A warung (old spelling waroeng) is a type of small family-owned business — a 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). But for the majority of Indonesians, the meaning is still a small, neighborhood convenience shop, often a front room in a family's home.
There are establishments on the touristy island of Bali and elsewhere that attach 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 fiberglass mold. Warung tenda is a portable tent warung, covered with canvas, fabric, tarp or plastic sheet tent for roofing.
The term warung simply denotes a wide category of small businesses, either a small shop or small restaurant. It is widely used in Java and most of Indonesia. In certain parts of Sumatra and Malay Peninsula, the word kedai is sometimes used as well. In Javanese culture areas, such as in Yogyakarta, Semarang and Surakarta, its counterpart term wedhangan or angkringan is more commonly found. On the other hand, the term toko is used for a larger and more established shop.
The term can 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).
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:
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 or fried catfish with sambal, while warung indomie sells cooked instant noodles, although the brand might not always be Indomie.
Warung nasi, selling food in Bali.
Warung Padang selling Padang food.
A warung selling Javanese noodle.
Floating warung on boat on the bank of Musi River, Palembang.
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