On Ayam Taliwang and personal legacies

We all want a legacy, something to be remembered by. Perhaps that’s why so many people keep online diaries – or blogs – they can be read long after we have popped our mortal coil and, for most of us at least, they are the only realistic option to get a legacy; only a very small number of people will ever be remembered for being famous – as artists, writers, politicians, whatever.

But for the late H. Abdul Hamid, his legacy was achieved in a rather unique way - he created the recipe for the spicy chicken dish Karang Taliwang, so named because it is the subdistrict in Mataram where Hamid lived.

Although the Ayam Taliwang recipe was created as long ago as 1970, Hamid had problems selling the dish to potential customers since they were unaware of the difference between Ayam Taliwang and either grilled or fried chicken.

It wasn’t until the 1980s that the dish gained popularity after a state minister visited Mataram.

Apart from Lombok, where the dish has acquired legendary status, Ayam Taliwang can now be found across West Nusa Tenggara and in Bali where it’s available at many warung or street stalls.

The delectable flavor of the chicken owes both to the choice of chicken and the process used to cook it.

Only free range chickens are used and they are ideally three months old – any older and the meat is too tough and if the chickens are any younger then the meat falls apart too easily when cooked.

As for the incredibly spicy flavor of the chicken, that comes from the chili garlic and shrimp paste in which it is immersed during the process of grilling or frying it.

Ayam Taliwang

The chicken is almost always served with plecing (water spinach with tomato-chili relish), a dish so fiery it will make your lips blow up to a gargantuan size like old Mick Jaggers’ himself!



Ayam Taliwang (Jalan Dalem Samplangan No. 2A, Gianyar, Bali


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