[Jakarta] While many of us familiar with the term “Padang Cuisine” and “Sundanese Cuisine”, the same cannot be said for “Manadonese Cuisine”.
Manadonese cuisines (sometimes known as “Manado cuisine” or “Minahasan cuisine” is known for its daring uses of spices and lots of chilis, giving it the reputation of being one the spiciest in the nation.
The cuisine originated from Northern part of Sulawesi island. Due to its geographical location, its signature dishes often revolve around seafood.
Due to their cultural and tradition beliefs of the Minahasan (Manadonese), it is common to see “exotic” dishes in the menu (in case you are curious, it ranges anything from wild boars, field rats… to many others.)
Another unique fact about Manado cuisine are the European-influenced cakes and pastries, most notables one are the Klappertaart (Dutch) and Panada/Empanadas (Portuguese).
Sarang Oci is one of few Manadonese chain restaurants in town, but fear not, they do not serve “exotic” meats here. Thankfully.
I went during lunch hour, and it was jam packed.
A majority of the dishes here are cooked in either bumbu rica-rica or woku, which is a “warning” it will be spicy.
Dabu-dabu is Manado specialty sambal, made from raw sliced ingredients such as green tomatoes, shallots, chili padi and a pinch of salt.
Many called it the “salsa” of Manado.
Rica-rica is another specialty sambal from Manado, it consists of grounded red and green chili peppers, chili padi, shallots, ginger and garlic and usually cooked in coconut oil along with lemongrass & kaffir lime leaves to boost the aroma.
To start off, each of us were given some sambal dabu-dabu and rica-rica. Think of ‘palate cleanser’?
I started off with the Kuah Asam Sayur Polos (IDR 30k, SGD3.00) which turned out to be really sour, so much so that I was still unable to finish a small bowl despite numerous attempts.
Well, it is worth trying, just to awaken your taste buds. A way to start the feast, I guess.
The famous Sarang Oci’s Perkedel Jagung Crispy (IDR 40k, SGD4.00) was one that appeared on every single table in the restaurant.
Huge and crispy, yet fluffy and not greasy.
I can see why this is one of the most favourite dish here. Maknyuss!
The Cakalang Fufu Rabe Rica (IDR 60k, SGD6.00),which is cured and smoked skipjack tuna, is considered Manado “official” fish
The fish was shredded and sautéed with sambal rica, giving it that mild smoky (or wok-hei) and spicy aroma.
As for the Ayam Bakar Rica (IDR 45k, SGD4.50), while the chicken was well marinated and juicy.
However, the spiciness was quite overwhelming, and may not be everyone’s type of dish.
The Nasi Goreng Cakalang (IDR 35k, SGD3.50) is not the typical kecap manis Nasi Goreng, but mixed with spices and cakalang filling instead.
It had aromatic flavour, with a pretty unique taste.
Another Sarang Oci’s speciality dish, the Oci Goreng Rica (IDR 25k, SGD2.50/pieces) is one of the most popular fish dishes in Manado (Also called Ikan kembung/tude or bloated fish.)
Usually served deep fried along with sambal rica.
To end our “spicy” meal, some sweets are needed to balance the course.
The Kue Panada (IDR8k, SGD0.80) reminded me of pastel (curry puffs) with bread crust, filled with cakalang.
Loved the texture, which was a combination of soft and chewy.
The Kue Lalampa (IDR8k, SGD0.80) is Manado’s version of lemper – sticky rice, wrapped in banana leaf, but thinner and longer.
The sweetness of the sticky rice complemented the saltiness of the cakalang filling.
Strange but true, Manado are famous for their Klappertaart (IDR15k, SGD1.50), a Dutch specialty dessert.
Covered with loads of cinnamon powder, added with a slight rum essence, the texture reminded me of Japanese custard with young coconut flesh.
Manadonese cuisine may not be everyone cup of tea, including myself. It is bold, spicy, different, and you can say adventurous.
It may take loads of visit to actually appreciate the taste of this particular cuisine.
Jl. Bulungan no. 24, Jakarta Selatan 12130
Tel: +6221 739 9941
Opening Hours: 10am – 9:30pm (Mon-Sun)
Google Maps – Sarang Oci
* Written by DFD͛’s Jakarta Food Correspondent Wilson who loves exploring NEW food places in both Indonesia and Singapore. DFD pays for food reviewed unless otherwise stated.