A Labour of Love

She has dedicated 36 years of her life to preserve and promote Indonesian cuisine. Now the executive chef of Palalada and Waroeng Kopi – both situated inside Alun-Alun in Grand Indonesia Shopping Town – Widyastuti Hadisoemarto has the perfect platforms to continue her quest. Her passion for the culinary world began when she was 25 years of age while studying in the Netherlands. “My father was running a restaurant before I went to the Netherlands, so growing up in such an environment pretty much catalysed my love for Indonesian food – and then I ended up becoming a chef because of it,” she says.
Her time in the Lowlands as she pursued a degree in management did not prevent her from learning how to cook even further. “Living far from home is not a walk in the park; that I learnt while I was abroad. To survive financially, I decided to take my penchant for cooking to a professional level,” she describes, while explaining that she would spend long hours in the kitchen coming up with various delicious dishes.
Around eight years ago, Widyastuti – along with her associates – founded Waroeng Kopi and Palalada, and she took up the executive chef position. “Waroeng Kopi offers à la carte dishes such as Nasi Goreng and Soto Betawi, while Palalada focuses more on providing a comfortable eatery for people to share a wide range of healthy and home-made Indonesian delights with their friends or family.” She continues, “The main aim for both joints is simply to elevate the level of appreciation that the general public have on Indonesian food.”

Three Favourite Indonesian Dishes and Where to Find Them

Bakmi Boy
Its Bakmi Bakso (noodles with meatballs) is so tasty – I love it. I was a regular customer to this shop when I was a kid, but not anymore as they’re not exactly healthy for me.

Sop Kaki Kambing Kendal
My all-time favourite spot for some Sop Kaki Kambing (lamb’s feet soup) before it shut up shop for good. If I’m not mistaken, it was located somewhere along Jalan Kendal in Menteng.

Nasi Goreng Kambing Kebon Sirih
You probably have heard of its renowned signature Nasi Goreng Kambing (mutton fried rice) before. I have such a fondness for Nasi Goreng Kambing and it’s the reason why I opted to include a healthier and more hygienic version of it on Palalada’s menu.

A die-hard fan of authentic Indonesian delights who loves the idea of travelling to the cradle of those enticing local treats. Yet, you might often find this young lad busy with his guitar – be it alone in his room or, sometimes, on stage.


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