The popularity of regional cuisines is constantly changing. Our food obsessions come and go — with the exception of Baja tacos, Japanese sushi, and Italian pastas. That’s why every year food writers and critics release lists upon lists of food trends that they promise are coming down the pike.
Well, this is a list like that, we suppose. But let’s un-tether it from 2017 food trends. It sounds too temporary. Let’s look at these as “food cultures” that need a little more space on your monthly menu. We’re talking about cuisines and foodways which we believe are sorely underrepresented at present in the American food scene.
And we’re giving you photo evidence for why you should take it upon yourself to change things!
Let’s get this out of the way: Saying “Indonesian food” is a little disingenuous. Trying to lump all of Indonesia’s varying cuisines into a single monolith is like saying “American” food — because what is that even? Creole, NY pizza slices, burgers, California cuisine, salmon chowder?
It’s too broad, is our point. So for this exercise we’re going to talk Padang — which comes from western Sumatra but is one of the most popular cuisines in Southeast Asia.
Padang is an assortment of curried and fermented meats, fish, veg, soy, that’s served kinda like Indonesian tapas on small plates family style at your table with a nice bowl of rice to share. The flavor profiles rely heavily on coconut, very spicy chili peppers, lime leaves, and a local spice mix that can vary, literally, restaurant to restaurant.
It’s a great way to share a meal with family or friends and is easily washed down with a nice cold lager.