Madrid is home to a burgeoning foodie population––throughout the years, the Madrileñ@ tongue is getting exposed to more and more types of cuisines. Aside from usual Spanish staples which are scrumptious albeit usually unseasoned, there are usually döner kebab joints, Chinese restaurants around the corner. As a first-year auxiliar in Madrid though, I was relieved to discover that there are tons of cuisines to choose from around the city. I was pleasantly notified of the fact that there is a very good Indonesian restaurant hidden around the area near Metro Iglesia called Restaurante Sabor Nusantara.
The name of the restaurant comes from the Old Japanese word nusantara, meaning ‘archipelago’. Nusantara is also colloquially used in Indonesia to refer to the entire Indonesian archipelago. Lucky for us, Indonesian cuisine has been influenced by a cornucopia of cultures interacting with one another since time immemorial. There are spice-based dishes influenced by Indian traders/settlers; noodles/meatballs/spring rolls from the Chinese, meat skewers from the Arabs; and random influences evident around Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, and other Southeast Asian nations.
Indonesian cuisine is also known as Asia’s best-kept secret to the world. Sabor Nusantara is also Madrid’s best-kept secret to its locals. Here are a few dishes you must try:
- Nasi Goreng
Indonesians like most Asians are rice-ivors. However, they up the ante and add several things like spring onions, tamarinds, chillis, eggs, chicken, etc. to their version of the fried rice, the nasi goreng. It is best served with two sauces: sambal (red spicy shrimp paste) and kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce). The dish complements most dishes in the menu.
- Gado Gado
Literally ‘mix-mix’ in Bahasa Indonesia, Gado gado is made from a mix of various ingredients such as sliced boiled eggs, kerupuk (deep-fried shrimp fritters), and tons of vegetables such as deep-fried garlic, cabbages, water spinaches, courgettes, bitter gourds, and tofu cooked in a peanut-based sauce which balances and harmonises all the intense flavours of the salad.
- Ayam Goreng
Indonesians are masters of the art of cooking fried chicken. Ayam goreng is completely different from other types of fried chicken as it is marinated for hours to a day with various spices and boiled and then fried. Its taste is extremely pleasant and is bound to convert a virgin tongue to the rich flavours of Indonesian cuisine.
- Beef Rendang
Possibly the quintessential Indonesian dish. Beef rendang is known all over the world for the savoury beef cooked in spicy coconut milk. All the beef rendang I’ve tried in Metro Manila (which are all already good btw) pales in comparison to the rendang here in Madrid. You cannot NOT get this dish during a visit!
Southeast Asia is known to have a climate that is extremely tropic AF. This would mean that many locals will find several ways to cool themselves off––for some it would entail going to the cool waters for a swim. At most times, we all consume ice-based desserts. Whether it may be Philippine halo halo or Chinese mango pudding popularised by the overseas Chinese diaspora inhabiting the region, cendol is the most accessible treat for Indonesians. They are sold by street trolley vendors around the streets of Jakarta and is composed of green rice flour jelly, coconut milk, palm sugar syrup and shaved ice mixed together to rid yourself of the massive amount of spices you consumed during your visit.
TIP: if you’ve already been exposed to the rich and wonderful flavours of Indonesia, you could order something outside of their menu. Try the sweet martabak for dessert but notify them a day prior to your reservation.
Visit them now at:
Calle de Viriato, 39 Madrid, Madrid, 28010
From 13:00-16:30 and 20:00-00:00
Or make a reservation at:https://www.sabornusantara.com/menu
Calle de Viriato, 39
Calle de Viriato, 39