Thursday, 9 January 2014
Nasi Padang at Garuda Restaurant in Jakarta, Indonesia - Johor Kaki Travels
The unique, only in Indonesia, nasi padang experience is a must try for every visitor to Jakarta or Indonesia.
For our taste of nasi padang, we have to thank our gracious host from Jakarta Tourism Office who brought us to a Restaurant Garuda outlet which is well known for their speciality - nasi padang. Restaurant Garuda has many branches in Medan and Jakarta.
Inside this busy Restaurant Garuda outlet in Jakarta, the décor is basic yet inviting. The air conditioning and bright interior provide customers with a comfortable refuge from the heat as well as traffic fumes and noise outside.
The custom at nasi padang restaurants in Indonesia is to offer the customer many dishes, spreading them out on the table like a buffet. I marvelled at how the waiter effortlessly balanced more than half a dozen dishes on his arms. The customers can eat what they like from the spread and is required to pay only for what they actually ate.
The sole customer (partially hidden) in the foreground of the picture above had 12 different dishes on his table all by himself.
I find this colourful smorgasbord with a riot of aromas, shapes and textures, stimulating and uplifting. It just makes me want to indulge and enjoy life in abundant.
We didn't have the full spread of all the dishes available at Restaurant Garuda as even our large round table wasn't big enough.
Here's just a sampling of what we had.
I love this leafy green vegetable cooked in mildly spicy curry. Commonly found also at nasi campur stalls in Malaysia and Singapore, I will always pick this dish whenever it is available.
Leafy green cooked by dunking in boiling water and served. Another of my simply prepared favourite dishes.
Beef stomach and tendon cooked till tender in mildly spicy curry. Another of my favourite dishes.
Chicken leg in curry. Tender chicken with sweet meat juices in mildly spicy curry.
Chicken thigh skinned, fried till dry and to a crisp.
Canned sardines cooked with chili peppers and garlic halves. A comfort food from generations past.
Beef rendang in Indonesia, the country that invented this classic beef dish, is of course a must try. The irresistible surface gleam from the slick and tacky rendang gravy always makes me salivate - really.
The robustly aromatic gravy hid the caramelised beef which is a thick slab of quite stiff perfumed meat. The slightly moist fibres were deeply infused with curry spices.
New supplies of beef rendang in steel basins were constantly wheeled from the kitchen to the front to top up the fast moving stock on the shelves. Restaurant Garuda's beef rendang were obviously hot sellers.
Beef brain in curry. Soft and dense like lumpy irregular shaped tau kwa (bean curd) with a metallic taste. Not quite my cup of tea.
Restaurant Garuda's sambals were awesome. I love it that the chili peppers were pounded instead of blended or ground. Old style pounding leaves some of the fleshy pulp intact giving the sambal a nice mouth feel.
Thin beef lung slices fried until it is like a keropok (biscuit).
The satay, one of the dishes returned.
Dried fish in the window.
Restaurant Garuda has a popular delivery service. These ladies were busy packing orders the entire time we were at the restaurant.
The small mountain of paper boxes.
A peek at one of the simple packed lunches, ready to go.
One of the delivery bikes standing ready to send the nasi padang packs to hungry waiting customers.
Whenever I am in Jakarta or Indonesia, a nasi padang treat is something I look forward before returning home.
Date visited: 6 Nov 2013
(Acknowledgement: My trip to Jakarta was sponsored by Jakarta Tourism Office and organised by Russell Cheong of Winsemius Consulting.)
Return to home page.