Beef Rendang at Hardena: (ren)dang, that tastes good!

How about some hearty Indonesian food to warm up? Hardena is a bit off the beaten path, but close to the Broad & Morris Station,  so it is perfectly feasible to make it there for lunch. While on a bus to NYC, a former Philly resident overheard my food related conversation and joined in to tell me I must visit Hardena. Inside the little restaurant is a steam table with Indonesian home cooking to choose from.  Hardena does not have much to offer in terms of ambiance, but the food served is quality.  For $6 you get 3 choices over rice. The nice ladies who work there are happy to explain what is in each dish that you point to and they are more than happy to slap on some hot sauce on top of your selections. I tried many of the options and came up with my ideal plate…

My favorite of the day was the beef randang.  Coconut flavored, slowly cooked beef is rarely a bad thing, but I enjoyed Hardena’s version more than others I have had (ex: Banana Leaf in Chinatown), this is probably because the meat was cooked to the perfect level of tenderness and the sauce did not overwhelm to the point where you can’t pick up any beef flavor. I also enjoyed the eggplant and the fried vegetable pakora- like item that is made of onions, carrots, cabbage, and other shredded veggies.

Hard boiled egg in some curry like sauce tastes fine, but you could probably select something more exciting. Take the collard greens, for example; the greens are cooked in a style fairly different from the traditional southern method and have a clean flavor.

I was not into the fish at all, way too fishy for me.

My picks for the 3 choices are therefore, the beef rendang, the collard greens, and probably the lamb or something new from their rotating options. I would also have to throw a veggie patty on top for good measure; ask for it to be heated up.

The other choices available are different kinda of vegetables and tofu. Some more pictures of the steam table and the seating area:

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • That is how beef rendang should be done.
  • You can get a balanced lunch of carbs, vegetables, and meat
  • I want to try something different for lunch, why not Indonesian?

THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • Ambiance is important to me and this place is not pretty
  • Texturally, there is not much diversity. Most choices are a bit of a mush

Hardena, 1754 S. Hicks St (@ Moore St.), 215-271-9442



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