Fast Food - Ayam Penyet: Ayam Penyet (Chicken set rice)
An Indonesian fast food chain restaurant, Ayam Penyet is a great place for family or travel group to order different personal size dishes on the menu is a comfortable eating environment.
Ayam Penyet is the most popular dish which is specially fried chicken, with vegetable and other garnishes served with white steam rice and hot spicy chilly sauce. It is a complete dish.
You can also order soto ayam (chicken soup) or fried rice with egg which are popular alternatives.
Medan Popular Drink: Marquissa Fruit Juice
Marquisa (passion fruit) fruit juice is a popular drink in Medan.
It is sweeten and serve as a cold drink in ice. Has orange color and taste like orange juice and great for quenching your thirst.
Many tourists also bought the marquisa syrup as souvenir. Be sure to buy those in plastic (not glass bottles) - available at airport. However, you have to check it in at Medan airport instead of carry-on.
Medan Cake shops: Biko Ambon (Honey combed cake)
Biko Ambon is a popular Medan local cake delicacy.
The cake is honey-combed cake made of tapioca, eggs, coconut santan, pandan and nira leaves, etc. Soft, sweet, oily and tasty.
There is the original flavor as well as different new flavors like pandan, cheese, mocha, durian.
It can be kept under refrigeration for a week or two. Best eaten fresh or steamed if have been refrigerated.
Packing is done for air travel carry-on. You will find many stores at Jalan Majapahit.
Cake Shops all over Medan: Kueh Lapis (Layered Cake)
Another favorite is Kueh Lapis (Layered Cake) which is bought by tourists as souvenir back home.
As the name implies, the are many thin layers and best eaten in small pieces.
The flavors comes in all sorts like chocolate, cheese, pandan, etc.
For first timers, kueh lapis is easier and lighter on the palate than biko ambon.
Biko ambon though is more unique and an acquired taste.
Seasonal Fruits: Medan durians
Durian is an acquired taste. You either love it or hate it. Strong pungent smell with a sweet creamy taste. Depending on specific fruit tree, there are seedless, bitter, dry, sticky variety.
Have eaten durians in Medan on two separate tastes. The durians are generally smaller in size compared with Penang durians, less aromatic and I guess different for me.
Like many Penangites, I still think the durians of Balik Pulau (Penang) is the best. Anyway, a durian is a durian. Whether Thai, Malaysian or Medan durian, it is still one of my favorite fruits and I recommend it strongly. Share it with a few people, durian tastes best when eaten with friends, not alone.
Due to the high calorie and "heatiness", do not eat too many at one go. Easy to get sore throat. Advice from durian seller, add a pinch of salt on the inside of the empty shell with plenty of water and drink the water directly from the shell after your durian session.
Local Soups: Medan Soto
When in Medan, I enjoyed the different hot soups (soto) of ox-tail, chicken (soto ayam) and beef.
You can eat soto at hotel restaurants, fast food franchise in air condition shopping plaza or at a road side stall.
One thing unique I noticed is that the locals add chilly sauce directly into their soto. Others also add white steamed rice into soto. When in Medan, do as the Medanese do.
Medan Popular Drink: Juice Alpokat (Avocado Fruit Drink)
Was surprised to find this Indonesian version of avocado fruit drink. '
It was on a menu on a local fast food chain restaurant (Ayam Penyet).
Creamy fruity drink made from avocado, mocha and milk. However, the strong avocado taste was missing. Worth a try though.
Restoran M & R: Medan Chinese Restaurant
We were taken to this local Chinese restaurant in Medan for lunch.
The decor was Baba Nonya style and the food was great. Ordered the house speciality of tofu (bean curd), hot spicy fried fish and stir fried vegetables served with rice.
Great service and reasonably priced too.
Where to EAT
High quality hotels can be found on the mainland at Prapat, many of which have restaurants serving European food. Leo's jazz blues restaurant & cafe (near Elsine GH & Hora's Homestay) offers video, pizzas & happy hour.
Reggae bar (near Samosir & Anju cottages) boast a pool table. Tuk-Tuk and Samosir are littered with small cafes to larger more upscale restaurants. Explore, and you will not be dissapointed!
Favorite Dish: All dishes!!
Fast Food Restaurants: McDonald, Pizza Hut, KFC, Dunkin Donuts
If you are getting homesick or looking for the familiar to eat, the good news is that there are McDonald, KFC, Pizza Hut and Dunkin Donuts in the major shopping plazas.
There is even a 24/7 McDonald at Merdeka Square on Jalan Balai Kota.
Though there is localization, the food will be similar and easy on the stomach.
May be when you are tired on trying something new but do try the local Medan food which is very popular in Indonesia as Medan is considered a gourment paradise in Indonesia.
Merdeka Square Cafewalk: Alfresco Dining
In the evening, at Merdeka Square opposite the City Hall is a row of modern alfresco style dining.
Great place to chill out in downtown center of Medan.
However, the choices are mainly international fast food restaurants. Hopefully, more local style restaurants will be added.
Sate Padang (Padang is a region of Sumatra) is my most favorite street vendor food. I had this since I was a kid & remembered all those days where I looked forward to either the recess or the end of the school day where I'd rushed off to get my share of Sate Padang! It's one of the best known of Sumatra dishes & though Sate is typical of Indonesia dish, I only like Sate Padang. Sate is cooked on the spot as pictured. The common Sate is grilled with charcoal & then served with a spicy peanut sauce but Sate Padang has a different kind of sauce. I don't know what's in it & neither can I describe the taste. It's out of this world & my aunt used to comment my addiction & talked about "ganja" being one of the ingredients ;-) Different kind of meat can be ordered including the "Lidah" (cow's tongue); this is one of the best!
Laksa is a kind of broad rice noodle cooked in hot & spicy soup accompanied by fish & garnished with peppermint leaves & some other local ingredients. It's usually eaten in the afternoon as either snack or main meal. This is a dish originating in Medan & a similar version can also be found in Penang, Malaysia. An authentic local dish & if you are anywhere in Medan, do give it a try. It tastes best when hot.
Kwetiau Ateng: A MUST in Medan
Everyone in Medan has heard (if not eaten) at Ateng.
There are several places, where you can find it.
But I recommend you the one in Jalan S.Parman.
The Speciality is Kwetiau Goreng (Fried Kweitau/Ricenoodle)
The last time I was there (Okt. 04), One portion
cost 11000 Rupiah (about 1.5 USD).
Favorite Dish: Fried Kwetiau
- Budget Travel
O'Flahertys: O' Flahertys - The Only Irish Pub in Sumatra
This is basically the only Irish restaurant/pub in Medan and in Sumatra (that's what they say). The restaurant is rather hard to find especially at night as the street where it is located is rather dark, but once you step inside, you'll definitely get the 'Irish' feel, with the bar and the stuff they put on the walls. Food is good, tried the ribs and they are delicious! I think the steak and the food they serve here are more authentic compared to other restaurants serving Western food in Medan, so it's worth a try.
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