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Review

Rickshaw Republic

$$$$
Written by

Rickshaw Republic specializes in authentic Indonesian street food. It’s why the name alludes to the rickshaws street peddlers use to carry things around.

Rickshaw is unique because hardly anyone else around is doing authentic Indonesian food. It’s a real family affair, with mom and one son in the kitchen and dad and the other son handling everything else. It’s impressive they make it work, especially when I consider how my family would treat each other in a hot kitchen with a bunch of sharp knives. They’ve managed to successfully share a bit of Indonesian food and culture straight out of Lincoln Park.

The restaurant may look generic from the outside, but one step in and it’s far from that. You’ll immediately be taken in by the artwork and colors on the walls and ceilings, and the intrigue will follow you to the menu. You’re not expected to be an Indonesian street food pro - that’s why you should ask for recommendations and let the waitstaff guide you through your meal. We particularly recommend doing the rice table so you can try a lot of different things.

Food Rundown

Rice Table

Unless you’re trying to dine alone or with one another person, the rice table is absolutely the way to go. For $35, which is a great deal, you’re going to get entirely too much food and a chance to try a lot of different items. It’ll basically be Rickshaw’s greatest hits, including many of the items below.

Krupuk

The most addicting prawn puff crackers ever. They don’t taste like much, but have just enough prawn flavor that we can’t stop eating them. It’s dangerous.

Bala Bala

Spicy fried vegetable fritters. Great batter and a satisfying veggie inside. Try not to fill up on prawn crackers and fried veggie fritters - it’s easy to do.

Sate Ayam

Basic grilled chicken breast satays. Rather uneventful, to be honest. Everything else is way better and more interesting.

Nasi Kuning

Yellow coconut rice that’s got a seriously sweet coconut taste. Fantastic stuff.

Rendang

Caramelized beef curry with spices. Excellent curry flavor and fall-apart beef. Be generous with it over some rice.

Urap

More coconut, and it’s a good thing. This cold coconut salad is refreshing and flavorful in an otherwise heavy meal.

Babi Kecap

Decent at best braised pork belly. We wouldn’t order it on its own. Not enough flavor for us, and it ultimately comes off as tasting too rich and fatty.

Gulai Kale

Pro tip - everything with coconut is delicious. Same goes for this kale and tempeh in a creamy coconut curry.

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