RM Acek Botak may be a name that is not unfamiliar to the fine residents of Medan. Having been around for 30 years now, its moniker was derived from the owner’s nickname, which means “bald uncle”. Located on Jalan Karo, the Chinese restaurant is renowned for its delicious food, punctual service, and wallet-friendly prices.
I used to dine here when I was a kid, and my mum would try to recreate the restaurant’s signature Ayam Goreng (fried chicken) a few times but to no avail. So for old times’ sake, I included the place on my itinerary during my trip to Medan.
Its unassuming interior has not changed, and it felt like I was transported back to 1995. Acek Botak himself, however, no longer mans the kitchen – he has passed down the spatula to his son Abi and now supervises from afar.
Out of nostalgia – and the knowledge they’d be good – I ordered what we used to eat: Ayam Goreng and Tauco Udang (prawn in fermented soybeans). They arrived in an instant, which got me bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. After plopping a dollop of sambal on to a saucer, I took a piece of chicken and dipped it in. Its deliciousness has withstood the test of time, which put a huge grin on my face. Its exterior was crunchy to a T – a feature that my mum failed to replicate – whilst being moist and tender on the inside.
The Tauco Udang consists of fresh prawns, fermented soybeans, sliced chillies, baby corn, and fried tofu. The tauco lends a tanginess flavour to the gravy, which harmonised with the fresh prawns. Presenting a mix of spicy and sour flavours, it’s a very revitalising dish.
Sadly, I’ve read a number of restaurant reviewers slating its unhygienic open-kitchen area. If you think you can’t stand the sight of it, I’d suggest having your food to go. For its affordable price and tasty food, though, it’s still worth a visit.
Jl. Karo No. 3,
Medan, North Sumatra
T: 061 455 6451
Open daily from 9am-10pm
Rp.50,000/US$3.80 per person