“In fact, I enjoyed the sambal so much, despite it felt like it was burning a hole through my tongue.“
I have been a fan of Sambal Bu Rudy for as long as I can remember. Geography, however, prevents me from having it as much as I want to. Thankfully, one of my good friends tends to jet off to Surabaya quite often, so I would always ask her to bring back a jar or two. It was only during the tail end of last year that I finally managed to pay a visit to the outlet itself.
It was December 5, 2015, and I had just tried out Surabaya’s famous Soto. Feeling a tad unfulfilled, I thought it was the right time to make my way to Sambal Bu Rudy’s outlet on Jalan Anjasmoro. I got there during the peak of lunchtime, and the place was packed with customers. Giddy with excitement, I sat down at one of remaining vacant tables, and was then approached by one of the joint’s waiters. Before he took my order, he quipped that Gibran Rakabuming, the son of President Jokowi, was dining inside the private room of the eatery. Since I was there for the food, I ignored the fact that the offspring of this great nation’s leader was present at the joint and proceeded to order a plate of rice with empal(fried beef) and udang goreng (fried shrimp).
The empal was sweet and tender, with the spicy sambal perfectly complementing it. In fact, I enjoyed the sambal so much, despite it felt like it was burning a hole through my tongue. Whilst merrily eating away, I saw a woman in her late 40s from the corner of my eyes assisting the staff in directing newly arrived customers to their table. Upon further inspection, she turned out to be Bu Rudy herself – the big kahuna of Sambal Bu Rudy. She was shuffling from one table to the other, asking her customers about their thoughts on the food and how they’re doing. Now that, folks, is what I call good customer service – especially when the owner herself does the rounds, all the while with a sincere smile on her face.
I got the chance to interview her afterwards, and from the way she talked, I could tell that she genuinely loves giving her customers a hand. “I’ve been in the sambal business for 16 years now, but I prefer to be here in my restaurant rather than stay at home and basking in my success from afar,” she says. This is exactly the kind of attitude that I believe should be adopted by restaurateurs across the archipelago.
Jl. Anjasmoro, No. 45,
Sawahan, Surabaya, East Java
T: 031 545 6565
Open daily from 7am-10pm
Rp.35,000/US$2.60 per person