Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Ayam Penyet Surabaya


Next stop on my list of makan places tried and tested is an Indonesian restaurant located somewhere in the glitzy wondershopping fashion street that is Orchard Road. Just that it’s neither one of them upmarket dining places nor the most chic of restaurants.

Located in the humble but popular shopping mall to foreigners and bargain-hunters, Resto Surabaya at Lucky Plaza has my thumbs up for authentic Indonesian fare.

It’s about time really, to get a taste of the much talked about Javanese dish that has made headlines and lured many celebrities (Sheila on 7, Peterpan, tinkerbelle?). Yes, all the hype surrounding their signature dish - Ayam Penyet Kremes.

And surely enough, the Ayam Penyet did not fail to deliver. Translated loosely as “smashed” chicken, this suggests actions of hammering, only to loosen the meat from the bones. The result? One tasty Ayam Penyet. Tender and moist meat, crispy skin with no hints of sogginess – Sure chases away the guilt of eating fried chicken! The dish also includes a generous serving of rice with fried tempe (fermented soybeans), tahu and great-tasting sambal thrown in for good measure.

So what really sets apart Resto Surabaya’s Ayam Penyet from the rest? I would think that the secret lies in the chili paste aka sambal. Variations to the sambal (in the attempt to cater to the local tastebuds) usually render them sweeter than the original. This restaurant however values the authenticity of Javanese cuisine and has fortunately conserved its distinctive flavour. The sambal maintains the tart taste with a good dose of spicy; definitely one that may scorch the unseasoned tongue and leave others wanting more.

Other appetizing dishes include Pecel Sayur - vegetables with “assam” and peanuts and Cah Kangkung or stir-fried kangkung, with the freshness of the vegetable preserved to the crisp. You’d need to try the rest to know how they'd fare now, wouldn’t you :)


All good things shouldn’t have to carry hefty price tag and this eatery very much understands this. Dishes are reasonably priced at hawker rates, probably owing to the rather confined and crammed space allocated for the restaurant.

You may have your own favourite Ayam Penyet eatery serving Indonesian food alike. In Lucky Plaza itself, outlets such as Ayam Penyet Ria and Ayam Bakar Ojoli have their own fair share of loyal customers. Not forgetting the most raved (as mentioned in a newspaper review) Changi Village Ayam Penyet Bistari, known to have modified their sambal to the likes of many.

Who knows, I might just change my mind on the best-tasting Ayam Penyet meal as I survey from store to store (speaking of which, there is this one restaurant around the corner – Waerong Penyet at Marine Parade opened and run by the famous Indon brothers. Hmm sounds like a hearty lunch to me :p). So far though, Resto Surabaya proves to be my personal fave. At the end of the day, you just gotta appreciate the food you're blessed with.

It may not be a Kintamani or Kartini in ambiance or location, but really, who gives a hoot when you’re dining on good food?

Resto Surabaya
Lucky Plaza #02-63/64
304 Orchard road Singapore 238863
Operating Hours: 1100 -2100hr
Tel: 6732 1803

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