Named after the city of Padang, the capital of West Sumatra, Padang Cuisine has gifted the world with an incredible selection of iconic dishes. Whether you are a food connoisseur or simply a lover of all things delicious, Padang cuisine is certain to be an exotic delight. A Padang restaurant is found in almost every Indonesian city. Whether you are a backpacker in West Sumatra, a budget traveller in Bali or have splurged on a 5 star hotel Jakarta such as the Keraton at The Plaza, Jakarta, Padang cuisine is something that you simply must try.

Padang food often uses beef, fish or chicken that is cooked in coconut milk, fried or with a sambal and is accompanied by curried eggs and cabbage. Sambals are a staple in Indonesian cuisine and Padang has its own special version called ‘sambal ijo’, a spicy, green sauce. Just like its distinctive taste, Padang cuisine has its own distinctive look as well. You can always identify a Padang restaurant from the food displays on the window. You can go up to the restaurant and select the dishes that look most delicious and enjoy it with some rice.

Regardless of the location, Padang restaurants are well known to be generous with their portions. It is quite normal for these establishments to not have a menu. If you find yourself in a Padang establishment and find that the waiter has set 15 plates in front of you, don’t be alarmed. You can simply choose what you like (you can always ask the waiter’s help to choose if you aren’t familiar with Padang food) and pay only for what you eat. Unusual ingredients such as lungs, hearts and other internal organs are not uncommon in Padang cuisine. It is always recommended to ask the waiter about the ingredients if you are a picky eater. Some of the most popular choices include Soto Padang (a spicy soup with crispy beef), Dendeng (Sun dried beef strips served with red chillies) and Rendang (spicy beef served with shredded coconut).

Thanuja Silva is a travel writer who writes under the pen name Auburn Silver. She has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.