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Aug 20, 2011 08:34 AM

Indonesia - Rijsttafel on a plate at Hotel Tugu

Melati is perhaps the classiest restaurant in the classiest hotel in Malang, a pleasant Dutch-colonial highland town 2 hours' drive south of Surabaya.

I tried the Tugu Rijsttafel which consisted of sweet tempe (soybean cake), fried grated coconut flavored with chilli, turmeric & sugar/salt, shredded spiced beef (serondeng), potato fritters, marinated dried curried beef, sweet-spicy free-range chicken, turmeric-tinged cucumber/carrot/onion pickles, sweet banana fritter, boiled longbeans with spicy sambal dip, a crispy paper-thin ground-nut cracker, and banana leaf-wrapped steamed white rice. The various flavors and textures, all packed into one plate (which was quite large, by the way) certainly provided a fascinating journey of discovery for my taste-buds.

If you think the above meal-on-a-plate was a mouthful, so to speak, there are other equally complicated combinations available from their long, elaborate menu which included Babah (Indonesian-Chinese), Dutch, Chinese and Indonesian options.

Another interesting option would be the Nasi Kuning Komplit platter, which consisted of yellow turmeric-tinged coconut-scented rice served wrapped in a banana leaf for added fragrance. The accompaniments included free-range chicken cooked in Javanese spices, shredded dried beef, flavored grated coconut shreds, hard-boiled egg, stir-fried spicy tempe (soybean cake) with vegetables, and a peanut cracker. It's guaranteed to satisfy any diner who's looking for an all-in-one meal.

An interesting very local/East Javanese a la carte item on the menu must be the Rujak Cingur: a spicy salad of longbeans, cabbage, tofu, tempe, compressed rice cakes, pineappple, starfruit (carambola), cucumber, rose apple (jambu air), boiled gelatinous cow's nose (yes, you heard me right), all covered in a dark-brown fermented shrimp sauce-flavored sauce, topped with flower-shaped rice crackers. It's absolutely delicious!

The beautiful setting amidst the green foliage next to the hotel's swimming pool was gorgeous.

Address details
Melati Restaurant
Hotel Tugu Malang
Jalan Tugu No. 3
Malang, East Java
Tel: +62-341-363891

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  1. Back in Hotel Tugu Malang for dinner - the evening atmosphere was just as nice. Some dishes tried:


    - the colonial Dutch-inspired Erwtensoep from the Hollandsche Babah (traditional Dutch-Indonesian fusion) section of the menu. Adapted from Dutch green pea soup, the Dutch Babah version tasted absolutely fabulous - green peas, celery, parsley, shredded chicken & sausages;

    - Loenpia goreng, crisp-fried spring rolls filled with minced shrimp/chicken;

    - Prawn & pineapple salad;

    - Tahu isi, crisp-fried tofu filled with shrimps & vegetables, served with explosively spicy little green "cabe rawit" or bird's eye chillia..


    - Wienerschnitzel Und, which was pan-fried breaded beef tenderloin, served with fried potato cubes, sauteed carrots & string beans. What lifted the dish was a very tasty yet subtle brown sauce;

    - Nasi "Buk": steamed white rice with sides of fried chicken, "sayur lodeh" (spicy jackfruit curry), beef "serondeng" (a dry beef and toasted coconut curry), fried beef lung, tempe & sambal;

    - Nasi Goreng Tugu, a very spicy house special fried rice, served with grilled beef "sates". Not memorable version. The "sates" looked rather anaemic., compared to those delicious meaty satays one gets on-board Singapore Airlines :-D


    - Angsle Malang, a traditional Indonesian dessert from Malang which tasted like S'porean "bubur cha cha". Served warm, it's a sweet coconut-milk soup with bread cubes, "petulo" (Indonesian version of Malaysian "chendol" green rice noodles), "pacar Cina" (rice flour-based jelly) & glutinous rice.

    3 Replies
    1. re: klyeoh

      Hotel Tugu's Nasi Goreng Kepiting - crabmeat fried rice. Average.

      1. re: klyeoh

        What's that big round thing at the front of the plate?

        1. re: huiray

          Oh, that's a fried egg - they must have used a round mould to fry the egg, and they cooked it till brown on both sides & the yolk's hardened. Pity, I preferred my egg-yolks half-cooked so they'd ooze out when I eat my eggs.

          The East Javanese like to deep-fry everything - chicken, fish, tofu, tempe - and they'd fry those stuff longer than we would.