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Samba over to Sambas

Too Good Not to Share: The Sambas - Coffee, Cake, Restaurant and Spa in Renon, Denpasar, Bali


A search for a simple lunch time stop on a Sunday brought us to The Sambas – located on Jalan Tukad Unda No. 3A in Renon, Denpasar – a 5-minute walk from the large park and Monumen Perjuangan Rakyat on Jalan Puputan Niti Mandala Raya.

Click Image to Enlarge

Set in a simple shop front on a residential street, The Sambas derives its name from the both the hometown of its owners and the origin of the unique signature dishes it serves.

Singbebas: Singkawang-Bengkayang-Sambas

Located on the western boarder that Indonesia shares with Malaysia on the island of Borneo, Sambas boasts a majestic uninterrupted 42-kilometer long sand beach – arguably the longest and most pristine beach of its kind in Southeast Asia. Because of its great expanse of beach, Sambas is also one of the world most important breeding grounds for sea turtles.

In more recent times, Sambas has become part of an economic cooperation zone known as Singbebas comprised of the city of Singkawang (Sing), Bengkayang Regency (Be) and Sambas (Bas).

The Sambas - Restaurant and Spa

The Sambas in central Denpasar is run by two brothers from Singbebas: Yuda Kelana and Darwin Iskandar, who have lived in Bali for several decades.

Getting into the restaurant business in August 2012 with the opening of The Sambas – one of the highlights of their menu is Gurame Soup (Sup Ikan Gurame) – a delightfully spicy and sour fish soup that uses the sour belimbing fruit as one of its key ingredients.

Yuda Kelana told us how he brings belimbung fruit directly from Sambas in order to stay true to the original family recipe for sop ikan gurame. Other ingredients that we could detect during our tasting were turmeric, ginger, galangal, lemon grass, garlic, shallots and, of course, succulent slices of gurame fish.

The cost for a generous portion of The Sambas’ signature soup is only Rp. 14,000 (US$1.40).

A surprisingly diverse menu also offers everything from French Fries to Steak to Roast Peking duck – all attractively priced.

Another West Kalimantan specialty on offer is Kue bingke – a simple cake dish usually served in the Sambas region only on holidays. Traditionally made with rice flour, eggs and milk - the version served by Darwin and Yuda can be made from pumpkin, potatoes, cheese or pumpkin and presented alamode with a generous scoop of ice cream.

One serving at US$1.40 is so large that two must share it.

The complete menu of this delightfully affordable restaurant can be found via the link below where you’ll also discover that The Sambas offers massage and reflexology on its third floor spa with one hour massages starting from a very reasonable Rp. 65,000 (US$6.50).

Free WiFi, excellent food and an indulgently affordable spa - all in one location. My visit with a friend that included lunch with dessert, a beer and an excellent one-hour massage for each of us came to a total of only Rp. 270,00 (US$27).

These a prices you can take laying down

By the way, the cake comes free when you book a spa package.

[The Sambas Website]

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