Monday, July 27, 2009

going hot, hot, hot in Makassar

Kayangan Restaurant (Ayam Kampung and Ikan Segar)

My nose was running and my vision was quickly blurring. Tears welled in my eyes but these are all good. Despite my avowed tolerance, spice and chili still do that to me. I love what I was having.

Rumah Makan Kayangan
the simple restaurant front of Rumah Makan Kayangan

Rumah Makan Kayangan is your typical Makassar restaurant - they are invariably scattered along and in the periphery of the boulevard at Losari beach downtown – cheap, no-frills and brimming with the freshest of produce caught in nearby waters. Displayed over ice to keep them unspoilt for the day, the choices of fish, crabs, prawns are wide-ranged and impressive.

fresh seafood on parade
fresh seafood displayed on ice

It’s difficult to do wrong in a Makassar restaurants. Whether you chose to have the seafood steamed, deep-fried, or stewed, your selection reappears on your table fast. Here, cooking has been fine-tuned to a clockwork science that commands just about 5 minutes from ordering to delivery. Or 10 minutes tops.

ikan kakap putih digoreng
ikan kakap putih digoreng or deep-fried fish

kepiting saus sambal
kepiting saus sambal or crab cooked in hot sauce

Because Makassar is a hub of farming or fishing, food is relatively cheap when compared to other big cities like Surabaya, Jakarta or Bali. If the desire is for the freshest catch though, premium still has to be paid. Still, I find the prices quite reasonable. The ikan kakap putih which easily was more than a kilo only set us back about 3 USD and the live blue crab was about 7 USD, cooking charge included.

mango and mint
mango and mint, basic ingredients for the sauce

4 sauces
four hot sauces, traditional in Makassar cuisine

In Makassar, the secret in the taste, and this differentiates cuisine in Indonesia, is the set of sauces that come with the food. As a rule of thumb, Makassar sauces are spicy. There are at least 4 on the table, from pure peanut paste, to various sambal mixes ranging from the tolerably hot to the devilishly unbearable. Always, where there are chili seeds, beware! Not that I could stop myself. If the biting heat of the pepper calls for sacrifice, I, for one, am willing to be punished.

kangkung cah
kangkung cah (water lettuce salad) as a delectable side dishL

es jeruk manis
freshly squeezed local orange juice can be useful in downing the heat of the spicy dishes

To go: Rumah Makan Kayangan is in Jl Datumuseng No 20, Samping RS Stella Maris Pantai Losari, Makassar, South Sulawesi (tel +411 325273).

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David Kearns said...

The site of my first physical (not online) date with my wife. There is a reason why Makassar starts with Mmmmmmm....

Nin said...

I love your blog, very nice and straight forward way of expressing your travel, yet still interesting.
Thank you for sharing.