As one of the most popular dishes in Medan, there are more purveyors of Lontong Sayur Medan (Medan rice cake in coconut milk) than one can shake a stick at in the capital city of North Sumatera. Best among them, however, is Lontong Kak Lin.
Kak Lin – or Nuzulina, as it would say on her ID card – kicked off her Lontong Sayur business in 1994 by setting up a small stall in front of SMAN 1 Medan. Specialising in breakfast for students and their parents, her venture’s stock went through the roof. Eventually, she opened her own shop opposite the school and dubbed it Lontong Kak Lin.
To avoid the morning crowd, I popped by slightly later at 10am. It was almost empty except for a few customers. After ordering its Lontong Sayur Medan, I sat down and observed my surroundings. Turns out they also serve Lupis (triangle-shaped rice caked with grated coconut and palm sugar), Nasi Gurih (rice in coconut milk), and Sate Kerang (ark clam satay).
I grabbed a stick of the ark clam skewers. Covered with a mixture of spices that include coriander seeds, ginger, fried coconut, pepper and chillies, the concoction resulted in the elimination of the unpleasant fishy smell of the clam and infused savoury and spicy flavours into the mix. A great start to the proceedings.
Satisfied, I then moved on to the pièce de résistance: the Lontong Sayur Medan. The rice cakes had a nice, chewy texture to them and blended well with the savoury coconut milk soup. Alongside it were tauco udang (shrimp in fermented beans), a few hard-boiled eggs, and some sweetened potato chips. One spoonful was all it took to bless my palate with a delightful mixture of spicy, sweet and savoury.
However, I must say that having a portion of Lontong Sayur Medan for breakfast can be a tad heavy for one’s tummy. Yet it’s so flavourful to the point of irresistible. Truly a must-try if you find yourself in Medan.
Jl. T. Cik Ditiro,
Medan, North Sumatra
T: 0811 633 0330
Open daily from 7am-4pm
Rp.25,000/US$1.90 per person