Best Eats: Likupang Celebrity Foodie Recommendations

Best Eats: Likupang Celebrity Foodie Recommendations

There’s no party like a Minahasan party in Likupang because a Minahasan party has all the best food!

Likupang is home to the vibrant Minahasan tribe, who are known for their love for colorful parties, filled with dance, music and of course, seriously good food. Their vibrance is well represented in their food, with colorful dishes and intense flavors.

The coastal town of Likupang is dubbed as Sulawesi’s best kept secret. Located in North Sulawesi, a flight from Jakarta to Likupang will take 3.5 hours via Manado, followed by a 90-minute drive from the airport. 

Prepare to spice up your palate and get your spoons ready for this Best Ever Eats destination for these recommendations by your favorite AFN foodies. 

Ili Sulaiman, Chef & TV Host

Recommendation: Sambal Dabu-Dabu

The salsa-like sambal dabu-dabu is a delightful relish that leaves you wanting for more.

First on the list of must-trys is sambal dabu-dabu. This fresh, mouthwatering salsa-like sambal is the kind of relish that takes a dish to a whole new level. Made with a mix of bird’s eye chilis, thinly sliced shallots, ripe green tomatoes, chopped lemon basil leaves, bittersweet calamansi lime juice, a drizzle of coconut oil and a dash of salt and pepper, sambal dabu-dabu is a great introduction to the dazzling flavors of Minahasan cuisine.

Sarah Benjamin, Chef & Content Creator

Recommendation: Sambal Rica-Rica

Dubbed as the sultan of sambal, sambal rica-rica is the definition of spicy – literally!

If there’s one thing that Minahasan cuisine is well-known for, it’s sambal rica-rica. In the local dialect, rica itself means spicy and it’s no wonder because chili is the main ingredient of this condiment. Anywhere in Likupang, you won’t find a dining table without a generous serving of sambal rica-rica. People around North Sulawesi love it so much, they pair it with banana fritters, a supposed dessert dish! 

Yuda Bustara, Chef & Culinary Diplomat

Recommendation: Woku Belanga

Woku Belanga is a versatile cooking method pioneered by Minahasan people that’s fit for any protein of your choice. This beautiful, thick, savory and spicy stew is made with a rich blend of spices with ingredients like roasted candlenuts, turmeric, ginger, shallots, bird’s eye leaves, and aromatics like lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, pandan, turmeric leaves. 

Everyone has their own version of this dish, and a wedding without a woku belanga dish would be deemed incomplete. A dish with spicy, savory and bitter notes, the trick of mastering Woku Belanga is by creating the right balance, as it is believed to teach an important life lesson of finding balance in the way Minahasans lead their lives.

Ili Sulaiman, Chef & TV Host

Reccomendation: Cakalang Fufu

If spicy isn’t your game, let cakalang fufu be your go-to. The savory, smoky skipjack tuna dish is ubiquitous in Minahasan cuisine as the waters of North Sulawesi is where these fishes call home. The flavors of the dish comes through the process, first by curing it through smoking, then drying it. Served shredded as a topping or even enjoyed on its own, the people of  Likupang cannot live without this essential specialty.

William Wongso, Culinary Expert

Recommendation: Bubur Tinutuan

Likupang’s most loved breakfast dish, Bubur Tinutuan is a rich, heavy-bodied rice congee that showcases the region’s best vegetables. Made with delectable ingredients like lemongrass, ginger-flavored water, and with vegetables like corn, pumpkin, cassava, water spinach, it’s also historically known as the jungle porridge. The dish was said to be born out of necessity by the soldiers hiding in the tropical jungles of North Sulawesi during the Japanese occupation. 

What makes bubur tinutuan special is the gedi leaf, a specialty ingredient in Minahasan cuisine that looks like a mix of seaweed and spinach. The leaf adds a bitter yet pleasant character to the porridge and with its fellow aromatics, having a bowl of this wholesome congee is the perfect way to kickstart your day. 

With all the colors, textures and flavors from the vegetables and spices, bubur tinutuan is often served at intimate family gatherings. In Minahasan culture, it’s also called bubur persaudaraan, or camaraderie porridge, making it a dish that everyone can’t help but love, especially for those with a milder palate.

Health & safety protocols to note

When you’re traveling around Indonesia, don’t forget that health and safety protocols are still strictly enforced. Major tourist destinations will have temperature checks and won’t let you enter without your masks. Vaccine certificates are also required upon entry across all establishments, so have it ready from your PeduliLindungi app. 

Certain international travelers are allowed to enter Indonesia with strict regulations, so be sure to keep checking before you book your tickets and start packing. Domestic travel across the archipelago is open for vaccinated travelers, but remember to remain safe and be responsible for yourself and others. 

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