I can still remember my first time to ever eat Nasi Padang, when I visited the island of Sumatra back in 2009. I had a plate of rice, piled high with a variety of different curry dishes and chili filled dishes. The combination of flavors and the variety of dishes on my plate just astounded me, and my taste buds rejoiced. Until now, Nasi Padang has always remained one of my favorite Indonesian food meals to eat. And along with being very common throughout Sumatra, in Jakarta, Padang food is perhaps one of the most beloved meals as well, and you’ll find hundreds of Nasi Padang restaurants in the city.
There are two ways to eat Nasi Padang. If you go to a street food stall they normally served it in the pesan way, where you get a plate of rice, and designate which curries and dishes you’d like to eat, and they are all placed on top of your rice – so you’ve got a one plate meal. And this is the way that I’d normally always eating Nasi Padang. But when you go to a nicer sit down restaurant, still very local, they often serve it in the hidang method, where as soon as you sit down, you’re given a variety of all the different dishes they have prepared, and they set them all in front of you on your table. You don’t need to eat everything they give you, but you pay for what you eat, and don’t pay for what you don’t eat. It’s truly a magical way to have a meal, to see all the different dishes and varieties of ingredients all laid before you. The toughest part is trying to decide what to eat.
When I was in Jakarta, thanks to the help of Renis, who invited Ying and I to come to her favorite Nasi Padang Indonesian food restaurant in Jakarta, we ate at Rumah Makan Surya Masakan Padang. What I liked about this restaurant, as opposed to others I ate in Jakarta, is that it seemed not so much like a chain, but it had more character to it. The restaurant is known for its makan Padang, Padang food, and as soon as we arrived, I could smell the aroma of the incredible dishes.
The beef rendang is a famous Indonesian food that’s commonly served at Nasi Padang restaurants, and it’s a dish you don’t want to miss. The combination of chilies and herbs, mixed with desiccated coconut, and caked onto each piece of meat, makes it incredible. Beef rendang is one of the greatest Indonesian dishes. Additionally, another common Indonesian Padang food that you’ll find is gulai otak, which is brain curry, usually made with cow brains. The cow brains are incredibly creamy and soft, and then it was within a very creamy coconut milk based curry. I’m also a huge fan of the different types of fresh chilies and sambals that you each along with your rice and curry when you eat Nasi Padang. Rumah Makan Surya Masakan Padang is an amazing restaurant in Jakarta, and I fully loved it.
Rumah Makan Surya Masakan Padang
Address: Jalan Bendungan Hilir Raya No.15, Bendungan Hilir, Jakarta
Open hours: 9 am – 8 pm daily
Total price – 165,000 IDR ($12.52)
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