It goes without saying that Bukittinggi is one of the main attractions in West Sumatra that has managed to become a tourist hotspot from across the country and beyond. From the iconic Jam Gadang that stands tall in the heart of the city to the breathtaking Ngarai Sianok at the border between Bukittinggi and Kabupaten Agam; all are significant objects of interest that have been promoted heavily by the local government.
Even so, the star crowd-puller in Bukittinggi is without a doubt its culinary world. My local driver told me that most of his customers who touched down in Padang would normally spend most of their time in Bukittinggi instead. Top of their itinerary tend to be a visit to Pasar Wisata. It begs the question of what makes it so special though – it looks similar to any pasar that you may encounter in the countryside – yet behind its modest facade lies a plethora of authentic delicacies that have done the city proud.
From the onset, several shops touting the likes of Nasi Goreng, Soto Minang and Ampiang Dadiah will greet you with open arms. Walk further down and a string of stalls will persuade you to part with your money in exchange for various crackers and light bites. One such snack that caught my attention was dried eel, which are hung upside down for all to see.
The most remarkable above all here is Los Lambuang, which is the epicentre of the Nasi Kapau fad – Bukittinggi’s very own mixed rice. A number of joints put forward this local dish here, which when added with the traditional ambience, provides extra pleasure as you tuck into a portion of Nasi Kapau. You can also find other delectable treats here, such as Katupek Sayur (steamed rice cake with coconut milk and chayote slices). In a nutshell, Pasar Wisata is Bukittinggi’s very own culinary utopia.