A Taste of Batavia at Betawi

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I’ve been wanting to dine in this “hidden gem” in Karama ever since I read about it on blogs and it’s awesome reviews on Zomato. Highly commended Southeast Asian restaurant by TimeOut Dubai in 2011, Betawi is totally worth a visit. Two weeks ago albeit unplanned, I decided to find out what the hype was all about and check out this tiny and humble food place that serves authentic Indonesian staples.

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It wasn’t a weekend but the restaurant (with only 8 or 9 tables) was almost full when I arrived. The kabayan waitstaff greeted me with a smile, guided me to my “table for one” and handed me the menu. Although I already had in mind what I was going to order (Nasi Goreng is no-brainer), it took me about 15 minutes to decide on what to munch. Gahd! The glutton in me just wanted everything on the menu. Haha! Having zero idea about the generous servings, I ended up ordering for two. When kuya kabayan finally served everything on the table, he whispered “Enjoy your meal, sir! Marami-rami po yan!“. I smiled. Yung totoo hiyang-hiya ako! Haha!

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Sometimes considered Indonesia’s national food, Soto Betawi (AED33) is a traditional Betawi soup made of coconut milk base broth with diced beef (which tasted smoked or dried), cabbage, tomato and crackers on top. This dish is normally eaten with steamed rice and a squeeze of lemon and chili as you prefer. I am not a fan of soups but this soup is YUM hence I almost finished the big bowl. 🙂

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I wanted to try the most requested combo meal Nasi Padang but the sight of Nasi Goreng (AED32) even in pictures made me turn it down. I mean, who in the world can resist Nasi Goreng? Even a person like me who has love-hate relationship with rice can’t resist this authentic Indonesian fried rice mixed with chicken, vegetables, a sunny side up on top and crackers on the side. Delish!

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Sate Ayam (AED32) or grilled chicken in peanut sauce with pickled vegetables and crackers (Indonesians have a thing with crackers but I’m not complaining 🙂 ). This dish is usually served with rice cake or steamed rice. I loved! Peanut sauce was the bomb!

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An alternative dessert to Dadar Gulung, a popular traditional rolled pancake snack made of rice flour, grated coconut and palm sugar (I ordered and told kuya kabayan that this dessert is the sole reason why I went to their resto but his response was “Sorry, sir! Kanina pa po tanghali ubos yan!“), I opted for Es Teler (AED15), a mix of avocado, coconut meat, cincau (grass jelly) and jackfruit served in coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, pandan syrup, sugar and salt. Sooo good!

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Overall, an absolute satisfaction! I would give the food and service a 4.5 out of 5. If you are in Dubai, Betawi is prolly the place to be if you want to satisfy your Indo food cravings. And the best part? Well, you’d get to enjoy these authentic staple foods prepared by Indonesian chefs using imported ingredients without breaking a bank. 🙂

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Karama is a residential district in Dubai populated majority by expats from South and The Southeast Asia. No wonder specialty shops from these regions are limitless in this area. As cliché as it is, I sure am excited to explore this neighbourhood and discover those hidden gems. Let’s go?

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Betawi
Karama, Behind Park Regis Kris Kin Hotel
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Telephone: 04 454 2329

* This is not a sponsored post.

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