This unassuming canteen in the suburbs serves an array of Indonesian shared plates, with Padang food and a killer sambal specialties.

The back of a carpark in sleepy Langford mightn’t be the first place to come to mind for noteworthy Indonesian, but at Ah Beng, the surprises keep on coming.

 

This hole in the wall specialises in Padang-style cooking, meaning dishes – usually $6-$8 a pop – come out in batches on tiny plates with rice to be shared among friends. Pick and mix from the laminated menu, but don’t skip the rendang sapi for starters, the beef fragrant, a slick of oil pooling around the base, or the vegan lor bak, which adds kidney beans to a vegetable mix that’s wrapped in tofu skin and fried.

This hole in the wall specialises in Padang-style cooking, meaning dishes – usually $6-$8 a pop – come out in batches on tiny plates with rice to be shared among friends.

Elsewhere, grilled scad (ikan) come in spicy, savoury sauce, cassava leaves come wilted through spiced coconut cream, while dendeng balado sees thin slices of dried beef covered in addictive sweet, hot house sambal balado (grab a jar or two from the shelves to take home).

The space may be no frills, the tables coated in laminated comic strips, and the service counter style, but David Wijaya’s cooking packs a punch across the board. If you haven’t zoned out from the heat of his exceptionally fragrant pedas jeletot spicy noodles (served with a crisp cracker and an egg), you haven’t lived.