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Minahasa - Food from North Sulawesi, Indonesia

Minahasa - Food from North Sulawesi, Indonesia
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  • Minahasa - Food from North Sulawesi, Indonesia

    Post #1 - April 5th, 2021, 9:17 pm
    Post #1 - April 5th, 2021, 9:17 pm Post #1 - April 5th, 2021, 9:17 pm
    The circumstances that made taking the leap necessary obviously
    suck, but a bright spot in the restaurant industry during the pandemic has been the number of people who've gone out on their own to introduce new food options to Chicago.

    In November, Mike Sula introduced the public to Minahasa, Chicago's first Sulawesian restaurant. Launched as a delivery-only option in September 2020 by John Avila, a local chef who merged his solid culinary training with the traditions from his mother's home in Tomohon, Northern Sulawesi, Indonesia. Most of the food I had wasn't specific to Tomohon, but of course they eat plenty of food from other parts of Indonesia in Northern Sulawesi.

    Non-food side note: North Sulawesi is the easiest place (everything's relative) to see the Celebes crested macaque, made internet famous over the last decade thanks to the monkey selfie case.

    By late January, things were going well enough that Avila upgraded from being a home cook to claiming a spot in Revival Food Hall. I picked up there tonight and had a really delicious meal that filled the dining room with a glorious array of mouth-watering aromas. I'll definitely be going back.

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    Satay Ayam: Chicken skewers with peanut sauce on the side. Very good rendition of this classic Indonesian snack.

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    Soto Ayam: Chicken soup with turmeric, rice noodles, boiled egg, fried shallots, celery leaves, herbs, sambal, bean sprouts & tomatoes. This soup was great, but very salty. Plan to share this one as a result, but the taste and smell are great.

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    Nasi Goreng: Spicy fried rice with tofu. This one is also available with the addition of chicken or shrimp, but I see no need. Loads of flavor a nice kick.

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    Beef Rendang: Beef braised in dry curry spice paste with coconut milk. Another great rendition of an Indonesian classic.

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    Ayam Tuturuga: Chicken braised in sour, spicy, savory yellow curry with lemongrass & lime leaves. This was probably my favorite dish of the night along with the nasi goreng. It's also, as far as I can tell, the only distinctly Minahasan dish that I had.

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    Balapis: Coconut pandan layered rice cake. A great, fragrant, not too sweet end to the meal.

    Minahasa
    Revival Food Hall
    125 S. Clark
    (773) 770-6169
    minahasarestaurant.com
  • Post #2 - April 6th, 2021, 7:50 am
    Post #2 - April 6th, 2021, 7:50 am Post #2 - April 6th, 2021, 7:50 am
    Wow. That looks great. Thanks for sharing. Might have to time my next trip to the office around picking up a meal from Minahasa. Does it travel well?
    -Mary
  • Post #3 - April 6th, 2021, 1:17 pm
    Post #3 - April 6th, 2021, 1:17 pm Post #3 - April 6th, 2021, 1:17 pm
    The GP wrote:Does it travel well?

    Incredibly well. Most Indonesian food is served at room temperature and I don't think any of the entrees suffered at all in the half hour between pickup and eating. We did reheat the broth, which came in a separate container from the rest of the soup ingredients. The satay probably would've been better fresh off a grill, but the meat was tender and the flavor was great and I'd eat it again without bothering to reheat it.

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