For all this time, my travel posts mostly talked about my experience visiting other countries, such as Thailand and South Korea. Then it hits me, why am I not interested in writing about my own country, Indonesia? Compared to all other countries, Indonesia is truly one of a kind. It is an archipelago country, located between two oceans and surpassed by ring of fire. Those facts above cause Indonesia blessed with fertile soil, various landscape from snowy mountains, active volcanoes, beautiful beaches, and superb sight under the sea. Don’t forget its diverse culture and biodiversity which made Indonesia super exotic.
Indonesia is considerably vast. It is more extensive than the size of one country in Europe. And I don’t think there’s anyone who’ll be able to explore all of it thoroughly, yet. But I have to underline this: Indonesia is not just Bali. Indeed, Bali is a complete package for what tourists are supposed to search for refreshment. But there are still a lot more places that offer you some memorable experiences that will last for your whole life. I have been to various cities in Indonesia, starting from the westernmost part in Sumatera (Banda Aceh, Medan, Padang), to Java (half all cities here), Bali, Kalimantan (Banjarmasin, Palangkaraya), Sulawesi (Makassar, Manado, Gorontalo) and Papua (Sorong) in the easternmost part of my country and they’re all so different which is great and memorable. Cause my trips were mostly for work purpose, i hardly had enough time to write about it. But this time, thanks to my tab, I was able to capture many pictures and it guided me to remember every sequence of my experience exploring a little bit of Padang and Bukittinggi in West Sumatera.
Padang is famous for its exceptionally delicious cuisine. And by cuisine I mean all of it. There is a saying: ‘from mouth to the heart’, that’s pretty much depict all Indonesian devotion to Padang cuisine. There is no Indonesian who doesn’t fond of Padang food. And its existence has embedded in each of our mind that there’s no lunch without Padang food as one of our main choice and there’s no city in Indonesia which doesn’t have Padang restaurant in it. Therefore Padang is also the top 3 cities where every food taste delicious for me after Garut (because my parents originally come from this city) and Bandung (where I grew up mostly).
My first culinary experience in Padang was when my group had dinner in a simple restaurant at the seaside. We ordered grill fish and any other seafood cuisine. We’re starving but it took so long til the foods were served, so while waiting, we eat Padang signature dish: red chili sambal with everything served in the table at that time, like kerupuk and cucumber. Anyway, the grill fish was worth waiting.
The next culinary was initiated by my supervisor’s sudden hunger on head-fish curry. We headed out to Pauh Piaman restaurant in Khatib Sulaiman street and order full course of fish curry (head to tail) which was complemented by green chili sambal. This is the most delicious fish curry i’ve ever taste in my life!! All thumbs up!! I had an enthusiastic time finish it off off my plate!
After I bought keripik balado and rendang telor for my sister and my family, we continued our culinary trip. Visiting Padang was not complete without strolling around the city at night, so for dinner we went to culinary area in Padang and tried the food one by one. We were told that the famous sate padang goes by the name of Danguang-Danguang so once we saw a food outlet with that name, we came in and ordered 4 portion of sate padang. The unusual thing was the outlet is not quite busy even with the famous name in their signboard. And the owner was Indian! I thought logically he would be a Padang native at least. He also took a lot of time to cook but by the time it served in our table, it felt cold. Weird.
Aaaanywayy, we’re starving enough to not think about that, but the taste was so-so, unlike what the driver told us earlier. It still felt very strange for me cause there’s no Padang food which is not memorably delicious. While eating, I observe the surroundings and saw another outlet with the name of Danguang-Danguang at the other side of the street, with a lot of customer. Then I realized, we came to the wrong place! Oow, such a waste.
For dessert, we had es campur and es durian at Ganti Nan Lamo outlet, which located right beside the original Danguang-Danguang. My colleague then ordered a portion of sate padang too just to kill his curiousity. The taste of the original Danguang-Danguang satay was indeed different. It is served hot and the spice flavor was delightful! For you whose purpose is to have padang cuisine at its finest, beware of the fake one! I usually don’t take the brand name that seriously. i don’t mind having a fake-brand clothes, bags, shoes, etc as long as it feels comfortable. But for the fake food? Don’t you dare play with me. I take food seriously 🙂
On the last day, we planned to visit Bukittinggi, 2 hours from Padang. Unlike Padang which is located at the west seaside, Bukittinggi is located at the mountain side so the air is much more fresh here. We didn’t have much time left before going back to Jakarta so we only visited Lembah Anai Waterfall; Pandai Sikek village, which was pictured in Rp 5000 Indonesian money; and Ngarai Sianok, an amazing canyon. That itself was already a great experience.
The view outside my room balcony in Padang
Lembah Anai Waterfall, so refreshing
Ngarai Sianok, so exotic
12 am already. We headed to the belowside of Ngarai Sianok to have lunch. Our driver and our guide this time was very experienced. He had guided Metro TV and Bukan Empat Mata team exploring exotic places in West Sumatera which hadn’t been in spotlight. And he recommended a perfect dish to end our trip here in Bukittinggi, Itiak Lado Mudo or Green Chili Duck.
It tasted superb! Having a spicy lunch at noon accompanied with es jeruk. Yummy!! Moreover, we have this scenery as our view.
such a view for a nice lunch!
Padang Cuisine is always all-out in terms of spices, mainly with coconut milk. That is why here in Bukittinggi, there’s one and only stroke hospital in Indonesia because coconut milk is the biggest contributor to your increasing cholesterol. You should enjoy eating Padang cuisine at its fullest but don’t forget to take care your own health, okay?
Whew, I had a great time visiting Padang and Bukittinggi. Indonesia is the best!! Really, you will never run out of new places to explore, foods to eat and people for your new friend in Indonesia.
I look forward to visit other cities in Indonesia before i head out to study for 2 years. Oh boy, i’m gonna miss my country so much.