Being 2,000 kilometres away from my home town of Jakarta, there are only so many dumplings I can eat until I get an overwhelming craving for yellow rice, tempeh and fried chicken. Sadly, Indonesian food is way too complicated for my limited cooking skills to replicate, and after one too many instant seasoning sachets, I had to swallow my ego and tell myself that my home cooking is never going to taste as good as home. But then a realisation hit me: I live in Hong Kong, a melting pot of cultures. Surely there’s got to be some authentic Indonesian food here, right?
It’s been three years in and my quest to try all the Indonesian restaurants in Hong Kong has yet to end, but I have finally reached a satisfying conclusion. Here’s a list of places to get a wonderful taste of Indonesia in the 852:
Photo credit: Warung Malang
One major downside of living on the Kowloon side is that I have to travel for about an hour to get to this place, but trust me – if I lived Island side, this would be my lunch and dinner spot. Every. Single. Day. Easy on the pocket and filling on the stomach, a dish of nasi campur (rice with veggies and the meat of your choice) is only $50. Tip: the sign on the door says that it’s for members only. Ignore this – Warung Malang is open to anyone and everyone who wants to enjoy authentic Indonesian food.
2/F, Dragon Rise, 9–11 Pennington Street, Causeway Bay, 2915 7859
RIA Indonesian Restaurant
Photo credit: The Hungry Bunny
Previously known as Ayam Penyet Ria, this is a place I frequent when I‘m craving some Indonesian-style fried chicken. Ayam penyet ($50) is, in the literal sense, chicken smashed in a pestle and mortar. With some good, ol’ classic sambal on the side, this fried chicken is finger-lickin’ delicious. Move over, KFC – you’ve got a new contender in town.
48 Jardine’s Crescent, Causeway Bay, 3686 0510
AMIN Indonesian Restaurant
Photo credit: OpenRice
If you ever find yourself in Sham Shui Po, I’d recommend switching your regular noodle shop for the likes of this bakmi singkawang ($35) at AMIN. What’s in it, you ask? Well, noodles with pork, dumplings, shrimp, fish balls and pork rinds. And can I be daring enough to say that this might be the best bakmi singkawang in Hong Kong? It tastes so close to home!
57 Yen Chow Street, Sham Shui Po, 3591 1344
Photo credit: @kaumrestaurant
My student budget can’t justify the prices at Kaum, but if I have an extra couple of hundred bucks on my hands, I will spend it here. The set brunch (from $396) includes unlimited small sharing plates and a main. Small sharing plates include gado gado (salad with veggies, tofu, hard-boiled egg, potato, tempeh and peanut dressing), sate ayam lontong (chicken satay with rice cake) and batagor (fried fish dumplings with peanut sauce). Did I mention they make great cocktails too?
G/F, Potato Head Hong Kong, 100 Third Street, Sai Ying Pun, 2858 6066, book online
Photo credit: @mrspoundhk
Its faux old-stamp-shop storefront is proof enough that Mrs Pound is not your average Southeast Asian restaurant. You won’t find chicken satay or pad thai here, but get ready to indulge in fusion delicacies like lamb rendang tacos ($108) and sambal black-pepper beef ($268). A special shout-out to my personal favourite: the rendang poutine ($148). Every day is fries day, ya feel me?
6 Pound Lane, Sheung Wan, 3426 3949
Photo credit: @mamasanhongkong
After the success story of his Sarong restaurant, Bali celebrity chef Will Meyrick continues to spread the joy of Indonesian food across Asia with its younger sibling, Mama San. Mama San is described as a madam of authority at an Asian gentlemen’s club – or so the story goes. The dishes featured at Mama San are just as impressive as its exotic interior – think soft-shell crab rojak (salad with roseapple, mint, peanuts, sesame seeds and tamarind chilli sauce; $138) and dendeng balado (caramelised short rib with pounded chilli, kaffir lime and lemon basil; $198).
1/F, 46 Wyndham Street, Central, 2881 8901, click here to book now
Photo credit: @trirestaurant
When summer is in full force but your budget runs tight, experience a taste of Bali right at the heart of Repulse Bay. It may not be Bali, but it feels pretty damn close. Serving up contemporary Balinese cuisine, I doubt the authenticity of the Indonesian flavours here, but if you’re new to the rich tastes of Indonesian spices, TRi is a good way for you to dip your toes in. Its Balinese champagne brunch menu ($680/person to include 2 hours free-flow G.H. Mumm Cordon Rouge Brut NV) comes with heaping portions of food consisting of three cold starters, two hot starters and a choice of main course and dessert.
Shop 302, 3/F, Lobby C, The Pulse, 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay, 2515 0577, book online
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