Palembang is known as the city of Pempek, even though it actually has a variety of other culinary riches that have a unique taste.
This is a record of my trip in December 2013, on this occasion, I recommend 14 restaurants culinary tourism places in Palembang which are the most delicious and dear to pass, whisch are: Warung Kopi H Madina, Martabak Har, Mie Celor 26 H.M Syafei Z, Pindang Sri Melayu, Pindang Sophia, Pindang Musi Rawas, RM Linggau, Pempek SAGA Sudi Mampir, Tekwan Wak Aba, Es Mamat Lapangan Hatta, Kerupuk Kemplang Suwandi and closed with the Palembang Durian Party.
Let’s start a culinary tour in this beloved city:
1. Warung Kopi H Madina Kuto
Looking for breakfast typical of Palembang, I select “Warung Kopi” (Cofee Shop) H Madina” on the street Dr. M Isa, in the area of Pasar Kuto Palembang.
In this coffee shop, there are various kinds of Palembang special foods that are rarely found in other places, such as Burgo, Lakso, Laksan, Celimpungan, and others.
In my opinion, this coffee shop is among the best in the city, so that in order not to run out, we should come under six a.m in the morning.
Burgo and Lakso are almost identical, the basic ingredients are the same from rice flour and tapioca flour. Burgo is oval-shaped, while Lakso is made like noodles. The sauce is made from coconut milk and fish (usually cork fish). In this restaurant, Burgo sauce is white, and Lakso sauce is yellow (from turmeric).
Plus fried onions and a little sambal (chili sauce), the softness of the Burgo combined with its savory coconut milk sauce and fish broth, is perfect for accompanying coffee in the morning.
There are also Celimpungan and Laksan, which have the same basic ingredients, both of which are made from “Pempek” with coconut milk sauce. Celimpungan is made round-shape, while Laksan is made flat-shape. Celimpungan has yellow sauce while Laksan has reddish sauce.
In addition, this coffee shop also provides Nasi Uduk (rice cooked with coconut milk), Pempek, Tekwan, Lupis, Ketan, Srikaya, and various other typical Palembang food.
In my opinion, the best menu here is the “Nasi Uduk.” This savory rice is better if it’s wrapped – maybe because if it is packaged, there are additional scents of banana leaves -. coconut milk flavor is just right, not too excessive, combined with anchovies, thin slices of omelet, emping (a type of chips), and sambal (chili sauce). Its unique and unchanging taste has made my tongue become a nostalgic childhood in this city.
2. Martabak HAR
Feels incomplete when visiting Palembang, if you do not eat this one dish, Martabak HAR. HAR itself is an abbreviation of Haji Abdul Rozak, Indian Descendant’s merchant died in 2001. Still, the Martabak Har Restaurant continues to be scattered throughout the city.
This time I chose Martabak Har who was closest to the residence of the late Haji Abdul Rozak, namely on Jalan Jend Sudirman, Simpang Sekip Palembang.
This Martabak contains eggs (chicken/duck) and curry with a mixture of potatoes, plus vinegar sauce and slices of cayenne pepper. The size of one portion is enough to kick to fill a rumbling stomach.
3. Mie Celor 26 Ilir (Boiled Noodles With Coconut Milk and Prawn Soup)
Who is not tempted by this famous noodle with soup from prawn broth and thick coconut milk ?. Thick noodles such as spaghetti and served with a sprinkling of prawn, fried onions, boiled egg pieces, and bean sprouts.
The distinctive aroma of the shrimp is said to originate from the “Satang” prawn softened to produce a reddish sauce that is thick and tasty.
If you are still not satisfied with the prawn’s taste in the standard portion, you can order additional pieces of prawn that will be served separately.
Located on Jalan K.H Ahmad Dahlan, near Pasar 26 ilir, Mi Celor 26 H M Safei Z is a pity to miss if you visit Palembang. It is better to have breakfast of this noodle after jogging at the “Kambang Iwak” roundabout not far from this location.
On the Eid Al-Fitr season, when Palembang residents who migrate outside the city back to their hometown, usually, this restaurant is very crowded. So they have to install tents in the parking lot to accommodate the booming visitors.
4. Pindang Sri Melayu Palembang
If we are talking about Palembang’s Pindang, (a kind of soup with a sour, sweet, and slightly spicy taste). One of the most recommended restaurants is the Sri Melayu Restaurant located on Jalan Demang Lebar Daun Palembang, near Griya Agung (the Governor’s Office of South Sumatra).
The place is spacious, comfortable, and clean. In this restaurant, there are various types of pindang and other Palembang specialties, such as:
- Various type of Pindang; Pindang Patin, Pindang Bawung, Salai Fish Pindang, Pindang Udang (Prawn Pindang), Pindang Tulang (Beef Bones Pindang),
- Various types of Brengkes (fish cooked with durian fermentation, processed with certain seasoning, then wrapped in banana leaves).
- Saluang Goreng (Fried Saluang Fish).
- Pentol. (a type of food made from fish, flour, and seasonings, formed into a ball, then fried and served by sticking it on a stick),
- various sambal (chili sauce) and
- Lalapan (various types of vegetables that are eaten in raw form)
Pindang is served in a particular place equipped with a stove to keep the soup hot. Complete with pineapple slices, tomatoes, chili pieces, and “daun kemangi” (basil leaves), the taste is very fresh with a sweet and slightly spicy sour blend.
Besides Pindang Patin, I recommend you to try Salai Fish Pindang. The fish is smoked before putting it in Pindang, so the taste of smoked fish is so tasty. Combined with the freshness of the sweet and sour sauce Pindang, this is truly a perfect blend of flavors, especially if eat with warm rice and mango chili sauce. Damn, it’s very yummy..
5. Pindang Sophia Kertapati
Now we crossed the Musi River, heading to the Pindang Sophia Restaurant located in Kertapati, precisely on Jalan KHM Asyik Palembang. (This road is located between “Kantor Camat” (Sub-district Office) Sebrang Ulu 1, and “Kantor Polsek” (Sub-District Police Office) Sebrang Ulu 1.
This restaurant is famous for its “Satang” Prawn which is very large (“Satang” in the language of Palembang means pole, so named maybe because the prawn legs are so long that it resembles a pole)
In addition to giant “Satang” prawn, this restaurant also provides Pindang Patin, Pindang Baung, various types of Brengkes (fish cooked with durian fermentation, processed with certain seasoning, then wrapped in banana leaves). Fried Patin Fish, various sambal (chili sauce) , lalapan (various types of vegetables that are eaten in raw form), etc.
The soup is more reddish with a sprinkling of fresh “daun kemangi” (basil leave) and scallions.
Eating here, more delicious with “Kemplang” (baked fish crackers). This fish cracker is so crispy and tasty, with a very strong fish flavour.
6. Pindang Musi Rawas
Pindang Musi Rawas Restaurant is located on Jalan Angkatan 45 Palembang.
This restaurant is not too big, and parking space is limited. So I suggest if you want to try the delicious pindang here, you should come earlier at lunchtime. (before 11 am).
Like other Pindang restaurants, this restaurant also provides a variety of Pindang equipped with sambal and lalapan.
7. Pindang Linggau
One other pindang restaurant that is worth to try in Palembang is the Linggau Restaurant.
This restaurant is located at Jalan Radial Palembang.
Besides pindang, other menus that are recommended here include Brengkes Patin and Pepes (steamed fish with particular seasonings, wrapped in banana leaves) “Peda”.
8. Pindang Tulang Bu Darmin (Beef Bone Pindang)
If we are talking about Pindang Tulang (Beef bone Pindang), the most recommended restaurant is of course Bu Darmin Restaurant. This restaurant is located on Jl A Yani Plaju Palembang (accros the Pertamina Marketing Regional office), and there is a branch on Jl Pangeran Ayin, Kenten, near IndoGrosir .
This time we are not talking about fish, but beef bones (don’t worry, it is not literally bone. Still, we have beef-meat attached to the bone).
The sauce is thicker and sweeter than fish Pindang, still with a sprinkling of daun kemangi (basil leave), and fresh tomato.
Another difference between fish Pindang and beef-bone Pindang is in how it is cooked. For Fish Pindang the seasoning for the soup is not sauteed, while for Beef-Bone Pindang, the seasoning (such as onions, galangal, and ginger) are stir-fried first.
Mrs. Darmin’s bone plate is also equipped with chives and fresh cayenne chops in its thick sauce so that the spicy taste can offset the sweet taste of the soup.
9. Nasi Minyak Abuk ( a Kind of Biryani Rice)
Bored with Pindang? There is another culinary that is no less delicious. Let’s try “Nasi Minyak” at RM H Abuk, which is located on Jalan Dr. M Isa, 8 Ilir near “Pasar Kuto Palembang.”
Called Nasi Minyak, literally mean oil Rice, because this rice is cooked with Samin Oil (a type of butter from purified animal fat).
It is more delicious to eat with side dishes such as “Malbi Sapi” (beef cooked sweet with soy sauce and spices), its delightful lamb curry, Pentol (a type of food made from fish, flour, and seasonings, formed into a ball, then fried and served by sticking it on a stick), fried pigeon, and of course, pineapple sauce and its fresh pickled cucumbers.
The “Nasi Minyak” has fluffier flavors, combined with creamy coconut milk and strong spices. While the curry flavored with clove, cardamom, coriander, and pepper with the perfect blend.
Although this restaurant has been expanded from before, the parking lot is still narrow, so to make it easier to enjoy a meal here should come outside the peak hours of lunch.
10. Pempek Saga Sudi Mampir
Switching from a heavy lunch menu, now is the time to eat lighter foods that are suitable to be enjoyed in the afternoon.
This time I chose “Pempek Saga Sudi Mampir” which is famous for its Roasted “Pempek” and “Lenggang” with a strong fish taste.
Pempek is a typical food of Palembang, made from fish and tapioca flour.
While “Lenggang” is another variation of Pempek, which is half-processed “Pempek” mixed with eggs and baked in a banana leaf container.
Roasted Pempek (or “Pempek Tunu” in Palembang Language), is another variation of Pempek that is rarely found in other cities.
The Pempek Saga Sudi Mampir restaurant is located on Jl Merdeka, right across from the Palembang Mayor’s Office, and currently has a branch on Jalan Demang Lebar Daun, Palembang, not far from Griya Agung (Governor’s Palace of South Sumatra)
.The taste of fish from Pempek in this restaurant is very strong. (they use cork fish here), with a very soft texture. It’s really delicious combined with “Cuko” (spicy vinegar sauce). This restaurant also has a menu of fresh red bean ice, the right choice to eliminate the spicy taste of “pempek” sauce.
11. Tekwan Wak Aba Bukit Besar
Still made from “Pempek”, “Tekwan” is another typical Palembang food served with a broth of shrimp and supplemented with ear mushrooms and yam slices.
In my opinion, one of the food stalls that serves the most delicious Tekwan is the “Warung Pempek Wak Aba” located on Jalan Srijaya Negara Bukit Besar Palembang (not far from the UNSRI Post-graduate Campus to the Demang Lebar Daun intersection).
Tekwan ball with a chewy texture is very delicious, combined with broth shrimp, ear mushrooms, yam, leeks, and fried onions.
It’s now difficult to found in other restaurants in the city, Tekwan sauce, with many shrimp slices like the one that this restaurant served.
12. Es Kacang Merah Mamat Lapangan Hatta (Red Beans Ice)
On a hot day, it’s good to head to one of the other legendary culinary spots in Palembang, namely “Es Mamat” located in an elite housing complex in Palembang, not far from “Lapangan Hatta” Palembang.
The place is very simple, just an ordinary street-food cart. Still, the extraordinary taste has invited many people to look for this place.
This ice is perfect. The red beans are soft and sweet, combined with grated ice, milk, avocado, and grass jelly, guaranteed to make you addicted.
In this place, other Palembang food specialties are also available such as Roasted Pempek, Lenggang, Tekwan, and others,
13. Kerupuk Kemplang Suwandi (Fish Crackers)
Palembang is filled with processed fish-based foods, one of which is Fish Crackers, which are suitable as a snack or a compliment when eating rice.
This snack can also be chosen as an alternative gift of Palembang besides Pempek.
I chose “Kerupuk Kemplang Suwandi” which deserves to be recommended.
The taste of “kemplang” is so crispy and delicious, so it is enough to have lunch or dinner with a plate of rice, and only with this side dish.
This shop is located on Jalan Letkol Iskandar, near Syailendra’s English Language course, there is also a branch at the Lama court street, 15 Ilir Palembang.
Here there are many choices of various crackers, among others made from Belida fish, Putak fish, Prawn, and Squid.
14. Palembang Durian Party
In closing, if you visit Palembang during the Durian season, don’t miss the opportunity to have a “durian party”.
Most durians in Palembang come from Lahat, Muara Enim, Empat Lawang, Lubuk Linggau, Bengkulu and the surrounding area.
In its season, it is very easy to find Durian in Palembang, in almost all corners of Palembang city street filled with durian traders, among others around the “Pasar Kuto”, around the “Pasar 26”, along the Rajawali road, along the “Demang Lebar Daun” road and others.
As one of the regions that produce Durian, many Palembang cuisine is made from Durian, including Tempoyak, Brengkes, Lempok, and others.
That’s all …
Let’s go on a culinary tour to Palembang …