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May 5, 2017 | Medan

It’s been a long time since I last wrote. Well, I was lazy and this post have sat in my draft box from quite some time now, so before I forgot, I better publish this. About two months ago, SC & I went to North Sumatra to visit my parents and brother. As usual, we spent a day and a half in Medan just to try the food Medan has to offer. We stayed at Swiss-Belinn Medan, as it’s strategically located between Selat Panjang and Semarang street famous for street food. We’re not on a mission to try new restaurants or cafes, we just revisited old favorites and went to new places only when convenient. So without much further, here are the summary of eateries we tried in Medan this year. I try to break it down to breakfast/lunch/dinner sections.

Mie Ayam Kumango
Jl. Mangkubumi No.16, Medan +62(21) 4518423 6:30AM-11PM
This old school noodle place in Mangkubumi street is my favorite non-pork noodle in Medan. I always come here from time to time just to savor their chicken noodle. The flat, wide noodle is prepared with chicken oil and topped with slices of steamed chicken. It’s simple yet delicious, plus the accompanying chili sauce are really spicy.

Soto Kesawan
Es Krim (Tom & Jerry) Jl. Surabaya No.73, Medan +62(8222) 7241-5760 Mon-Sun 6AM-10AM
Soto Kesawan is one of the legendary places that serve beef or prawn soto in Kesawan street. We tried the one at Surabaya street, ordered a portion of soto daging campur (meat and offals). Not as good as I remembered, the meat is a bit tough and the soup is too thin. Next time, I’ll try the nasi guri from the next stall instead.

Coffee Toast
Jl. Palangkaraya, Medan +62(61) 4564947 Mon-Sat 7:30AM-6PM
A relatively new eatery in the midst of shophouses in Palangkaraya street, nicely designed with big windows so there are a lot of natural light pouring inside. Too bad it’s also a smoking places as there are a lot heavy smokers in the city. We chose to sit at the far end of the place just as the last smoker in that section left. The menu is just like your everyday kopitiam with toast variations, noodle and some other breakfast selections. I set my mind on ordering indomie kangkung belacan while SC ordered their set menu which consists of toast, soft boiled egg and black coffee. Not much to say about their black coffee, it tasted too bitter for me. The kopi susu I ordered tasted slightly better and the toast tasted so so, but my indomie kangkung belacan was delicious though.

Bihun Kari Tabona
Jl. Mangkubumi No.17 +62(21) 4536952 6:30AM-4PM
This is a famous place in Medan for its unbeatable chicken curry noodle. Even its branch in Pluit, Jakarta can’t replicate its taste. It was rich, not too thick and not too spicy so SC can still enjoy it.

Gu Bak Wan
Jl. Surabaya No.49, Medan +62(831) 9023-7307 Mon – Sun 12AM-5:30PM
This is my favorite place for beef meatball noodle soup or gu bak wan (in Hokkian dialect). The place is located not far from where we stay, at the corner of Surabaya and Bogor street. It serves a delicious bowl of meatball soup complete with offals. For the carbohydrate, I usually went with Medanese rice noodle which is a tad thicker than the usual bihun we had in Jakarta. In my opinion, this humble & anonymous stall tastes better than Bakso Akiaw in Jakarta.

RM. Cahaya Baru
Jl. Teuku Cik Ditiro No.12 / 16, Medan +62(61) 4530962 Mon – Sun 10AM-9:30PM
My favorite Indian restaurant in Kampung Madras area. They serve great Indian dishes with very affordable prices. This time, we ordered paneer pulao with mutton dalcha, dry chana masala, garlic naan and papadam. It still tasted as good as I remembered, despite not using basmati rice.

Datin Ong Hot Pot
Jl. Jawa No.8, Komplek Ruko Centre Point, Medan Mon – Sun 11:30AM-9:30PM
We returned here for its nasi talas (yam rice), but the rice had been sold out and they were still preparing the next batch. So we ordered their hotpot rice with chicken, salted fish and chinese sausage along with bak kut teh. The hot pot rice tasted quite good, although it was kind of too sweet for my palate. It reminds me of the claypot rice sold at Petaling street, KL.

Jl. Teuku Cik Ditiro No.8K, Medan +62(61) 4521960 Mon – Sun 10AM-11PM
In Femina magazine last year, Leo from reviewed a third wave coffeeshop called Coffeenatics in Medan, and we decided to try it. As usual we went for the manual brew and there were several coffee beans available to choose from, mostly North Sumatra beans. We eventually picked Guatemala Huehuetenango beans to be brewed with V60 as the barista suggested. It was a good brew, quite fruity with mild acidity, and just a bit bitter as most of their beans are roasted to medium dark.

Monks Coffee Roaster
Jl. Kh. Zainul Arifin No.55A/27, Medan +62(61) 4554178 Mon – Sun 9AM-8PM
We spotted this place accidentally, right next to the Pantry Magic shop we passed on our way to Sun Plaza. So we decided to visit it too. The place is tiny, but they serve great coffee selections behind the counter and they roasted their own beans. We tried their Ethiopia Shakiso brew and their specialty Mandheling Pagur Natural which have a strong apple scent with sweet finish.

Bakmie Tiong Sim
Jl. Selat Panjang No.7, Medan +62(61) 4157517 Mon – Sun 2:30AM-11:30PM
The famous noodle place in Medan. We used to go to the one at the corner of Semarang and Bogor street, but last time it was not as good as we remembered so this time we opted for the one in Selat Panjang street. It was delicious, but in my opinion, a noodle place near my house in Jakarta using the same Tiong Sim moniker, tasted better.

Bihun Ikan Gabus Aseng
Jl. Semarang No.82, Medan
We spotted this stall at Jalan Semarang, it looked very busy and the smell is promising so we ordered the bihun ikan gabus (snakehead fish noodle soup). We’re lucky that we arrived early because customers began piling up and 30 minutes later, new customers must wait for about half an hour. The fish were deep fried then added to the soup. The soup looked a little milky but tasted light. It was warm and delicious.

Samcan Goreng Asan
Jl. Semarang, Medan
I used to like this Chinese-Bataknese samcan goreng, but this time I didn’t really like it. Too much fat in the pork and some pieces were tough, plus the mismatched side-dish and a little sweet andaliman chili sauce.


Martabak Piring Murni
Jl. Tjong Yong Hian No.43, Medan +62(813) 6109-1126 Mon-Sun 6PM-12AM
This is the must try food when you’re in the area, thin & crispy martabak loaded with chocolate rice, a bit like martabak tipker, but these are made directly on enamel plates, hence the name Martabak Piring

Various traditional cakes
Jl. Selat Panjang, Medan
There are several carts in Selat Panjang street that are worth to try, some offer bakpao (steamed buns), siew mai (with pork, not served with peanut sauce like we used to have in Jakarta/Java), some traditional cakes like pulut taitai (sticky rice cakes with blue streaks from bunga telang, served with srikaya) and also Medanese serabi that is usually sold by ethnic Indians.

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