Finding Local Gems from the Locals

Submitted by viravira on 16 October 2015   •  Uncategorized

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Indonesia is such a big archipelago, a lot of times friends and families are separated not by towns by also faraway islands. So when the opportunity of visiting another place comes, we are more than happy to meet long lost friends. Hence on the #Terior7Wonders trip, Barry contacted Yudi, a fellow traveler who now resides in Tabalong, South Kalimantan, for work. As a local who knows better about the place than us, Yudi is a local gem that recommended Paliat restaurant for our lunch, also as a rendezvous for a catching-up.


Paliat is the name of the restaurant as well as the name of a menu. Paliat is a dish specially made to treat respected guests in the old times in Tabalong, which is like a lighter version of curry. The ingredients usually contain fish from the sea or river, with the broth made of coconut, lime, turmeric, gallangal, chili and a few other stuff.

We tried the catfish (patin) paliat and prawn paliat. The prawns were super yummy because they were fresh, so there was a little bit of sweetness in the meat, combined with the savory paliat broth, it was heavenly. As for the fish, well, I didn’t try it because I’m not a fish fan in general, but all the other guys on the table loved it. They said it was fresh and plain yummy. Thanks to Yudi, we had our best food as far as the road trip went up to that point.


The restaurant is far from fancy, but it is big and provides rows of long tables. Families go there for dinner or weekend treats, but it’s mostly full at lunchtime on weekdays, serving as the ‘meeting room’ for offices. Tabalong is a relatively small town but businesses happen there, since oil and coal minings are around.


Yudi has lived in Tabalong with his wife and kids for about two years now, and it looks like he’s enjoying his time there. We weren’t what you’d call the best of friends, but it was nice to see a friend somewhere so far from home. As mostly Indonesian people living in smaller towns, they make super nice hosts for those visiting. Yudi even brought some of us sasirangan cloth as souvenirs! It’s a cloth special to South Kalimantan. The town has also held an annual cultural festival for a few times, which will be made a bigger event starting 2016 – the Tabalong Ethnic Festival on 13-15 February 2016, and Tabalong Ethnic Carnaval on 14 February 2016.

The delicious paliat, the sasirangan cloth, and the festival. All these I might not know about (and bring home) if it weren’t for a friend that now lives in faraway island, reconciled by a road trip!


Travel bloggers with Yudi (creme top). Pic by Harris

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