Aceh, a special region in the northwestern tip of Indonesia’s Sumatra island, is typically recognised for the following: tsunamis, sharia law, mosques, the incredible diving at Weh island and Gayo coffee. However, you might not realise that , this gem of a region is also home to a wide array of rich-flavored and lip-smacking culinary delights. Once you step in Aceh, don’t forget to try these 11 incredible local foods and enjoy the blend of savory, spicy, and sweet tastes in your mouth.
1. Sie Kameng
Sie Kameng, famously known as Gulai Kambing (in Indonesian) or mutton curry, has a very distinctive flavor and pungency. Compared to other typical curry dishes in Asia, the bright-colored sauce in this top-rated Aceh specialty well-accentuates the texture of the lamb (or mutton). Additionally, the unique cooking process of using a cauldron over a big fire and the seasonings such as star anise and temurui leaf are what make the dish so spectacular.
Gulai Kambing Pak. Ahmad
Address: Lam Ara Cut, Kuta Malaka, Aceh Besar Regency, Aceh
Opening Hours: 8 am to 3:20 am
2. Mie Aceh
Craving for traditional noodles? Don’t miss slurping the tasty Mie Aceh. The thick yellow noodles perfectly match the rich beef broth, sliced lamb and bean sprouts. There are two ways of serving it – fried or soupy. The strong flavor comes from the turmeric, cardamon, cumin, and pepper spices. The dish is always accompanied by fried onion, shrimp crackers, lime and sliced cucumber.
Address: Jl. Panglima Polem No. 83-85, Peunayong, Kuta Alam, Kota Banda Aceh, Aceh
Opening Hours: 11 am to 11 pm
3. Sate Matang
Aceh also has its own version of the kebab or grilled meat on skewers. In some parts of Asia, it is referred to as satay, but it Aceh, the locals call it sate matang. Diced goat meat is marinated with a lot of spices such as coriander, candle nut, and lemon grass. It’s then grilled over burning charcoal. To fully enjoy the dish, dip the sate in a sweet sauce made of peanut, garlic, bay leaves, cinnamon, coconut milk, soy sauce and dried chili.
Address: Jl. Sri Ratu Syafiatuddin No.86, Peunayong, Kuta Alam, Kota Banda Aceh, Aceh
Contact Number: +62 (0651) 33673
4. Roti Jala and Kari Ayam
Roti Jala and Kari Ayam are like inseparable friends. Roti Jala is a type of net-shaped pancake made of flour and coconut milk. On the other hand, Kari Ayam, or Aceh chicken curry, has very thick texture and bright tangerine color. The chicken is simmered with an abundance of spices such as star anise, cardamon, cinnamon, curry leaves and galangal, a citrusy rhizome from the ginger family.
Canai Mamak KL
Address: Jalan Teuku Umar, Seutui, Baiturrahman, Seutui, Banda Aceh, Kota Banda Aceh, Aceh
Opening Hours: 10 am to 11 pm
5. Ayam Tangkap Aceh
If you can’t leave go without eating chicken wherever you travel, the delicious Ayam Tangkap (caught chicken) would be a dish you must try at least once. The fried local fowl is uniquely presented with aromatic, fried greens such as curry and pandan leaves. The diced chicken is cooked with turmeric, shallots, ginger, garlic and tamarind water, then deep-fried until crispy.
Warung Makan Hasan 3, Cabang Kreung Cut
Address: Jl T.P. Nyak Makam, Pango Raya | Jembatan Layang Pango Raya, Banda Aceh, Indonesia
Contact Number: +62 812-6979-965
6. Pliek U
Vegetarians should definitely sample the Pliek U, a legendary recipe handed down by our ancestors. The main ingredient is basically dregs of old coconut oil. It’s added with ingredients such as melinjo leaves, string beans, unripe jackfruit, eggplant and prawn. All of it is then boiled with light coconut milk and ground spices.
RM. Ayah (Pliek U & Kuah Beulangong)
Address: Jl. Sultan Iskandar Muda, Punge Jurong, Meuraxa, Kota Banda Aceh, Aceh
Opening Hours: 9 am to 9 pm
7. Asam Keueng
If you’re craving the exotic combination of spiciness and sourness, Asam Keueng will satiate your taste buds. The sea fish is sauteed with shallots and garlic, then water is added along with fresh green tomatoes, lime, belimbing wuluh (a starfruit-like spice with high acidity) and ground spices comprising of turmeric, chilies and kaffir lime leaves.
Address: Jl. Pantai Perak No.789, Kuta Alam, Kota Banda Aceh, Aceh
Opening Hours: 8 am to 10 pm
8. Martabak Aceh
Indonesian martabak is a type of street food – a pancake with a floury skin and egg filling. However, martabak Aceh puts a spin on that – you will first taste the egg before getting to the crunchy pastry. The egg mixture consists of onion, prawn, chicken, egg, celery and spring onion. Before taking a bite, you should add some green chili and shallot pickles.
Address: Muhammad Daudsyah, Jl. Tgk Diblang, Peulanggahan, Kuta Raja, Kota Banda Aceh, Aceh
Opening Hours: at night
9. Kue Timphan
Kue Timphan can honestly be one of Aceh’s best desserts and is perfectly suited for after you gorge on spicy and heavy lamb curry. The lovely snack is made of steamed sticky rice, coconut milk, rice flour and banana with various fillings from srikaya (a sweet local fruit) to grated coconut. All of the ingredients are then wrapped in banana leaves. The delicate and sticky textures make this dish very hard to forget.
All Warung Kopi in Banda Aceh
Address: Banda Aceh, Nangroe Aceh Darussalam
Opening Hours: at night
10. Rujak Aceh
To complete your culinary adventure, delight in a glass of refreshing Rujak Aceh To make this traditional dessert, you just need a handful of fresh tropical fruit such as bengkuang (what is this?), unripe mango, cucumber, rose apple and kweni mango. The surprisingly complementary spicy sauce consists of chili, brown sugar, tamarind and fried peanut.
Rujak Aceh Garuda
Address JL. Tengku Pulo Dibaroh, No. 15, kp. baru, Kp. Baru, Baiturrahman, Kota Banda Aceh, Aceh
Contact Number: +62 0852-6081-7297
11. Sie Itek
Sie Itek is highly recommended for those who love eating duck. It can be easily found at most the restaurants in Aceh. What makes the dish so aromatic and sought after is a blend of herbs such as temurui and koja leaves. The reddish orange curry is great to be devoured with hot steamed rice.
Bu Si Itek Bireuen
Address: Jalan Teuku Umar, Setui, Banda Aceh
Opening Hours: 7 pm to midnight
Pamper your taste buds with Aceh dishes!
Aceh offers a truly wide variety of amazing foods from the delectable mutton curry Sie Kameng to the tender duck dish Sie Itek. The cuisine mainly features pungent aromas and spicy richness. Enjoy this food paradise set in the veranda of Mecca!
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