“It was well marinated, striking the perfect balance between spicy, salty, and sweet.”
Ayam Taliwang has achieved a status that could only be best described as iconic, and a visit to Lombok would not be complete without sampling this dish. Interestingly, two establishments have come out to claim that they offer the true, original Ayam Taliwang: RM Ayam Taliwang H. Moerad and RM Ayam Talliwang Dua-Em Bersaudara.
Before we go any further, allow me to brief you on the history of the latter, which we will be focusing on here. In 1967, a couple – H. Ahmad Moerad and HJ. Salamiah – along with their eldest son H. Muhibbin Murad elected to open a restaurant in Cakranegara, Mataram’s city centre, specialising in rice and grilled chicken. Since they were originally from Kampung Karang Taliwang, they named their first shop Taliwang I in honour of their village. It became an instant hit and led to many attempting to imitate its menu.
By 1979, H. Muhibbin Murad decided to try his luck by opening Taliwang II, albeit to less success. After having to relocate three times, he took a break and delved into the worlds of transportation and property instead. Upon realising the actual potential of Ayam Taliwang, he returned to his roots and established Rumah Makan Ayam Taliwang Dua-Em in 1993. After his passing in 2007, his children took over and renamed it Ayam Taliwang Dua-Em Bersaudara.
By a stroke of luck, I got to meet Pak Hanafi, the son of H. Muhibbin Murad, who took the time to explain to me the history of Rumah Makan Ayam Taliwang. Although each Ayam Taliwang restaurant has its own methods in creating the dish, they are all characterised by its use of spicy sauce and ayam kampung (free-range chicken).
During my time there, I sampled its signature dish, along with a serving of Beberok – the traditional dish of the Sasak people – and fried tofu. Because it uses ayam kampung, the Ayam Taliwang was a tad small but featured a lean texture. It was well marinated, striking the perfect balance between spicy, salty, and sweet. The Beberok (chopped eggplants with a mix of shrimp paste, shallots, tomatoes, and chilli) delivered a distinctively savour flavour that perfectly complemented the Ayam Taliwang, especially with its lack of spiciness. The fried tofu was made using Tahu Abiantubuh, which name is taken from a small area in Mataram where it originated from. It had a silky texture that still felt juicy when eaten.
It is my hope that after reading this article, you will have a better understanding about Ayam Taliwang. Enjoy!
By Jessicha Valentina
Jl. Transmigrasi No. 99,
Cakranegara, Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara
T: 0370 622 914/636 734
Open daily from 8am-10pm
Rp.50,000/US$3.50 per person