This family-owned and run restaurant is a favorite among the young and old, woman and men, local and tourist alike. I can proudly say that I am a devout customer to this eatery because I have been a loyal patron for about 20 years or so. Whenever a friend is visiting Surabaya for the first time, this is definitely one of the places I will bring them to. Upon choosing our own table, we were greeted with a piece of paper and a pencil. The paper offers their short menu list, with no prices written on it. This is a peculiar practice since I have only encountered this when eating in a fine-dining restaurant with my parents and my dad is paying the bill. But this is definitely NOT a fine-dining restaurant!
Located in the street of Jalan Tidar where the city’s other famous eatery (including those that serves fried chicken), Ayam Goreng Presiden have stood strong in its roots ever since they served their first fried chicken decades ago. As the name suggests, they are famous for their fried chicken which are often quickly devoured along with a plate of steamed rice and chilli sauce that is served with sweet soy sauce and shallots.What’s so special about this chicken? Well for me, it is the combination of tender flesh that comes off so easily from its bones and the well marinated, unique tasting crispy skin that makes them so captivating. In fact, they are so delicious that 1 portion is never enough. In this eatery, we are also allowed to choose our favorite part of the chicken, which is always a neat option.
Other than coming here for the fried chicken, my family also never fails to order the fried squid that is prepared the same way as the fried chicken. The fried squid is topped off with a clear tangy sauce which makes the squid more endearing to our tastebuds. Other side dishes also include tahu pong, which is essentially friend beancurd. However, they are no ordinary bean-curd. Instead of being dense, there are large air pockets in the beancurd. This is how they get their name: tahu pong/ “empty bean-curd.” A typical accompaniment of this fried beancurd dish is the black sambal petis.
As for the atmosphere, this place is fairly well-maintained considering it has existed for over a quarter of a century. It did not undergo any major renovation as far as I can remember but I personally feel that they might need a little facelift. With that said, the relax, bright-lit, large tables with long wooden benches and simple plates have become an individualistic trait for this family-oriented restaurant. Sometimes you may even get to share a table with another family. Service is pretty good but consider yourself warned when I say to come EARLY. They do not take reservation, do not have any franchise, open only at night and are likely to run out of chicken by 8:30pm!
Ayam Goreng Presiden
Jln. Tidar 23
Surabaya, East Java