While Medan is no biggie when it comes to sightseeing activities (though it has its own charm), here’s one good reason why everyone should visit Medan: the food!
Like most Indonesian food, you’re guaranteed to find rich savory spices tickling your tongue. And if you can take burning hot chili, then look no further. But more than that, the richness of coconut milk in Medanese food lends itself a unique taste like no other.
Sinful, but irresistible…
Here are 10 delicacies that I will not leave Medan without tasting (although sadly I missed one of them last December). This list is in no particular order, and by all means is not exhaustive. There are more great food to discover as you explore.
1. Tahu Sumedang
I hate tofu in general, but I always make exception for this deep fried tofu. Best eaten with the unforgivingly-spicy cabai rawit (bird’s eye chili).
2. OnDo Batak Grill
For lovers of all things pork: BBQ-ed pork, pork ribs and the iconic saksang (minced pork stewed in blood, not as disgusting as you’d think and worth trying).
3. Bee Hoon Curry Tabona
I like the smooth beef/chicken texture, engulfed with just the right amount of curry smell. Strong enough, but not off-putting. Always kept my stomach full and happy.
Just any satay you can find in Medan, really. The meat here is not as tender as the satays in Jakarta, but the rich mixture of sauces… doubly sinful.
5. Nasi Padang (Padang-Styled Rice)
Disclaimer: Not for the faint-hearted! This unique West Sumatran-based food is only for those who can handle true spicy food.
6. Soto Kesawan
This one has been around since generations ago. Its classic coconut milk-broth goodness clearly satisfies the tongue of the olds and the youngs alike.
7. Mie Pangsit (Wanton Noodle)
Medanese all-time favorite breakfast! There are many good wanton noodles around. The classic Tiong Sim is absolutely recommendable, but Tien Sin (pictured above) makes a serious competitor too.
8. Kway Teow Ateng
This one was responsible for making me fat. When I was young, I would finish my dinner at 8 pm and asked my dad to buy me this kway teow an hour later. And they are always so generous, look at just how much meat they’re giving us!
9. Homemade Indomie!!!
This is Indonesians’ staple food and I can’t not include it right? Not unique to Medan perhaps, but since my mom cooks this one and she makes some of the best dishes (not just Indomie) that I can only find in Medan, it qualifies! =)
10. Bolu Gulung Meranti (Meranti Cake Rolls)
It pains me that I didn’t get the chance to eat this one when I went back home last December. This one has only been around for less than a decade, but its creamy butter-and-cheese goodness become so popular that it threatens decades-old bika ambon to become the de facto food souvenir for overseas friends and relatives.
What’s your top 10 favorite food in Medan? What are your favorite foods from your own hometown?