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Must Eat Food in Palembang

Palembang Must Eat Food

For the foodie who plans to visit Palembang in South Sumatra, this article was created just for you, but based on a non-local who explored this unique place for its cuisines.

For the record, Palembang is well known for its local South Sumatra cuisine which is totally different from the Javanese side, and when people ask what is there to do in Palembang, the most common answer you will get is 'eat'.

Must Eat Food in Palembang

Various local Palembang food

During my tour of Palembang a few years back, I was brought to many unique and interesting places to sample the authentic local food found around the main city.

Some of them at restaurants while others may be in more localized 'warungs' or stalls in popular areas, so depends on the type of eater you are, you have the option of choosing.

For me, it was clearly my first time visiting this part of Wonderful Indonesia, and everything was new, including the local Palembang food.

Based on just this trip and also talking to many locals, my recommendations are these top three foods to eat in Palembang which are;

Pindang Udang or Prawn Pindang

1. Pindang

This is the number one dish that can be found all over Palembang and Pindang is actually a soup-based sauce used to compliment the type of fish you choose. Popular ones are Pindang Patin, Pindang Udang and Pindang Gurame.

At most restaurants, you can find a huge variety of fishes and fish heads for Pindang. This dish is also served with a plate of white rice, that's all. The sauce is a little similar to Tom Yam but more fragrant and a different kind of spicy.

My Nasi Pindang experience was done at two places, one at Rumah Pindang Musi Dari and another at a floating boat restaurant next to the Ampera river called Mbok War.

If you have a fascination for spicy and soupy dishes, then Pindang is one dish you must try when you are in Palembang. 

Pempek, a variety of local Fishcakes

2. Pempek

Another hugely popular dish in Palembang is Pempek, which is actually savoury fishcakes that are served plain, with noodles or even grilled.

Dating back to the 16th century, most people will visit Palembang for this unique dish easily found almost anywhere in Palembang.

Locals will visit the home industries to take away raw Pempek by the hundreds, and it is told that the best Pempek fishcakes are made from the 'Belida' fish or the Knife Fish.

The interesting thing about this dish is how you eat it with the special sauce called Kuah Cuka or Vinegar Sauce which is dark, sweet and spicy.

One great place to try this unique Pempek dish is at a place called Mangdin, a local home industry that sells them.

Mee Celor, which looks like Mee Bandung

3. Mee Color

Noodle lovers will enjoy this dish as Mee Celor is served with a rich broth made from shrimp and coconut santan or milk.

Extra-large yellow noodles are mixed in and served with some sprinkled savoury condiments and topped with a sliced egg.

The special sambal is served as a side, and for Malaysians or Singaporeans, this is closely related to the Mee Jawa or Mee Rebus in Malaysia.

For me, after trying the local Mee Celor, our local variety is far from comparison, and I am not joking, really.

Palembang Mangdin Krupuk
Pempek Mangdin 679 is one of the most famous in Palembang.

4. Krupuk Kemplang or Keropok Palembang (Fish Crackers)

If you visited any of the Pempek factories or shops, you are bound to see that they also sell the Keropok Ikan or Fish Crackers which are also the speciality here in Palembang.

The best part is they let you try as much as you like simply due to the many shapes and flavours offered.

After trying a number, I ended up buying two huge bags to take back to Malaysia. They are simply mouth-watering, and really, these are some of the best I have ever had in years.

I got mine from Mangdin 679, a local home industry or cottage industry which is one of the most famous in Palembang.

Palembang Laksan Lakso Lontong
The unique Laksan, Lontong and Lakso in Palembang

Other Popular Foods in Palembang Worth Trying

Palembang is quite big, and hence you will also be able to find many other local foods all over the city and outskirts areas.

Some of the other very local foods that can be found around the city include Mee Tek Tek, which is a unique way of selling local fried noodles. 

Mee Tek-Tek is usually found by the roadsides and not at restaurants; therefore, it is a type of hawker food popular among locals.

The local famous Martabak HAR or Martabak Haji Abdul Razak has been selling these folded stuffed pancakes for almost a century now with multiple branches spread across the city.
Palembang Nasi Minyak
Nasi Minyak Palembang

At the local Arab village located on Jalan Dr Misa, you can find a restaurant called Warung Aba which serves some authentic and traditional Burgo, Ragit, Celimpungan, Laksan, Lontong and Lakso, all which have strong ties to similar dishes found in Malaysia.

Nasi Minyak or Oily Rice is also highly popular around Palembang, but I only got a chance to explore this rice-based dish once. Maybe one day, I will have the chance to further explore more of this.

Palembang Food Photos

Below are random photos taken around Palembang showing some of the popular and well-known food.

Haji Abdul Razak Martabak Palembang
The famous Martabak Haji Abdul Razak in Palembang

Palembang Martabak HAR
Close up of the Martabak HAR

Palembang Duren
Durian here is called Duren Palembang

Palembang Mbox War Pindang
Mbok War, a floating boat Pindang restaurant in Palembang

Pingand Ikan Palembang
Pindang Ikan or Fish sold on the boat restaurant.

Palembang Pindang Udang
The famous Pindang Udang and white rice in a cone shape

Palembang Warung Aba
Warung Aba that sells Lakso, Lontong, Laksan and Pempek

Palembang Lontong Lakso
A staff serving the Lontong and Lakso at Warung Aba

Palembang Sate Satay
Palembang-style Sate or Satay

Street Food Palembang
One of the main streets in Palembang where you can find good food


Overall, Palembang is not your regular tourist destination, but to me, it feels like a place that deserves more attention as it is very near Malaysia, and there is so much to explore here.

While many travellers may think this is out of the question, I beg to differ as Palembang does have interesting places to visit like historical places.

However, being Asian or Southeast Asian, food will always bridge any gap among cultures and over here in Palembang, the must-eat foods recommended will surely keep you busy.

Trust me, nothing beats exploring a destination together with the local food, which is a local fact for any Asian traveller.

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