South Sumatera Part 4 – The Must Try Food in Palembang
December 9, 2017 Indonesia

Among the things that I treasured from my recent trip to Palembang is none other than the food. It took me 3 trips to Palembang to finally come out with a list of must-try food in Palembang.


At the mention of the name “pempek”, my colleague reprimanded me for saying the foul word. I told him it is nothing but a savoury fishcake delicacy from Palembang, made of fish and tapioca. According to Linda, our guide in Palembang, pempek used to be sold by ah pek, a popular local term to address for an elderly Chinese gentleman above 50s. In the nation where her people love to use single syllable word, double calling of “pek” forms the vulgar word. Hence, the naming of the savoury fishcake as pempek with an addition of “m”. The technique of preparing the pempek developed around the 16th century to overcome the waste of unsold decaying fish leftover.

The present day pempek comes in many variants known as lenggang, tekwan, model, submarine or rujak mie. The pempek is served with spicy palm sugar-vinegar based sauce called “cuko”.



Fish noodle soup known as Tekwan is a specialty food to Palembang. The glass noddle is served with pempek and also eaten with “cuko”.

Es Kacang Merah

Es Kacang Merah is a shaved ice served with red beans and coconut milks. Tasted good especially during hot day. I had mine at Pempek Tince.

The recommended restaurat to taste all of the above is Pempek Tince of Jalan Mayor Ruslan Tugu Mulyo No. 2424 RT. 035/009, 20 Ilir D.1, Ilir Tim 1, Kota Palembang, Sumatera Selatan 30126, Indonesia.


Pindang is a sour and spicy fish soup cooked from tamarind juice, garlic, shallot, ginger, turmeric, lemongrass, galangal, chili pepper, baylaf, shrimp paste, palm sugar and sugar. Although pindang is famous throughout Indonesia, pindang patin is considered Palembang’s specialty. Pindang is a cross between asam pedas and tomyam. The base food normally cooked as pindang are ikan patin, catfish, carp, freshwater prawn.

When in RM Musi Rawas, I ordered the pindang udang which tasted good. The pindang was served with mixed raw vegetable salad and mango salad. The luncheon we had was so good that it had a lasting impression on me. I’m missing the food! So delicious.



The traditional dessert served at RM Musi Rawas is srikayo.

The recommended restaurant to eat pindang and srikayo in Palembang is Jalan Angkatan 45 No. 18, Lorok Pakjo, Ilir Barat 1, Kota Palembang. 

Have you been to Palembang? What is your favourite food in Palembang?

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