Sasak Dishes: A Twist in Taste

54 comments
Asia, Indonesia
Pelecing Kangkung

Pelecing Kangkung

As an attempt to immerse myself in the local culture every time I travel, sampling local dishes is always on my must-do list. Many times I was impressed and delighted with the richness and uniqueness of the flavors I tasted. Or lahm in Laos and shish kebab in Turkey were some that left me wanting for more.

In my recent trip to Lombok with James, we embarked on yet another local culinary experience as we did on our previous journeys. Lombok, which coincidentally means chili in Javanese, boasts some of the most widely-known local dishes in Indonesia due to its bold and exotic flavors. Sasak people – Lombok’s indigenous residents – are quite adventurous in mixing the spices in their cooking.

“Where can we have local food in a restaurant nearby?” I asked Nella, the lady at the reception of our hotel.

“We have it here,” she responded with a big smile on her face.

Pelecing kangkung, a local salad made from water spinach, beansprouts and grated coconut drenched in fiery and sour mixture of chili and raw tomato dressing, takes salad to a whole new level. Meanwhile ayam taliwang, sweet grilled chicken in spicy coconut-based sauce, was so addictive that we had it almost every day, with gradually increasing levels of spiciness each day as I requested.

Other tasty selections of Sasak cuisine include sate pusut ayam, minced chicken grilled on skewers and served with peanut sauce; pepes seafoodfrutti di mare steamed in banana leaves; and urap-urap, a mixture of steamed long beans, beansprouts, cabbages, and grated coconut seasoned with chili, garlic, shallot, and galangal similar to Javanese urap.

Third Moon Café, the restaurant at our hotel, proves to be a perfect place to sample authentic Sasak cusine, successfully making James put ayam taliwang on his list of favorite Indonesian dishes. Sasak dishes did not disappoint at all, but my journey to sample a wide array of traditional Indonesian food has only just begun.

Ayam Taliwang

Ayam Taliwang

Sate Pusut Ayam

Sate Pusut Ayam

Pepes Seafood

Pepes Seafood

Pelecing Ayam

Pelecing Ayam

Urap-urap

Urap-urap

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Based in Jakarta, always curious about the world, always fascinated by ancient temples, easily pleased by food.

54 thoughts on “Sasak Dishes: A Twist in Taste”

  1. Just your description alone makes me so curious to try Sasak dishes one day – I suppose this is only available in Lombok and not everywhere in Indonesia.

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    • Lombok dishes, unlike Padang dishes, are not that common throughout Indonesia. I remember having ayam taliwang once in a restaurant in Bandung, but that was nothing compared to the real dish James and I tried in Lombok. If you’re quite adventurous with spiciness, ask your ayam taliwang to be cooked exactly as local people have it, not toned down for tourists. 🙂

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    • Hey Isma! It’s been forever since we talked for the last time. Thanks a lot for your lovely comment and for dropping by! 🙂

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    • Haha, isn’t it Wira? I remember being pleasantly surprised by the concoction of raw tomatoes and chili. It was unlike anything I’ve tried before.

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    • Pepes seafoodnya enak kok. Campuran antara ikan, udang, cumi. Pedesnya bisa disesuaikan sesuai permintaan.

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  2. Ok then, I missed sate pusut and pepes seafood (Gosh, I’m drooling..).

    Anyways, there is a street vendor in Melawai, Jakarta, that sells ayam Taliwang, beberuk terong, and plecing kangkung, and they’re all good. Even my friend’s boss who originally comes from Lombok says the food taste is authentic! You should try it at least for once.. 🙂

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    • Ahh, that’s a great thing to know! Thanks a lot Badai! That’s one of the benefits of living in Jakarta, despite the traffic, since it’s the melting pot for Indonesians. Chances are we’ll be able to find some authentic Indonesian dishes in the city.

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  3. Bama, this post has me craving my beloved ayam taliwang – since coming back from Lombok I’ve only been able to have second-rate Padang food! Again, your photographic angle on the dishes are so different from mine, as are the colours. I find that very refreshing. 🙂

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    • Now I know where to find an authentic Lombok dishes in Jakarta, thanks to Badai. So the next time you come I know where to take you, among other places. I also noticed the different colors of our photos of the dishes. Yours look more warm. 🙂 Thanks James!

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  4. Amazing post! This is double the torture Bama, cruel of you – and James – to make us drool over stuff we can never find here 🙂 Shall have to hurry up shan’t I?

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    • Thanks Madhu! and I’m sorry for making you drool. 🙂 But I guess that’s indeed a calling for you to come to Indonesia sooner than later.

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  5. Your words and photographs make me starving at this wee hour of the day! I love plecing kangkung and all those others! So yummy!

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    • Oops, sorry for that! 🙂 At first I was quite surprised by the taste of pelecing kangkung. But after a while I started to love it. In fact the next day I was craving the dish. Thanks Eki!

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  6. I… need…to… try this – NOW! Thanks for inspiring me to try new kinds of food today. 🙂 I love the idea of your blog!

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  7. Halim Santoso says:

    Nyum nyum…. I think urap-urap look alike trancam in Central Java 🙂

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    • I’ve never heard of trancam before, so I just googled it. From the look of the dish it does bear some visual resemblances with urap.

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  8. Bama, I am now totally craving these incredible Sasak dishes. I’ve only had the Urap-urap, so I’m so glad that you introduced me to more of this fascinating cuisine. Your gorgeous photos really make the food come alive. All the best, Terri

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    • Thanks Terri! A week after coming back to Jakarta from Lombok, I found in other blog about other Sasak dishes that I haven’t tried. So many traditional dishes to try out there! 🙂 I hope you’ll get the chance to taste them for real Terri. All the best to you too!

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  9. Yum! They all look scrumptious. I particularly dig that kangkung dish. It’s one of my favorite veggies (we call it kang kong in the Philippines). I’d love to try pepes seafood- I love anything wrapped in banana leaves. Thanks for another yummy culinary post!

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    • Ahh another Tagalog word which is similar with a word in Bahasa. I always find it fascinating to learn how similar our languages are. 🙂 I guess as Southeast Asians we do know how good any dish would be if wrapped in banana leaves. Thanks for letting your eyes dig into those food pictures. 🙂

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