A warung is a type of small family-owned business — often a casual shop, a modest small restaurant or café — in Indonesia, and to a lesser extent, Malaysia. A warung is an essential part of daily life in Indonesia. Today, the term warung has slightly shifted — especially among foreign visitors, expatriates, and people abroad — to refer more specifically to a modest Indonesian restaurant or a place that sells things Indonesian (mostly groceries or foodstuff). There are numbers of establishments in touristy island resort of Bali or abroad that attached the term warung in their business to indicate their Indonesian nature. Traditionally, warung is indeed a family-owned business, run by the family members, mostly by women.
Traditional warungs are made from wooden, bamboo or thatched materials. More permanent warungs are made from bricks and concrete, some family-owned businesses are attached to their homes. Some smaller portable warungs are made from tin, zinc or some modern version might use fibreglass mould. Warung tenda ia a portable tent warung, covered with canvas, fabric or plastic sheet tent for roofing.
The term warung simply denote a wide category of small businesses, either small shop or small restaurant. It is widely used in Java and most of Indonesia, while in Sumatra and Malay Peninsula its synonym kedai is used instead. In Javanese culture areas, such as in Yogyakarta, Semarang and Surakarta, its counterpart term angkringan is more commonly found. On the other hand the term toko is used to a larger and more established shop.
The term can also be used to loosely refer to many other types of shops, including the wartel (short for warung telepon, essentially a manned phone booth) and warnet (short for warung internet Internet café).
Varieties of Warung
There are many kinds of warung, some take the form of a small shop that sells cold bottled drinks, candy, cigarettes, snacks, krupuk and other daily necessities, while the larger ones are small restaurant establishments. A warung that sells food typically sells local food; pisang goreng and many kinds of gorengan, nasi goreng (fried rice), and mie goreng (fried noodles).
In resort island of Bali and Lombok, a warung might refer to a touristy cabana cafe that sells locals’ favourites as well as Asian or western food. Other than Indonesian dishes, on their menu there might be a selection of soups, steaks, fries, sandwiches or grilled fish.
Some types of warung are:
- Warung rokok or common warung is a very small street side shop, constructed from wood, bamboo or tin. Most of them measuring not more than 2 x 1 metres. They sells rokok (cigarettes), cold bottled drinks, snacks and candies, krupuk, soap, tooth paste and other daily necessities. This is the most commonly distributed warung, sprung in residential areas, slums, street sides, to tucked between high rise business areas.
- Warkop or warung kopi ia a small humble cafe or coffeeshop, they sells coffee and snacks, such as roasted peanuts, rempeyek, krupuk, pisang goreng and bread. Recently in Indonesia, the Malaysian and Singaporean counterpart kopi tiam, gained popularity instead of humble local warung kopi.
- Warung nasi is a humble small restaurant that sells nasi (rice) with other Indonesian dishes. Usually they did not provides separate tables and chairs, but a long communal bar and a long wooden bench instead.
- Warteg or warung tegal is a more specific warung nasi, established by Javanese people from the town Tegal in Central Java. They sells favourite Javanese dishes and rice, the wide array of pre-cooked dishes are arranged in glass windowed cupboard. They are well known on selling modestly-priced meals, popular among working class such as low-skilled labours in the cities.
- Warung padang is a small scaled Padang restaurant. Usually provides bar and bench instead of tables and chairs for seating, and sometimes, fewer choice of dishes. Larger scale are more established Padang eateries are referred to as rumah makan padang or Padang restaurant instead.
- Warnet or warung internet is an internet cafe.
- Wartel or warung telepon is a manned phone booth.
Most of the time, warung are named after the main dishes they sell. For example warung bubur kacang ijo or warung burjo sells bubur kacang hijau, warung roti bakar sells grilled bread, warung pecel lele, sells pecel lele fried catfish with sambal, while warung indomie sells cooked instant noodles, although the brand might not always be Indomie.