Indonesian popup Rice & Sambal takes over Dankbaar in South Philadelphia for August

ByWendy Daughenbaugh WPVI logo
Monday, August 21, 2023
Indonesian popup Rice & Sambal takes over Dankbaar for August
For the entire month of August, Dankbaar is serving Indonesian food courtesy of a popup by Hardena chef Diana Widjojo.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Usually Dankbaar on East Passyunk Avenue is a popular place for Dutch food.

But for the entire month of August, Dankbaar is being taken over by James Beard-nominated chef, Diana Widjojo.

Widjojo just launched her new venture, Rice & Sambal, a few months ago after making a name for herself at Hardena, her family's Indonesian restaurant in South Philadelphia.

She used to work for Joncarl Lachman, the chef-owner of Dankbaar.

So when he made plans to go on vacation, he offered Widjojo his space to 'test drive' running her own restaurant.

For her monthlong popup at Dankbaar, she's doing a mini version of an elaborate feast of Indonesian plates, known as Rijsttafel.

It's a Dutch word that translates literally to "rice table," and it was developed during the Dutch colonization of the Indonesian islands.

Chef Diana's dinners are six courses plus dessert. And with every meal, you'll get rice and sambal, which is essentially a collection of hot sauces.

Rice and hot sauce are staples of Indonesian cuisine.

But naming her business Rice & Sambal also has personal meaning for Diana. She jokingly calls her wife Jen rice while referring to herself as sambal.

She's also making grilled tempe, a dish she says that was actually invented in Indonesia. She's serving it with a jicama mango salad, homemade peanut sauce, and a piece of rice paper that she cuts and flash fries so that it magically transforms into a flower.

She's doing special vegan dinners too, which will include a lychee pudding for dessert. The bottom is soy milk; the top is lychee juice, and she added edible gold sprinkles.

Her hope is to build her new Rice and Sambal brand and use it as a platform to showcase Indonesian food.

During the pandemic, she invented what she called not pizza. It's a pizza box packed to the brim with Indonesian favorites, and it was an instant hit. Her pizza boxes are sold out during her popup stay at Dankbaar. But she's planning another pizza box event for Labor Day

Rice & Sambal at Dankbaar | Instagram

1911 East Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, Pa.