Name me 5 Best Indonesian restaurants. Perhaps that came with a little difficulty. While we are almost familiar with our neighbours’ cuisine such as Ayam Panggang, Sate, Tahu Telor and Nasi Kampung, Indonesian restaurants are always considered less hip and under the radar locally.
And how many can tell the difference between authentic Indonesian cuisine and our local Malay food?
For family-style Indonesian food, I have been to IndoChili for quite a few times. Its location at Zion Road is ‘risky’, beside the popular (but standard-dropping) Nasi Padang River Valley. And the previous F&B occupants do not stay long.
During my first visit, the food looked promising though service staff seemed bored at the lack of customers. But it generally got better each time I went.
The creator of the dishes is Mdm Wahyuningsih, owner of Java Kitchen Group (you see them around in food courts) who is inspired by her own grandmother and God to create Indonesian cuisine that uses a lot of herbs and spices. Many of her food are indeed distinctly stronger in flavours, generally richer and fuller than the usual street side taste.
My favourite dish here is definitely the Sate Ayam Madura ($7.80 for 5 pieces). Considered a heritage dish of Maduranese people, it consists of chicken skewer charcoal-grilled to bring out flavours and aroma.
While our Singapore style sauce is usually dryer and shorter, this Indonesian version is meaty and much sweeter, because it is first glazed in glazed in sweet soy sauce then dipped in peanut sauce. I like both versions – though I suspect some may find this version needing to get used to because it feels heavier.
Another I-think-must-have dish is the Tahu Telor ($8.80), a simple deep-fried beancurd with omelette, served with savoury sweet peanut sauce garnished with refreshing cucumber, bean sprout, carrot and crispy prawn crackers.
Few actually do this dish well – too little sauce, unsatisfactory peanut sauce, soggy beancurd, ugly egg. Plenty of reasons to make mistakes. IndoChili’s Tahu Telor manages to balance the ingredient to sauce proportion, and got the egg’s texture all right – part-crispy, part-fluffy.
Some of the other better dishes: a tradition Javanese royal dish of Tumpeng Mini ($9.80) – made of yellow rice set meal served with ayam bumbu rukak, perkede, potato peanut and pickles; a hearty thick Sop Buntu r ($14.80) oxtail soup; and East Javanese Ayam Bumbu Rujak ($8.80), a chicken thigh dish with amazing addictive gravy to sweep clean with jasmine rice.
The restaurant however, is not packed all the time, perhaps due to a lack of awareness, and some inconsistency in food during the initial days. I think IndoChili deserves to be given a second or third chance, I am glad I did – and became a convert.
[Giveaway Ended] IndoChili Giveaway!
IndoChili will be giving away 4 sets of $25 vouchers to blessed Daniel’s Food Diary readers!
All you need to do is to
Step 1: LIKES the FaceBook page of Daniel’s Food Diary
Step 2: SHARE this post on Facebook or RETWEET on twitter
Step 3: Leave a comment below, say name your favourite Indonesian dish and why
Remember to include your email. Results will be announced 10th May (Fri)
54 Zion Road, Singapore 247779 (Opp Great World City) Tel: +65 6445 1766 firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening hours: 11.30am-10pm (Sun-Thu), 11.30am-10.30pm (Fri-Sat), closed on Tue