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ABC 10 News KGTV

San Diego couple serves authentic Indonesian cuisine from backyard

By Perla Shaheen,


Dave Sims grows tropical plants you normally would find in Indonesia in his backyard in Serra Mesa.

“Things like a banana plant called a blue java. The flavor is reminiscent of vanilla ice cream, which is something we like to use in our desserts.”

It’s part of Warung Rie Rie, a fine dining restaurant that Dave and his wife, Rie Rie, run out of their home. Customers get a tour of the gardens, and they get to sit inside a traditional rice house built in 1935 in Indonesia.

“We purchased the house in Bali, had the whole thing dismantled," Dave said. "Packed in a container, and about 11,000 pounds were shipped here and we put it all together.”

The ambiance is a large part of the experience, but the real treat is the food itself.

“We use most of the local farmers, local fishermen,” Rie Rie said.

Rie Rie is the chef. She grew up on the island of Papua and learned to cook from her father.

“Indonesians have more than 17,000 islands and more than 7,000 cuisines, and I want to introduce my kids to exactly the food my dad always make in the Indonesian way,” Rie Rie said.

She cooks a six-course meal. Dave then carries the plates back to the rice house and describes the food to customers.

“This is sustainably harvest jumbo tiger prawn in a traditional garlic butter sauce. It’s known as Udang Mentega,” Dave said.

The meals change every month, and the restaurant is reservation only . They're only open Thursday- Saturday and have two open reservations for six or less people per day. They’re usually booked out months in advance.

The couple has joined a coalition to expand San Diego County's at-home restaurant program to the rest of the nation.

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