(This arti­cle may or may not con­tain affil­i­ate links. What does that mean?)


When we went to the Mentawais Island chain in Indone­sia for Howard’s birth­day, we got to spend some time dis­cov­er­ing Padang the day before and after our fer­ry ride to Hid­den Bay Resort. Here is our date night, accom­pa­nied by our guide, Budi, on our last night in Padang. We had been trav­el­ing all day. Sev­en hours on a rock­ing fer­ry after we woke up at the crack of par­adise dawn. Even the view upon ris­ing did­n’t help the exhaus­tion. Or the fact that we had to leave.



The Restaurant


So, here we are, starv­ing, no show­er and grumpy — because by the time we got there, most every­thing was closed and this restau­rant was one of the top five restau­rants in Padang that Budi would rec­om­mend. But it was the num­ber five one, so that did­n’t seem promis­ing. Also, the fact that there was a cat eat­ing a whole fish that had dropped to the ground under the table next to us, also did­n’t seem good. There was no way this restau­rant would have stayed open if it was sub­ject to U.S. health inspec­tor vis­its. How­ev­er, we were starv­ing. Starv­ing. Howard more so than me because I had had a snack dur­ing our fer­ry stop in North Suma­tra but still. That had been sev­en hours before we found this spot. We reluc­tant­ly agreed to eat here because I want­ed some authen­tic Padang food and by nine most every­thing else had been shut down. So. Our options were lim­it­ed to hotel food — a dilut­ed ver­sion of Padang — or this one. So, we went for this one. The staff was super nice — as every­one we had met on our trip had been so far — and I was just look­ing for­ward to tast­ing food pre­pared in a way I had yet to experience.

The expe­ri­ence starts with the wait­er putting out every dish that they have cooked and the eater decid­ing what they want to eat.




What do you think? Would you eat here? Or where’s the most ques­tion­able place you’ve eat­en where you were pleas­ant­ly surprised?