Previous post on Bandung: Checking in to Amaris Hotel Cihampelas, shopping at Pasar Baru & Bali Heaven
Continuing our Bandung expedition, we were in need of sustenance after our first foray into one of many fabric wonderlands aptly named Bali Heaven. Without a clue where to go for lunch, we relied on our trusty driver Pak Dodi to recommend. Our only request - nasi padang!
Nasi padang originates from the Minangkabau people of West Sumatra in Indonesia, but is widespread to most Indonesian cities by the Minangkabau people. A common sight around Bandung, you'll be able to tell a nasi padang shop by the small white stacked dishes in its windows. Can you see them in the picture above? (And Padang is actually a city in West Sumatra, so no, nasi padang has nothing to do with grass or fields, as padang also means in Malay :P)
So, not long after we arrived at Restoran Sederhana Masakan Padang! The name strikes a funny chord in me, since 'sederhana' means 'moderate' or average' in English, so to have a name like "Average Padang Cooking Restaurant" (a direct translation from its local name) is either painfully honest, or ill-conceived!
The serving style is a little like our local mixed rice, or economy rice chap fan back here or even a little like Hong Kong dim sum; all the dishes are brought out and displayed on your table, and then you pick and choose which one you want.
With so many dishes and a language barrier to boot, we never got the proper names of all the dishes. A few were quite nice, but most were just so-so. Special dishes include the squid in creamy sauce (bottom right), which were such big pieces that the girls were slightly grossed out! Personally I wasn't too sure how clean that squid was either.. =P There were also some paru (lung) dishes which neither of us were game enough to try.
Our two favourites were the beef rendang (top left), a dry version that was too salty on its own but good with the white rice served, and the milky gulai ayam (bottom left).
On the left is our first taste of fried tempeh in Bandung, a local Indonesian staple! It's actually just made from fermented soy beans, but deep fried to a crisp instead of the common tempeh patties we get back here; the whole thing is like a dry cracker. It's a very popular Indonesian snack though, which we bought a lot of before we came back. More on that in future posts. =P
The mutton dish we picked was tasty, tender bites of meat though very oily. The chillied eggplant with tempeh (yes, again!), packed with the flavour of fresh green chillies, was also amongst the favourites with the girls.
Other common yet not-so-commonly found dishes in a lunch - boiled eggs in curry sauce (top left), and fish chunks in a watery coconut sauce (bottom right). We especially liked the tea (top right) there; just simple unsweetened hot tea, but yet so fragrant and pleasing. In fact, some thing has to be said about their local tea in Bandung - we had many cups because it was just so good. If you're ever there, give it a try and you'll know what we mean.
All the above food was interesting and new, but what really piqued our interest and that we ordered on our own was sate padang!
Obviously "padang" doesn't refer to any type of meat, so when we asked the waiter what it was, he just told us "daging", which we take to mean meat, or beef in back here. Thinking it should be safe, we ordered about 10-20 sticks to share. Their version of sate is rather different from ours in Malaysia; none of that sweet charred meat and peanut sauce, sate in Bandung is served in a thick, starchy sauce with ketupat (rice cakes) instead.
The meat tasted strange to us though, it had a strong game taste and a little mushy in texture. Nobody could really decipher what it was, so we were left second guessing ourselves, with Ming jokingly settling on cat meat (at this point, Wendy's stomach started feeling queasy).
When the waiter came for the bill, we finally asked him:
Us: "Ini daging apa?" (What meat is this made from?)
Him: (pause) "Daging lembu." (Cow meat - beef)
Us: (hesitantly) "...lembu bahagian apa?" (Which part of the cow?)
Him: (laughs nervously) "Lidah."
Needless to say we didn't finish the plate. We've had thinly sliced ox tongue before but chunks of cow tongue on a skewer were a little hard to handle... and those who did try it were left with the image of cows tongues slithering down their tummies.. =D
So it was all smiles before and after lunch at Restoran Sederhana Masakan Padang! Nasi padang, with its strong and pungent flavours may not result in the most scrumptious meal ever for everyone, but for a first taste of Bandung, it did the trick. The entire meal was Rp 390.000,00 (yup, over there it's the comma for the decimal and the period/full stop for the thousand indicator) which worked out to approximately RM 15 per person.
Next up: Restoran Sederhana Masakan Padang is just a stone's throw from Rumah Mode, one of the most popular factory outlets in Bandung, so on to more shopping and eating!
Restoran Sederhana Masakan Padang
Jl. Dr. Setiabudi No. 33,
Setiabudi, BandungTel: (022) 2032860
Opening Hours: Daily, 10am-10pm