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Ayam Penyet

January 4, 2009

I know its still early in the morning but I am kinda hungry. The first food that come to my mind as I type now is that Indonesian food ‘Ayam Penyet’.

Okay I am not a fan of Indonesian food but after eating this Ayam Penyet on several occassions, I think I am loving it. Maybe it’s because I think more of it that I am missing it and the more I want to eat it. The more you miss something (or someone) the more you yearn for it (or her or him). Yes?

Ayam Penyet serve with rice and salad. Notice the earthenware they put the ayam penyent in. So authentic.

Ayam Penyet serve with rice and salad. Notice the earthenware they put the ayam penyent in. So authentic.

Ayam Penyet is a fried chicken dish so called because the chicken is smashed (I heard with a hammer) before being served hence the word ‘penyet’ which is Malay for smash. Sound cruel? Some call this dish ‘Ayam Kemek’ (aka flattened) as the chicken do look like its being flattened.
On the several encounter I have had with Ayam Penyet, I didn’t notice any funny taste due to the fact that the chicken was smashed. In fact it make the eating experience easier as the meat is already separated from the bone that you can just use a fork to take it to your mouth.

Now the highlight of Ayam Penyet is it’s ‘Sambal Belacan’ or permented prawn paste. It is a blast;  not too sweet and not that sour but blazing hot. For those who love the hottest of the hot sambal belacan should order the ‘hot’ version just like hubby. The first time we had our Ayam Penyet, his face and ears turned red with sweat running through his face. He had to ask for tissues every few minutes that the waitress gave him a box full. He also asked for a second dish! Now how yummy could that be.

One of the restaurants that serve Ayam Penyet is the Pondok Seri Mas Wani Satay Ala Jawa (what a long name) located just across the Sengkurong Mosque. When my family and I were there for the first time, I noticed there were a number of Indonesians there so the dishes serve there must be authentic. While there I would also recommend it’s satay. The satay there are among the tastiest and biggest I have tasted so far. They are also cheap.

Iced milk tea with brown sugar. It took me about a minute to blend the brown sugar in. This is super yummy.

Iced milk tea with brown sugar. It took me about a minute to blend the brown sugar in. This is super-duper refreshing.

A drink that may quash your burning tongue at the restaurant after your Ayam Penyet experience is it’s cold ‘Teh Tarik’, an iced milk tea mix with brown sugar. Its so refreshing that I always order twice for this beverage. You have to stir well until the sugar dissolve then you can feel the euphoria of your dining experience. Alhamdullilah.

I also saw Ayam Penyet being sold at The Mall. Yes the chicken was still flattened or smashed but the sambal belacan is not the same. Different people have different taste buds. You be the judge. I am getting ready to order my Ayam Penyet.

Now the issue with not just with Ayam Penyet is that such dish might end up being one of the popular food in Brunei. Such is the case with kebab and tikka which are widely being sold across the country. 

This trend is normal where immigrants would bring in their culture and tradition with them wherever they go. On the positive side this is good as it bring richness to the host country, making it more multi-racial and multi-cultural. Just like the UK. Did you know that Chicken Tikka is now the number one dish in the United Kingdom? Now I really want to see our Ambuyat cuisine being served in major cities across the world. Possible. Let me enjoy my Ayam Penyet now as I think of how to market our Ambuyat.

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