The cuisine of the Minangkabau people is commonly called Padang cuisine, due to it being the capital and largest city of the region. Padang restaurants are common throughout the country and are famous for their spicy food and their unique way of serving it. Padang food is usually cooked once per day, and all customers choose from those dishes, which are left out on display until no food is left. It is served in small portions of various dishes, but constituting, with rice, a complete meal.
In a Padang-style restaurant, the table will quickly be set with dozens of small dishes filled with highly-flavored foods such as curried fish, fried tempeh, stewed greens, chili eggplant, curried beef liver, fried chicken, and of course, sambals, the spicy sauces ubiquitous at Indonesian tables. Customers take – and pay for – only what they want from this array of dishes. Food safety is generally a concern, as customers take food out of communal dishes with their hands, dishes which will be served to subsequent customers.
The best known Padang dish is rendang, a spicy meat stew. Soto Padang (crispy beef in spicy soup) is local residents’ breakfast favorite, meanwhile Sate (beef satay in curry sauce served with ketupat) is a treat in the evening.