Three Makan Treasures of Lombok
By KF Seetoh - Monday, Mar 03, 2014
I was a bit stumped when visited Lombok recently. Gastronomically, nothing registered in my mind. It may be a cousin island to Bali, but for starters, the ubiquitous nasi padang stalls found all over Indonesia was not easily found in Lombok. In fact, in that few days in was there, I spotted just one, in her main town of Mataram.
Great if you knew people there who can show you nooks and crevices to the place often not easily found in search engines and are not out to fleece you even for a taxi ride. I was fortunate Chef Frederic Pougault extended his warm friendship. He heads the kitchens of the Qunci hotels and resorts in Indonesia and had been living in Lombok for a few years now. “I’ll take you to a babi guling that will make you change your mind about Ibu Oka in Bali” he extends this makan lesson to debunk what many felt about that Balinese babi guling (roast pork) icon. Then, we were off to a little makan safari of sorts.
Ibu Sutha Babi Guling
Jalan Premuka, Mataram town, Lombok
Tel: +62 370 626 860
This stall had a constant little queue and is sited in Lombok’s “little Bali” area. The huge sooty kitchen was out at the back and meant one thing, freshly grilled suckling pigs. Indeed, they offered a wider range than Ibu Oka – succulent and soft meat, crispy crunchy crackling (with a thin layer of fat under), pork satay, fried crispy chitterlings and spicy minced offal and dessicated coconut sausages, plus a kicap manis stewed pork. Their sambal mata (raw Balinese sambal) is still a “non trip-advisor” version – it was not made to please everyone, just the locals (in fact, I could not find out much about this stall online). The sambal stung hard, and I loved the whole meal. Ibu Oka, please step aside.
Jalan Wahidin Sudirohusodo
Mataram town, Lombok
It’s actually sited along a side lane and it’s easy to miss if you blink. But just follow the smoke billowing out and you’ll find a crowd around the stall. Every worker there wears the company “Sate Rembiga” tee shirt and it speaks of the pride they have in their work. The lamb and beef satay (or sate) is done with a very smokey (they use coconut husk charcoal) taste. The marinate is not as sweet like our local version and uses a different spice mix with a peppery sting. Their lontong – prettily packed in a conical banana leaf package, is soft as they use glutinous rice. All that, just call for a bowl of their beef soto.
Dua-Em Restaurant (Ayam Taliwang)
Jalan Transmigrasi 99, Mataram town, Lombok
Tel; +62 370 622 914
Ayam Taliwang is a Lombok makan icon. Marinated kampung chicken is grilled and smeared in local style sambal. I asked the server why she recommended “no 2” instead of the main “no 1” version in the menu, “Super hot” she replied. I ordered both. The “hero” version nearly killed me. It was the one of the most fiery chicken I’ve ever had. It made the lips burn, the mouth light up and the tummy called for a truce. I loved it. They also offered a “sate sum-sum” or spine bone marrow satay. It felt very rich, softly rubbery and savoury, and was even better with their sambal sauce. This place is very popular with locals and tourist, as can will tell by the hoards of trinket vendors stationed outside this restaurant.