Stellar Indonesian fare at Sama Sama
Sama Sama by Tok-Tok
Jewel Changi Airport, #03-225/226
Jewel Changi Airport is fast becoming a superstar on the foodie front. There are lots of choices (although not in terms of prices) and it will be easy to feed a group of people with different tastes and expectations.
Adding to the stellar line-up of eateries there is Sama Sama by Tok-Tok. This Indonesian restaurant is a new concept from Blue Waves Food Empire, with the idea of collecting dishes from the many corners of the country onto one menu.
And it was the less common dishes I found most exciting, like the Rawon Surabaya ($17).
This soup dish may not look like much and it certainly could use a hit of colour, but the taste will get you. This is a beef soup from Surabaya, and the key to its depth is the keluak in the soup.
The flavours are so enjoyably dark and mysterious and the baby beansprouts give it crunch. Stir in the accompanying sambal for a spicy kick and to add yet another dimension.
Sate Padang ($21) was another surprise for me.
The satay was served at room temperature (the way it is in Padang it seems), with skewered cubes of lean beef and cow tongue that were in the curry.
Another feature is the crouton-like cow skin crackers.
I really like the satay because I have always enjoyed the texture of tongue. And this one is tender. The lean beef is full of flavour too.
I could not get into the cow skin. It looked crunchy but there is a lingering chew, and it overstayed its welcome in my mouth. By the time it felt safe to swallow, it was almost a paste.
The Ayam Bakar Taliwang ($29) is nearly perfect.
The kampung chicken is marinated with chilli and shrimp paste, so when grilled, there is a lingering hint of the paste. The chicken is tender too.
The tomato sambal packs a lot of heat, so proceed with caution.
While the Nasi Langgi ($17), a signature dish from Solo, is the Instagram favourite, it is just average to me.
Only the beef rind with petai beans worked for me. This should be a side dish.
This was my first time seeing bitter gourd in Gado Gado ($15).
The sauce is a combination of cashew and peanut, with crunchy vegetables and - who can resist? - crackers. And it is made to order by a smiling auntie who spends her entire shift just tossing this.
Novelty aside, it is delicious and a must-order.
And if you are curious about what you are eating or want to know more, engage the servers.
Most of them can guide you through your meal, while throwing some general knowledge about Indonesia your way.