Ika Natassa is an on-the-up author who has penned quite a few renowned novels including A Very Yuppy Wedding (2007), Divortiare (2008), Underground (2010), Antologi Rasa (2011), Twivortiare (2012), Twivortiare 2 (2014), and Critical Eleven (2015). Among her masterpieces, Antologi Rasa and Critical Eleven are set to be adapted to the big screen.
In her works, Ika tends to insert names of real-life local dining establishments in order to arouse her readers’ curiosity and make them head over to their favourite characters’ stamping ground to try the food there. The following, however, are the five establishments that are closest to her heart and tummy.
1. Restoran Miramar (Medan)
Top of my list of best-loved Indonesian restaurants, it serves Minang-Malay cuisine and my favourite dishes here are Ayam Bakar (grilled chicken) and Ikan Gurame Bakar Bumbu Miramar (grilled gourami with special Miramar seasoning).
Jalan Pemuda No. 11 ABC, A U R,
Medan Maimun, Kota Medan, North Sumatra
Open daily from 10am-9pm
2. Restoran Marco Padang Grill
This is my preferred place to dine in whenever I’m in Jakarta because the food here suits my taste buds to a T. I always go for its Nasi Sayo, which is a rice set with curry, Serundeng (spicy fried coconut flakes), Rendang sauce, Sayur Lodeh (vegetable in coconut milk soup), crackers, and sambal. I always ask for a piece of its savoury Ayam Goreng Kering (deep-fried chicken) and extra crackers to add to my meal.
Plaza Indonesia, Jl. M.H. Thamrin No. 28-30,
T: 021 2992 4290
Open daily from 10am-10pm
3. Batagor Kingsley
Never have I visited Bandung without stopping by at this joint. It serves the best Batagor (fried fish dumplings in peanut sauce) and Siomay (steamed fish dumplings and vegetables in peanut sauce) ever, despite its limited menu consisting of just the two aforementioned dishes.
Jl. Veteran No. 25,
Tel: 022 420 7104
Open daily from 8am-8pm
4. Ketoprak Ciragil
My first encounter with Ketoprak Ciragil was when I was still working at an office in SCBD. I fell in love with its Ketoprak (rice cake, rice vermicelli, vegetables and tofu in peanut sauce) instantly. I always ask for a Telur Dadar (omelette) to be thrown in to my order. My deep fondness for this simple-yet-heavenly dish has led to me including it in a scene for my novel Critical Eleven.
Jl. Ciragil II, Block Q, No. 24,
Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta
T: 0856 6515 6117
Open daily from 9am-5.30pm
5. Cafeteria Rumah Sakit Pondok Indah
I know this may sound unusual, but yes, a hospital’s cafeteria has made it on to my list of dearest eateries. Almost every menu item at this place is delightful, and I always make time to drop by for a meal if I have to see a doctor at Rumah Sakit Pondok Indah. I have so many favourites here – from its popular Bacang (glutinous rice with filling wrapped with bamboo leaf) and heavenly Nasi Uduk Komplit (steamed rice cooked in coconut milk) with Sambal Kacang (peanut sambal) and Ayam Goreng (fried chicken) to the many nibbles that are available at the joint, including its pastel and panada.
Jalan Metro Duta, Kav. UE,
Pondok Indah, South Jakarta
T: 021 765 7525
Open daily from 7am-10pm
You also can read the article on The Jakarta Post: Ika Natassa and Her Five Favorite Eateries.