My relationship with Indonesian food has always been a little bit of an up and down, love / hate relationship. That was, until I discovered the mouth-watering magic of Nasi Padang in Jakarta – cuisine from West Sumatra which consists of steamed rice and a massive, unprecedented selection of pre-cooked side dishes to choose from. Now this is my type of food!
My Indonesian friends told me, while tucking into some Nasi Padang in Jakarta, that this is the one type of food they would never dare miss out on. For example if their friends were going out to dinner and they were too tired or sick ( ahem…too lazy!) to leave their homes (white lies…we’ve all told them!) but suddenly they found out their friends were going for Nasi Padang – nothing would stop them from joining!!
This is a social gathering, a communal eating tradition, and thus only works if you have a few friends or a large group to share with. The waiter or waitress will bring out lots of small pre-cooked dished for you to eat, stacking them all up on top of each other until there’s so much food in front of you that you might be *slightly* overwhelmed.
You can then pick and choose what food you would like to eat. Just remember that if you taste one dish, even one bite, then you will pay for it. If you don’t touch a dish, even if it’s on your table, you don’t pay. This is partly why it’s better to have a group of friends to share the food with – and of course to split the bill with!
As this is traditional food, the best way to eat is to dig in with your bare hands – my favourite way to eat! #SorryMom I loved been able to pick up whatever i liked with my fingers and it might it so much easier to eat some of the dishes such as the super chewy beef.
Dishes put on our table includes various types of meat and fish, beef rendang and various curry sauces, friend chicken in bread crumbs, lots of different types of fried or boiled vegetables, tofu and of course lots of sambal to give the food an extra kick!
If you are feeling SUPER brave you can try some weird dishes such as cow brain with a side of super spicy green chilli sauce! No thanks! My favourite, personally, was the dried fried beef with chilli – simply delicious!
Where to eat Nasi Padang in Jakarta
We ate at Sederhana Ampera, which is very close to the Jakarta Cultue Village and has some of the best Nasi Padang in Jakarta. It caters to big groups and you will see both locals and tourists so you know you’re on to a winner!
Address: Jl. Ampera Raya No.99, RT.3/RW.4, Cilandak Tim., Ps. Minggu, Kota Jakarta Selatan, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 14420
Opening hours: 8.00am – 10.00pm daily