Satay ayam, or grilled chicken on a stick, is the Indonesian (or Malay or Philippine) version of the barbecue that has become one of my favourite Indonesian dishes. It’s smaller in size compared to the Philippine version because each skewered chicken piece is bite size. Last night, amidst the sudden torrential, flood-inducing downpour in Bekasi, Indonesia, I discovered – it was my first time at the place – this wonderful satay ayam stall at Summarecon Mall manned by three people, a female cashier, a male “griller”, and a meal assembler.
Called Satay Ayam Madura, it’s at the food court of Summarecon Mall that caters to Indonesian cuisine from the various islands of the country. The food court is a sprawling area that has indoor and outdoor sitting that are ringed by trolleys and food counters. Satay Ayam Madura is situated to the left of the entrance toward the stage area where that night had a band performing local ditties with the simultaneous screening of a football match on a gargantuan screen. Follow the smoky trail and you’ll find Satay Ayam Madura. The smoke from its grill enveloped the sitting area making it hard to breathe and one’s eyes sting but the smoke eventually dissipated. There is a respite from the grilling if orders have slowed down a bit.
The satay ayam is grilled on the spot in this narrow trough-like griller. The sauces and rice are ready to be assembled on the plate, but one has to wait for about 15+ minutes for the satay ayam to be ready and have an order of nine satay ayam nestled in peanut sauce and kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) ready for the taking. The grilled chicken is served either with lontong or the more commonplace steamed rice. I usually go with the lontong, cylindrical rice cake wrapped in banana leaf and boiled cut into bite-size pieces, because of a childhood predilection for sticky rice. I was a bit apprehensive the peanut sauce would be spicy as it is always the case, but it wasn’t so it was one happy meal for me. The satay was fresh and succulent, and the sauces were flavorful. Even the lontong had this fresh taste to it. At IDR29, 000 per plate (PhilP109.22), one is in for an economical yet very appetising dinner during a stormy Saturday night.