Warung Nasi Hasan was first established in 1989 by its namesake founder Pak Hasan. Specialising in Acehnese dishes such as Ayam Tangkap (Acehnese fried chicken) and Sie Kameng (mutton curry) among others, Pak Hasan’s business now encompasses two other outlets, with RM Hasan 3 on Jalan Laksamana Malahayati being the most popular out of all.
Without prior research, I arrived at the joint at 9am, whereupon I discovered that it only opens at 11am. After throwing a few probing questions to its staff, I decided to return in the evening.
It was 8.30pm when I got there again, and the huge stilt house that is home to the restaurant was dark and empty. I climbed up the stairs and saw the hired hands cleaning up the place. I almost turned back before one of them beckoned me to take a seat and place my order. After trying four portions of Ayam Tangkap during the day, I felt reluctant to have another one. However, for professionalism’s sake, I persevered and asked for its version of the archetypal dish.
While waiting, the waitress placed a few small plates on my table that contained Pliu (paddy oats) and Ikan Kayu Keumamah (dry cob fish). Since I was feeling stuffed, I gave them a miss and focussed what little space I had left in my belly for the main course. Not long after, my Ayam Tangkap was ready to be feasted on. The fried pandanus and curry leaves that are strewn on top of the sizzling cuts of chicken gave off a heavenly aroma, while the pièce de résistance itself featured a golden brown colour that shone underneath the herbs. Marinated in a mixture of coconut water, turmeric, salt, pepper, red onion and garlic for long hours before it was served, the chicken was juicy and flavourful.
Thank goodness I had left a bit of room for Pak Hasan’s masterpiece, because it was hands down the best Ayam Tangkap that I had in Aceh. And I assume that the many notable folks pictured with Pak Hasan on a series of photographs that adorn the wall behind the cashier would think the same way.
Jl. Laksamana Mahayati, Krueng Raya,
Open daily from 11am-10pm
Price: Rp.40,000/US$3 per person