Fri, Aug 15, 2003 - Page 19 News List

Restaurant: Sate House

Address: 15 Leli Rd., Taipei (台北市樂利路15號)
Telephone: (02) 2732-5048
Open: Lunch 11:30am to 2pm; dinner 5pm to 9pm
Average meal: NT$750 for two
Details: No English menu. Credit cards not accepted

By Gavin Phipps  /  STAFF REPORTER

Beef rendang and spicy beef with saffron rice at Sate House.

PHOTO: GAVIN PHIPPS, TAIPEI TIMES

Opened 11 years ago by Yang Man-yun (楊曼雲), Taipei's Sate House has built a reputation as one of the city's most authentic Indonesian eateries -- serving up some of the tastiest and spice-infused chow outside of the picturesque, but politically troubled nation.

Which is not really surprising, as Yang is a native of Malang, which according to Yang, is the home of Indonesian cooking. So genuine and highly regarded is the food that comes out of the Sate House's kitchen, in fact, that the place is a favorite with many of the better-connected Indonesian expats. On any given day high-ranking officials from the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and the Indonesian Trade Office can been seen chowing down on traditional dishes in Yang's simple, yet comfortable dining area.

In stark contrast to the multitude of SE Asian restaurants that litter Taipei with their glitzy interiors and same-same menus, the Sate House goes for a more homely look and an original menu.

A handful of obligatory Indonesian nick-knacks such as photographs and puppets adorn the walls, but apart from that the Sate House's interior is relatively sparse. Unlike the menu, which is packed with all sorts of mouthwatering Indonesian fair and the contrasting flavors of lemon grass, coconut milk, cilantro and various types of curry.

While there is no English on the menu -- preferring instead to use Chinese and Indonesian -- large photos of all the dishes make choosing your meal hassle-free. The menu is packed with everything from popular sates, which range in price from NT$180 to NT$250 and which come served with Yang's special sate dip, to lesser known dishes like udang pete (shrimp with rather potent Indonesian beans, NT$380).

To ensure all the dishes served up at the Sate House are as fresh as possible, Yang imports the multitude of spices needed on a weekly basis. All of which ensures that the food, be it ikan bakar (baked fish, NT$380 -- NT$450), rendang sapi (spicy beef, NT$220), ayum bumbu rujak (hot and spicy chicken, NT$220) or gado gado (Indonesian salad, NT$160), all tastes genuine.

Some of the Sate House's more popular dishes include udang goreng mentega (fried shrimp in black bean sauce, NT$380), Bali sapi (Bali beef, NT$220), tahu telor (egg and tofu salad, NT$160) and ayam goreng mentega (chicken in bean sauce, NT$280).

An interesting and highly unique way to finish off any meal at Sate House is to sample some of Yang's homemade durian-flavored ice cream (NT$80). While possibly not everyone's first choice of desserts, the Sate House's notoriously stinky fruit-flavored iced cream is, thankfully, odorless and remarkably tasty.

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