By : Lucretia Prang

Sometimes I wonder if people realize that there are actually other places to go for a good meal and a cold beer than Senggigi Lombok. After sunset places such as Ampenan and Cakranegara change their looks.


Let’s start not that far away and have a look at Ampenan, the former old Dutch harbour area and settlement of Arab merchants and Chinese.


Just before you get to Ampenan proper, after the Chinese Cemetery, you will pass a sign “Pura Segara”, meaning Segara Temple. Quite interesting, a Hindu Temple in the middle of a Muslim fishing village – straight on the beach. Normally people go straight past that sign without even thinking what might be at the end of that small street leading to the beach.


Once you have reached the end of the street and can see the beach and the temple turn right and you will see the humble building of the BLUE OCEAN CAFÉ.


Run by a dynamic host, Pak Sam, this place is indeed the best for Ikan Bakar (grilled fish), including striking sunsets, good music and ice cold Anker Beer. Colourful fishing - boats everywhere and a fantastic atmosphere – Lombok at its best.


In Ampenan proper you should try the promenade for some finger foods: grilled corn, oriental soups, satays and other snacks. Here you can mix with the locals and stroll along the sea. Don’t miss the Old Post House, a nice piece of refurbished cultural heritage now serving as a pub / restaurant. In fact, Ampenan is full of great old architecture and history, unfortunately not very recognised. During the day the best way to see Ampenan is by cidomo, the traditional Lombok horse-drawn cart.


 Next, Cakranegara: This part of town really wakes up after dark.

Jalan Airlangga is the most interesting with a great mix of local food stalls. Q-Corner Pub serves the coldest beers on Lombok (Carlsberg) and sometimes features great local bands, definitely on a Saturday night.


They also have a nice beer-garden outside. Hungry? Just walk over the road and wander into one of the Satay shops. Quick snappy service and delectable peanut sauces. Otherwise, try some of the mobile food carts.


Gorengan is my favorite and as the name says, it is something fried (goreng – fried). Mostly crispy tempe (soybean cake) or tahu isi (soft soybean cake filled with vegetables) and of course pisang goreng (fried bananas).


And then there are the Lesehan Restaurants all over town (except Senggigi). Those are restaurants with a number of berugas (little cosy huts) to sit on – without chairs, the traditional way.


 Mostly these berugas are in the middle of a fish pond.

The fish served here is fresh water fish, crispy fried or grilled.


The local Lombok population loves these spots, which is a good sign for the fact that the food is great.


So, do something else for a change and explore Mataram and its surroundings at night.