We'll be staying one day each in Manado and Makassar. Anyone know of good eats in those cities? Love seafood, enjoy meat and veggies, not big on trying R.W. (dog, I think)....
Sulawesi was great. For the scubadiving we stayed at islands off of the coast of Sulwasis northern arm, near Manado. Scubadiving was the best we have ever done. Manado is interesting. The food here is Minahasan (the dominant ethnic group) and is definitely the best food we ate in the country. It’s nothing like Indoneasian food you get in the US and it’s distinct from any other Asian food I have tried. The seasonings are simpler (chillies, tamarind, shallots) and there is little use of traditional Asian ingredients like soysauce. In some ways it reminded me of spicy southern Mediterranean food. The people here were super nice and came off as very down to earth. We had a memorable meal at a Warung (small out door restaurant near our hotel). I wished I remembered the name of the place. If anyone is interest in knowing where it is, I can try and describe how to find it. We were a bit concerned about ordering because lots of people here don’t speak English. Our waiter spoke perfect English and did a great job of steering us right with the meal. We told him we liked spicy food. He strongly recommended this dish that consisted of fish roe, fish liver and I think fish milt in a fiery broth. We ordered it. I was convinced it would be too funky and that we might not enjoy it. We were blown away by this dish. It was absolutely delicious. Not funky or fishy at all. The fish roe and milt were creamy and the liver reminded me of mild ankimo. The rich fiery broth was addicting and perfectly complemented the creaminess of the roe and richness of the ankimo perfectly. We also ordered grilled fresh fish. Amazing. A water spinach dish. Amazing. A thin noodle dish. Amazing. For dessert fried bananas. We had ordered way too much food because the portions were huge. How much did this mind blowingly delicious feast cost? With 2 beers $16. Manado unfortunately is… um…, not a very pretty city. The way the city is layed out seems bizarre. What could be a beautiful seaside promenade is obscured by ugly magamalls and fences. Lots of garbage and litter everywhere. If an effort was made to give it a facelift Manado could turn into a tourist destination. It already has nice and friendly people and access to world class diving. For the diving we stayed at Lembeh resort and Gangga Island resort. Both were great.(If you want more details about the diving I can give them to you). Then we flew to Makassar for one night before taking a tour of Toraja. The people in Makassar are slightly less friendly than Manado. Toraja was a very interesting place and we had amazing guides who I would highly recommend (Wira tours). People in Toraja were very nice. Food in Toraja was interesting, they use unusual spices like pamarassan, an oily black spice made from the seeds of a tree. The flavor is very subtle and difficult to describe, kind of nutty. Probably the main negative thing I can say about Sulawesi is that situation with garbage and litter which pollutes what would otherwise be a beautiful place. Let me know if you want more details and I can provide links to my diving videos on you tube and our Toraja videos.