Given the fact that Indonesia is a big country with a diversity of cultures, people and delicious food, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Medan, on the north-east coast of North Sumatra, is a food heaven. Newly opened Pondok Rasa features a wide range of authentic Medan food and is run by a group of people from Medan including young chef Selamat Susanto who picked up traditional home-style recipes handed down over generations from this grandmother and mother-in-law. Starting the meal with a side dish, the Perkedel ($2) is actually a kind of potato croquette that has been seasoned with spices. Best eaten piping hot!
Served with a smattering array of vegetables such as bean sprouts, long beans, cabbage, tofu, sweet potato leaf, the Pecel ($5.80) is great for sharing as the portion is quite huge. I like the sweet and nutty peanut sauce that comes with it.
When served hot, the Nasi Tim Ayam ($5.30) smells really fragrant and is pure comfort food for most Chinese Indonesians. The chicken and mushroom are chopped up into bits, and seasoned in garlic and soy sauce before steaming together with rice. This Indonesian version of steamed chicken rice tastes slightly sweet and is served with a side of cucumber and tomato slices.
Simply put, Mi Sop Ayam ($5.30) is actually chicken soup noodle and is not to be mistaken with our very own mee soto. The broth has a sweet umami taste and is highly recommended if you want something light and tasty.
I must say that Pondok Rasa’s Ayam Bakar ($6.80) is very well done! The grilled chicken skin was slightly charred but the sweet delicious flavor was truly a mouth-watering experience for us! The fork-tender meat is also worthy of mention.
We tried the Kari Chicken with Rice ($5.80) which had quite a rich coconut taste but it did not leave much of an impression as it was not exactly very spicy.
If you can’t make up your mind, Nasi Goreng ($5.30) would be the safest item to order from the menu. What could possibly go wrong with fried rice? Fried with pieces of shredded chicken and garlic, the rice is packed with robust flavors, topped with a lovely sunny side up that has a runny yolk. My kind of comfort food.
When we saw the Soto Medan (Prawn) with Rice ($6.80), Thai green curry first came to mind. Using coconut milk as the base, this dish had a light, sweet flavor which further enhanced the taste of the crunchy prawns.
If I’m not mistaken, Sekoteng ($3.50) is actually a drink which can also be served hot. There are quite a few variants and the one served here has corn, dried orange skin, raisins and grass jelly cubes in it.
The Kolak Pisang ($4) is a must try classic Indonesian dessert. There is also an option for the hot Kolak Pisang but I personally like my desserts to be cold. I found this to be very novel and refreshing, something that I would definitely order on my next visit!
I absolutely love the banana fritters that were covered in a thin batter such that the sweetness of the banana managed to come through. However, I reckon the Pisang Bumbu ($4) is somewhat an acquired taste. I really like my desserts sweet but the peanut sauce that came with it was a savory one. Hence, I had trouble getting used to the taste of the pisang bumbu!
For a taste of authentic Medan cuisine, you really gotta head down to Pondok Rasa! Thank you to the awesome group for the dinner.
103 Beach Road #01-02
Tel: 6333 1239
Mon to Fri
11am – 2.30pm (Lunch)
5.30pm – 9pm (Dinner)
11am – 9pm
(Closed on Sun)