Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by indohoyindohoy on 24 November 2010 • Itinerary
Tana Toraja is too big and too rich in activities that we have to divide the story of our (only) 3-day stay in 2 parts. You’ve read the first part, which I uploaded last week (if you haven’t then you should), that included about most of our activities and how to get there. And this 2nd part will tell you mostly about our culinary treats and accommodation. Hold your drools, people.
We’ve covered our cultural ventures in the previous post. Now it’s shopping time!
To me, the temptation to shop in Tana Toraja wasn’t great. But I did promise my friends to bring them some souvenirs. Yeah, that’s a common thing among Indonesians, to ask for souvenirs when your friends, co-workers, or family travel somewhere, no matter it’s for leisure or work. It’s just a gesture of remembering and being remembered while you’re away or being left home, I guess.
So I bought some key chains, small purses, and bracelets from some stores on the main road of Rantepao. There are lots and lots of gift shop where you can also get some traditional cloths and statues.
At the entrance to the baby graves, there were like two kiosks which sold souvenirs. Mie and I bought little statuettes with the price of IDR 50,000 each.
I had to really limit my shopping in this trip cos there’s not much space left in my backpack.
And then there’s Tedi cloth shop in the street parallel to Dr. Sam Ratulangi street. They have better stuff than the ones in the market, at least in the presentation. And they won’t let you take pictures in the store to avoid imitation. You gotta respect that. Oh but they let us view the cloth making area in the back and we were free to take photos there. In the day, you would be fortunate to see the demonstration of weaving the cloth. It’s a process that you don’t see everyday in a modern country.
If you wanna make your friends jealous of your adventures in Tana Toraja, or just wanna say hi and let them know you’re doing fine, buy some postcards in the souvenir shops and mail them at the post office also on the main road. Everything is nearby in Rantepao.
I have quite a few coffee fanatic friends. So even though they didn’t ask for some, I know they’d be happy to get some local coffee from wherever I travel in or out of Indonesia.
In a corner near Monika lodge, across a backpacking gear shop, there’s this coffee shop “Rezeki” that sells the seeds or ground coffee. It’s a shop that sells coffee only, they don’t make you as drinks and there’s no table where you can sit and sip.
They have the price rate put up on the wall. I think 0.25 kg of robusta coffee cost IDR 12,500, or something like that. And yup, they’ve got robusta and Arabica. The latter one is said to have better aroma. Robusta is Indonesia’s champion coffee. It’s a lot sour and stronger in caffeine than Arabica.
The first meal we had in Rantepao was at the Warung Kikil (do you remember what warung is? ). It was, I think, on the Diponegoro street, or a street parallel to it. I’m having a difficulty in finding the English word for kikil, probably ‘tendon’, well it’s the part of cow’s, goat’s, or bufallo’s legs. I’ve loved eating kikil all my life, but this was the first time I knew the existence of an eatery mainly dedicated for kikil menus.
They’ve got kikil in clear soup, in coconut-milk soup, and other kinds of cooking, as well as non-kikil menus like chicken and… um, others. We stuffed our tummies really well with only IDR 60,000 for everything.
If you can’t get yourself to eating kikil, cos it might be something that would be categorized as ‘Bizarre Food’ by Andrew Zimmerman, you can choose other menus there. Reno had the chicken pa’piong dish, a specialty from Toraja. The chicken is cooked in bamboo, and later mixed with the spices. If it is pork or buffalo meat instead of chicken, they usually cook it with the blood as well, at least that’s what I heard.
This humble restaurant is located exactly next to Wisma Monika, where we stayed. Because it’s close to our homestay, we went to eat and drink there quite a few times.
In the menu list you can see diverse food and beverages.. and a lot of misspell. They provide sandwiches, omelets, rice, gado-gado (Indonesian traditional salad with peanut sauce), fries, local Toraja coffee, beer, and so many more. Once I had a meal of fried tempeh and stir fried kangkuh veggies, it cost me IDR 25,000.
Jl. Dr. Sam Ratulangi # 34
It’s a café/restaurant across the Maria homestay. We were there one night only for some coffee and tea. The ambience was laid back, everyone was friendly and like they knew each other. There were some men at one table, who were regulars and most of them are tour guides, that put quite a performance with their guitars and vocal harmonization. If you like the quiet ambience, Mart’s probably wouldn’t be a place for you.
On the night before Mumun went ahead to Makassar and left Reno and me in Rantepao, we had dinner at Warung Pangkep Sop Saudara.. Phew, what a long name! Actually I think the name of the diner is Warung Pangkep, and their specialty is ‘sop saudara’ (translates to “brother soup”…hahaha.. please don’t ask me what the hey that means).
The dish that I had was soto pangkep, which I think is the same with sop saudara. Confusing, I know. Sowwy. Pangkep, I believe, is a place in South Sulawesi, so that’s probably where this food is originally from. And soto is very much like soup, but usually made with coconut milk and tastes spicier. Soto pangkep consists of meat, kikil, and.. of course some spice. It tastes salty and oily, not very good to your health but neither does McDonald’s but you eat it anyway, right?
My own meal (soto pangkep + rice) cost IDR 14,000.
Jl. A. Yani
On the last day in Tana Toraja, we had a late lunch in Maruang. I forgot the name of the restaurant, but it’s this building with walls only half way up, and pillars holding up the roof. It’s located in the middle of paddy fields.
In the middle of our meal, rain poured heavily along with strong wind, it was almost like a storm. We were eating in a table at a corner, so we had to move to another table in the middle. And the restaurant staff pulled the blinds down as soon as they could, but of course they got wet.
The food itself was..well, okay. We didn’t order anything with buffalo or cow’s meat because at that time we just witnessed the buffalo and pigs sacrifices at the funeral ceremony in Suaya. Reno and I ordered the national standard of Indonesian food, rice, fried noodle, fried chicken, etc.
This is a restaurant with a ggrreeeat view and delish dishes. It’s at Batu Tumonga, and I had rica-rica buffalo and Reno had black peppered buffalo. They don’t have much competition around, and a lot of tourists were having meals there as well.
My own meal (rica-rica buffalo + rice + mineral water) cost IDR 44,000.
Based on Mumun’s recommendation, we were going for Wisma Maria on Dr. Sam Ratulangi Street. Too bad they’re fully booked – probably because it was high season and it’s one of the recommended lodges by Lonely Planet – though I don’t get why the staff had to be so snappy with us. So, we decided to check in a room at Wisma Monika, just about across Maria.
Our room at Wisma Monika was clean, tidy, and IDR 100,000 / night / 3 beds, including bread and butter or jam for breakfast. Funny thing is, even the double bed room also cost the same. Funnier thing is, we didn’t take any picture of the interior! * facepalm *
The lodge is fine, though we actually preferred a place where we could hang and socialize with other travelers. Wisma Monika’s ambience was different. Other than us, the guests there were mostly locals who seemed to be on their business trip with their laptops and neat clothes and all. There was one Caucasian, but he didn’t seem up for a chat with us and was only out of his room for breakfast.
Location wise, Wisma Monika is great. It’s next to Mambo Restaurant (for more details, go to Eat tab), only 3 minute walk to LeBonna car rental and laundry (quite a weird business combination, yet both useful to travelers), 3 minute walk to a coffee store, 5 minute walk to the market which sells various things, and 5 minute walk to the main road, the A. Yani street.
There are actually a lot of other lodges on the Sam Ratulangi street and on the other part of town (still in walking distances), like Indra Hotel, Luta Hotel, Pia’s Poppies, and Duta 88 on Sawerigading street, but the good and affordable ones were all full. We didn’t wanna go out of our budget, which was IDR 75,000 / person max.
For the 3D2N stay in Rantepao and around, Tana Toraja.
– bus from Tentena to Rantepao: IDR 100,000
– angkot & ojek rides in town: about IDR 20,000
– car rental (including driver and gas) from the LeBonna: IDR 600,000 / car / 2 days
LeBonna : Jalan W Monginsidi #102, phone 62 423 23520
Food & bev:
total about IDR 130,000
also at LeBonna, I paid IDR 13,000 for 8 pieces including shorts and t-shirts.
I think the price depends on how thin or thick and how big your clothes are.