Prior to our visit to Mie Ayah, we were already disappointed by a number of stalls that offer Mie Aceh in Banda Aceh. We were at its place of origin yet those that we’ve tasted were as dull as dishwater – how ironic.
Our tour guide-slash-driver realised our dissatisfaction, though, and in an attempt to mend our wounds, he suggested us to give Mie Ayah a try. He argued that it could be the one for us: it’s been around for more than 25 years, it doesn’t have any branches, and it is still manned by its founder. It sounded too good to be true, which made us a bit hesitant at first. Only when one of the staff at Bu Si Itiek Bireuen sung its praises did we decide to give Mie Ayah a go.
The place was empty when we got there. Right in front of the shop was an aluminium-covered box filled with live crabs and ice, and a huge frying pan that is used to make Martabak Aceh (Acehnese omelette). We walked over to one of the vacant tables, sat down, and ordered a Mie Aceh Basah Kepiting (Acehnese noodles in gravy with crab meat) and a Martabak Aceh. Whilst waiting, the waiter asked us to go to the front of the joint and choose a crab. We opted for one of the medium-sized ones not just for its size, but also because it was still alive.
Served with chopped leeks and crab meat, the dish delivers the perfect balance between savoury and spicy. The fresh crab meat lends a sweet taste to the gravy, which prompted us to finish the whole plate despite our near-full tummies. Clearly our decision to check out Mie Ayah turned out to be a success.
Upon paying our bill, we had a chat with Nur Rahmi, who is the daughter of the eatery’s founder. With a smile that seemed to be her permanent expression, she gave us a brief history of the place. “My father opened this shop 28 years ago. Back then, one portion would only cost Rp.700,” she explains. Her father, however, has handed over kitchen duties to her Nur Rahmi’s older brother, with him now taking up the role of the shop’s manager. Before we parted ways, we couldn’t help but share our bad experience with the previous Mie Aceh shops that we paid a visit to, to which Nur Rahmi replies, “We choose only the best ingredients. That’s the reason why we place our crabs in front – so that customers will know that they’re still fresh.”
Jl. Simpang Lhong Raya
T: 0852 6035 5444
Open daily from 11am-1am
Price: Rp.60,000/US$4.50 per portion