Where to eat and drink: Lembata

Lembata: Where to eat and drink

Lembata is not a culinary paradise, but that said, there is plenty of decent and very affordable eating from simple market meals to a small gaggle of delicious seafood stalls by the harbour.

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Lembata is known for jugung titi, a corn-based snack often eaten with coffee or peanuts. Similar to popcorn, corn kernels are dry fried, then smashed on a stone before being refried in oil. Unlike popcorn, it’s remarkably tasteless with a consistency of baked cardboard. It’s an acquired taste.

Racking up the satay at Jogja Satay. Photo by: Stuart McDonald.
Racking up the satay at Jogja Satay. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Lewoleba has no night market, but a large fresh produce market lies a few kilometres to the west of town (we were told the original downtown market, on apparently sought after land, “burnt down”). This is the place to stock up on fruit and typical market fare. The two listed hotels supply breakfast as a part of their standard offerings.

We had multiple decent lunches at popular Rumah Makan Bandung Lembata # which sits diagonally across from Hotel Rejeki. They do Indonesian standards, including a solid rendang and a variety of iced drinks.

Calamari with the garlic sambal at the harbour restaurants. Photo by: Stuart McDonald.
Calamari with the garlic sambal at the harbour restaurants. Photo: Stuart McDonald

In the evening, a little further up the same road you’ll see Jogja Satay # which does goat and chicken satay, goat soup and a delicious ayam bakar mudu—barbecued chicken in a syrupy honey sauce. You can eat in or get take-away to scoff back at your hotel.

A block east of Jogja Satay lies Rumah Makan Dula Minang # which offers a reasonable selection of Padang dishes in a restaurant setting—skip the fried chicken but get an extra serving of the sambal—it is good.

You probably will not go thirsty. Photo by: Stuart McDonald.
You probably will not go thirsty. Photo: Stuart McDonald

In lieu of a night market, Lewoleba has a respectable gaggle of seafood restaurants # out by the harbour. There’s little to separate them and you can order from a couple of different shops to be served at the one table. Prices are very respectable and the seafood excellent. We had multiple baked fish, deep fried calamari and crabs (not all in the one sitting!) There is also plentiful iced beer—good for a sundowner as the sun sinks behind Adonara.

Chicken waiting for the honey bbq. Photo by: Stuart McDonald.
Chicken waiting for the honey bbq. Photo: Stuart McDonald

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Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.