Googled for the best Rendang in J-town (keywords: Rendang terenak di Jakarta) and I stumbled upon Si May from various reviews on page one. I trusted my instinct [they’re usually bad when it comes to traffic and street] and asked my friend to come along for this Rendang adventure. The easiest and cheapest way to get there is by commuter line (stopping at PALMERAH station) and grab an online motorcycle to Si May (take note that it’s located at Jl. Palmerah Utara not Palmerah Barat, I went to the wrong one – pardon my sharp instinct). From the exterior, they look so humble with big “RUMAH MAKAN SI MAY masakan padang pariaman” written in front.
As we arrived at the right one (right across huge Pertamina gas station), we’re immediately ‘greeted’ by lots of people queuing for Padangnese foods in front. With my quick wits, I landed my ass on the best table and tagged it with my bag [smart me]. Soon as I looked to my left, there are awards of Best Rendang in Jakarta hanging on the wall, they even beat Sederhana and Pagi Sore restaurants! Just as I saw the queue started to shorten significantly, I slip through it and got myself a plate of Rendang, Perkedel Kentang, warm rice, Daun Singkong, and Nangka Muda plus extra sauces till they flood my plate.
For you who don’t know Rendang yet, well…basically Rendang is a famous Padangnese food made from beef cooked in coconut milk, chilies, Galangal root, ginger, turmeric, onion, garlic, and many many more for 8 hours straight (they say the longer, the tastier). Back then, Padangnese people used to travel around Indonesia for months, so their Mothers cooked food that would last months even without preservatives and freezer. And voila, Rendang is born and Indonesia has been bragging about it ever since [or at least I do].
Back to Si May Rendang, as I was about to dig through my meal, I looked at people on my right and they’re eating it enthusiastically with bare hands. To live by Indonesian way, I washed my hand [thoroughly – I think], and took the first bite. Oh my God, the spices are perfectly balanced to give my palate the sweet, salty, umami, and spicy taste that I didn’t expect. This would have been straight 10/10 if the beef were more tender. But, the flavours redeemed the texture and easily become one of my favourite Rendang dishes.
Here in Si May [as a humble restaurant], they provide free warm tea for you to rinse your mouth (slash drink) and a bowl of water (a.k.a air kobokan) for you to rinse your hands [please, don’t misplace them]. After finishing up my good meal, I paid for two dishes and guess what…..they only cost IDR 50k! Thank you Si May, for helping young adults survive weekdays with enough money to party on weekends. And yes, I highly recommend you to try this Padangnese restaurant as they’re 9/10 for me.