A tiny, unassuming warung sits by the roadside on Jalan Kejaksaan in Medan. Despite its compact size, it’s always packed with customers during lunchtime. Without a signboard or a hoarding to indicate its presence, only a local, a food connoisseur, or one who has done extensive research would be able to distinguish this joint that’s called Warung Cabe Ijo – its moniker derived from its signature dish Cabe Ijo (fried green chillies).
For those not in the know, Warung Cabe Ijo was once known as Telago Minang Duo and has been around for more than 30 years. Its founder, Bapak Haji Samsir, is a Padang native; hence its focus on home-cooked dishes from the capital city of West Sumatra.
Don’t expect to find Rendang or Ayam Gulai here though; this warung specialises in deep-fried fish delicacies, or more specifically, catfish and pomfret fish served with Cabe Ijo and vegetables on the side.
There’s nothing spectacular about the presentation of its food. Its taste, however, will leave you jumping for joy. The hot fiery sambal will please all you spicy food lovers, while the tender meat of the fish is complemented perfectly by its crunchy exterior. The yard-long bean curry and boiled papaya leaves are on hand to help in cooling off your palate from the sambal.
What I learned from my Warung Cabe Ijo experience is that when you’re tucking into such delicious sambal, you won’t even notice how hot the day is outside.
Jl. Kejaksaan Ujung No. 7,
Medan, North Sumatra
Open Monday to Saturday, from 10am-9pm
Rp.30,000/US$2.30 per portion