Let's we have a throwback to two months ago, where did you go for last December holiday? I was having a trip, visiting my brother who was on duty in Sorong, West Papua. When you might be having a thought "Wow, what a rural!", in fact, Sorong was not that out of town that it is the most developed city in West Papua!
Being a coastal city makes Sorong become the city of transit from Makassar or East Nusa Tenggara. Plus, on 90s President Soeharto was empowering transmigration mostly from Java island to Sorong, and those were the most influencing things for culinary culture in Sorong.
My family absolutely benefited this as the majority of Sorong native inhabitants are Christian, we at first were afraid of the trouble in finding halal food. It is easy now to find the halal restaurant owned by Moslem from Java or Makassar, and you should have no worry of expensive price for high-quality food options as the perk of being a coastal city is obviously the best quality of seafood!
Anyway, one thing you should understand about before doing transaction in Sorong is they do not used to weigh anything their sell. The method to weigh is still very traditional, they stack the commodities (fruit, fishes, anything) in to piles, each approximately is in the same weight. By then, they decide the price per pile.
Now in a list, the most should visited culinary or cultural site in Sorong! Here they are:
1. Pantai Tembok Berlin (Berlin Wall Beach) Seafood Hawkers, Jalan Yos Sudarso (Google Maps)
Price range: IDR50.000-IDR80.000/person
The original name is actually Pantai Dofior, with popular name "Pantai Tembok Berlin" or just "Pantai Tembok", not because it had historical event with the Germany, but due to 1.5 metres high wall, separating Jalan Yos Sudarso from the coast.
And just like I've mentioned before, most of the hawker were not the original inhabitants, as they stated on their banner in front of their stalls that they were coming from Java island.
My family ended up eating at "Yogyakarta" stall. We order squids and fish, all were grilled along with stirfried kangkong and sambal.
2. Mega Rasa Bandung, Sundanese Restaurant, (Google Maps)
Price range: IDR30.000-IDR60.000/person
This is the most authentic Sundanese restaurant in Sorong. The owner is a transmigrant from Bandung, West Java, so their menus has Ayam penyet, Sayur asam, and lalapan. I opted to Patin fish soup which they cooked with Sundanese style. In common Sundanese restaurant in Java island, it is common to have that kind of soup, but with freshwater fish such as Gourami.
3. Warung Makan Arisvik (Google Maps)
Located in transmigrant area, Sorong regency, this restaurant sells the most bizarre food I ever ate: Deer Satay! As it is on the transmigrant area, the seller was a Javanese Moslem, he stated that he got the stock from Manokwari.
Beside peanut sauce and sweet spiced soy sauce, we also given some kind of transparent chicken curry stock. It was unique and fitted the taste of deer satay nicely. The satay itself was tasted like beef, but the aftertaste was like eating goat: you feel warm all over your body.
4. Rumah Makan Mini, Chinese Restaurant (Google Maps)
Even though they stated "Chinese Food" all the menu was Moslem friendly, it's all seafood. Their menus were more like Singaporean style seafood, those ones you'll be able to find in Duck King. My brother told me that this restaurant were already in Sorong in 90s, before Sorong was getting popular caused by Raja Ampat. Too bad I forgot to capture the interiors which reminded me of old Jackie Chan movie fighting scene in karaoke room.
5. Dapur Berkat, Makassar Restaurant (Google Maps)
You were not in Sorong yet if you did not eat Papeda, the sago based- main carbohydrates for people in East Indonesian. We ate it along with yellow soup fish and stir-fried papaya flowers.
(PS: To be honest, this restaurant is kind of pricey, but on that day we could not find any restaurant that sold papeda as it was national holiday.)
6. Makassar style Yellow Rice, (gurney in front of Swiss-Belhotel Sorong, Google Maps)
There are differences between Javanese yellow rice and Makassar yellow rice. For me, the Makassar's yellow rice has stronger taste from the condiments but less coconut milk, while the Javanese's strong taste is likely coming from the coconut milk. The Makassar also have shredded spicy tuna as the side dish.
7. Pasar Ikan (Fish Market) Jembatan Puri (Google Maps)
This is not a restaurant but I really recommend you all to visit this market! By visiting this market I realized how fortunate we are as Indonesian, we lived in a country with rich nature resources!
I experienced the beautiful morning social activities while was being astonished by the variety fishes sold in market. They even sold the yellowfin tuna, and my brother told me that it was nothing hard to find those kind of fishes.
I am planning to travel overseas in the middle of 2017, insya Allah. I should post this kind of travelling for food more ofte, shouldn't I? :)