Typical Palembang Food

7 Typical Palembang Food that is No Less Delicious

Palembang, the capital of South Sumatra, Indonesia, is famous not only for its rich history and cultural heritage but also for its distinctive and delicious cuisine.

The city’s strategic location along the Musi River has influenced its culinary traditions, which serve a variety of fish-based dishes, complemented by strong spices and unique flavors. Below we explore some Typical Palembang Foods and ones you must try.

1. Pempek

Pempek, arguably the most famous Palembang dish, is a savory fishcake delicacy made from ground fish meat, usually tenggiri (mackerel), mixed with tapioca flour and water. This mixture is then shaped into various forms and sizes before being boiled or fried.

Pempek is served with cuko, a dark, rich sauce made from palm sugar, chili, and tamarind, providing a perfect balance of sweet, spicy, and sour flavors. Variants like pempek kapal selam (with an egg in the middle), lenjer, and adaan (round and fried) are particularly popular.

2. Tekwan

Tekwan is a soup-based dish that resembles pempek in its ingredients but presents a completely different experience.

It consists of small, round pempek balls served in a shrimp broth with mushrooms, jicama, and sliced celery. The soup is light yet flavorful, often enjoyed as a comforting meal during rainy days or as a fulfilling appetizer before the main course.

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3. Celimpungan

Celimpungan is another traditional soup from Palembang, made with fish, usually catfish, and a variety of vegetables like pumpkin, long beans, and eggplant. The broth is seasoned with turmeric and other spices, giving it a vibrant color and a rich taste.

This dish is a testament to the simplicity and richness of Palembang’s culinary culture, showcasing how everyday ingredients can be transformed into something extraordinary.

4. Martabak HAR

Martabak HAR is a unique version of the more widely known martabak, or stuffed pancake. In Palembang, this dish is particularly famous for its combination of egg, meat (commonly beef), and spices, all wrapped in a thin dough and cooked until crispy.

It’s typically served with cucumber pickles and a dipping sauce that can vary from sweet to spicy, depending on personal preference.

5. Brengkes

Brengkes is Palembang’s answer to Southeast Asian otak-otak. Fish paste is mixed with coconut milk, spices, and sometimes added with pieces of fish, then wrapped in banana leaves and steamed or grilled.

The result is a flavorful, aromatic dish with a soft texture that melts in your mouth. Brengkes patin (using patin fish) is particularly sought after for its creamy and rich flavor.

6. Pindang Patin

Pindang patin is a tangy fish soup that utilizes patin, a type of catfish that is commonly found in the rivers of Sumatra.

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The soup is seasoned with a blend of garlic, shallots, and chili, simmered with tamarind and tomatoes to create a sour and slightly spicy broth. It’s a comforting dish that’s beloved for its heartiness and depth of flavor.

7. Laksan

Laksan is another innovative dish made from fish. It consists of slices of pempek dough cooked in coconut milk and served as a creamy, savory cake.

Often spiced with a hint of lemongrass or kaffir lime leaves, laksan is a delightful blend of textures and flavors, representing a less known but equally tasty facet of Palembang’s cuisine.


Palembang’s culinary scene offers a delightful array of flavors that are rich in history and tradition.

Each dish tells a story of cultural intermingling and local innovation, making Palembang a must-visit destination for food lovers.

From the iconic pempek to the hearty pindang patin, the South Sumatran Food is a testament to the city’s status as a culinary capital in Indonesia, with each dish inviting travelers to explore deeper into its vibrant food culture.