Be it for one’s health, moral and religious convictions or desire, vegetarianism has been the on-demand lifestyle choice in Jakarta and this pool has driven the F&B industry to get creative with their meals. Long gone are the days where vegetarianism was pictured as a lousy salad bowl with store-bought dressing: chances are, even the most mouthwatering meat-based dish has a plant-based alternative to match.
The art of substituting meat for plants is popular in Western cuisine, but take a deeper look into our local fares, and you’ll find vegetarianism has quietly blossomed there too for years. To name one, Namy House Vegetarian arrives unsuspectingly in west Jakarta to the delight of vegetarians who long for bold traditional flavours of the revered Nasi Padang, a meal known best for its flavoursome meat dishes.
Modestly lodged in the hindmost part of an overlooked compound at Grogol, Namy House will first capture your sight with a wide choice of plant-based Minang or Padang dishes (lauk) stacked behind a glass display, canteen-style. The inviting aroma that unmistakably shouts Padang food naturally follows, guiding us as we choose the dish.
Once here, do as you would if you were at a regular Padang eatery: pick to create your own meal. Though the selections are all-embracing, it would be a faux-pas to skip its bestsellers: rendang, ayam bakar, ampela and dendeng, impeccably fashioned from shiitake mushrooms and cooked in signature Padang zest that we know and love.
Hence, pair the dish with several additions like telur balado (deep fried egg in chilli sauce) and tempeh before dousing your rice with the savoury gulai (coconut milk curry) sauce and a spoonful of sambal to jolt your tastebuds.
One may not give it much thought but the idea that our local cuisines can be made to include more dietary choices is gratifying, especially if plant-based ingredients can match the deliciousness of the OG. With Namy House, they’ve aced the spin to make Minang cuisine wholesome for everyone.