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Padang Food

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If you like a little spice in your food then Padang is the place for you. Famous throughout Indonesia for its distinctive cuisine, Padang is THE place to go to sample the famous spicy nasi padang food that has spread throughout the country and the world.

Virtually every city in Indonesia has a Padang restaurant which shows just how popular this food is. You can often tell a Padang restaurant because it will have all the food on dipslay in the window. It’s then up to the customer to decide what looks the most delicious and select dishes to accompany their rice.   

The food from this region often uses chicken, beef or fish, prepared in a coconut curry, fried or with sambal (chilli paste) and served with cabbage and curried egg.
As with most Indonesian food, sambal is essential in Padang cuisine. Padang has it’s own special type of sambal, sambal ijo (green spicy sauce).

Some of the more famous dishes from Padang include

Rendang – Spiced beef with shredded coconut.
Soto padang – Crispy beef in spicy soup.
Sate padang – Beef satay in curry sauce.
Dendeng – Black, sun dried strips of beef serves with fiery red chillies.

Whether you’re eating in Padang or anywhere in West Sumatra remember to bring your appetite. The servings here are generous and it’s not unusual for the waiter to bring as many as 20 plates of food to your table. You then select what you want and only pay for what you eat. Because there is no menu, you can just decide what looks tasty and push the others aside.

Padang food can use unconventional ingredients including internal organs like hearts, lungs and brains so if you’re not sure what you’re eating or you’re a little bit squemish, you might want to double check with the waiter first.  Some of the fun of eating Padang food is guessing the mystery ingredient. Because many of the dishes are cooked slowly, it can be difficult to figure out what is what. Even chicken can be mistaken for fish.

The best option for vegetarians here are either tempe or tahu (tofu) which comes served in spicy sambal. Or eggs are also popular in Padang cuisine.  

Remember that it’s common for people to let out a burp after a meal here so don’t be offended if your neighbour gives out a belch once they’re finished their dinner.

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