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Jan 22, 2005 09:25 AM

Sabang Indonesian, Wheaton

  • w

Bailing out from a trip to Rockville yesterday because traffic was too bad, we had dinner at Sabang, which I hadn't been to in a while but remembered as good. Either my memory failed me or it has gone way downhill. The food seemed tired and in some cases not even freshly made. Not only did things like the egg rolls not seem to have been freshly cooked when we ordered, but even a few of the stewed dishes were off - something with chicken had the oddest texture, like some kind of fast-food reconsitituted chicken stuff, and soup that seemed to have had meat cooked separately and tossed in. The service was also unenthusiastic, like they never brought us our drinks. (We could have asked, but decided to experiment and see what happened.)

Anyone have any recent experience here?

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  1. Exact same thoughts when I went there about a year ago - place has gone way downhill.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ermine

      I've had bad experiences the last few times I went to Sabang's and don't go anymore. It is a shame, because the food and service used to be of much better quality.

    2. b
      Bagus Adiyanto

      Me and my wife visit that restaurant quet often(once a month), not because we like the food but because we are indonesian and we miss our indonesian food in back home.
      frankly speaking, the food option and its taste does not represent the greatness and originality of our indonesian food.
      for example, the grill chicken looks like chicken curry than the original grill chicken in Indonesia. "rendang"(coconut beef) is considered the most famous food in indonesia. the original rendang cooked with coconut milk with chily. what we tasted in Sabang it's cooked with a lot of peper powder and its taste extremely far away from original rendang.
      Another critic is the place really dark it's little bit more like bar instead of restaurant. the wall paper should be changed into bright color.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Bagus Adiyanto

        It's a neighboring country and shares some of the same tastes and spices, but had you thought of curing some homesickness with BURMESE food? You have the wonderful Mandalay in downtown Silver Spring, also Burma in Chinatown DC, and I think there's a Burmese restaurant in N VA.

        And what about Malaysian? You have Penang downtown & in Bethesda, but far better is Malaysian Kopitiam around 19th & M.

        And I think there's an Indonesian place in N VA - Sarinah Satay. Have you tried that?

      2. I ate at Sabang last night and I was very pleasently suprised. From the outside looks of the place, I didnt expect very much. Upon entering however, I encountered an elegant little room with asian decour, a nice fully stocked bar, and live jazz music playing. We started out our meal with crab eggrolls and some soups. I had the spicy shrimp soup, which was extremely flavourful/intense There were only two shrimp in it though, I think they could have thrown me one more for good measure. FYI about the shrimp soup; it may only have a rating of one spicy little pepper on the menu, but it packs a punch. The guy refilling the waters quickly became my new best friend. My dates soup was also very good, but I don't remember exactly which soup it was. I believe there was chicken in it. The crab egg rolls were okay; nothing spectacular but still tasty. We shared the whole fish with Kelio sauce for our entree. Though a bit spooky to look at, the whole fish was delicious and suprisingly easy to eat. The meat just slid right off the bone, and there were barely any inedible bits to pick threw. Afterwards we each got a desert. I got this sunday-esque drink called Cendel. It was a rice based drink with brown sugar, ice and mango. Very good. She had the fried bannana fritters. Think carnival style waffle cake coated in powdered sugar, but with a fried banana inside. Also, very good. Our whole meal came out to about $50, but we were not drinking alcohol. The staff was also very nice and obliging. It took a little while to get our check, but a large group just entered and there was a lot going on at the time, so I can look past that. All in all I would definetly have to recomend this place to anyone in the wheaton/kensington area looking for some good ethinc eats.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jgaff1041

          I always greatly enjoyed Sabang. After living in Indonesia for 5 years, it was a great "mini vacation" home. Unfortunately, they've closed, after nearly 19 years in business.

          I am hoping they'll reopen in another location. In the meantime, Satay Sarinah in Alexandria, VA is a good alternative:

        2. I think the Burmese restaurant Looloo is thinking of is called Myanmar near Merrifield at 7810 Lee Hwy # C Falls Church, VA 22042. The Indonesian place I really like to go to is called Satay Sarinah in Alexandria at 512 S Van Dorn St # A, Alexandria, VA.

          I know it isn't in Maryland, but the food is great and the people are as nice as can be.

          Hope that helps!