Sorry took me a while to tabulate all these info and pictures together. Only manage 30 items but trust me, there are more than 30 items easily in Medan to savour on. Hope you enjoy the gastronomical read and perhaps attract you to visit Medan one day!
1. Indomie/Ifumie Goreng
This is something like our Maggie Goreng except that Indomie/Ifumie most of the time they would use the seasoning that comes with the instant noodle pack. It is probably the staple in whole of Indonesia, reason is it is affordable for everyone. However different stalls/locations have their own special sauce or chilli paste which makes customers come back for more.
2. Kueh Kueh
Kueh kueh is available in most Asian countries and in Medan, they are very important as some of these kuehs are used for praying to the Gods or Ancestors. There are a lot of kueh kueh varieties here and it’ll take some more one to try them all. My favourites are shown below.
This is prolly trending very much now in Medan. Not to be confused with the martabak we have here in Singapore, there are basically 2 types of martabak in Medan; The thin or the thick one. Personally I prefer the thick one cos it comes with a lot of fillings and coated with loads of butter. I would highly recommend Martabak Yurich because theirs are really yummy!
4. Bihun Bebek (Duck Beehoon)
This is prolly the first stop everytime I’m in Medan. A must eat and it’s truly da bomb! There are 2 types in Medan; the strong herbal or light herbal one. However, either or is damn rich in broth and really a great way to start the day with! My favourite stalls are Bihun Bebek Kumango (Asie) and my god mother’s stall Bihun Bebek Akien!
5. Mie Pangsit
This is prolly the wanton mee of Medan. Everywhere cooks differently like the wanton mee in SG. My favourite so far is Mie Tiongsim at Jln Selat Panjang. Still good even though they are super popular.
6. Mie Hokkien
The distinct difference between Mie Pangsit and Mie Hokkien is Mie Pangsit has char siew and wantons, while Mie Hokkien has braised egg, prawns, fish balls and prawn balls.
7. Coffees Locals vs Specialty
Coffee is grown in most parts of Indonesia and North Sumatra is one of the places. The presence of local coffee is definitely a hindrance to the growth of specialty coffee stores such as Pilastro and The Thirty Six. So while you’re there, go support these business, and enjoy some really good local single origins!
8. Nasi Ayam
Chicken Rice here in Medan is really different. Again, every stall has different side dishes. I like the one at Jalan Selat Panjang, Nasi Ayam SP3, their chicken rice comes with sides like braised egg, sambal shrimps, veg, etc. Owner couple are very nice people and you can literally order anything just sitting at their stall.
9. Big R Burger
Haha I placed this as a must eat because this burger is created in my name! Thick 200g beef patty with steak slices and beef bacon laid on top of it and topped it off with a runny sunny-side-up! Really yummy this one! Only at The Thirty Six!
10. Putu Bambu
This is something like our tutu kueh but it’s longish and steamed inside a bamboo, giving it a distinctive bamboo fragrance. You can get this everywhere.
11. Kweu Tiau
Kweu Tiau is actually Fried Kway Teow and they only have the light coloured portion which is very similar to Penang ones. I totally love the Fried Kway Teow here cos some of the Kway Teow like Kwetiau Ong’s is homemade! Best of all, they use duck eggs!!! Makes a lot of difference to the dish! Kwetiau Ong is definitely my favourite stall, which is a Golden Legendary stall since 1914… that’s 103 years of history!!! Close to this will prolly be Kwetiau Ahong’s.
12. Sate Padang
Sate Padang is literally satay in SG. The satay here is not as tender as what we have back home but definitely flavourful. Sauce wise is a little more on the savoury side instead of the sweeter version in SG. This is a must have when you’re at any food street at night. You can order like 5 sticks if you’re alone.
13. Nasi Padang
Nasi Padang is big business in Medan! So many places for good Nasi Padang and some big brands like Garuda is already in Singapore. The best thing about this Nasi Padang is that the variety is huge and they will place loads of dishes on the table. You’ll only be charged for what you eat, not what you’ve touched. So you can take the curry sauce but not eat the chicken…then they will put back the chicken to the main display pot. Hygiene is definitely questionable here… but no one seems to care. Love most of the outlets here, Muay orders are the beef rendang, ayam goreng and ayam pop.
14. He Ci
He Ci is the same as the Ngoh Hiang stalls in Singapore with the crispy prawn crackers and the floury prawn cakes. Except that the items offered differs from ours.
15. Tok Tok
A very local dish of pig’s blood and intestines. Not everyone’s cup of tea and the taste is really acquired. Worth a try if you encounter this.
In our context, it’s Popiah. I only know one place that has this and they sell by the thousands daily! Check out the stall at Jose Rizal and you can choose from the steam or deep fried ones. I definitely preferred the steamed ones! Not cheap at 7000 rupiah each but it has crab meat inside and extremely tasty!
17. Avocado Shake
Avocado is grown locally in Brastagi region and naturally drinks are made out of these. Avocado shake with chocolate sauce is truly yummy here and a must drink when in Indonesia. You may wanna check out the Avocado Juice with Espresso shots at Macehat. Their signature drink there.
18. Curry Chicken & Beef Bihun/Rice
Rumah Makan Tabona. This is a household brand that has been selling this for decades. Love the curry chicken and beef to go with the beehoon. Very yummy! Some Medanese said do not leave Medan if you haven’t tried this! I must say it’s not bad, and their business is blardy good!
19. Chee Cheong Fun
This is one of my favourites. Simple, plain looking but damn yummy! The secret is in the sauce and all the fried onions on top. The best I’ve tried so far is from Jalan Selat Panjang from the big guy’s stall.
20. Nasi Goreng
There are many places for fried rice. I kinda like the Nasi Goreng Petai at 134A Jalan Singa. The fire is damn power, hence wok heat is amazingly good!
21. Goreng Pisang
In most cafes, they usually have Goreng Pisang for sides that is drouse with loads of chocolate rice and cheese! Good to try but too much a little jelak!
Yes, durians do grow in Medan. But the seeds are big and flesh not as much. But at the price of 35k and 50k rupiah, it’s ok to try the taste of it. Ucok durian is the biggest player in the durian market which operates 24/7! So if you’re craving for durians at 4am, you can get some by taking a Grab car there!
Babi Panggang Karo is a traditional Karo tribe cuisine of BBQ pork slices which is usually served with rice and a bowl of blood mixture spicy sauce thingy. At some places, the meat can get really tough… the better ones are in the mountains so branded doesn’t mean good.
24. Kueh Lapis/Ambon
Home of Kueh Lapis and more likely the Kueh Ambon. Indonesians generally agree the Kueh Ambon in Medan is the best in the whole of Indonesia. But I kinda like the Kueh Lapis, very good souvenir gift to bring back for family and friends. There is a street full of kueh lapis, just go sample all of them and tell me which ones you like!
25. Teh Susu Telor
This is a very local drink. Egg is added to the milk tea and seriously damn sweet. But the egg adds a nice fragrance to the drink. Dunno if there are any medical boost drinking this but it’s worth a try!
26. Snake Meat
Snake meat is available at food streets like Jalan Semarang. Fried in some rempah and seriously taste like chicken. Quite appetising!
27. Chao Lo
This is a typical before dinner snack in Medan which actually are snails cook in some spicy soup. Totally an acquired taste dish, not many people can take it.
Sarsi made in Medan. Medanese pride and joy. Has Sarsi taste definitely but with some herbal tones too. Not bad, interesting.
29. Es Campur
Literally like our ice kacang but the ice is a lot coarser and helluva lot more sweet! But they are super generous with the ingredients too!
30. Corn Rojak Keju
This is an interesting snack which I found at Brastagi market area. They slice the corn off the cob and then mix in butter, salt and pepper before topping with shredded cheese. Quite yummy actually.
Actually there are a lot more food to feature in Medan but this list is taking just too long. But I have included some of the pictures for you all to see below. Happy munching!