we’ve had nasi padang in a restaurant in abu dhabi, but just found out that there’s a restaurant right here in dubai offering similar indonesian dishes. it’s called the betawi restaurant, situated in karama. nasi padang literally means rice from padang, a place in west sumatra, indonesia.
it was a long drive from our dubai marina home, but at the end of the day, it was worth it!
it’s in karama… (isi tempat kosong) haha. later i asked mr. khairul la how to get there – for you guys who wanna try. hihi. parking is fairly easy if you’re lucky. you can park anywhere along the road. we got a space right opposite the restaurant.
from the outside, it looks rather fancy with flowing yellow curtains and a signboard that stands out with the unique font and name.
once inside, you realized though, that it’s not as spacious. there’s only room for two lanes of tables and chairs. however, it’s still stroller friendly and there’s enough space to park the baby stroller as we eat.
as simple as the decor and setting were, i love that it has the feel of our typical malay ‘goreng-goreng’ restaurant – especially the table spread, and the tacky yellow curtain! hihi.
the pink walls were too much for me, actually haha, but the picture frames help ease the sight. there’s one with a picture of rumah kampung, a typical wooden house you’ll normally see in malaysian villages. that was a nice little touch.
there’s a counter at the end of the restaurant, where they display (for sale) plates of cucur sayur (vege nuggets), goreng pisang (fried banana), and another type of indonesian kuih.
i tried the cucur sayur as a starter, served on a woven rattan plate. sedap! deliciously crunchy, even after long it’s been fried. this cucur probably has carrots, taugeh, onion and few more stuff in it. now, normally i don’t like cucur with too many stuff, but this one has them all mashed up together that it creates a really yummy taste!
furthermore, it’s big in size! so, buy one is enough for me and khaleef. hihi. dip in their own indonesian-made chilli sauce – excellent! pedas, but tasty!
this betawi restaurant in karama offers the usual indonesian dishes – nasi padang, pecel ayam, opar ayam, mpek mpek (fishcake served in a sweet broth) bakso (meatballs with noodle in soup) and a few others. of course, it also has the famous soup buntut. it even has the regular nasi goreng (fried rice).
since this was our first time here, we decided on the most basic, and popular choices.
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i had pecel ayam, which is basically steamed rice and grilled chicken, serve with fried tauhu and salad. i asked for a bowl of gulai kosong (plain spicy gravy without meat) because my meal seemed too dry! kena ade kuah sikit baru best hihi.
my pecel ayam
the steamed rice oh, so fragrant! paired it up with the sweet juicy grilled chicken – perfection! the grilled chicken was so good you can even eat it on its own. add a little scoop of the indonesian sambal, and you’ve got a pretty decent dish.
i was disappointed with the ‘salad’ though. i’m a big salad eater, so it was frustrating to get just a couple of measly pieces of salad, along with a big chunk of cabbage – and i hate the white bulky part!
mr. khairul’s nasi padang
nasi padang is actually a dish of steamed rice, served with few dishes like grilled or fried chicken, spicy gulai, bergedil (potato nugget), and many more. it’s like our nasi bungkus or nasi lauk-lauk. we can just pick and choose from a variety of dishes.
however, the nasi padang that we got was already ‘pre-compiled’! hihi. mr. khairul was asked whether he wanted it with grilled chicken, or plain fried with kunyit. the rest were served together, and not subject to choice.
there was steamed rice of course, along with fried boiled egg, kangkung belacan, tempe, chilli potato, some keropok and green sambal. and if you’re wondering – everything tasted good. the combo turned out pretty yummy!
complimentary keropok. krup krup!
the dish is not spicy – even the gravy! but the indon sambal was really super-hot! red one, green one - mr. khairul the pedas-lover was totally smitten! hihi.
what better way to wash down that spicy taste than two icy-cold drinks – mine was sirap bandung (red syrup with evaporated milk) with ice-cream soda, while mr. khairul ordered the house special, the es teler.
ais bandung and es teler
the es teler was essentially a milky drink, with cut-up avocado and jack fruit (nangka). lamanya tak makan nangka! this was my first es teler – it was disturbingly sweet at first, but once you get used to the avocado-jack fruit combo, it’s actually pretty good.
in fact, the es teler was even better than my boring ais bandung – which turned up less sweet than i expected. it was bland and all that ice-cream soda was wasted!
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all in all, our first experience at this betawi restaurant in karama is deliciously satisfactory. tasty, and affordable with a comfy ambiance too. we might just come again for our second fix of nasi padang!
anyone wanna join us next time?