If you a) are a food enthusiast and b) have been to Medan, the chances are you’ve heard of Bihun Bebek Asie, which is located on Jalan Kumango. Founded in 1930, the long-standing eatery is known for its delicious yet pricey Bihun Bebek (rice vermicelli with sliced duck meat). But don’t let its price tag scare you off, though, as from my experience, it was definitely worth every penny.
There are two types of broths that are used for Bihun Bebek: herbal and duck. Most eateries in Medan offer Bihun Bebek Herbal because it’s easier to cook. Bihun Bebek Asie, however, chose the road less travelled by offering Bihun Bebek in duck broth. The process is painstaking, as it requires a longer period to cook and plenty of duck meat to create a rich odourless soup. Asie – who is the founder’s son – is fully committed to the cause and is not willing to sacrifice quality for a reduction in costs. Even today, he still concocts his Bihun Bebek from scratch.
Even though it was 8am, it took quite a while for me to secure a table until a waitress beckoned and managed to get me a place at one corner of the shop. After I placed my order of a bowl of its signature dish, it came around in less than ten minutes. The huge bowl contained oodles of rice vermicelli topped with duck meat slices, fried garlic and vegetables. When I began to stir the mixture, a pleasant aroma of fried garlic and sesame oil travelled straight into my nostrils – I knew then that this was going to a heavenly meal to delight in. The duck meat were tender, with no hint of odour detected, and its flavour provided a good counterbalance to the rich texture of the soup. Once I saw the other customers order extra servings of the soup at no cost, I followed suit.
Jl. Kumango No. 15,
Medan, North Sumatra
Open from Monday to Saturday from 6.30am-11am
Price: Rp.70,000/US$5.30 per portion