Ok, for the second part, It is all about the food. One common thing I found in most restaurants is that almost all of them serve fruit juice, like Avocado, soursop, orange coconut and Terong Belanda. Here are some of the restaurants we visited:
– Koki Sunda (Sundanese)
The first lunch we had in Pekanbaru. The interesting about this restaurant is that it displays sign “Cabang Medan”, which means that the restaurant is originated in Medan, not in West Java, where the Sundanese food comes from. I actually have been to their restaurant in Medan.
We can choose either to sit on the floor or the chair. I noticed that there is a sign on the table saying that if the waiters don’t smile, then you get a free drink. Unfortunately, they all smile. So we didn’t ge the free drink. Recommended food that we ordered includes Gepuk Iga, Sate ayam saos kacang, Ayam daun pandan, Cumi Bakar, fish, vegefruit, tahu kipas.
– Pondok Gurih, Pondok Asam Pedas Baung and other Melayu restaurants
We went to many Melayu restaurants, but the two that we visited most often were Pondok Gurih and Pondok Asam Pedas Baung.
Located at Jl. Jend Sudirman No. 202 Pekanbaru, Pondok Gurih is very recommended by one of my friends who had visited the city before. When we entered the restaurant, we were greeted with a man dressed in traditional dress and a rooster. The man will hit a gong for every person that walks by.
They serve local fish, like Baung/ Patin Asam Pedas or the smaller deep fried Pantau or Silais fish. The price itself ranges from 10k to 26k for main dish and 11k for fruit juice.
Still on the same road as Pondok Gurih is Pondok Asam Pedas Baung. Similar to Pondok Gurih, the restaurant also serves Baung asam pedas.
But in this restaurant, they serve the food like in Padang Restaurant, where they put everything in front of you and let you choose which one you want.
Other Melayu restaurants that we visited include Pondok patin H.M Yunus (on Jl Kaharuddin No.1), Lubuk Idai (on Jl Sudirman) and Karya Omsima (Jl Jend Sudirman)
– Apollo and Anom (Chinese restaurant)
Both restaurants are located only metres away from each other on Jalan Gatot Subroto.
We were actually gonna have dinner in Anom, to find out that the whole place had been reserved for a party. Hence we went to Apollo. With typical chinese restaurant decoration, it is dominated by red colour and round tables. They serve some nice chinese food, like ayam goreng tepung (25k), sapi lada hitam (35k) and fuyung hai (27.5k)
On the last evening we were there, we also found out that there is another Apollo restaurant on Jl Ahmad Yani. So we went there. The place is much more elegant than the other one. It looks newer and look more like a big house. The place is decorated with pink ribbon, as if it is reserved fo a wedding. Since it happened to be my bithday, we ordered “mi goreng ultah with telur merah” (45k). There was also a really nice deep fried chicken “Ayam goreng saus apollo” (27.5k) . It was filled with tangy sauce that tasted like mango.
Just few days after we went to the first Apollo restaurant, we went to Anom restaurant. We were expecting that there will be many people since it was Friday night. As soon as we went in, we realised that we were the first few people to come to the restaurant that evening. Then we realised that it was only 6 pm, and that’s why the restaurant is not crowded yet. We ordered 1/2 ayam goreng (40k), ikan kerapu stim (50k) and cumi goreng telor asin (55k).
– Pujasera 88 (Seafood)
The place is located just behind Holiday 88 cinema on Jl. Sultan Syarif Qasim and it is more of an outdoor foodcourt.
There are many type of food you can choose from, although most of them are seafood. We opted for 168 seafood which is located in the corner of the food court. The food we ordered includes cumi goreng tepung (45k) and kerang with special sauce (25k).
– Enoki (Japanese)
Located inside Mal Pekanbaru, the restaurant is actually owned by Jatra hotel, which is just next to the restaurant. On the menu are various type of sushi rolls, ramen, udon, teriyaki lunch box set.
– Warung Merry
Another eating place worth of mention is Warung Merry. It serves home cooking food. We went there once. From outside it doesn’t look like a normal restaurant. Located on Jl. Mutiara No 35B, it opens from 6.30 everyday (except Sunday) for breakfast and it also does catering service. They even have a face book account. Just search for “warungmerry”.
I guess our journey to Pekanbaru is not complete without eating our favourite durian. Not actually a restaurant that we went to, but more of a street vendor. They just stack the Durians behind a mini van. We stopped for Durian in front of Bukit Putra soccer field, and only had it once because we were worried about cholesterol. Each Durian costed us about 10k each.
We also went to other more familiar restaurants, like d’cost (which is incredibly cheap!), Ayam goreng lunak Hayam Wuruk, Pizza Hut, Bakso lapangan tembak Senayan, KFC and Ikan Goreng Cianjur.
Looking for souvenirs? We visited Cik Puan and Kembang Sari for our souvenirs. Not only they sell Pekanbaru souvenirs, we even found some other cities specialities, like Kripik Balado from Padang and Malaysian Apollo cakes.
So what’s in Pekanbaru? work, work work…. Yup, I was I assigned for two weeks of work in Pekanbaru. This would be my first time to visit the capital city and the biggest city in Riau province. My first impression when I got out of the plane was the cloud was a bit dark and gloomy. It looked really grey, as if it was gonna be raining. But according to the driver who picked us up, it hasn’t been raining for a while.
During my stay there, I stayed at Grand Zuri hotel. To my disappointment, I was allocated a room in the smoking floor. The room really smells, and just few minutes after we arrived, we asked the receptionist to move us to another room. During my stay at the hotel, I spotted Nadine Chandrawinata, the Miss Indonesia 2005. I guess she was staying at the same hotel as well.
The building itself is located near two shopping malls, Mal Pekan Baru and Senapelan Plaza.
Despite me coming here for work, it is the food adventure and the architecture that excites me. There are some eye catching architectures, like the library Soeman Hs and the building next to the governor’s office:
It is the library Soeman Hs. The shape of the building is interesting. It has that futuristic look, but if you look at it carefully, the shape of the building resembles an open book. The building next to the library is also pretty eye catching. It is located next to the governor’s office:
We took the city’s Busway to get around the city. For Rp 3,000 you can hop on one of the bus. We found it very convenient to get on the bus, which is cheaper if you compare it to taking the taxi or bajaj.
Few blocks from our hotel is where the Grand mosque An Nur located. It is worth the wait until just after Maghrib to take the picture of the mosque. Some people have said the mosque resembles the Taj Mahal:
I will write about the food in my next post. If you are planing to visit the city or want to know more about the city, you can also check out the official website of the city is http://www.pekanbaruriau.com