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Photograph: Courtesy Poem

Food ticket: travel to Indonesia through these dishes in Hong Kong

Who wants to go to Jakarta, or maybe Bali?

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Written by
Fontaine Cheng
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People travel for countless reasons: for adventure, for love, for new experiences, for food. Ah yes, those that travel in search of good food, we hear you loud and clear. But as the world continues to tackle the outbreak – with social distancing, travel restrictions and plenty of mask-wearing – there’s not too much we can do right now in terms of leaving the country.

Fortunately, for the sake of sanity, there are a number of ways to get around the urge to get out. For one, Hong Kong’s hotels offer great staycation ideas that range from wellness retreats to the most romantic hotels. But there’s also the incredibly varied and dynamic dining scene in the city, so at least your tastebuds can travel.

This week, we’re heading to Indonesia, to devour some of the most colourful and vibrant dishes that stem from this richly spiced and flavoured cuisine.

RECOMMENDED: Still need an adventure to cure your wanderlust, why not explore one of Hong Kong’s secret islands instead?

Food Ticket: travel to Indonesia through these dishes in Hong Kong

  • Restaurants
  • Indonesian
  • Kwun Tong
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What to order: Nasi kuning ($68)

This classic Indonesian dish is one of the most popular orders here for good reason. Fragrant yellow turmeric rice is topped with rich beef rendang (slow-cooked dry curry), ayam goreng (deep-fried chicken), serundeng (grated coconut), teri kacang (fried anchovy and peanuts), and vegetables. Not only is it super comforting, but this dish is full of flavour. Add dollops of sambal (chilli sauce) and wash it all down with a glass of cendol which they’ve made into a hybrid drink-dessert ($30) for a true taste of Southeast Asia.

  • Restaurants
  • Causeway Bay

What to order: Ayam bakar nasi pandan ($98)

Offering Indonesia on a platter, this grilled chicken and rice dish is one of the best dishes here for a couple of reasons. Firstly, there is half a chicken waiting for you. It’s grilled to perfection, with a thin and crisp skin coated in an Indonesian-style sauce, and tender meat underneath. The restaurant offers plastic gloves for any guests that want to get stuck in. Then there’s the pandan rice, which has a light taste and slightly sweet fragrance to balance out the dish. It comes with spicy chilli sauce for good measure.

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  • Restaurants
  • Indonesian
  • Shau Kei Wan

What to order: Sate babi ($13/skewer)

The Indonesian Sate House is a small takeaway snacks stall located on the food street off Sau Kei Wan Main St East. There is a selection of satay skewers available here, but the pork (sate babi) is the most tender of the meats. The pork is smothered in a rich, sweet and nutty satay sauce that has a slight kick, but nothing too overpowering. This one is for street food lovers.

  • Restaurants
  • Indonesian
  • Lan Kwai Fong
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What to order: Vegetable curry ($148)

At Bali-inspired restaurant Poem, diners will feel instantly transported to a modern restaurant on the island itself. In fact, there are a fair few dishes here that do that thanks to the distinct Southeast Asian flavours of pandan, coconut, tamarind, and calamansi, among other exotic ingredients. But the dish here that really does it is the vegetable curry, which is brought to life with coconut braised tempeh, chayote, tofu, and burnt baby corns, while pickled cabbage brightens the whole dish and cuts through the creamy white curry very well.

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Indonesian
  • Sai Ying Pun

What to order: Babi guling ($310)

Another contemporary Indonesian restaurant, Kaum is the restaurant behind the famed Potato Head club in Bali. They offer one of the most classic Indonesian dishes in the city A must-try is their roasted baby pork, Babi Guling, which is boneless and quartered with crispy skin on the outside and juicy meat on the inside. Usually spit-roasted as a whole hog for festivals and celebrations, make sure to order this babi guling for a taste of Bali by way of Sai Ying Pun.

  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary Asian
  • West Kowloon
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What to order: Indonesian wagyu rendang ($168)

The contemporary Asian restaurant offers a mixture of cuisines across Southeast Asia, and the punchy flavours here come out in full force. One such dish is the Indonesian-style wagyu rendang which uses beef short ribs slow-braised in coconut milk with traditional spices. Based on the traditional West Sumatran dry curry, this rendang is thick and fibrous, with rich and nutty flavours throughout the fork-tender meat.

Looking for a staycation that is focused on food?

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