Back to the Roots with Nasi Peda Pelangi

by Anwar Arifin
5th April 2022
Located at SCBD’s Fairgrounds, Nasi Peda Pelangi presents a breath of fresh air amidst Jakarta’s bustling business district. Infused with communal values, it serves a comforting curation of homemade Indonesian food executed with a thoughtful approach.

Tucked into a shaded green corner at Fairgrounds, Nasi Peda Pelangi offers a refreshing alternative amidst the towering skyscrapers of SCBD. Started off as a home business by Nadya Pratiwi and her husband Yusuf Dharmawan, the eatery keeps things humble and straightforward: round wooden tables, stools, a few plants and a quaint food stall fill the compact, amphitheatre-style outdoor space.

Beneath the modest appearance, however, Nasi Peda Pelangi puts special care into its food. With roots in Indonesian flavours, the eatery offers a delightful curation of homemade fares collected from nostalgic memories and passed-down recipes, notable local cookbooks as well as the couple’s many travels

One such example is the titular dish itself, Nasi Peda, which was inspired by a meal Nadya’s mother would put together using leftovers when she was younger. Combining rice, stir-fried salted Peda fish, a sunny-side-up and sweet and spicy potato chips, the recipe’s simplicity remains its main charm. There is also an ample selection of traditional snacks, be it sweet or savoury, such as sugar-dusted potato doughnuts and Peda-filled panada

However, the real attention grabber is their Gorontalo-style tuna satay. Soft and succulent, each skewer is covered with a thin layer of a smokey yet sweet sauce, topped with a dollop of sambal. It pairs well with a refreshing glass of Butterfly Pea Flower Tea, which is made with freshly-picked petals from the eatery’s small garden.

Behind these dishes is also a noble goal realised through the establishment’s Beras Baik Movement. Hand-in-hand with a local farmer, Nadya and Yusuf helped bring back the ancestral practice of rice cultivation to a village in Sragen, Central Java, giving new life to soil ruined by imported lab-made seeds and compost, and replacing them with local and organic alternatives while forgoing pesticides altogether. The movement has since created a hearty cycle that benefits both producers and consumers, resulting in fairer trading practices and healthier rice grains, the latter of which are integrated into the eatery’s menu.

After all, communal values lie at the core of Nasi Peda Pelangi, and this isn’t restricted to their hub in Fairgrounds. With more branches in the works, the eatery continues to delight with its pairing of simple, home-cooked food and honest goodwill.