If you’re travelling to Palembang, Indonesia with your family, you need to know where to eat. We’ve composed a list of Palembang’s top 10 family-friendly restaurants, just for you. Read on.
Feeding the kids is always difficult.
Cook up a delicious, healthy dinner, and you’re assaulted with a chorus of complaints.
Serve them something a little bit different, and it’s all “Ew, yuck, I don’t eat that.”
Buy them that takeaway they love, and suddenly you’re questioning your parenting skills and wondering if you just caved to your own children.
Now try feeding them in a foreign country. Not America, or New Zealand, or England, but somewhere totally different, where there’s virtually no culinary crossover.
Say … Sumatra, Indonesia?
Palembang is definitely a foodie destination, but not all of this riverine city’s dishes are appealing to those with fussy tummies, so we’ve put together a list of the city’s top family-friendly restaurants to help you navigate dinner-time with the kids.
Health Warning: Avoid drinking tap water in Palembang – stick to bottled water instead.
Health Warning: Many Indonesian dishes contain traces of nuts, so, if you or your children are anaphylactic, be very cautious when dining out. Try visiting English-speaking restaurants to make sure the chefs understand that you can’t eat anything with nuts.
Palembang’s Top Family-Friendly Restaurants
1. Pempek Saga Sudi Mampir
Famous for its pempek, a traditional Indonesian fishcake, Pempek Saga Sudi Mampir is like many of South Sumatra’s best restaurants – small, deceptively underwhelming, ventilated by wall-mounted fans and frequented by locals in thongs and T-shirts.
Don’t let its appearance fool you. Located on Jl. Merdeka, a busy thoroughfare passing through the heart of Palembang, this is authentic Sumatran cuisine done right.
For something particularly delicious, try their pempek lenggang panggang, a grilled mackerel fish-cake made with sugar, sago and eggs. The flavour is fairly mild, so the kids should be okay, but watch out for the cuka (a vinegar-based sauce traditionally served with pempek) – if you’re not used to it, the acidity can catch you off-guard.
2. Rumah Makan Pagi Sore
Serving classic Minang cuisine, RM Pagi Sore is a mid-tier restaurant which pairs a pleasant, fine-dining ambience with delicious, reasonably-priced dishes.
Expect to pay between 10,000 and 20,000 IDR for offerings like squid curry, chicken curry and beef rendang. RM Pagi Sore’s air conditioning and complimentary bottles of water make it a good choice if you’re visiting in summer; it’s open between 7am and 10pm every day of the week, making it perfect for a midday stop.
Although some of the dishes like the gulai cumi (squid curry) can be quite spicy, alternatives like gulai ayam (chicken curry) and gulai tunjang (beef tendon curry) are milder and more in-line with Western palates.
3. Pempek & Es Kacang Vico
Pempek & Es Kacang Vico is closer to a casual eatery than a true restaurant, but it’s still definitely worth a visit, particularly if you’re a fan of pempek.
If you haven’t eaten Sumatran-style pempek, though, you might be a little surprised – the fish cakes are much denser than those from other parts of Asia, and the cuko is quite spicy. For dessert, try their famous es kacang (iced tapioca, coconut milk and additions like red beans).
4. Kuto Besak Theatre Restaurant
Relax among classic restaurant décor in this upscale Jalan Sekanan establishment. With polished timber floors, curtained windows and leather-padded seats, Kuto Besak recalls colonial romanticism, a nod to Indonesia’s Dutch-influenced history.
Their menu includes a line-up of Western and Indonesian cuisine, including gado-gado, a classic Indonesian composition of steamed vegetables, boiled eggs, tofu, tempeh and lontong, slathered with a rich peanut sauce.
5. Rumah Makan Pindang Musi Rawas
If you and your family want to try traditional Palembang cuisine, Rumah Makan PIndang Musi Rawas has you covered.
This small little restaurant is tucked along Jl. Angkatan 45, under the overpass; although there’s parking a few shops beforehand, it fills up quickly during busy times of the day. Try heading down Lorong Sempurna II – this narrow alley has a few good parking spots, and is within easy walking distance of Rumah Makan.
The restaurant itself serves a variety of dishes, including seafood options like pindang udang and patin tempoyak. Although the accompanying chilli pastes are generally served as condiments (rather ladled onto the meals), this one might be good to avoid if your little ones are fussy eaters – the seafood is quite strong-flavoured, and the smell of ingredients like durian can be off-putting.
6. River Side Restaurant
It’s all in the name, people. River Side Restaurant comes as marketed; it’s perched on the fringes of the Musi River, with great views of Palembang’s iconic Ampera Bridge.
If you go here for dinner, you’ll get to see the Bridge lit up with a lurid display of neon lights – a classic Palembang experience that you don’t want to miss. Sample a variety of seafood dishes from River Side’s menu, including their exquisite patin (silver catfish, a native Indonesian freshwater fish), which is often fried, turned into pempek or served with a spicy broth.
7. Kampung Kecil
Serving traditional Sundanese dishes, Kampung Kecil is one of three restaurants that go by the same name in Palembang – we’re talking about the one on Jl. Jaksa Agung R. Soeprapto.
The restaurant does feature on-site parking, but be aware that if this fills up, there’s not really anywhere else to leave your car that’s within easy walking distance.
If possible, make a reservation so you’re not left stranded. With its traditional, varnished-timber booths and open-air atmosphere, this is a great place to have a quick pick-me-up or try mild-flavoured dishes served alongside bowls of white rice.
Sarinande is located across from the fuel station on Jl. Veteran, but you won’t see it from the street – it’s tucked behind Happy Brilliant Motor, accessible via a short alley.
This is real Palembang food, served in lowkey, heavily authentic settings, so only take your children here if they’re adventurous.
Rather than ordering off a menu, you’ll be served whatever the restaurant’s chefs feel is appropriate for you – the dishes aren’t too exotic, but can be quite spicy.
Do you know of other family-friendly restaurants in Palembang we haven’t mentioned? Let us know on Facebook or Instagram!