Cheap Eats Indonesian – Blok M

Another rare find this afternoon – beautiful and cheap Indonesian meal for under $15, at Blok M, 380 Little Bourke Street in the heart of Melbourne CBD. I will come to that later. First, let me flashback to how I got there in the first place.

I heard a very loud audible rotary sound outside my window. It was early to mid morning. I opened my balcony door and looked up into the sky. There was a helicopter. It was almost motionless except for the rotary blades spinning in circle. I looked down and there were people jogging on one side of the freeway. It started off with a few of the fastest runners and a few more and a lot more. I was wondering if it was going to end. It lasted for almost an hour! I later found out that it was a charitable run for the kids to raise fund for the Royal Children Hospital Appeal. Later on the news, there was an astounding 33,000 runners, and the seventh year! Good on them.

Note the runners at the bottom left corner (picture above)

It was a beautiful morning with mild autumn temperature and light wind.

I walked along the Yarra River of South Wharf Promenade with a nice marina and expensive boats and some of the most expensive waterfront apartment complexes in Melbourne….

…and, came across a pure bred Hungarian Puli Sheepdog with very long extended dreadlocks. It was a she – “Marlee”, the most friendly and playful dog. All I could see was a black mop with a red soft toy! It makes me wonder how Marlee could see through those thick dreadlocks of hers.

Crossing the pedestrian “Webb Bridge” to the other side of Docklands to catch a Tram into the CBD.

I was surprised to come across a small laneway named after Barry Humphries’s stage character, Dame Edna. Dame Edna is well loved both in Australia and UK. She is coming to a close and doing her farewell tour, “Eat Play Laugh“.

Another narrow back alley with a cast of light shining at the back buildings.

That was when I came across Blok M. From the outside, it looks nothing. It was the word “Indonesian” that caught my attention. I looked inside. It was busy and noisy – almost all the tables were Indonesian and Malaysian customers. It was a good sign.

I walked past a few tables. It was a small cramped place.

Up a couple of steps to the cashier counter. Order and pay cash only. I ordered a “Tahu and Tempe Goreng” (fried tofu and tempeh) served with a rich peanut sauce sweetened with I think palm sugar (or it could be the Indonesian ABC thick sweet sauce) for $3 and a traditional Indonesian Ayam Bakar (grilled chicken) served with steamed rice and sambal  belacan for $8.50.

The deep fried tofu was nice and crunchy outside with the inside still soft and moist. It was fried to perfection, exactly the same as how it was done back in Indonesia and Malaysia. If it is over fried, it can be hard and very dry. The deep fried tempeh was the first time I have ever tried. By itself, it was bland but tasted alright with the lovely rich and sweet peanut sauce. $3 for the plate of light Indonesian snack was a real bargain.

The Ayam Bakar was a large leg of the chicken. I was very impressed with the taste and flavour. It was beautiful.  The flesh was moist and succulent. It was grilled perfectly with the meat falling apart from the bone. The sweetness of the skin and flesh was well accompanied with the spicy sambal chili paste. An exotic burst of wild fire rich in Asian flavours with each mouthful of the sambal. The sambal was so delicious that I asked for more to go with my grilled chicken. Nothing was compromised to deliver the authentic flavour of this dish.

I cleaned up my plate and both dipping sauces. It was a very good meal for only $11.50.

Blok M has won my heart. It felt like I was in a little Indonesia within Melbourne CBD.

Across from Blok M is an alley called Platypus with an art graffiti “snowman” looking towards me.


About Victor

I live in Melbourne. Blogging as a pleasure. Sharing my thoughts, mostly on food and places I find interesting. I am on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Page which you can follow by clicking on the link on my blog page. I have a new website on Penang. Learn more at
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6 Responses to Cheap Eats Indonesian – Blok M

  1. Shirley says:

    Haha “the interior is cramped”, not “crapped”. Crapped means you have done a poo.

    But interesting place. I will try it next time. I quite like Neyalan on Swanston. Can get a good mix of veg and meat.

    • Victor says:

      Hee hee..thanks, Shirley. I have changed it.
      If you like Nelayan, you will love Blok M. Their sambal is homemade. You can buy it too to take back to Hobart.

  2. Emily says:

    A nicely told and well-written story! You’ve got a good eye for details!

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