Taste of Sumatra, 1490 Foothill Blvd. (at Grove), Upland; open 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday to Monday; closed Tuesday and Wednesday
Indonesian food is represented locally, but you have to know where to look. I was aware of only Cross Court Cafe in Pomona (located inside a badminton club) and Java Bistro in Rancho Cucamonga. Then a friend tipped me to Taste of Sumatra, open since May 2018 in a service center in Upland at Grove and Foothill. He said his Indonesian-American wife approved.
It took me a while to get there, in part because of the funky schedule: closed Tuesday and Wednesday. But eventually I made it in for lunch on a Monday. (The owners must be those rare souls who think, “Thank God it’s Monday.”)
It’s sparsely decorated, and of course the menu is full of unfamiliar combinations of vowels and consonants, but there are descriptions, not always complete concerning ingredients, plus photos on a page of “popular dishes.”
My friend had the nasi padang ($12, pictured above), a combo with chicken, beef rendang (a type of curry), potatoes with yellow curry, a spicy hard-boiled egg and rice. He liked the chicken and the egg, didn’t like the curry, while saying he’s not really a fan.
I had the kwetiau goreng medan ($12), the Indonesian equivalent of the Thai staple pad see ew, with flat rice noodles, chicken, shrimp, bean sprouts, egg and green onions. I liked it.
It’s always inspiring to see mom and pop restaurants like Taste of Sumatra that satisfy a small niche we might not know existed out here in suburbia.