Palembang, Indonesia Eat and drink


Pempek Kapal Selam and Keriting in Kuah Cuko.

from Wikivoyage by Gunawan Kartapranata CC BY-SA 3.0

Palembang cuisine is the second most well-known from Sumatra after Padang. They primarily use freshwater fish and prawn as ingredients due to the paramount role of the Musi River for the area. Spices are also generally included although not as liberal as its same-island counterpart. Malay, Indian, and Chinese culture has also influenced Palembang's culinary scene. Do try these while you are here:

  • Pempek is the dish virtually everyone in Indonesia thinks of when mentioning Palembang cuisine. It is a dough of fish cake which can be either boiled, fried, or grilled and is eaten with a sweet and spicy sauce called Cuko,topped with cucumber and prawn powder. Because it is actually a dough, locals have intelligently crafted them into shapes and sizes, as well as being creative with fillings. Examples include lenjer (long cylinder shaped), keriting (curly), kapal selam (literally: submarine. filled with egg), adakan (round and fried) and pites (filled with cooked young papaya).

  • Model are a variety of pempek with tofu fillings.

  • Tekwan are small pempek balls served with fresh shrimp soup.

  • Mie celor is a soup of thick yellow noodle served with coconut milk broth, topped with egg and prawn.

  • Pindang Ikan is a spicy smoked fish soup, similar to Thai's tom yum soup. It is normally eaten with rice, with side dishes like seluang goreng and sambal buah.

  • Pepes Tempoyak is made of patin fish seasoned with durian and spices.

  • Nasi Minyak is Palembang's version of Briyani Rice. The rice is seasoned with ghee and other spices to create the fragrant and distinct taste. Best served with Ayam Kecap (soysauce chicken) or Malbi (spiced stewed beef).


  • Mie Celor 26 Ilir, Jl. KH. Ahmad Dahlan No. 02. Morning until 18:00. The most famous mie celor restaurant in Palembang, situated at a market. The Mie Celor is similar to laksa, but less spicy and more condensed broth, with scents of prawn and coconut milk. From Rp15,000.

  • Pempek & Es Kacang Vico, Jl. Letkol Iskandar No. 541-542. A constant flow of customers are craving for pempek at this tenant across the Palembang Indah Mall. Its Es Kacang Merah (red bean ice) can neutralize the spiciness of the broth or to be enjoyed on its own on a hot day. A popular gift idea from Palembang, they do delivery across the country even by air cargo! From Rp15,000.

  • Pempek Saga Sudi Mampir, Jl. Merdeka, +62 711 314 417. While most of the pempek you see are typically either fried or steamed, this establishment has it baked or grilled, making the texture crispy outside and soft inside, without the guilt of too much oil. Recommended for its pempek lenggang (pempek filled with duck egg, grilled while wrapped in banana leaves). From Rp20,000.


  • Martabak HAR, Jl. Jend Sudirman No. 2269, +62 711 315 086. 24 hours. The HAR stands for its founder, an Indian immigrant named Haji Abdul Razak who opened the murtabak restaurant which still stands 70 years later in the same spot! One of the most famous restaurants in town, their specialty is the Murtabak filled with minced meat and duck egg, eaten with curry. You can also order a plain murtabak or prata, or other Indonesian delights. About Rp25,000.

  • Pagi Sore, Jl. Ahmad Yani No.285 B 8, +62 711 510 655. Most major cities in Indonesia have at least one prominent Padang restaurant, and this is the one that Palembang has. Famous for all-rounders of the spicy Padang food. From Rp30,000.

  • Sri Melayu, Jl. Demang Lebar Daun No. 1, +62 711 420 468. The restaurant, which is next to the governor's office, offers pindang - a smoked or steamed fish in a sweet, sour, and spicy soup - as its specialty. While Palembang primarily uses Pangasius (ikan patin) fish as its ingredient, the restaurant has other varieties such as fish head, shrimp, or other fishes, such as the second most favorite, ikan baung. Top it off with the sweet srikaya pudding or coconut water. Mains from Rp25,000.


  • La Vita Bella Casual Dining, Jl. AKBP Cek Agus 284 Kenten Golf, +62 711 562 6366. A Western restaurant with an open kitchen concept. Chic and quaint British style exterior and so is the food, from steaks to pizzas, for a generally lower price than hotels. From Rp50,000.

  • River Side Restaurant, Jl. Rumah Bari, +62 711 368 222. Lunch 11:00-14:00, dinner 16:00-22:00. A dining experience by the bank of the Musi River with a fantastic view of the iconic Ampera bridge. Primary offerings include the Palembang's local delicacy, especially its pindang, seafood, and a few Chinese dishes. From Rp40,000.