EtymologyFrom Latin satis, enough
- Rhymes: -eɪt
- To satisfy; fill up
- At last he stopped, his hunger and thirst sated.
Satay or sate is a dish consisting of chunks or slices of dice-sized meat (chicken, goat, mutton, beef, pork, fish, etc.) on bamboo skewers (although the more authentic version uses skewers from the midrib of the coconut leaf). These are grilled or barbecued over a wood or charcoal fire, then served with various spicy seasonings (depends on satay recipe variants).
Satay may have originated in Java, Indonesia, but it is also popular in many other Southeast Asian countries, such as: Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand, as well as in The Netherlands which was influenced through its former colonies.
Satay is a very popular delicacy in Indonesia and Malaysia, with a rich variety among Indonesia’s diverse ethnic groups’ culinary art (see Cuisine of Indonesia). In Indonesia, satay can be obtained from a traveling satay vendor, from a street-side tent-restaurant, in an upper-class restaurant, or during traditional celebration feasts. In Malaysia, satay is a popular dish - especially during celebrations - and can be found throughout the country. A close analog in Japan is yakitori. Shish kebab from Turkey, Chuanr from China and sosaties from South Africa are also similar to satay.
Although recipes and ingredients vary from country to country, satay generally consists of chunks or slices of meat on bamboo or coconut-leaf-spine skewers, grilled over a wood or charcoal fire. Turmeric is often used to marinate satay and gives it a characteristic yellow color. Meats used include: beef, mutton, pork, venison, fish, shrimp, squid, chicken, and even tripe. Some have also used more exotic meats, such as turtle, crocodile, and snake meat.
It may be served with a spicy peanut sauce dip, or peanut gravy, slivers of onions and cucumbers, and ketupat.
Pork satay can be served in a pineapple-based satay sauce or cucumber relish. An Indonesian version uses a soy-based dip.
The Philippines has two versions of Satay, the first is marinated then brushed on with a thick sweet sauce consisting of soy sauce and banana ketchup (which gives its red colour) then grilled, due to American influence, this version is simply called Barbecue/Barbikyu. The second, Satti is native to the peoples of Mindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, and is much more similar to traditional Satay, except that it is served with a thick peanut infused soup as well. This dish is well renowned by locals in the main southern Philippine cities of Zamboanga and Davao.
Satay is not the same as the Vietnamese condiment, “Sate”, which typically includes ground chili, onion, tomato, shrimp, oil, and nuts. Vietnamese sate is commonly served alongside noodle and noodle-soup dishes.
Some believe that satay was invented by Chinese immigrants who sold the skewered barbecue meat on the street. It is also possible that it was invented by Malay or Javanese street vendors influenced by the Arabian kebab. The explanation draws on the fact that satay only became popular after the early 19th century, also the time of the arrival of a major influx of Arab immigrants in the region. The satay meats popularly used by Indonesians and Malaysians, mutton and beef, are also traditionally favoured by Arabs and are not as popular in China as are pork and chicken.
Satay variants and outlets of note
Known as sate in Indonesian (and pronounced similar to the English), Indonesia is the home of satay, and satay is a widely renowned dish in almost all regions of Indonesia. As a result, many variations have been developed throughout the Indonesian Archipelago. ; Sate Padang : A dish from Padang city and the surrounding area in West Sumatra, is made from cow or goat offal boiled in spicy broth, which is then grilled. Its main characteristic is yellow sauce made from rice flour mixed with spicy offal broth, turmeric, ginger, garlic, coriander, galangal root, cumin, curry powder and salt. It is further separated into two sub-variants, the Pariaman and the Padang Panjang, which differ according to taste and the composition of their yellow sauces.; Sate Tegal : A sate of goat meat. The goat is usually a yearling or even a 5-month-old kid which spawn an acronym common in Tegal—balibul (acronym of “just 5 months”). The skewer has four chunks — two pieces of meat on the top then one piece of fat and then another piece of meat. It is grilled over a long metal griller fired with wood charcoal. The grill is between medium and well done; however it is possible to ask for medium rare. Sometimes the fat piece can be replaced with liver or heart or kidney. The unit sold is a kodi, twenty skewers. Half a kodi is only for children. Adults may consume more than 1½ kodies. Prior to grilling, there is no marinade as some people believe to be necessary. On serving, it is accompanied by touch dipped in sweet soya sauce (medium sweetness, slightly thinned with boiled water), sliced fresh chilli, sliced raw shallots (eschalot), quartered green tomatoes, and steamed rice, and is sometimes garnished with fried shallots.; Sate Blora : A variant originating from the town of Blora, located in Central Java. This variant is made of chicken (meat and skin) pieces that are smaller compared to the other variants. It is normally eaten with peanut sauce, rice, and a traditional soup made of coconut milk and herbs. Unlike other variants, sate Blora is normally grilled in front of buyers as they are eating. The buyers tell the vendor to stop grilling when they are finished with their meal.; Sate Makassar : From a region in Southern Sulawesi, is made from beef and cow offal marinated in sour carambola sauce. It has a unique sour and spicy taste. Unlike most satays, it is served without sauce.; Sate Susu (Milky Satay) : A tasty dish commonly found in Java and Bali, is grilled spicy beef brisket with a distinctive milky taste, served with hot chilli sauce.; Sate Kuda (Horse meat Satay): Locally known as “Sate Jaran”, is satay made from horse meat, a delicacy from Yogyakarta. It is served with sliced fresh shallots (small red onion), pepper, and sweet soy sauce.; Sate Babi (Pork Satay) : A popular delicacy among the Indonesian Chinese community, most of whom do not share the Muslim prohibition on eating pork. It can be found in Chinatowns in Indonesian cities, especially around Glodok, Pecenongan, and Senen in the Jakarta area.; Sate Torpedo (Testicles Satay) : Satay made from goat testicles (Sweetmeat) marinated in soy sauce and grilled. It is eaten with peanut sauce, pickles, and hot white rice.; Sate Pusut : A delicacy from Lombok, the neighboring island east of Bali. It is made from a mixture of minced meat (beef, chicken, or fish), shredded coconut meat, and spices. The mixture then being wrapped around a skewer and grilled over charcoal.; Sate Belut (Eel Satay) : Another Lombok rare delicacy. It is made from belut, a native small eel commonly found in watery rice paddies in Indonesia. A seasoned eel is skewered and wrapped around each skewer, then grilled over charcoal fire. So each skewer contains an individual small eel.; Sate Burung Ayam-ayaman (Bird Satay): The satay made from gizzard, liver, and intestines of “Burung Ayam-ayaman” (a migrating sea bird). After being seasoned with mild spices and stuck on a skewer, this bird’s internal organs aren’t grilled, but are deep fried in cooking oil instead.; Sate Banjar : A variant of satay popular in South Kalimantan, especially in the town of Banjarmasin.
Known as sate in Malay (and pronounced similar to the English), it can be found throughout every state in Malaysia. Besides restaurants that serve satays, one can find hawkers selling satay in food courts and Pasar malam. While the popular kinds of satay are usually beef and chicken satays, different regions of Malaysia have developed their own unique variations of satay.
The famously known satay outlets are in Kajang, Selangor which dubbed as the Sate City in the country. Sate Haji Samuri is very popular in Kajang as well as throughout Malaysia. Many branches of Sate Kajang Haji Samuri are opening nowadays offering chicken sate, beef sate, deer sate, rabbit sate, fish sate and etc.
SingaporeSatay is one of the earliest foods to be associated with Singapore since the 1940s. Previously sold on makeshift roadside stalls and pushcarts, concerns over public health and the rapid development of the city led to a major consolidation of satay stalls at Beach Road in the 1950s, which came to be collectively called the Satay Club. They were moved to the Esplanade Park in the 1960s, where they grew to the point of being constantly listed in tourism guides.
Open only after dark with an al fresco concept, the Satay Club was to define the way satay is popularly served in Singapore since then, although they are also commonly found across the island in most hawker stalls, modern food courts, and upscale restaurants at any time of the day. Moved several times around the vicinity of Esplanade Park due to development and land reclamation, the outlets finally left the area permanently to Clarke Quay in the late 1990s to make way for the building of the Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay.
Several competing satay hotspots have since emerged, with no one being able to lay claim to the reputation the Satay Club had at the Esplanade. While the name has been transferred to the Clarke Quay site, several stalls has been noted to have moved to Sembawang in the north of the city. Equally famous are the satay stalls which opened at Lau Pa Sat, particularly popular with tourists. Served only at night when Boon Tat Street is closed from vehicular traffic and the stalls and tables occupy the street, it mimics the open-air dining style of previous establishments.
Other notable outlets include the ones at Newton Food Centre, East Coast Park Seafood Centre and Toa Payoh Central.
The common types of satay sold in Singapore include Satay Ayam (chicken satay), Satay Lembu (beef satay), Satay Kambing (mutton satay), Satay Perut (beef intestine), and Satay Babat (beef tripe).
Singapore’s national carrier, Singapore Airlines, also serves satay to its First and Raffles Class passengers as an appetizer.
sate in German: Satay
sate in Spanish: Satay
sate in French: Saté
sate in Korean: 사테
sate in Indonesian: Sate
sate in Malay (macrolanguage): Sate
sate in Dutch: Saté
sate in Japanese: サテ
sate in Polish: Satay
sate in Portuguese: Satay
sate in Thai: สะเต๊ะ
sate in Chinese: 沙茶酱