Lombok and Sumbawa: Tastes

You are what you eat, and both Lombok and Sumbawa people love spicy foods. However, this was not the case for the origin of the name “Lombok”. It was just a linguistic anecdote that the Javanese term for chilli, the one that is common in every Lombok and Sumbawa dish, is “lombok”. Please note the different use of capital letter, now moving on.

I love spicy food, but I learnt valuable lesson from the way Lombok and Sumbawa people eat their spicy “sambal”. In order to grasp the chilliness as well as the other taste in a dish, one must eat slowly, one spoon at a time. I found their spicy “sambal” a bit raw, sometimes with a hint of lime that makes it a bit sour. “Plecing kangkung” is a dish to try; boiled water spinach, bean sprouts, string beans, peanuts and fried coconut dressed in sour and spicy “sambal”. If you are not keen on spicy foods, just dismissed the spicy “sambal”; the herbs infused within their foods should cater your tasting senses. Other variation of spicy “sambal” includes mango “sambal” and grilled eggplant “sambal”.

Local specialties are preserved and even though all of the dishes contain the same stuffs, simply rice and chicken with additional features, the tastes would be different. It is much related to where it is made and who made it. The famous ones are “nasi balap puyung” from Puyung region and “nasi rarang” from Rarang region. Both of them have been around for quite some time with close historical story to local society, they are dishes to try when visiting Lombok.

If you are keen on different form of rice and chicken or meat, Suranadi region offers Bulayak Satay. The chicken or meat is sauteed, dressed in peanuts sauce and served with solid rice wrapped in young coconut leaf. They stimulate both tasting and smelling senses because of the leaf’s fragrant.

Locals in the coastal area also have their own specialty, most of them are fishes and animals from nearby sea. It includes prawn, cuttle and tuna. Warung Sunset at d’Oria Boutique Resort in Senggigi has a specialty called “nasi bogem”, it contains only rice and smoked-grilled tuna. The taste punched every tasting sensor in my tongue and lasted until a couple of hours. Another delicacy to try in Lombok.

Far above the hill, in the foot of Rinjani, I managed to taste variety of fruits picked from its tree. Nauli Bungalow has a cherry tree, guests are welco

med to pick and taste the local grown fruit. A bit of joke, locals call the tree as “ceri singapur” as in Singaporean Cherry. When being asked why, the answer was simple, because it has been called that name for ages. The taste of those cherry were sweet, one may eat its whole fruit with its skin or just squeeze the juice only and disregard its skin.


This writing is one of the six stories about my journey in Lombok and Sumbawa.

The six stories are about touches, smells, tastes, hearings, sights and general guides of Lombok and Sumbawa.