On our most recent vacation, we managed to travel to Manado, North Sulawesi, Indonesia for a diving trip. The diving experience in Manado is indescribable. The marine life is rich, locals are warm, resort is fantastic and accommodating, food is simple and delicious. Which I cannot help myself to write a post on my new found favourite dish called Bubur Manado, Manado Congee/Porridge.
I admit, this picture is not appealing at all! Looks like baby food? It’s Bubur Manado all stirred and mixed with herbs, chilli and kacap manis. It taste really amazing!!
We were not alone on this diving trip; we went with our favourite dive operator YK, from Singapore. YK had being doing business with this resort for 10 years and had builded a very close, strong relationship. D, manager from the resort had planned to bring YK to his favourite Bubur Manado stall and we were very lucky to tack along. Local knows BEST! Since we had a spare morning before departure, D also gave us a tour at the local market which was an eye opening experience for us.
According to D, the stall holder relocates themselves at the market during the weekend. Since it was Friday we will have to visit them at their original site which was a very short drive from the market.
The stall is right next to the stall holder’s house. How convenience is that? Save a lot on traveling time! Found a lot of locals stay next to their “workplace” while we were touring the market. In another words, they are staying in the market. Hmmm I’m not too sure how comfortable I am on that.
In the front of the stall is where all the actions, washing, preparation and cooking are.
At the back of the stall is the serving area. Tables laid with bottle and bowls of condiments, jugs of water, cups and cutlery.
They only serve and specialise in Bubur Manado. Mr. doesn’t like porridge/congee at all. He will only take a few mouthful when he’s sick and I have to force it down his throat. He initially thought maybe he could order something else but only found out there’s nothing except for Bubur. BUT he requested for second serving and it’s speaks everything right?
There are quite a few condiments that go very well with the dish. First, there are two types of chilli sauce, one without fish paste and the other with fish paste mixed in.
Chilli sauce with fish paste has a very unique, strong taste. Reckon it’s not for everyone. Both are equally spicy and addictive.
Kecap manis (Indonesia sweet soy sauce) and tomato sauce are also provided. These two sauces are a lot more diluted from the usual sauces we use. It’s the cheaper alternative. Instead of using that, we were offered a special mini bottle of ABC kecap manis which the stall holder prepared just for D, their special customer. I was curious on the tomato sauce and had a taste. It tasted very artificial and watery.
We also ordered a few freshly deep fried bean curds as side. Notice how the bean curd is sliced in the middle, turned inside out before frying? The bean curd is fried till very fry but very crispy and crunchy as well. I had a few just on its own by drizzling with kecap manis and chilli.
The stall holder also prepared another special side for D. Instead of deep fried bean curd, they had it poached, served sprinkled with fried shallots. It’s delicious as well. Sorry didn’t manage to take a photo of it.
Bubur Manado itself consists of quite a few ingredients. There are corns, pumpkin, kangkong, rice and also noodle. It’s very interesting to see mixing rice and noodle together into the same dish. Garnished with a handful of fried shallots just before served.
Adding lemon basil, drizzle with kacap manis and a spoonful of chilli sauce, all mixed together and finally it’s ready to be eaten!
The soup is sweet, I’m guessing sweetness from pumpkin and corn. Very spicy, most probably because I added too much chilli. Even though weather was really humid, dish was piping hot and spicy and all of us looked like we just walked out from a sauna room but that didn’t stop us from enjoying the dish.
I had tried to recreate this dish twice since I got back. The first time was based on what I feel and from the recipe I read online. I even tweeted trying to find the recipe and H whose from Sulawesi managed to send me her granny’s recipe and I tried it again. Taste is very similar and passed Mr taste test.
Don’t really have any idea how I can recreate the chilli sauce? Felt chilli sauce is major component how the dish taste. Hopefully YK is able to get the recipe from the local on his next coming trip. Finger cross!