Tipped to be one of maritime Southeast Asia’s most coveted food traditions, Padang cuisine is a must-try cultural component on a tour of Indonesia. As the traditional culinary school of the Minangkabau community who hail from West Sumatra, the delicacies of this food variety have been so named after the capital city of the province. The scrumptious offerings of this unique culinary school is found in restaurants and eateries founded and run by Minangkabau residents that have opened up restaurants serving their local delicacies in various parts of the country. Dubbed “Masakan Padang” in the local tongue, Pedang food is succulent, laden with spices and is especially renowned for its use of coconut milk.

Rich in taste and texture, Padang food is abundantly available in special Padang restaurants across Indonesia. The capital Jakarta alone houses more than 20,000 Padang restaurants with reputable Padang restaurant chains such as Pagi Sore, Garuda, and Sederhana, which are opening up outlets all around the country. Usually consumed with one’s hands, Padang restaurants include buffet-style eateries as well as Hidang or “serving” restaurants. The buffet-style restaurants feature a plethora of dishes on display that customers can select and consume while the service-centered eateries bring the variety of dishes to one’s table. One only pays for the dishes consumed and Padang meals include a number of small portioned dishes that are eaten together. A typical meal includes chili eggplants, curry fish, fried chicken, sambal, beef rendang, and other beef-inspired dishes as well as stewed greens.

Rendang is a Pandang specialty and the aromatic meat stew is a breakfast dish as well. Soto Padang is another local favorite while satay in curry dip is a revered evening time indulgence. Nasi Kapau stalls on the other hand serve Padang food in the Minangkabau Bukittinggi manner where the customer can ask for specific dishes and the waiters serve the selections on to a portion of steamed rice. Must-try Padang dishes include Gulai Jariang, Ayam Bakar, Dendeng Batokok, Ikan Bilih, Terong Balado and Palai while snacks such as Bubur Kampiun, Teh Talua, Lopek Sarikayo and Es Tebak are equally delicious.

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