Almost every regions in Indonesia has their own unique culinary. Each of them has different taste in combining the dish and spices. And if you like spicy foods, then maybe your tongue will be happy if you take it to Manado. Manado is the capital city of North Sulawesi. People in Manado really love to put chili on almost every dish they cook. But that does not mean they forget about the flavors. With smart combination of spices and cooking method, they succeed to make various kinds of dishes with amazing flavors and challenging spiciness. So here are the list of those awesome spicy culinary:

1. Rica-Rica

Rica-rica is a dish made of spices and lots of chili cooked in a thick coconut milk and lime. Rica-rica can be used for almost any kind of meats or proteins. In Manado, it is easy to find Rica-Rica on chicken, pork, beef, squid, shrimp, mackerel, and even dog meat. Sometimes, rica-rica is cooked without any meat and served as a condiment. This is called Sambal Rica-Rica.

Chicken Rica-Rica in a Bowl (Source: Flickr. Credit: Anita Jacobson)
Chicken Rica-Rica in a Bowl
(Source: Flickr. Credit: Anita Jacobson)

Literally, the word “rica” itself means “spicy” in their folk language. So do not be surprised if the food kind of burns your tounge. Rica-rica is usually eaten with a plate of warm rice. You can try this food in almost every restaurant in Manado. The price may vary depends on what meat is used on the dish and how fancy is the restaurant.


2. Tinutuan

Tinutuan is a serving of traditional porridge from Manado. It consists of various vegetables such as corn kernels, spinach, kale, basil, yellow gourd, and gravy. Tinutuan is best served with fried roa fish and fried onions. Another variant of Tinutuan is “Midal”. It is a serving of complete Tinutuan added with some noodles as extra carbs so your stomach gets really full after eating it.

A Serving of Tinutuan Porridge with Fried Roa Fish (Source: Credit : )
A Serving of Tinutuan Porridge with Fried Roa Fish
(Source: Credit : )

Tinutuan is mostly preferred as a breakfast menu. So it would be very easy to get this food every morning either it is on a street food stands or even a fancy restaurant. But if you want to taste the best and most original taste of Tinutuan, then you need to try one at Jalan Wakeke. Tinutuan has now been the icon for Manado culinary. So make sure to try this one out if you go to Manado.


3. Dabu-Dabu

Dabu-Dabu is specified as “sambal”, a spicy condiment made out of chilies and spices. The function is the same as Rica-Rica without a meat. But the taste and ingredients are quite different. Dabu-Dabu is a raw sambal made of shallots, peppers, bird’s eye chili, lemon juice, and some diced raw tomatoes. The taste is spicy of course, and also fresh and sour. At seconds, Dabu-Dabu looks like a Manado version of Mexican Salsa.

Dabu-Dabu Sambal (Source: Flickr. Credit: Bowie Djati)
Dabu-Dabu Sambal
(Source: Flickr. Credit: Bowie Djati)

Dabu-Dabu is mostly served as a condiment for grilled fish and several kinds of seafood dishes. It really is a perfect match for fresh seafood combined with fresh and sour and spicy sambal like Dabu-Dabu. But sometimes people ask for Dabu-Dabu too even if they do not order a seafood dish. It is kind of a favorite condiment. Therefore, almost every restaurant and food stands in Manado always has Dabu-Dabu ready on their menu.


4. Paniki

Manado is also popular for using strange meat on their dish. One of the strangest yet popular one is the bat meat. Bat meat is usually cooked as Paniki. To cook it, first the bats need to be grilled in order to cut off their soft furs. And then, the meat is cooked with coconut milk, chilies, ginger, and several other spices. It takes a quite long time to cook Paniki to make sure the meat is soft enough.

The Delicious Paniki (Source: Flickr. Credit: Tokyofoodcast)
The Delicious Paniki
(Source: Flickr. Credit: Tokyofoodcast)

Paniki may sounds like an extreme culinary, but still many tourists would love to order this dish on a restaurant out of curiosity. And mostly, they end up liking it. It is said that the tastiest part of Paniki is on their wings. A serving of Paniki is sold for about $2.75. You can order this food in any restaurant or stands that sells Minahasan Foods.


5. Ikan Woku Belanga

Ikan means “fish”, belanga means “clay pot”, and woku is the name of the spice mixture. Therefore, this is the dfish dish with Woku seasoning and cooked in a clay pot. The fish is first marinated with a mixture of spices such as ginger, lemongrass, basil, turmeric leaf, and of course, chilies. This sour and spicy dish also uses coconut milk on the ingredients to enrich the flavors. It takes a few hours to cook a perfect Ikan Woku Belanga dish.

Because it was cooked in a clay pot for a long time, Ikan Woku Belanga would have an amazing aroma when it is served warm. This dish will make you hungry immediately. Order a plate of warm rice to eat with the dish. Beside fishes, woku belanga also can be used to cook other kinds of meat, poultries, or seafoods.


6. Pangi

Pangi is a vegetable dish made from kluwak leaves. The cooking method used on this dish is very unique. First, the kluwak leaves are chopped into thin pieces and then it is boiled until it gets half-cooked. After that, you mix some spices such as chilies, nutmeg, ginger, basil, and lemongrass. The half-cooked kluwak leaves is put in a bamboo stem. The bamboo stem is then put nearby a fire flame but do not let the fire touch it. Let it cook slowly for about two to three hours. And finally, you put it on a bowl and serve it.

Pangi on a Bamboo Stem (Source: Credit: Gerald)
Pangi on a Bamboo Stem
(Source: Credit: Gerald)

To enrich the flavors of Pangi, sometimes they add a “tawak”, a fat derived from pig. This may cause the vegetable to taste softer and more savory. Another variant of Pangi is “Saut”. Saut is basically made from young banana leaves instead of kluwak leaves. Mostly, saut is added with pork chop. Cooking Saut takes more time than a regular Pangi. It is about two to five hours to make a perfect dish of Saut.


7. Es Tji Mei

After a long list of spicy foods, now it is the time for a refreshing desert. Es Tji Mei or Tji Mei Ice is a serving of grated ice blocks with red bean, avocado, durian, and milk. Es Tji Mei is available on restaurants. So you can order this as a desert after you are done eating the spicy Manado foods before. But if you just want to eat this ice, then you do not need to go to a fancy restaurant. In fact, you can get the best Es Tji Mei on Jalan Sudirman. But you need to be patient enough with the queue because a lot of people like to come here for the desert.


Now before you start drooling uncontrollably, here is a list of recommended restaurant in Manado where you can try these awesome culinary:

  • City Extra Restaurant on Jalan Raya Tanawangko, Kalasey Village, Manado
  • Wisata Bahari Resto on Jalan Wolter Monginsidi 1, Manado
  • Wahaha Seafood Restaurant on Kawasan Foodcity Mega Mas, Jalan Bulevard 2 Blok Food City No. 1, Manado
  • Raja Oci Restaurant on Jalan Sudirman No.85, Manado
  • Green Garden Restaurant on Jalan Dr Sam Ratulangi 52, Manado

So, what else are you waiting for? Get these unique foods and taste the spiciness!


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