Se’i Sapi, a Delicious Smoked Beef from Rote

Heri Sisworo

Heri Sisworo

On English

One of the culinary trends in the last year is the Se’i Sapi. Se’i is smoked meat from East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) Province. Lately, Se’i became a trend due to its authenticity and of course delicious taste. You can find many se’i sellers in most big cities in the country.

Mouthwatering Se’i. via Instagram/seisapilamalera

Se’i has a rather long history in Rote, where it originated. It has evolved and you can enjoy it in many different ways. As with most traditional foods in Indonesia, there is innovation that slightly changes it to make it relevant to the demand of the time. Here is what you need to know about Se’i Sapi.

The origin

Enjoying a lovely meat. via Instagram/ellentanuwidjaya

Se’i in Rote language means meat that is cut lengthwise. Initially, they use hunted deer meat. With deer being protected by law because their number is dwindling, people have to be creative. They use beef, pork, and sometimes even lamb as the main ingredient. In restaurants in big cities outside NTT, they mostly use beef for a halal reason. Of course, each meat gives a unique taste, but the treatments are pretty much the same.

Unique smoking methods

Lovely meat. via Instagram/fdcravings

Se’i is not your typical smoked beef, though. You will need a special wood to smoke it. Indeed, traditionally, Se’i is only cooked using kosambi woods (Schleichera Oleosa). During the smoking process, they also use kosambi leaves to cover the meat. The smoking process can last up to nine hours! This slow cooking method ensures that the meat has perfect taste and the kosambi flavor permeated well.

Side dishes

Se’i Sapi. via Instagram/seisapilamalera

Se’i sapi usually has several side dishes. For example, the most important one is the sambal (chili paste). For this dish, they usually use sambal lu’at. This sambal is made from chili pepper, lime, and lu’at leaves. Furthermore, in Rote, the common companion for Se’i sapi is papaya flowers. In many restaurants nowadays, they use cassava leaves instead of papaya flowers.

Where to enjoy Se’i sapi

Se’i and spices. via Instagram/seisapilamalera

Today, you can find many restaurants that serve Se’i sapi Not only in NTT, but also in many big cities all over the country. Here are some of them:

  • Koka Sikka Se’i Sapi at Jalan Cipaku 1 no 1RT 5/RW 4, Petogogan. Kebayoran Baru Pasar Santa Food Court Lantai 1 no 17-19, Jakarta.
  • Se’i Sapi Lamalera at Jl. Bagus Rangin No.24a, Lebakgede, Coblong, Bandung.
  • Depot Se’i Aroma at No.68, Jl. Raya Darmo Permai I, Prahakalikendal, Dukuhpakis, Surabaya.
Se’i Sapi. via Instagram/unidoyanmakan

Se’i become popular nationwide because of its unique taste. Initially made from deer meat or pork, Se’i now mostly is using beef to cater to all customers, especially Muslims who need halal food. Se’i sapi has become a national dish that you can enjoy anywhere now.