Best Eats: Lombok Celebrity Foodie Recommendations

Best Eats: Lombok Celebrity Foodie Recommendations

Living up to its rightful name, the colorful and spicy flavors of Lombok is the right place to challenge your palate.

Across Indonesia lombok is a well-known term for chili, so crowning Lombok as the mecca of spicy food has always been written in the stars. Famous for pouring their heart into every dish that they cook, it’s hard not to fall in love with every food you taste on the island. 

Traveling to Lombok from the capital of Jakarta will take you around 2 hours by flight. Home to the humble Sasak tribe and beautiful natural landscapes, the appeal of this Best Ever Eats destination is in the heat.

Regardless of your resistance to spicy food, start your journey into the flavors of Lombok with our recommendations from your favorite foodies.

William Wongso, Culinary Expert

Recommendation: Ayam Taliwang

Ayam Taliwang is the Lombok twist on peri-peri chicken and it’s incomplete without its fresh water spinach salad companion

It’s no secret that food has the power to unite people– but legend has it that this dish brought peace between the kingdoms of Selaparang and Karangasem in Rembiga village back in the days. As poultry was reserved for special occasions, the chef cooked up something extra special for the enemies, Ayam Taliwang. 

With the delicious, mouthwatering combination of spicy, smoky, and sweet flavors of Ayam Taliwang, it’s no wonder that the soldiers dropped their weapons and opted for peace instead. This magical dish is a street food fare that glorifies the juicy taste of free-range chicken, and the chef behind this unity feast knew how to do just that. 

Free-range chicken is known for their small size and eating two in one sitting is almost too easy for any hungry gluttons. But the spellwork of this dish is in the bumbu taliwang marinade made with one essential ingredient, fermented prawn paste or terasi lombok. Unlike your typical terasi, this one uses the freshest prawns and is left to sit for two weeks. 

The tantalizing marinade of Ayam Taliwang where more chilies equal to more goodness.

Mixed with other ingredients like curly red chilies, bird’s eye chilies, shallots and palm sugar, this marinade might be too hot to handle for some. Served halved at the wings, the chicken is grilled to perfection (twice!) with coconut shells for an aroma you can’t resist. Once you get a bite, the extraordinary flavors of Ayam Taliwang leave a lingering taste that you won’t ever forget.

Yuda Bustara, Chef & Culinary Diplomat

Recommendation: Sate Rembiga

Served popping hot, it’s hard not to eat stick after stick with Sate Rembiga’s melt-in-your-mouth sensation.

A succulent, flavorful dish fit for kings and queens, the history of Sate Rembiga traces all the way back to the 17th century. Originating from the royal village of Rembiga, this is a dish especially served in grand feasts with a fitting name, as it comes from the word ‘rembuk’ which means together. 

Agriculture has been integral in the history of Lombok as Lombok’s fertile savannahs make the perfect pasture for cattle grazing ever since. Up to today, the organic, grain-fed beef is the pride and glory of the island, and the key element to Sate Rembiga. And the secret to its tenderness is by wrapping the beef in papaya leaves for at least an hour.

Put those hands to work and make sure the marinade seeps in the meat for that extra juicy flavor.

To complement the soft and juicy meat, balancing the flavors of the marinade is crucial. First ingredient needed is sebiye belek, or Lombok’s local chili. The big, juicy red spice is mixed with palm sugar, garlic, shallot, belacan, tamarind water and coriander seeds. Then, the marinade is slathered generously to the meat and grilled to perfection. 

Served with lontong rice cakes, boiled papaya leaves, bone broth and pepes ikan, it’s a complete taste sensation for your taste buds. The sweet, smoky, savory and fiery taste of supremely tender beef on skewers is a delicious treat that can now be enjoyed by all, and you can even take it as souvenirs for loved ones. But remember, you can only pack 100 sticks!

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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