Growing up in Java, Indonesia, Indri Bahar did not learn her family’s traditional recipes at her mother’s knee … she was too busy getting her university degree in chemistry. But after she married her childhood sweetheart, a petroleum engineer from another Indonesian island, Sumatra, they found themselves in jungles far from decent food. So, she tried cooking and discovered a talent she never knew she had.

From her mother-in-law, Bahar learned to cook the staples of Padang (in West Sumatra province) and mastered the cuisine, which many consider Indonesia’s finest, so well that people who ate her food thought she was Sumatran. She loved the misperception and happily volunteered to cook elaborate meals for 200 guests. These authentic dishes can be found at Rendang and Co., across the street from Tulsa’s LaFortune Park.

“She has a magic hand,” says her proud husband, Asnul, who eventually got his doctorate at the University of Tulsa and now jets around the world to hold training seminars for engineers in places like Australia and Kazakhstan.

Rendang is the couple’s first restaurant and, if you want to try the rich, exotic, multi-ethnic panoply of flavors and spicing that is Indonesian cuisine, you can find no finer guide.

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