Spicy Randang Padang

      Randang, a Ceremonial Food of the Minangkabau. 

One of the most famous food dishes of Indonesia is Randang, which is a ceremonial food from the Minagkabau people of west Sumatra. And because the capital of west Sumatra is Padang this dish became famous in the world as Randang Padang.

Minang House

Minang House

Today Randang Padang is made all over Indonesia and even in other countries in the world, especially in the Netherlands and the United States of America where many Dutch-Indo’s and Indonesians are living.
But the taste differs in many ways, because of the different uses of spices, the way it has been prepared and the way it is cooked.

In the book “Walk in Splendor” is written:

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Aside from believing that food cooked at home simply fits a person’s constitution better than food from anywhere else, many Minangkabau fear that food from elsewhere may adulterated with substances that do not agree with them. In extreme cases, strange food is feared to have been deliberately poisoned or contaminated with Filth by witches or demons who only appear to be human beings.
It is likely that many Minangkabau would prefer to take their whole kitchen with them when traveling, but barring that in mind, they pack their preferred travel food, a dry and sometimes very spicy meat dish known as Randang. Because the dish Randang is taken abroad by Minangkabau people and it is served today in Minangkabau restaurants abroad, it became famous as the spicy  Randang Padang.
Randang is cooked by simmering red meat, originally meat from the water buffalo, in coconut milk and many curry spices mixed with hot peppers over low heat  for many hours of stirring, until the saus is completely gone and has crumbled and covered by the spices.
Red meat can be replaced by goat or chicken meat, jack fruit or fish and even shrimp.
As a result of the long and slow cooking process, the coconut milk, spices and meat becomes dark brown to black and it is said to keep for weeks without refrigeration.
The original Randang from the Minangkabau has a spicy, rich, slightly sweet (but sugar is not used!) and smoky taste.
All the basic food preparation, including squeezing the fresh coconut milk, is done by women. Men are doing the heavy lifting of the wadjan, pouring and especially the many hours of stirring.


Indo Food Court in Duarte

 The Indo Food Court in Duarte, California.
Thanks to the efforts of Senator Walter about 60,000 Dutch-Indo’s left The Netherlands between 1950 and 1965 to start a new life in the US. The relevant laws were successively the Pastore-Walter Act of 1958 and the Pastore-Walter Act II in 1960. It came down to the fact that the Dutch Indo’s could enter the US as refugees and displaced persons.
Today’s estimate tells us that there are about 200,000 Dutch Indo’s living in America, and of which about half have their homes in Southern California (Los Angeles).
This means they could work here, live in freedom and enjoy a warm and sunny climate.
After the year 2000 the third generation of these Indo’s began to integrate in the American multi-cultural community in such a way, that the older first generation Indo’s were concerned, that this new generation will no longer know where they actually came from. This new younger generation Indo-Americans also speak only English.



 On April 2002 a few of the first generation Indo’s led by “aunt” Hetty Hehl and “Uncle” Fred Lutzow to do something about it, mainly to keep the old stories and memories alive.
And that started the Indo Food Court in the town of Duarte, large approximately 30.000 inhabitants and located at the base of the Foothills, 30 miles east of Los Angeles.
The owner of the motel “The Duarte Inn” was also very helpful and cooperative to let this group of Dutch-Indo’s use his property in the back. Every Saturday from 10 o’clock in the morning until 2 o’clock in the afternoon all Indo’s, young and old, have a kind of meeting place where they can sit and chat about tempo doeloe.
4 tents were also set up where you buy delicious Indonesian dishes, cookies and drinks. The owners of these tents were mostly Chinese-Indonesians and well verse in English. In the beginning they did not even know what Indo Blanda’s were, but after 11 years we all became good friends. The oldies are all addressed with “Uncle” and “aunt” and the spoken language among the Indo’s is mainly Dutch.

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To let the Dutch-Indo community know about the Indo Food Court many phone calls were made to friends in the surrounding areas and far away to invite them. There are tables and chairs under tents to sit down to talk about old times or to exchange new tidbits from Holland. The majority of our first generation has passed the 70 and enjoy a pension and a little aow. Looking back in time, we Indos have worked hard, however we have done pretty well and made it.
Nowadays we see more and more the 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation of Amerindo’s appear, though it is mainly for the Indonesian food.
The Food Court has a name now, anyone knows where to find us and we are open every Saturday, “Rain or Shine”.

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 Also you Euro-Asians from the Netherlands are welcome. If you plan to visit family and/or friends in California come also down to the Food Court in Duarte. What do you guys think of e.g. nasi kuning with a choice of 3 different dishes, or nasi bungkus with choices like rendang java, ajam pedis or ikan pedis, udang belado, sajur peteh-lodeh, Atjar, and then the snacks as lemper, pastei, resolos, aram aram, combro, and do not forget tjendol etc.
You will certainly not regret it and who knows you might meet old friends. Come wi
th news and fun stories, so we all have a friendly laugh.

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At the Food Court, however, no smoking is the rule and the dogs should stay at home.

The Food Court Duarte is located at 1200 East Huntington Drive, Duarte, California 91010, United States.
Food tents are behind the motel and parking is free.