10 Best Foods In Padang, Indonesia: Great Dishes You Need To Try

Best food in padang

People might wonder why Padang food is so fabulously delicious and even top-ranked in the world. The answer is simply due to their multitude of fresh herbs and aromatic spices used when cooking – not to mention the lengthy cooking process, creating distinctive, yet tempting flavors. Most of the typical dishes in Padang can easily be found in “warungs”, or small, family-owned restaurants, across the city.

Here are the top 10 Padang delicacies you shouldn’t miss:

1. Rendang

lamb rendang
Source: Photo by user stu_spivack used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Rated as the best dish in the world by CNN Travel, in 2011, Rendang has gained fame in recent years. This dark beef curry is so rich in spices that many easily fall in love with it. Arguably, the secret is in the cooking method, which takes many hours – the meat is simmered slowly, with coconut milk and various herbs, such as turmeric, lemongrass, ginger, and chilies. When the liquid evaporates, making the beef drier and more tender, the dish is ready to serve.

Resto Selamat

Address: Jl. Pasar Raya No.7, Kp. Jao, Padang, Kota Padang, Sumatera Barat

Opening Hours: 8 am to 6 pm

2. Sate Padang

Sate Padang2
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Sakurai Midori used under CC BY 3.0

Needless to say, Padang has the most cherished type of sate in the entire country, known as Sate Padang. Instead of being smothered with dark peanut sauce, the skewered dish has a translucent, yellow-colored sauce, made of turmeric and rice flour. The fresh diced beef or lamb takes several steps to cook, and is boiled, skewered and grilled over hot coconut shell charcoal.

Sate Danguang

Address: Jl. Pondok, Kp. Pd., Padang Barat, Kota Padang

Opening Hours: 10 am to 10 pm

3. Dendeng Balado

Dendeng balado
Source: Photo by user Midori used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Dendeng Balado is basically thin slices of beef, with a chewy, semi-tough texture, yet a tasty and spicy flavor. The thin slices of meat are marinated in lime juice for about 10 minutes. Then, they are either baked in the oven or dried under the scorching sun. The beef is then fried to a crisp. The final step is adding it to a mixture of chili flakes, shallots, and kaffir lime leaves.

Sederhana Restaurant

Address: Jl. Rasuna Said No.81A, Rimbo Kaluang, Padang Barat, Kota Padang

Opening Hours: 8 am to 10 pm

4. Gulai Kepala Ikan

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

What’s your first thought when a fish head becomes your dinner’s main course? Don’t be shocked when you see Gulai Kepala Ikan, a Padang curry dish, made of red snapper’s head. In spite of its unusual look, you will find it so delicate and rich in flavor. The basic seasonings include turmeric, ginger, coriander, cloves, chilies, and candlenut.

Gulai Kepala Ikan

Address: JL. Padang Painan, Km. 21, Bungus, Padang

Contact Number: +62 (0751) 446043

5. Ayam Pop Padang

Ayam Pop 2
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user S Kartika used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Craving chicken? Then be sure to try Ayam Pop Padang for an unbelievable culinary experience, while in Sumatra. A whole, organic chicken, often called Ayam Kampung, is marinated with seasoning paste (made from shallots, garlic, and candlenuts), then boiled in a mixture of coconut water, lemongrass, bay leaves, and galangal. To add to the taste, enjoy with hot sambal.

Sederhana Restaurant

Address: Jl. Rasuna Said No.81A, Padang Barat, Rimbo Kaluang, Kota Padang

Opening Hours: 8 am to 10 pm

6. Sambal Cabe Ijo

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Indonesia has plenty of spicy sambal and Padang is certainly no exception. One of the hot sauces you need to try is the green chili paste famously known as Sambal Cabe Ijo. You can opt for two types – the one with fried anchovies or without. The blend of sour, salty and spicy is an indescribable heaven.

Lamun Ombak

Address: Jalan Khatib Sulaiman No.99, Ulak Karang Utara, Padang Utara

Opening Hours: 7:30 am to 10 pm

7. Kalio Dagiang

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Rendang is #1 of World's 50 Best Foods! http://bit.ly/13RbJpO

Posted by Restoran Sari Raso on Sunday, October 28, 2012

At a glance, Kalio Daging looks similar to Rendang. Yet, what sets it apart from its dark curry peer is the cooking process and spices. Beef or cow’s liver is simmered with coconut milk and a seasoning paste made from shallots, garlic, turmeric, kaffir lime leaves, chilies and galangal, for about an hour. It’s really good to devour with hot steamed rice.

Restoran Sari Raso

Address: Jl. Karya No.3, Padang Selatan Kota Padang

Opening Hours: 10 am to 7 pm

8. Gulai Itiak

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Gulai Itiak is a typical West Sumatran curry dish made of duck meat. The vibrant look of the thick gravy surely adds to the taste – additionally, the tender texture of the fowl is another highlight you can’t ignore. It’s usually served with steamed rice, blanched cassava leaves, potato fritters and green chili sauce.

Gili (Gulai Itiak Lado Ijau)

Address: Jl. Sisingamangaraja No.25, Ganting Parak Gadang, Padang Timur, Kota Padang

Opening Hours: 8 am to 11 pm

9. Gulai Paku

Source: Photo by Flickr user CCFoodTravel.com used under CC BY 2.0

Gulai Paku refers to fiddlehead fern curry, ideal for veggie lovers or non-meat eaters. The vascular plant is often cooked with coconut milk and some aromatic herbs, such as ginger, galangal, turmeric, cumin and chilies. The yellowish-green dish is absolutely great accompanied with hot steamed rice, and fried tempeh or tofu.

Kedai Ketupat Gulai Paku Supik Simp. STKIP/YDB

Address: Lubuk Alung, Padang Pariaman, Padang Pariaman Regency

Opening Hours: 24 hours

10. Ikan Balado

Ikan teri balado
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Midori used under CC BY 3.0

Fish fanatics should try Ikan Balado, a spicy mackerel dish, with a lot of chili flakes. To make this seafood dish is quite effortless – you just saute red chilies, chopped tomatoes, shallots, and garlic, in oil. Once they are stir fried, add the fish, as well as bay leaves and lemongrass. Serving this dish with Indonesian corn fritters is definitely recommended.

Apollo Seafood

Address: Kampung Pondok, West Padang, Padang City

Opening Hours: 9:15 am to 2 pm

Padang is where to savor the world's best cuisine

Padang should be included on your list of Indonesian culinary adventures, since the capital of West Sumatra offers countless mouthwatering foods, from the tender Rendang to the piquant Balado mackerel. Missing out on these delicacies is a big mistake.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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I am Rofiq from East Java, Indonesia. I am passionate about exploring new places, meeting new people, learning new languages and cultures. I always do solo traveling and backpacking since they are...Read more

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