Next time I travel with my mom and my brother, I’ll remember that food exploration is one of the things that we can do and everyone will enjoy (for inspirations on things to do in Lombok, check this article). My mom truly celebrated the food that we had in Lombok. Not sure about my brother, but I think he had a great time munching all the food in Lombok. He looked happy that’s for sure.
I’ve been to Lombok several times (here is my favourite hotel in Lombok btw) and I’m a fan of Lombok cuisine, especially Sate Rembiga. A culinary adventure in Lombok is interesting, typical food of Lombok is named based on the area where the food comes from. And usually, the best place to find the food is in these respective regions/areas. For example, for Sate Rembiga, the food is Sate or Satay and you can find it in Rembiga in Mataram city. Just in case you don’t know what sate is, it’s skewered and grilled meat, usually served with a sauce.
I’d like to give you some recommendations on what and where to eat in Lombok if you want to try typical dishes from Lombok. In Javanese, Lombok means chili, I’m not sure what it means in the local language of Lombok. This has nothing to do with the fact that a lot of culinary delights in Lombok are generally spicy. Ok, let’s start the adventure!
Ayam Taliwang is the first Lombok dish that I tried. I thought Lombok was only famous for Ayam Taliwang, no more. This dish was first introduced by residents of Karang Taliwang. So any restaurant that sells Taliwang Chicken in the surrounding area, it should not disappoint. Taliwang chicken is grilled chicken served with rice and vegetables, usually Plecing Kangkung (water spinach). It can also be served with Beberuk Terong (eggplant).
Where to try: There are plenty of Ayam Taliwang restaurants across the island, but I would recommend this one: Taliwang Khas Pak Udin.
Address: Jl. Gelatik No. 2B, Cakranegara, Cakranegara Bar., Kec. Mataram, Kota Mataram, Nusa Tenggara Bar. 83239
Nasi Balap Puyung
Nasi Balap Puyung comes from Central Lombok Regency, precisely in Puyung Village. First introduced by Inaq Esun (Inaq in Sasak language means mother). This dish doesn’t look particularly attractive. Nasi Balap Puyung is steam rice with several side-dishes. There is shredded chicken cooked with chili, soybeans, a sprinkle of dried shrimp, some dried shredded meat and sometimes there is a fried eel. Occasionally it comes with simple stir-fried vegetables (string beans) too.
Where to try: Nasi Balap Puyung Inaq Esun
Address: Jl. Raya Puyung, Puyung, Jonggat, Kabupaten Lombok Tengah, Nusa Tenggara Bar. 83561
Sate Bulayak is a typical Lombok food consisting of Satay/Sate and Bulayak. Satay in Sate Bulayak is made from beef meat, sometimes there are also innards (you can have this or not as you want). Satay comes with peanut sauce and also more liquid gravy-like curry sauce. Bulayak is a spiral long-shaped rice cake wrapped in palm leaves. You have to open it in a circular motion. After you open it, dip the rice cake into the curry sauce and eat satay. It is so tasty!
Where to try: Sate Bulayak Suranadi
Address: Suranadi, Narmada, Kabupaten Lombok Barat, Nusa Tenggara Bar. 83371
Although I like Tengkleng—a typical soup from Yogyakarta with the main ingredient of goat bones, I don’t like Bebalung. Bebalung is made from beef or buffalo ribs which are cooked with herbs consisting of chili, garlic, onion, galangal, and turmeric. There is also ginger in it, this probably made Bebalung taste a bit unique compared to other beef ribs soup out there.
Where to try: Depot Kelebet (Bebalung)
Address: Jl. Hos Cokroaminoto No.10, Monjok Tim., Kec. Selaparang, Kota Mataram, Nusa Tenggara Bar. 83122
The best thing about Sate Rembiga is that it tastes sweet spicy and the meat is very tender. It is made from beef, skewered cut into small pieces like dice. The meat marinated with a seasoning mixture of sweet soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, shrimp paste, salt, and chili. Sate Rembiga usually serves with lontong (rice cake) or steam rice. You can also order Plecing Kangkung to accompany it.
Where to try: Sate Rembiga UTAMA Bu Ririn
Address: Jl. Dr. Wahidin No.5, Rembiga, Kec. Selaparang, Kota Mataram, Nusa Tenggara Bar. 83124
Sate Pusut is made from minced beef mixed with grated coconut. I tried Sate Pusut in the same place as Sate Rembiga, usually, they sold both. For people who don’t like spicy, maybe Sate Pusut is better for you. Sometimes there is also Sate Pusut made from fish. The skewer is made of bamboo. The skewer is wider than a usual skewer.
This is usually served accompanying Ayam Taliwang or other Lombok specialties. Water spinach used for Plecing Kangkung usually has large stems, you can usually still taste the crunchiness. Water spinach and the bean sprouts are boiled and then mixed with chili sauce made from grated coconut & chili paste.
So this is my mom’s favourite! Beberuk Terong is made from eggplant, but not the usual eggplant you see, yes, it is not the purple one. The eggplant that is used in Beberuk Terong is Terong Lalap, it is green and round shaped. This food is sliced of terong, poured with tomato sauce. It is raw food/not cooked.
There you go all my recommendation on what Lombok food to try and where to have it. While my favourite is Sate Rembiga as I mentioned earlier in the article, my mom’s favourite is Beberuk Terong, she said it is so fresh and taste good. She ate a lot (of rice—she usually not) just because of this. I think she is so in love with Beberuk Terong.
The last word of advice, always remembers that it might too spicy for you. Have a little portion first and see if it works for you, or ask the seller if they can modify the dish for you to make it less spicy or even not spicy. But if you are a fan of spicy food, go have the wildest food adventure in Lombok!
That is all from me. Next time I come to Lombok, I definitely will not miss eating Sate Rembiga and I would like to try these too: Sate Ikan Tanjung, Nasi Kotaraja, Ayam Rarang, Sayur Ares, and Nasi Ebatan.
Have you ever been to Lombok? Did you try the local food? What is your favourite?