Seven day Indonesian food festival ready to dazzle Chennaiites

The Raintree at St Mary’s Road in association with Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia, Mumbai supported by The Ministry of Tourism, Republic Of Indonesia launched a ‘Seven Day Indonesian Food Festival’ at Chap Chay on 4 April, to celebrate Indonesian cuisine. The festival is spearheaded by Indonesian Chefs, Sukarno Wibowo and Faisal Martadinata.

I had a chance to speak with chef Faisal Martadinata who was naturally excited to be here in Chennai. ‘It’s fantastic and I love the food of this city,’ he says. When I ask him about the goal of this food festival, he says, ‘The Indonesian and the Indian cuisine have a lot of similarity and I feel that Indians will definitely love our food.’ He adds, ‘The ultimate goal is to share our culture and the Sumatran cuisine.’

Soon, I occupied a table and started my tummy’s culinary tour through Indonesian cuisine. I was first served with Nasi Rendang Kambing. Rendang is a spicy meat dish, garnished with lamb and masala sauce. The lamb pieces were hard to bite but the combination of spicy masala sparks your tongue. When eaten along with the sautee vegetables, the taste balances with ease.

I then dived into Nasi Udang Terong Sambalado; a tangy and crispy prawns served along with white rice, herbs and a mix of sauce ala sambalado. This was perhaps the best dish I ate that evening. The prawns was perfectly cooked and it was extremely hot. The masala gives you a ‘kick’ the moment it slides down your taste bud. When I took a bite after drenching a prawn in the sauce ala sambalado, it was bliss.

Nasi ikan gule, to say in simple words, is rice served along with meat and steaming hot gravy. Sate Pedang Kambing is another dish were lamb satay and thick potatoes are skewered together. The meat was yet again hard to bite while the chopped potatoes were fat and juicy. As the dish was brushed by the usual kambing sauce, every bite you take oozes with rich hot masala.

Martabak telur ayam cincang is another interesting dish. In a way, it resembled a pakoda. But never judge a food by the way it looks. Here, pieces of chicken and finely chopped vegetables are stuffed inside the crispy fried batter. With every crunch, I could feel three different tastes dancing in my mouth. Also, you can’t miss the hot chicken pop. It’s a very simple boneless pieces of tangy crispy chicken served with chopped onions, cashews and capsicum. What made me the urge to ask for more is the tenderness of the meat. Very soft and delicious.

The food served here are a treat but the service needs some improvement, as I had to wait for over an hour to get my meal. The Indonesian food festival is on till 10 April. For details contact, 4225 2525.

Mohammed Rayaan