Snorkeling and scuba diving can be the most luring activities in Manado, with or without the holding of the World Ocean Conference (WOC) and the Coral Triangle Initiatives (CTI) Summit. However, the water activities are not the only attraction in the North Sulawesi capital. Take a stroll down Jl. Wakeke and you will find rows of eating places offering traditional Manado food.
Six restaurants and two small food stalls sell special Manado porridge, locally known as tino-tuan, and mie cakalang (mackerel noodles). The tinotuan – best served with nike (tiny fish from Lake Tondano, battered and fried) – is made from pumpkin porridge blended with well-boiled cassava, noodles, corn kernels and vegetables. Small fillets of smoked mackerel and fried shallots are then heaped on top.
These restaurants also serve boiled milu (corn) and hot fried bananas served with flavored chili. Desire Maitimo, owner of the Dego Dego restaurant, said a group of officials from the North Sulawesi Food and Drug Monitoring Agency had visited her kitchen Monday to check on hygiene.
“They said they would survey all restaurants along the street, so they can provide a recommendation to the foreign delegates and maybe heads of state about the local cuisine,” she said.
She was upbeat the number of guests would increase during the conference, as she had begun to get a slew of bookings. “Tonight, we’re going to serve 20 guests from the Foreign Ministry in our VIP room,” she said, showing off an air-conditioned room with square tables to seat 30 guests.
The non-air-conditioned room has tables and chairs made from coconut trees, and traditional musical instruments called kolintang. Desire said her restaurant, built in 2007, served up to 200 people on weekdays and up to 500 on weekends. As part of preparations to welcome the delegates, she said she would get a musical group to start performing on Wednesday instead of the usual weekend performance.
“People usually come here for breakfast and lunch, so the performance will run from 9 a.m. until noon,” she said, adding the only drawback was the scarcity of nike, which made it prohibitively more expensive. A portion of tinotuan at her restaurant costs Rp 9,500 (92 US cents), while mie cakalang costs Rp 13,500 and nike costs Rp 5,000.
Another tinotuan vendor, Linda, claimed sales at her restaurant had risen by 50 percent in the past week. “Most visitors prefer to have boiled corn and nike served with tinotuan,” she said. Hetty Sumuan, owner of the Selera Kawanua food stall, said she was ready to welcome more guests during the WOC.
Source: The Jakarta Post – May 12, 2009. Article by Indah Setiawati and Jongker Rumteh