Sunday, April 20, 2008

Loving Masakan Padang

Whenever I visit Indonesia, and it could be anywhere in the country, I inveterately find myself in a Masakan Padang restaurant. Masakan Padang or Padang Cuisine is the unique and popular cooking of the Minangkabau people of Padang, West Sumatra.

I could not find a more UNIQUE way of serving food in Indonesia than here. Custom is to deliver all the dishes in an elegant yet efficient stack of platters on one hand and spread them all in your table.

Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/125s, f/1.8, 50mm, ISO 800
at Sari Bondo at Jln May. Jend. Sungkono, Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia
phototip: Waiters are quick and don’t wait for your shot. Prepare your camera at it a wide aperture and high ISO to prevent blur.

Typically, everything that is already cooked will be offered right in front of you. In fastfood Padang-style, the table will quickly be set with dozens of small platters filled with highly-flavored and often spicy food.

This is no ordinary buffet. Everyone is expected to follow an honor system. You eat what you like and you get charged only with what you consumed. If you didn’t touch the dish, you don’t pay for it. And quickly, the unspoilt food are passed on to the next table for the next hungry customer.

makanan Padang food spread, Surabaya

People from the West probably would find this buffet unhygienic. Health risks are definitely present but for Asians, it is all about proper etiquette and care. Masakan Padang is certainly not for the faint or sensitive stomach. More so when the cuisine is known for being spicy hot. Just the way I like it.

The best known Padang dish is rendang, a dark spicy stew of beef. There would also be curries or fried spicy dishes of beef (sapi), squid (cumi-cumi), fish (ikan), chicken (ayam), vegetables (sayur) like water lettuce (kangkong), string beans (kacang panjang), jackfruit (nangka) and eggplant (terung). Padang is Muslim so there would be no pork. On the other hand, you could find other delicacies like shrimps (udang), dried fish (ikan asin), egg (telur balado) and selected beef parts like brain (otak), lungs (paru), liver (ati). Of course there would be a ubiquitous selection of sambals or chili sauces in various colors and degree of spiciness

Canon PowerShot S40, 1/30s, f/2.8, 7.1mm

Masakan Padang recommendations

1. Sari Bundo. This is a popular chain found in Jakarta, Surabaya and probably other major cities in Java and Sumatra. My favorite one is just a few hundred meters from Shangri-La Surabaya at Jln May. Jend. Sungkuno but I heard from a friend that they have already moved to another location early 2008. Too bad.

2. Minang Saiyo. This chain from Sumatra is in Bali so this is my haunt when I am there. Their branch is in Jln Bypass Ngurah Rai near the airport.

The restaurant also has a wedding banquet hall. For the photographer, the embellishments there are fantastic! After all, the Minangkabaus are difficult to beat when it comes to traditional use of colorful sutra (silk) and songket (brocade) fabrics and to the incorporation of glitter, sequins and metallic threads in just about anything. Here are a few pictures.

Canon EOS 350D, 1/60s, f/5.6, 55mm, ISO 1600, -1/3EV

In the collage below, you can see a triangular ceiling overhang (upper left) made of fabulous Minangkabau songket brocade and bright buntings. By the banquet hall’s walls are large drapes of (polyester) silk hangings featuring unique embroidery using gold and silver threads and sequins. Also prominent is the 2-layer payung or umbrella (lower right) which is reserved for the bride. The Minangkabau ethnic group of West Sumatra, while Islamic, remains strongly matriarchal.


3. Khas Minang Surya . This is probably another chain. Last April 11, we were on a road trip from Bali to Surabaya and we found ourselves hungry. We decided to have lunch in a popular East Java stop at Pasir Putih (literally White Sands), Situbondo and chanced upon this Padang restaurant. For me, their food isn’t up to par to the other two but their spicy chicken is good.

Khas Minang Surya
Canon EOS 350D, 1/80s, f/5.0, 40mm, ISO 100, +1/3EV

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Anna said...

It's soo yummyy...I miss nasi padang served on a banana leaf. Anyway have you ever tried nasi Padang Sederhana? That's the best nasi padang in Jakarta!! *probably the best from all big Padang restos in Indonesia* droooling.

Ines Latifah said...

i miss masakan padang!!!!!:(. the indonesian food that i miss so much is masakan padang, especially with gulai otak, rendang and sambal hijau. when i back to indonesia next year, that'll the first food that i wanna eat.

Amy said...

I love Masakan Padang! Anyone know where to find it in the US- Los Angeles, NYC?? I briefly lived on Bali and became addicted.. would love to have it again.

obat jerawat herbal said...

wah maknyuzz..