Can you name the world’s most delicious food? Based on 35,000 objective votes done by CNN poll and my subjective opinion as a proud Indonesian, it’s BEEF RENDANG! You will know that incredibly proud feeling when your country got acknowledged worldwide for its (and my) favorite dish, you feel like screenshot-ing your screen, print the article, and hang it on your wall. Beef Rendang the world’s most delicious food is classic Indonesian culture.
Another fun fact, Rendang is loved by all ethnics in Indonesia, especially Padangnese who invented the dish (obviously – rolled eyes). Everywhere around Indonesia, you can find Padang-inspired Indonesian restaurant and Rendang is readily available for order. If you happen to stop by Jakarta and going for a photo-hunting quest in Kota Tua, I’d recommend you to try Beef Rendang at Padang Merdeka.
By the way, here’s some tips for you when travelling to Kota Tua:
- Bring your hat, sunglass, and sunblock! As someone who lives in Jakarta, I sometimes can’t even stand the heat, so do you think you can?
- Never leave without a big bottle (or it’s best to bring galoon) of cold cold water.
- Keep your camera’s battery full and your eyes on full watch for aesthetic buildings and pick-pockets.
Now on to the star of this article: Beef Rendang at Padang Merdeka. Located across Bank BNI building and nearby Stasiun Jakarta Kota, you can easily access this place if you’re travelling by commuter line. To be precise, here’s the complete address: Jl. Lada No.1, Pinangsia, Tamansari, Kota Jakarta Barat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 11110.
The entrance is located on the right side of the restaurant, through a bright red gate and not located in front. My suggestion, don’t be silly by trying to look through the dark tinted glass and knock, it’s not the entrance (trust me I know so). As we enter, barricade of friendly staffs greeted me and my friends right away, and we’re seated at the table of our choice.
If you have never eaten at any Padang restaurant before, you need to know some useful tips to prevent you from being so clueless. First, you DON’T NEED to order any food (drinks only), unless you’d like to add orders. Why? Because they’ll deliver them straight to your table in a circus-like way. Second, you DON’T NEED to eat everything on your table. Just pick your favorite ones and eat them with hands (because Padang foods are best eaten with bare hands, proven by Indonesians). Last but not least, NEVER MISS eating Rendang, because life isn’t complete without Rendang. If you can’t eat beef, they have a choice of Chicken Rendang or just simply devour the sauce and enjoy it with hot rice.
I must say the Rendang at Padang Merdeka is somehow a bit different to the ones I used to eat. Padang Merdeka’s Rendang looks a bit darker and less oily. And as soon as it touches my taste buds, the sweetness, spiciness, and saltiness hit me right away. I must say that the usual ones are usually spicier than this and less sweet, but I got no complaint with their Rendang because I find that I couldn’t stop munching and end up cleaning up the whole plate till I can see my reflection. Tenderness is alright, but I’d love it if they can be softer than this. Tried other meals such as: Gulai Ayam, Tempeh Goreng, Terong Balado, Daun Singkong, and Sambal Ijo, and for 30 minutes I forgot all the troubles I went through to reach Kota Tua from home.
Overall it’s 8 out of 10 for the Beef Rendang and the restaurant’s services as well as the design. If you’re unfamiliar to Indonesian’s spices or recipes, I’d suggest you to check Padang Merdeka out. There are many things you can do after your meal: explore Museum Fatahilah (right beside it), cycle on neon-colored bike, grab a Delman (carriage with horse) and go around Kota Tua, and/or visit Museum Bank Indonesia and get amazed. Kota Tua is easy to spot, the old, Netherlands-y buildings act as obvious landmarks. Happy Rendang-hunting and don’t forget to have fun!