Best Ever Eats: A Delicious New Normal Eating Guide For When You Journey to Likupang

Best Ever Eats: A Delicious New Normal Eating Guide For When You Journey to Likupang

Get your tummy filled and ready with the rich taste of Minahasan cuisine in the culinary heaven of Manado, before traveling to Likupang

The beautiful waters of Likupang are irresistible for anyone who loves a good dive, but for adventurous foodheads around the country, Manado is the go-to place for a dive into Minahasan cooking. 

Dubbed as Sulawesi’s best kept secret, the coastal town of Likupang is an hour’s drive away from the region’s capital of Manado. This culinary hotspot is a destination for anyone who’s looking for bold and mouth watering flavors with a kick and the perfect place to transit before your beach holiday in Likupang.

From seafood to bananas, no dish will be a bore on your hunt for food in Manado especially with the ample variety of sambal in Minahasan cuisine. With Indonesia seeing better days in the pandemic and dine-in options being opened across the country, now is time to cure those blues. Here’s your short guide to the Best Eats of Manado for a whole day. 

Breakfast

DeTe Tinutuan

  • Travel time from Manado’s Soekarno Bridge: 5 minutes by car

Bubur Tinutuan and Nike Goreng, the sure-fire way to start your day right in Manado. Photo by Jan E Papilaya 

Rice congee or bubur ayam has always been a top breakfast choice for Indonesians with variations made across the country and in Minahasan cuisine, it comes in the delicious form of Bubur Tinutuan. Made with pumpkin, sweet potato, spinach and melinjo, the vegetable-filled porridge gets its wholesome flavors from spices like lemongrass, lemon basil and turmeric. For an extra savory tang, this nutritious dish is typically topped with salted fish.

From the name itself, you’ll know that DeTe Tinutuan is a pioneer of Bubur Tinutuan. With friendly smiles and a homey taste, they take comfort food to a whole new level. Don’t hesitate to order the soulful dish and make sure you ask for a side of nike goreng if you want to do as the locals do. The bread and butter of Bubur Tinutuan, this savory fried fritter completes your whole meal with its crispy texture. As you can only find nike fish in the waters of Northern Sulawesi, there’s no place else to try it other than here. 

Serving warm rice congee and warm smiles at DeTe Tinutuan. Photo by Jan E Papilaya 

Dubbed as one of the best Bubur Tinutuan and Nike Goreng in town, their skipjack noodle dishes have won the hearts of many locals. You can have it either fried with Mie Goreng Cakalang or as a noodle soup with Mie Kuah Cakalang, but rest assured that both are just as comforting as the other. 

With ample space for diners, DeTe Tinutuan is well-ventilated and keeps the place safe by implementing the mask-upon-entry rule. You are also obligated to wash your hands when you enter the restaurant. Payments are mainly done by cash but if you have OVO as an e-wallet, top it up before you go for a safer experience.

Lunch

Ragey Rumah Makan Sate Pelmas Tanta Olla

  • Travel time from Manado’s Soekarno Bridge: 10 minutes by car

A plate of ragey, babi bakar, and babi kecap for an unforgettable feast. Photo by Jan E Papilaya 

No adventure around Indonesia is complete without having a plate of skewered grilled meats or sate. A beloved national dish, the Minahasan take of sate is made from grilled jumbo cuts of pork meat, skin and fats with a zesty marinade called Ragey. Paired with sambal dabu-dabu, a quintessential Minahasan spicy sambal relish of diced green tomatoes, bird's eye chili and shallots, Ragey is a dish that you can’t afford to miss. 

You know you’re in for a porky feast when you’ve arrived at Rumah Makan Sate Pelmas Tante Olla. From sweet to spicy, soft to crispy, their scrumptious selection of pork dishes do no wrongs. Although the founding story of Ragey began from a butcher, this restaurant has become another popular spot for pork heaven, as locals would say. 

Let the sweet, enticing aroma of Ragey grilling lure you into Rumah Makan Sate Pelmas Tante Olla. Photo by Jan E Papilaya 

Come for the Ragey and stay for their equally famous roast pork, cooked with a grilled sambal roa, a Minahasan-style spicy sambal with shredded ballyhoo fish. Not a fan of spicy food? Their babi kecap is a sweet rendition of stir-fried pork that leaves no hungry stomachs unsatisfied. If you’re looking for a veggie companion, sayur pangi is a simple stir-fry of pangi leaves that is known to be the soulmate of porky dishes. Once your belly is all happy and full, don’t forget to cleanse your palate with a complimentary bowl of red bean soup. 

With great food comes great health and safety protocols. Here at Rumah Makan Sate Pelmas Tante Olla, diners are required to comply with the no-mask-no-entry rule. As seats are limited here, skip the busy lunch hours for better ventilation and remember to safely distance yourself from other diners. Hand washing stations are placed in entrances and inside the restaurant, so keep your hands clean at all times.  

Dinner

Tuna Bakar Dabe Dabe Lemong

  • Travel time from Manado’s Soekarno Bridge: 10 minutes by car

Taste the best that tuna has to offer and dip it into your favorite sambal. Photo by Jan E Papilaya 

Did you know that when you eat tuna sushi in Japan, your fish might be Indonesian? Indonesia has the largest tuna catch in the world and the waters of North Sulawesi is known as the main hub for skipjack and yellowfin tuna. Lucky for people in the region, they get to enjoy this nutritious fish as a dinner option and the simplest yet most tantalizing way is by grilling it.

Dabu Dabu Lemong is the king of seafood in Manado and other than spoiling you with its array of fat slabs of tuna, it comes with a side of Manado Bay’s fresh breeze. The beachside eatery has become an institution for locals, making it a popular pick for lively get togethers. Rated as one of the best places for sambal dabu-dabu, refills for the relish are more than welcome here.

From red snappers, trevally, tuna fillet and tuna cheek, you can pick your own fish at Dabu Dabu Lemong. Photo by Jan E Papilaya 

Tuna Bakar is the star of the show at Dabu Dabu Lemong, but don’t skip on Manado’s specialty of grilled tuna cheek, the fillet mignon cut of tuna. Enjoy its fresh taste by having it simply grilled with a salt and lemon marinade and grilled sambal rica on the side. You can also pick between the soupy yellow woku spice mixture, or the refreshing sour kuah asam soup. This menu also comes with a set of rice and stir-fried water spinach, making it a wholesome meal for dinner. 

All staff at Dabu Dabu Lemong are vaccinated but standard health and safety protocols still apply. Be sure to come in wearing your masks and keep it on throughout your visit. There will be temperature checks and hand washing stations when you enter, so clean your hands before picking your seats. 

Desserts and Snacks

Pisang Goroho Kios Kangkong

  • Travel time from Manado’s Soekarno Bridge: 20 minutes by car

Turn any frown upside down with pisang Goroho, sambal roa, and a young coconut. Photo by Jan E Papilaya 

A snack found across the archipelago, pisang goreng is a banana fritter that has become the go-to evening pick-me-up for Indonesians. While it is essentially a straight-forward bite, Pisang Goroho can only be found in street vendors in Sulawesi as the fruitself is endemic to Sulawesi. What makes it different from the usual pisang goreng, Pisang Goroho is cooked when the fruit is still unripe and the sweetness has yet to set in. Bring out the flavor by pairing it with sambal roa.

At the modest street stall of Kios Kangkong, you’ll be welcomed by mountains of freshly cooked Pisang Goroho. Be it french fry-style, sleek and crispy, or the usual thick pisang goreng cut, whichever you pick comes in a generous serving fit for a family. If you can’t decide which to get, why not combine them all for the best of three worlds? Don’t forget to dip it into their sambal roa for an extra kick and cool the heat off with a fresh young coconut. 

An abundance of Pisang Goroho that would tempt any passing pair of hungry eyes. Photo by Jan E Papilaya 

The no-frills stall of Kios Kangkong may look simple, but their health protocols are still up to standard. Good hygiene is heavily practiced with a handwashing station at the entry and masks are mandatory to be worn at all times. 

Rumah Kopi K8

  • Travel time from Manado’s Soekarno Bridge: 12 minutes by car

Panada and lalampa, the Manado solution for morning hunger pangs. Photo by Jan E Papilaya 

It’s hard not to keep the munching going when you’re in Likupang and Manado, especially when you come across Panada and Lalampa. Found in almost every dining establishment, these two fish-filled snacks are a true specialty of North Sulawesi. 

Empanadas with a local twist, Panada is a colonial legacy left by the Portuguese in Manado. While empanadas have a hard, pastry-like outer, Panada leans more towards a soft, fried bread texture. Made with the ubiquitous skipjack tuna or cakalang fish, it is cooked with a spice mix of lemon basil, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves in coconut milk. 

A savory rice cake with shredded smoked mackerel tuna wrapped in banana leaves, Lalampa is the Minahasan version of the Javanese lemper. Made with a combination of spices like lemongrass, turmeric and ginger, the flavors all blend into a smokey goodness as it is grilled to perfection. 

Panada and lalampa are a great treat fit for after a cycle around town. Photo by Jan E Papilaya 

A place where breakfast hunters and caffeine seekers gather, Rumah Kopi K8 is a humble cafe that serves traditional Minahasan food, and a jackpot if you’re craving for both Panada and Lalampa all at once. This cozy eatery has become a popular spot for locals to start their day or for a casual tea-time meeting. Don’t forget to pair your snacks with a fresh cup of course tubruk coffee and watch the time go by at Rumah Kopi K8.

As Indonesia has a mandatory regulation of wearing masks in public areas, Rumah Kopi K8 is no exception. Hand washing stations are easily found inside the restaurant and tables are always cleaned and sanitized after every customer. Payments are also encouraged to be done through cards and e-wallets so put away the cash for everyone’s safety and health. 

Health & Safety Protocols To Note

Throughout Indonesia, health and safety protocols are strictly enforced. Temperature checks upon entry is the norm across all establishments, including tourist destinations. Don’t forget to bring your vaccine certificates with you or have it ready from the PeduliLindungi app. Masks in public spaces are required all over the country, so double up and always bring extras in your bag.

While some destinations still allow cash, major establishments prefer cashless and card payments so have your e-wallets topped up before you start your itinerary. However, hand washing stations are required to be installed at every establishment, making it easy for you to keep clean after every cash transaction.

As of current, only international travelers on business visas are allowed to enter Indonesia through six international hubs, including Sam Ratulangi Airport in Manado. However, domestic travel is open for vaccinated tourists across the archipelago, with a requirement of vaccine certificates and a negative antigen test result for travels by land, water, or air.

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This guide is produced in association with Indonesia Travel. 

  • All photography by Jan E Papilaya 
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