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8 North Sumatran Foods You Have To Try

by Emilia Kurniasari
North Sumatran Food

North Sumatran dishes are some of the most favorite and popular in Indonesia, it is one of the reasons why you should visit Sumatra. One dish that has been very popular is Bika Ambon.

But actually North Sumatra still has a lot of tastes you should try, some dishes you might never know before. Here are 8 North Sumatran foods you should taste!

1. Anyang Pakis

Anyang Pakis

In Ramadan, there are usually some typical foods all over Indonesia. You can also find a special food during Ramadan in North Sumatra, it is Anyang Pakis. Some people say it is quite similar with Urap from Java.

The main ingredient is boiled fern leaf. You can easily find it out along the road sides in North Sumatra. The fern leaf is boiled and cooked with seasoned coconut, then being roasted just like serundeng.

The seasonings are shallot, lemongrass, orange leaf, and coriander which are being roasted with the coconut. There will be the aroma from the shallot. It can be served with any condiments such as cassava leaves and papaya leaves.

2. Bihun Bebek

Bihun Bebek

If you are going to Medan, there is a popular dish called Bihun Bebek. Try Bihun Bebek is one of must things to do in Medan. It is basically vermicelli served with duck broth.

The aroma of the broth is very strong, but it will not produce a lot of oil and fat. People usually eat Bihun Bebek with spicy and sour sauce, and also add some chives.

One of the most popular Bihun Bebek in Medan is Bihun Asie. This place has been opening since 1930s. The price is quite expensive, it is Rp 60.000 per portion. But do not worry, it is worth to buy because of the amazing taste!

3. Arsik


Toba Batak people might be familiar with a dish called Arsik. One of top things to do in North Sumatra is to taste this dish. This is originally a special dish from Batak Toba Samosir, North Tapanuli. Its basic ingredient is goldfish. The goldfish is seasoned with yellow seasoning.

Arsik is usually served in certain custom ceremonies, but you can also consume it daily. Basic ingredients for the seasoning are andaliman, kincung, and lengkiok. You can also find it easily in any lapo in Jakarta.

4. Naniura


Who does not know Danau Toba? That is the most famous lake in Indonesia, even all over the world. Around the area of Danau Toba, there is a typical food called Naniura. Originally, it used to be served for the king in Batak.

Naniura is a raw dish, the main ingredient is goldfish, but it has no fishy odor. First, the fish is cleaned up, then it is soaked into kaffir lime water. It will be better to use the small fish to ensure the fish will be evenly cooked. The fish is soaked for 2 to 3 hours, then seasoned with andaliman, kecombrang, etc.

5. Natinombur


Still talking about fish menu, there is another dish that you have to try. That it Natinombur. Natinombur itself means dish which is wet or served with soup.

The basic ingredient is tilapia fish, but it can be replaced with any other fishes, such as catfish and parrot fish. The fish is seasoned with lime and a little amount of salt, then it will be rested for quite long time.

After that, the fish will be roasted until evenly cooked. The seasoning consists of shallot, ginger, chilli, lime, salt, etc. All spices are mashed up and given a little hot water. Then the fish is served with the seasoning.

6. Saksang


North Sumatra has a lot of dishes which used to be served only in certain custom ceremonies. Another one is Saksang. It is originally made from dog or pork meat. But in order to make it can be consumed by most people, nowadays there are also Saksang made from buffalo meat or beef.

There are some mandatory seasonings in Saksang, coconut milk and andaliman. The other ingredients are shallot, garlic, chilli, galangal, turmeric, ginger, lemongrass, salt, sugar, broth powder, and some kind of leaves.

The andaliman creates a very strong and typical aroma. For you who do not live in North Sumatra, do not worry because you can find Saksang easily in any lapo which has spread so many in many places.

7. Dali Ni Horbo

Dali Ni Horbo

Do you like cheese? You might have to put Dali Ni Horbo in your what to buy in Sumatra wishlist. People often call it Bataknese cheese. It looks like tofu. The texture is very soft, and the taste is savory.

It contains carbohydrate, protein, and fat. The main ingredient is buffalo milk which is low cholesterol. To make Dali Ni Horbo, you just need to mix the milk with salt. Stir them until cooked, and done!

You can eat it just like this, or also add some seasonings. The common ingredients to add are ginger, andaliman, chilli, shallot, and garlic.

8. Mie Gomak

Mie Gomak

If Batak has its ‘cheese’, it also has its ‘spaghetti’. It is called Mie Gomak. Trying Mie Gomak is also one of the top things to do in Northern Sumatra. Gomak itself means being stirred by hand.

That is the way to make Mie Gomak. It looks like Mie Aceh, but actually the noodle size is quite bigger.

The ingredients to make Mie Gomak are the noodle, oil, shallot, garlic, tomato, lemongrass, salt, ginger, turmeric, chilli, and the most important is andaliman to produce the aroma.

You can also add some other condiments, such as eggs and vegetables according to your taste.

So, those are 8 North Sumatran foods you need to try. Most of them have a strong aroma especially from the typical ingredient, andaliman. Do not miss the delicacy of these foods!

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