Late Night Guide: Medan
The largest city on the island of Sumatra, Medan is mostly regarded by tourists as an access point to other exciting travel destinations in North Sumatra. However, it’s safe to say that if you dig a little deeper and take your time to explore the city, you’ll find that it’s much more than just a pit stop for travellers to get to the famous Lake Toba.
Walking through Medan, you can almost see the city evolving right before your very own eyes, with Dutch-style colonial buildings coexisting side by side with traditional Indonesian street food vendors as well as modern cafés, bars and shopping malls. The mishmash of cultures contributes to a vibrant food scene, which truly comes alive at night. Satisfy your cravings in this foodie heaven at any time of day with this Late Night Guide!
Jamin Ginting No.103, Simpang Selayang, Medan Tuntungan, Kota Medan, Sumatera Utara 20135, Indonesia
Opening hours: 8am to 10pm (Mon to Sat), 8am to 9pm (Sun)
At BPK Tesalonika, they serve one of the most popular dishes in Northern Sumatra – Babi Panggang Karo (Karonese Roasted Pork). Found typically in the Karo tribe, this traditional Batak dish has become a local favorite in Medan. The juicy, succulent pork meat is grilled to perfection with the most aromatic Karonese spices. The one served in BPK is especially tasty as they use finer slices from the best cut of meat. Safe to say that pork lovers are in for a real treat at this joint!
The sauce also deserves a special mention as it’s made with pig’s blood and chili sauce. Seasoned with herbs and cooked over charcoal till it turns brown, this unique sauce is surprisingly punchy with a bit of a spicy kick. You can’t deny that it goes so well with the meat – you simply can’t get enough of it.
When it comes to ordering, you can choose to buy the pork by weight, or as a complete meal with rice, soup, and a side of mashed cassava leaves and torched ginger. Whatever it is, you’re getting a bang for your buck because you get to have an amazing spread of food at a really great price!
Si Bolang Durian
Jalan Iskandar Muda No. 75 C-D, Medan Baru, Babura, Medan Baru, Kota Medan, Sumatera Utara 20153, Indonesia
Opening hours: Open 24 hours
You know a place is super legit when it’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! Si Bolang Durian has made its mark in Medan with an open outdoor café-style concept, complete with quirky durian displays all over the establishment – from cute replicas of durian trees, to a pickup truck with a giant durian propped up against the cargo bed, to a motorbike with a durian-shaped sidecar. Besides enjoying the durians, you can see customers having a laugh and taking pictures with these iconic displays. But of course, while the decorations are entertaining, what really brings people back is the amazing service, the quality of the durians as well as the variety of durian-flavored products.
Aside from trying the different kinds of fresh durian fruit, we highly recommend the durian pancakes – durian-flavored cream filling rolled in a thin crepe-like wrap, this yummy snack is soft, moist and fluffy. A perfect midnight perk-me-up! If you prefer something to cool you down, then perhaps their creamy durian ice cream would do the trick.
There’s really no better place to enjoy the King of Fruits! Si Bolang Durian is clean, comfortable and has excellent service. If you love durians, you absolutely can’t miss out on this memorable experience.
Kodon Kodon Café
Jalan Raya Merek Km 9, Sidikalang, Kodon-Kodon, Merek, Kabupaten Karo, Sumatera Utara 22173, Indonesia
Opening hours: 9.30AM to 08.00PM
Located at Taman Simalem Resort on the edge of a rainforest, Kodon Kodon Café serves authentic local cuisine. While they don’t offer a wide selection of food, you’re guaranteed a satisfying meal with a great view. A good place to have a satisfying Indonesian breakfast after a long night out, there’s one dish you have to try – Soto Ayam Medan.
Tasty chicken strips cooked in a coconut milk broth, this bowl of goodness is the perfect comfort food. If you don’t feel like eating chicken, they also serve the Soto with beef or shrimp. The yellowish soup is definitely the highlight of the dish – flavorful and aromatic, you won’t want to leave behind a single drop. Served with potato pancakes and chili sauce, you’re definitely starting the day on the right foot.
Once you’ve gotten your fill of Medan city and its delicious food, it’s time to reward yourself with a magnificent view of Lake Toba., One of nature’s most breathtaking gifts, this gigantic crater lake is over 1,100 square kilometers and 450 meters deep, making it the largest lake in Southeast Asia and the largest volcanic lake in the world.
Just a four-hour drive away from Central Medan, Lake Toba is a great retreat from our daily routine and the hustle and bustle of the city. Sitting at 900 meters above sea level, the climate is cool and refreshing – the perfect sweater weather to snuggle up with your loved ones against the backdrop of picturesque mountains and the clear blue lake.
Take the chance to explore the vast surroundings of the lake by having a walk by the lake or even taking a boat ride from Tongging Village. Immerse yourself in the sights and sounds as you cruise along the serene waters.
Don’t miss out on seeing the Sipiso-piso waterfall at the northern tip of the lake! The highest plunge waterfall in Indonesia, it was formed when the land nearer to the lake collapsed, uncovering an underground river at the side of the cliff. Up close, it’s truly a sight to behold!
While Medan still doesn’t attract many travellers, this underrated gem of a city has so much potential with unlimited delicious food options and great sights to see. With all that it has to offer, this beautiful city should not be overlooked when deciding your next holiday destination.