Enjoy Authentic Sumatran Cuisine: 10 Best Batak Dishes

Best Batak Foods
| 3 min read

Batak refers to an ethnic group inhabiting the region of North Sumatra. Besides their unique traditions, culture, and houses, the tribe boasts a wide variety of food that includes preserved foods using local spices, such as andaliman (Batak pepper), honje flower, asam cikala (a pineapple-like fruit), and lokio (Batak onion). Moreover, freshwater fish, chicken, and even blood and dog meat are sometimes used.

Here are some of the great Batak dishes you should try whilst enjoying the panoramic view of Lake Toba.

1. Arsik Ikan Mas

Arsik Ikan Mas 2
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Gunawan Kartapranata used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Ikan Mas or goldfish is the main ingredient of the legendary Batak dish known as Arsik. This typical dish is predominantly acidic, sweet, spicy, and a bit savory. The freshwater carp is marinated with lime juice and ground spices. Then, it’s smothered with herbs like Thai basil, lemongrass, and mangkokan or saucer-leaf leaves and steamed over low heat.

Rumah Makan Sipirok

Address: Jl. Sunggal No.14, Sei Sikambing B, Medan Sunggal, Kota Medan, North Sumatra

Opening Hours: 10:30 am to 3 pm

Visited this place?

2. Naniura

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Unlike other Indonesian fish dishes, which are normally fried or slow cooked, Naniura is always eaten raw. This Sumatran version of sashimi is preserved with spices, namely Andaliman pepper, turmeric, candlenut, ginger, and chili, in which the fish is marinated for about five hours. An interesting fact is that this dish used to be only consumed by the royal family.

Tio Renta

Address: Jl. HM. Said No.23 E, Gaharu, Medan Tim., Kota Medan, North Sumatra

Opening Hours: 10 am to 4 pm

Visited this place?

3. Manuk Napinadar

Do you like food that contains blood? How about chicken? If so, Manuk Pinadar will quench your cravings. In this dish, pieces of roast chicken are mixed with the bird’s fresh blood, before lime and salt are added. In addition, fried spices, such as turmeric, lemongrass, ginger, and Andaliman pepper, are added. Smoky aroma and savory flavor are the best descriptions of this traditional food.

Rm.Silauraja.Panggang Ayam Kampung Napinadar

Address: Jl. Ahmad Yani, Batang Beruh, Sidikalang, Kabupaten Dairi, North Sumatra

Visited this place?

4. Saksang

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Gunawan Kartapranata used under CC BY-SA 3.0

If you love trying dishes that challenge you, when you’re traveling, you might want to try Saksang. This is a typical curry dish, but the main difference is that it’s surprisingly made of dog meat and pig’s blood. The diced flesh is sauteed with lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, chilies, and galangal. After it’s tender, Andaliman pepper and lime juice are added. Other meat options, instead of dog, can be pork or buffalo meat.

Asan Saksang Goreng

Address: Jl. Wahidin, Pandau Hulu I, Medan Area, Kota Medan, North Sumatra

Opening Hours: 9 am to 9 pm

Visited this place?

5. Mie Gomak

Mie Gomak
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Gunawan Kartapranata used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Mie Gomak is recommended for noodle lovers and is often dubbed “Batak spaghetti”. The long pasta is boiled and adorned with sauteed veggies like chayote, spinach, and cabbage. An orange broth, made of water and ground spices, like shallots, garlic, turmeric, red chilies, and ginger, is added, as well as coconut milk. Finally, it is all topped with a boiled egg.

Warung Mie Gomak Cupek

Address: Jalan Simsim, Kota Sidikalang, Sidikalang, Kabupaten Dairi, North Sumatra

Opening Hours: 6 am to 12 pm

Visited this place?

6. Dali Ni Horbo

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

If you think cheese only originates from the European continent, you are absolutely wrong. It turns out that the people of Batak use buffalo milk to make their own cheese, known as Dali Ni Horbo. The white cheese is usually part of the main course at an annual festival. To get rid of any bad smell, locals use pineapple and papaya leaf juice.

Dali Ni Horbo

Where to find it?: At traditional markets around Lake Toba

Price: 5,000 to 15,000 IDR (0.40 to 1.10 USD)

Visited this place?

7. Daun Ubi Tumbuk

Daun Ubi Tumbuk
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Gunawan Kartapranata used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Daun Ubi Tumbuk, recommended for pescatarians, is a thick, soupy dish made from ground cassava leaves. The leaves are simmered with coconut milk, tiny anchovies, honje flowers, and lemongrass. What gives this soup its bright color is the blend of chili paste and turmeric powder. To enrich the flavor, takokak, (an eggplant-like spice), is added.

Warung Makan Uning Ogek Daun Ubi Tumbuk Khas Sibolga

Address: Jl. Sidorukun, Pulo Brayan Darat II, Medan Tim., Kota Medan, North Sumatra

Opening Hours: 12 am to 6 pm and 9 pm to 12 am, daily

Visited this place?

8. Kue Ombus Ombus

If you are craving something sweet, don’t miss Kue Ombus Ombus. This favorite snack is uniquely wrapped in banana leaves and shaped like a cone. It consists of sticky rice flour and grated coconut, with palm sugar filling. The traditional cake tastes great and has a fluffy texture.

Kue Ombus Ombus

Where to find it?: Warung Ombus Ombus number 1, Siborong-borong, North Tapanuli

Price: 1,000 IDR (0.10 USD) per piece

Visited this place?

9. Natinombur

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Specials for warm weather…. Fish curry and Fish fry available in Restaurant Garuda. For order call 705 869 999

Posted by Restaurant Garuda on Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Natinombur has many similarities to the dishes Arsik and Naniura, mentioned above. The basic difference is in the cooking process. With this dish, the fish is grilled over hot charcoal, marinated with lime juice and salt, and smothered in a yellowish, orange sauce. The tasty sauce is made of water, Andaliman pepper, honje flower, roasted ginger, shallots, and candlenut.

Restoran Garuda-Adam Malik

Address: Jl. H. Adam Malik No. 14, Silalas, Medan Barat, Silalas, Medan Bar., Kota Medan, North Sumatra

Opening Hours: 24 hours

Visited this place?

10. Tanggo Tanggo

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Batak food is not just about freshwater fish and blood – and Tanggo Tanggo is evidence of this, made of lamb. The lamb is sauteed with Batak onion, known as lokio, Andaliman pepper, and galangal. Coconut milk is added when the meat is tender and nice.

Rumah Makan Khas Batak Rumabutar

Address: Jl. Pelita VI No.93, Sidorame Bar. II, Medan Perjuangan, Kota Medan, North Sumatra

Opening Hours: 10 am to 8 pm

Visited this place?

Batak foods are unique and worth tasting

Although North Sumatran cuisine has a wide variety of strange ingredients and rare spices, their flavors shouldn’t be missed. From marinated raw fish to dishes that contain blood, Batak food always comes with fascination, strong impressions, and curiosity.

Visited this place?
Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


Get Trip101 in your inbox

Unsubscribe in one click. See our Privacy Policy for more information on how we use your data

Rofiq, hailing from East Java, Indonesia, is a passionate explorer who thrives on discovering new places, encountering diverse people, and immersing himself in various languages and cultures. His...Read more

 Want to contribute as a Local Expert?
Explore Medan
Good things are meant to be shared!
Back to top
Visited any of these places? Click this button to activate our "Add a Tip" feature to share your experience.