Padang is quite famous for its tourism objects such as Mentawai (famous for surfing) and Minangkabau culture. But this city is more famous for its appetizing culinary with Minangkabau ancient recipe. The cuisines are known to be hard to cook with complicated combination of spices and unique cooking methods. As a result for this complexity is various servings of delicious foods that can makes you drool even just by the aroma.

So if you make your way to Padang, it is mandatory to taste various kinds of Padang’s culinary. To help you choose your menus, here are some popular culinary in Padang for you to consider:

1. Rendang

Rendang is the most famous Minangkabau culinary. Almost in every place in Indonesia, you can easily find a restaurant that serve Rendang. But if you ever set your foot to Padang, you must try to eat this amazing dish. This is because originally, Rendang has complicated cooking method. But some people outside Padang have modified their recipe and the technique in order to make it easier. So the taste would be different with the original one from Padang.

A Serving of Rendang on the Top of Rice (Source: Flickr. Credit: Boudewijn)
A Serving of Rendang on the Top of Rice
(Source: Flickr. Credit: Boudewijn)

Rendang is not only popular in Indonesia, but also the whole world. CNN International has put “Rendang” as the number one from their list of “World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods (Readers’ Pick)”. This proves a point that Rendang Padang is not something you shall miss to try.

Rendang is a dish made out of meat cooked with various spices and coconut milk. Cooking Rendang is difficult and takes a quite long time. Rendang that was cooked in the right way according to traditional Mingankabau technique may last up to three months in room temperature without using any kind of preservatives.

According to the history, Rendang was first cooked for Minangkabau men who need to go far away from home. Their family cooks Rendang for them to bring as food supplies. That is why the food was intended to last for a long period of time, in hope that those men have enough foods from home before they actually get back home.


2. Kalio

Kalio is a variant of Rendang with less complicated cooking method. Kalio is cooked on a shorter period of time. The gravy is not as dry as Rendang because they do not need to wait the coconut milk to completely evaporate. That is why Kalio is also known by the name Wet Rendang. Kalio has lighter-brownish color while Rendang has a brown-almost-black color.

Chicken Kalio in A Plate (Source: Flickr. Credit: tehkici)
Chicken Kalio in A Plate
(Source: Flickr. Credit: tehkici)

Kalio that was cooked perfectly can last less than one week in room temperature. Some softer meats and proteins such as chicken innards and potatoes are mostly cooked as Kalio because they tend to break apart if you cook it for a long time like when you cook Rendang.


3. Dendeng Batokok

Dendeng Batokok is another serving of beef that is popular on Padang beside Rendang. Unlike Rendang, Dendeng has no gravy. The beef is cut on thin and wide shape. It then is smashed until it gets soft and thinner. The beef is then sauted with several spices until it gets dry. Dendeng Batokok beef is served with mashed green chili on top of it.

A Portion of Beef Dendeng Batokok (Source: Flickr. Credit: Pondok Sari Wangi)
A Portion of Beef Dendeng Batokok
(Source: Flickr. Credit: Pondok Sari Wangi)

Dendeng Batokok has light savory flavor. The texture of the beef is very dry yet soft. Not every part of beef can be cooked as Dendeng Batokok as the texture may result differently. They only use the tight meat near the tail for it.


4. Sambal Lado

Sambal is a coarse sauce made out of chili mixed with several spices. There are plenty kinds of sambal. In Indonesia, almost every region has its own traditional sambal. Each kind of sambal has different combination of spices addition, different taste, and different complements. But one thing for sure, they all are spicy because it is made mainly of chili.

In Padang, they have their own traditional sambal called Sambal Lado. People outside Sumatra sometimes call it as “Sambal Balado”. The sambal is mainly made of green small chilies. Sambal Lado is served as a complement for almost any kind of Padang dishes. The best thing about Sambal Lado is it is always free, no matter how much Sambal Lado you put on your plate. This is because Sambal Lado is not considered as dish. It is consider as complement to add the spicy taste.

Sambal Lado in a Saucer (Source: Flickr. Credit: Surihaty J)
Sambal Lado in a Saucer
(Source: Flickr. Credit: Surihaty J)

5. Teh Talua (Egg Tea)

The Talua is a serving of warm tea mixed with egg and other ingredients. To make this tea, first the tea is boiled first with the water. Right after it was boiled, the eggs and other extra ingredients are put inside. The mixture is then stirred until the eggs do not smell anymore. This means that egg is no longer raw.

This beverage is believed to be able to boost men’s energy. Therefore, most men in Padang like to drink this beverage every morning before they start their activity. This traditional energy drink can also warm up your body while the temperature is a little bit cold.

Two Glasses of Warm Teh Talua (Source: Flickr. Credit: Oktaviandri Saputra)
Two Glasses of Warm Teh Talua
(Source: Flickr. Credit: Oktaviandri Saputra)

6. Ikan Bilih (Bilih Fish)

Bilih Fish is a species of fish that you may never find in anywhere outside Padang. In fact, this species of fish can only be found on Singkarak Lake. Bilih Fish is easy to find on almost every restaurant in Padang. But if you are no longer in West Sumatra, it would be almost impossible to find this kind of food, even on the Padang cuisine restaurant.

Fried Bilih Fish (Source: Flickr. Credit: eriko_le)
Fried Bilih Fish
(Source: Flickr. Credit: eriko_le)

Bilih Fish is mostly cooked with a simple method like fried or light sauted because it mostly eaten as a condiment for other heavier dishes such as Rendang or Kalio. The fish is sometimes mixed with Sambal Lado to enrich the taste of the sambal. Fried Bilih Fish is also can be eaten as snacks. You can buy a dry fried Bilih Fish in a plastic package that you can bring as a traveling snack or you can give it as a gift for friend.


Padang Restaurant

Padang restaurant has a unique serving method. You do not need to order any foods at all. Once you come inside the restaurant, just sit down and wait on your own table. In a minute, the waiters will come to your table with a hand full of stacked plates. Each plate is filled with different Padang dishes. He will then put those on your table and you can eat anything you like. After you are done eating, call the waiter again and he will count your bill by what dish you took from the plates.

How the Waiter Brings the Plates of Dishes on Padang Restaurants (Source: Flickr. Credit: Farl)
How the Waiter Brings the Plates of Dishes on Padang Restaurants
(Source: Flickr. Credit: Farl)


How does that sound? Was not it amazing? Prepare your tongue to be more amazed after you eat those yummy foods. It is not difficult to get those foods. Simply go to a Padang restaurant and they will offer you lots of foods they have on the menus.