Sunday, February 23, 2014

Indonesia: Eating in Medan

Masakan Padang in Medan, Indonesia
Medan, Indonesia is know among locals for its food because of the many different cuisines available there. Among the ethnic groups represented in Medan are the Malay, Acehnese, Javanese, Batak, Minangkabau (Padang/West Sumatra), Chinese, Southern Indians and Northern Indians among others, each with their own unique cuisine. So although not as popular as other Indonesian tourism destinations, Medan is one great place for food tourism. Here are some of the dishes I got to try during my tip to Medan. And it's definitely just the tip of the iceberg.

Ikan Bakar Padang in Medan, Indonesia
You will find many Masakan Padang at Padang-style eateries and restaurants, with Nasi Padang dishes on display on high stacked-plates in glass-covered food carts or restaurant windows. Padang is capital of the neighboring province of West Sumatra (Sumatera Barat). A popular dish they serve is Ikan Bakar, a generic term for grilled fish or seafood, which can be prepared in many ways and various flavors. At the restaurant I had lunch at, you could order on for take-away, with rice, vegetables and sauces, packed in a banana leaf and brown paper.

Ayam Goreng Padang in Medan, Indonesia
For lunch, it was Ayam Goreng, a generic term for chicken deep-fried in coconut oil. But Padang-style Ayam Goreng has spicy granules. It's served with vegetables, rice, sambal belacan (chili) and tempe goreng (chips). I opted to add deep-fried tahu (tofu) with chili sauce to complete my lunch.

Beef Rendang in Medan, Indonesia
In Parapat, I had more Padang dishes including Beef Rendang, beef chunks stewed in coconut milk and chili gravy until dry. With it, I had Telur Dudur Padang (Padang-style omelette) and Daun Singkong (cassava leaves in soup.

Sate Matang Aceh in Medan, Indonesia
Sate Matang Aceh in Medan, Indonesia
Back in Medan, I was craving for satay. Too bad the stall beside my hotel selling Sate Padang (in thick yellow sauce) was closed that day. So I got introduced to Acehnese cuisine through Sate Matang, served with peanut sauce.

Martabak Telur in Medan, Indonesia
Martabak Telur in Medan, Indonesia
With it, I had Martabak Telur (savory egg pancake) topped with pickled onions and chili. For dessert, I had Roti Cane, a sweet version of Roti Canai served with sugar on top instead of curry on the side.

Mie Aceh in Medan, Indonesia
The next day, I tried the Mie Aceh (spicy Aceh-style fried egg noodles) at another stall near the hotel.

Durian in Ucok Durian, Medan, Indonesia
Of course, because North Sumatra has a lot of durian plantations, you have to try the durian! Beside my hotel is Ucok Durian, a popular durian supplier which is open 24/7!

But then again, those were just a few dishes. And there were thousands of others to choose from! So take your pick and food trip in Medan, Indonesia if you get the chance. Here are some helpful tips about Medan and its attractions if you do decide to visit.
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