what draws in people to visit the street. In line with the historical significance of the avenue to the city of Surabaya, a refreshment project to fix the streets of Chinatown came into plan in the year 2003. It was then officially reopened on the 31st of May 2003 in celebration of the 710th anniversary of Surabaya city. Surabaya then took the reopening of Chinatown as a great opportunity to gather people in a historically important venue of their beloved city.
Kya-Kya Kembang Jepun is found in the Pecinan Area of Surabaya city right along Kempang Jepun. It is found opposite of the Jembata Merah or the Red Bridge where most locals would know where it is. Similar to all other Chinatowns all over the world, it can be distinctly seen from afar because of its familiar arc decorated with dragon figurines and red lanterns. Night stalls are open from 6 in the evening until midnight on weekdays and until 2 or 3 in the morning during weekends.
As the evening nears, make sure to stop by Chinatown Surabaya and savor the great delights of local delicacies and offerings while immersing yourself in the venue’s history. You will be amazed by the sumptuous snacks that are sold in extremely affordable prices. Although almost every city in the world has a Chinatown, you haven’t seen the best of them yet until you’ve gone to Surabaya’s Chinatown.