Merdeka Walk – Medan, Sumatra Utara

Merdeka Walk – Medan, Sumatra Utara

Established in 2005, Merdeka Walk (MW) is strategically located in the heart of Medan. It is within a walking distance from the Central Train Station, Tjong A Fie Mansion and the iconic Tip Top Restaurant. It follows an outdoor food court setting adjacent to Lapangan Merdeka.

Merdeka WalkWhat to do:

  • Culinary travel

As Medan is well-known for its culinary, Merdeka Walk is definitely one of the best spots where you could enjoy varieties of both local and international foods. It offers plenty of dishes and beverages both light and heavy in various ranges of price. Some of the popular restaurants here include McD and Pizza Hut (fast food), Nelayan (dim sum and Chinese foods), Oh La La Cafe (western and Italian foods), Coffee Bean Cafe, as well as other vendors that sell famous local dishes like Tiongsim (Chinese noodles with pork) or Soto Medan (chicken or beef with coconut soup and rice).

  • Viewing the historical buildings

Aside of satisfying your taste buds, Merdeka Walk will also satisfy your eyes. Not only it is strategically located, it is also surrounded by some of the historical landmarks in Medan. Some of the buildings have been there since the colonial time (a period when Indonesia was occupied by the Netherlands). They include the City Hall building across Merdeka Walk main gate that now serves as one the high end hotels in Medan and the Post Office building.

  • Free wifi and perfect selfie spot

Merdeka Walk is also a perfect spot to both chill down and work at the same time. This place offers wifi connection that could be accessed in case you need to finish up your deadlines or just browsing for fun. At night, it turns into a breathtaking view, courtesy of the light decorations illuminating from the old trees surrounding the area. It is no wonder why people love to take selfies here.

Location and operational hours:

Location: Lapangan Merdeka, Jalan Balai Kota

Operational hours: Sunday – Friday, 11.00 am-24.00 am; Saturday, 11.00 pm-2.00 am (Except for McD that opens 24 hours)

Direction (by cars/motorbikes):

From Kuala Namu International Airport, take the airport railway that would take you to Medan Central Train Station (Stasiun Pusat Medan). From the main gate of the station, cross the street towards the big field, Lapangan Merdeka. Once there, walk ± 50 m to the east.

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Toba Lake (Part 1) – Sumatra Utara

Toba Lake (Part 1) – Sumatra Utara

Lake Toba Tourism Information

One of the icons of Indonesia’s tourism is Toba Lake. As the largest lake in South East Asia and the deepest lake in the world (450 m), Toba Lake has attracted visitors from all parts of the world to witness its magnificent beauty. What makes the view becomes even more picturesque is how the lake is surrounded by natural pine forests and majestic mountaineous regions. In the middle of it, lies a wedge shaped island known as Samosir Island. Toba Lake, Lake Toba Tourism InformationToba Lake is located at a city known as Parapat in North Sumatra province. It is the homeland of Batak people. For them, the lake is not merely a well-known natural beauty but also a sacred place in their tradition. They believe that it is the residence of the seven goddesses known as Namborru. As a result, before a special event would be commenced there, the local community would always hold a ritual that includes praying and giving offerings at the lake vicinity areas in order to get a blessing from the goddesses.

How to get there: From Kuala Namu International Airport (KNIA), you need to head to Parapat. There are several alternatives to get there.

By private cars or travels: -At the airport, you would find plenty of counters where you could either rent a whole car (it can take up to 7-8 people) or ride a travel to Parapat. The cost for renting a whole car would be quite costly but it usually comes with a driver that would also act as a guide. The journey would take around 3-4 hours depending on traffic and weather condition.

By public busses: -From the exit door of KNIA, you would notice a train station across the street. Once you do, turn right where you would see a ‘BUS’ signage. Afterwards, look for DAMRI bus heading to Amplas Bus Station. Then, let the driver know that you would like to get off at Simpang Kayu Besar. There, you could find Sejahtera Bus or lots of travel (smaller buses) heading straight to Parapat.

By train and public bus: -From the airport, take the train to Medan Central Station. Once there, grab the regional train heading to Pematang Siantar (±2.5 hours). From the city, grab another public bus heading directly to Parapat (40 minutes). This method would be the most tiring out of the three. However, you would have additional chance to enjoy the street culinary experience at Pematang Siantar like bakmi keriting (curly noodles) and the popular Kok Tong coffee.

More Lake Toba Tourism Information

Toba Lake (Part 2) – Sumatra Utara

Toba Lake (Part 2) – Sumatra Utara

Lake Toba Tourism Guide


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What to do:
-Attending Toba Lake Festival This festival is usually held annually in August-September. During the festival, you could watch a diversed cultural performances from North Sumatra province including the famous Tor-Tor Dance. The festivities also include a competition to decorate and race the traditional dragon boats. And if you happen to be a shopping enthusiast, this festival would be a great opportunity to hunt for Batak traditional cloth ulos in all of its variants. Last but not least, you could also satisfy your taste buds with the varieties of local culinaries from both North Sumatra and other parts of Indonesia. -Sailing around Lake Toba Another popular activity available at Lake Toba is to sail around it with the unique two-story decked passenger boats. While enjoying the ride, you would witness the majestic view of Samosir Island and the mountain surrounding the lake. The trip would generally take you to see the famous Batu Gantung (a hanging stone from a cliff) as well.

-Visiting Jangga Traditional Village This village is located in the beautiful valley of Simanuk-Manuk Mountain, Lumban Desa Jangga, Lake Toba Tourism GuideJulu, Toba Samosir Regency. It is ± 24 km from Lake Toba. In the village, you would encounter the traditional lifesytle of the Batak people that is far away from modernity. There you could see the traditional Batak house as well as the ulos weaving process by the villagers. In fact, if you would like to observe the Batak culture even more, you could even arrange to stay in one of the locals’ traditional houses. One important thing to bear in mind is to always show respect while you are in the village. One way to do this is by asking permission to the villagers before taking pictures.

-Water sports For you who seek for a more adventurous activity at Lake Toba, you could try out some of the water sports that are available at most of the hotels there. Some of them include water skiing, riding jet ski and banana boats as well as canoing.

-Shopping for souvenirs At the traditional market located in the heart of Parapat, you would find a range of shops offering a variety of souvenirs both modern and traditional. Some of the popular ones would be ulos and several carvings with Batak traditional writings. Best time to visit: Best to avoid rainy season (September – January) as it could be foggy.

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Tjong A Fie’s Mansion/Museum – Medan, North Sumatra

Tjong A Fie’s Mansion/Museum – Medan, North Sumatra

It was built in 1900 and belonged to the wealthiest Chinese merchant, Tjong A Fie. He was a highly respected individual due to his wealth, generosity and nobility. History recorded that during his funeral procession, almost all of the people in Medan back then joined in one long march to send him away. He had earned respect from high ranking Dutches officials, Deli’s royal family, and even the larger community. He helped improving the city’s main infrastructure like banks, railroads, hospitals, and even various worshipping places. Thus, visiting this place is important to learn about the man who has touched many people’s heart.

Tjong A-Fie Museum

What to do:

  • Enjoying the mansion’s amazing architectural design. Once you enter the mansion that used to be the residence of Tjong A Fie, you can’t help but to be immersed in awe. Although it was established more than a century ago, you could still be the witness of the mansion’s elegant yet formidable architectural design. Its design is a mixture of Malay and Chinese influences. The Malay’s influence could be seen in the sculpture around the doors, windows, and the balcony’s fences. As for the Chinese influence, you could see it from the two story building design that is similar to buildings in China or Singapore in that era.
  • Finding out the history of Tjong A Fie. As you tour around the mansion, you could learn a lot about this particular figure. You would learn that he was a man who possessed great taste in beauty and art from the furniture and art pieces showcased. You would also learn that he was a man who placed high respect for his cultural identity from some of the Chinese writings, places dedicated for ancestors’ worship, and documents showcased.

Location, operational hours, admission fee:

Location: Jl. Ahmad Yani 105 (Medan Old Town area – opposite of famous Tip Top Cafe)

Operational hours: Everyday, 9.00 am-5 pm (Occasionaly closed for maintenance)

Admission fee: Rp 35,000,- (including guide)

Direction (by cars/motorbikes):

From Kuala Namu International Airport, take the airport railway that would take you to Medan Central Train Station (Stasiun Pusat Medan). From there, head to Jl. Balaikota through Jl. Pulau Pinang and Jl. Mesjid that will cover ± 1.2 km. Lastly, turn left to Jl. Balaikota and the mansion will be on the right. (courtesy by Google Maps).

Estimated time required (with no traffic):

  • Train travel (45 minutes) + cars/ motorbikes travel (5 minutes) = 50 min/ ± 1H
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Ten Popular Local Foods at Medan (Part 1)

Ten Popular Local Foods at Medan (Part 1)
It has been widely known that Medan is one of the best destinations in Indonesia for its culinary experience. The real question would be which local foods that really worth our time and money for us to try. To address that question, this article would guide you through the ten popular local foods while you are visiting Medan.

1.Kwetiaw Ateng  (contains pork) Kwetiaw itself is a kind of rice fettuccine. But what makes Kwetiaw Ateng special compared to the others is its special thick red sauce which will be mixed together right before we eat it. This special sauce will make the kwetiaw becomes more savory yet sweet and contains a little hint of mild spicy flavor. In addition to that, it also comes with some medium shrimps and fragrant bak yu phok (fried pork fat) as condiments. Location and operational hours: Main branch: Jalan S. Parman 52A (08.00 am – 01.00 am) Another branch: Jalan Sumatera 66/68 (10.00 am – 11.00 pm)

2.Nasi Ayam Asen (contains pork except the one in S.Parman branch) ‘Nasi ayam’ means chicken rice in English. This popular chicken rice has been sold by its third generation at the moment. However, the authentic delicious taste of the chicken rice has always been the same. It comes with two chicken selection, roasted and braised chicken. As the condiment, there is grilled pork satay, spicy shrimp, pickled vegetables with nutty sauce accompanied by meatball soup. Location and operational hours: Main branch: Jalan Surabaya 48 (09.30 am – 09.00 pm) Another branch: Jalan Sumatera 68F (09.30 – 09.00 pm) Jalan S. Parman Blok A19 Komplek MBC (09.30 – 09.00 pm)

3.Bakso Magetan (no pork) Bakso Magetan, Popular Local FoodsThis place provides two types of bakso (meatball), chicken and beef meatball. The meatballs are eaten with a mixture of kwetiaw, rice noodle, and noodle, shredded chicken, as well as clear broth soup. To accompany them, there are also fried wanton and tofu. For condiments, you could also order sate kerang (mussels satay in rendang sauce) and fresh coconut drink. Some of the locals also prefer to add some sweet soy sauce or sambal (chilli sauce) to strengthen the soup flavor. Location and operational hours: Location: Jalan Metal in front of Komplek Cemara Hijau, Deli Serdang (09.00 am – 05.00 pm); closed on Monday

Ten Popular Locat Foods at Medan Part 2

Ten Popular Local Foods at Medan (Part 2)

Ten Popular Local Foods at Medan (Part 2)
Ten Popular Locat Foods at Medan Part 1
4. Dim Sum and Sang Wo Ayong Babura (contains pork) This family restaurant provides a variety of dim sum both steamed and fried. Some of Dim Sumtheir popular dim sum menu would include chicken wings (filled with egg yolk), leng hong kien, and har kao. Another popular dish here would be sam can bak and its plain fried kwetiaw. This eatery is also well-known for its sang wo (steamboat) that would be available starting in the afternoon. Location and operational hours: Main branch: Jalan Babura Lama 12, Medan Baru (07.00 am – 02.30 pm, 05.00 pm – 09.30 pm)

5. Mie Tiong Sim (contains pork) Another popular street food among the locals would be mie tiong sim. This particular dish is crazed by people due to its long, thin, savory noodle accompanied by shredded chicken and char siew (spiced pork). To strengthen the taste, it is usually eaten with pork broth soup and dumpling. For those of you who prefer spicy taste, there is also free pickled chilli provided as its condiment. Location and operational hours: Main branch: Jalan Tjong Yong Hian (previously known as Jalan Bogor), right in the intersection of Jalan Semarang; (02.00 pm – 11.30 pm)

6. Ayam Goreng Kalasan (no pork) Ayam goreng means fried chicken in English meanwhile Kalasan is the brand of the chicken. The family restaurant serves a diversed Javanese foods and is famous for its fried and roasted chicken. Its fried chicken is crunchy on the outside yet its meat manages to maintain its soft texture. It also provides kremes (shredded crispy coconut) as its condiment. Meanwhile, its roasted chicken is well braised not only on the skin but also on the meat creating an unforgettable taste for each mouthful experience. For those of you who prefer vegetarian menus, you could try for its karedok (raw vegetables with nutty sauce), gado-gado (boiled vegetables with nutty sauce) or nasi sayur (rice with vegetables cooked in curry sauce and some other spices). It also specializes in providing both traditional and modern pastry parcels for special occassions particularly for celebrating one-month-old baby birthday. Location and operational hours: Main branch: Jalan Iskandar Muda 292/294 (10.30 am – 09.30 pm) Ayam Goreng Kalasan also opens various integrated eateries in most major shopping malls in Medan like Sun Plaza and Medan Fair Plaza

Ten Popular Locat Foods at Medan Part 3

Ten Popular Local Foods at Medan (Part 3)

Ten Popular Local Foods at Medan (Part 3)
Ten Popular Locat Foods at Medan Part 2
7. Sate Padang Triadi (no pork) Sate Padang MedanIf you wonder what sate padang is, it is similar to grilled meat on stick with thick spicy soup. And if you happen to be at Medan and would like to try this culinary for the first time, you should drop by at this particular street food hawker. It provides a wide selection of meats like beef, mutton, scallop, and squid as well as one of the tastiest thick spicy soup in Medan. As condiment, you could try jangek (cow skin crackers). Location and operational hours: Main branch: Jalan Bandar Baru 9A (03.00 pm onwards) Another branch: Jalan Malaka

8. Bihun ikan and popiah Kuta Cane (contains pork) Bihun ikan is a kind of culinary that uses rice noodle, fried or steamed fish along with ginger flavored savory soup. Meanwhile, popiah is a Chinese spring roll with char siew, crab meat, and lettuce as its fillings. What special about this popiah is not only it comes with two selection, steamed and fried but also its special red sauce. Location and operational hours: Location: Jalan Yose Rizal (nearby to the intersection of Jalan Kuta Cane) Operational hours: (06.00 pm – 11.30 pm) bihun ikan; (03.00 pm onwards) popiah

9. Emie Sei Kera (no pork) Another food heritage from Medan worthy to try is emie (boiled noodle). What makes the one from Medan special is its thick soup that is enriched with ebi (dried shrimp) flavor. If you want to try it for the first time, you should head to the one in Sei Kera street since this particular traditional eatery has been known for generations. To make your culinary experience perfect, try eating it with a glass of cold Badak (Medan’s famous rootbeer). Location and operational hours: Location: Jalan Sei Kera (lunch time – 08.00 pm)

10. Fountain Cafe (no pork) After trying out various street foods, maybe it’s time to head to a place with a cozier ambience yet is still affordable. If you’re on the same page, then try heading to Fountain Cafe that is famous for its ice creams. Aside of ice creams, you could also try out its variety of Indonesian foods like nasi goreng spesial, Chinese foods like kwetiaw goreng as well as western foods. Location and operational hours: Location: You could find it in almost every shopping mall in Medan. (10.00 am –    10.00 pm)

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Street Culinary Experience (Part 1)

Street Culinary Experience (Part 1)

Medan is well-known for its street foods that are second to none. Some famous spots include:

  • Jalan Semarang and Jalan Selat Panjang

For those of you who seek for endless street culinary experience with affordable prices, these two streets might be the perfect choice. Located in the heart of Medan, these Kwetiau, Street Culinarytwo streets are adjacent to each other. This allows culinary lovers to explore more local cuisines that will satisfy all of their senses. Both streets are famous for their local Chinese cuisines that mostly could only be found in Medan. Here, you could try char kwetiau (fried rice fettuccine), Tiongsim (noodle with pork and dumpling), chicken and duck hainam rice, Heci (water spinach and shrimp chip with sweet sauce), as well as various local desserts like putu bambu (steamed coconut cake) and ching chong fan (thin layered rice with sesame seeds and sauce). The only difference between the two would be the setting of the places. In Jalan Semarang, you would expect to eat outdoors whereas in Jalan Selat Panjang, you would be indoors.

  • Kota Cane

It is an area that located in Jalan Yose Rizal, still at the heart of Medan but quite far away from the first location. Though it might not be as crowded as the previous spot, Kota Cane offers some local cuisines that could hardly be refused by culinary lovers like bihun ikan (rice noodle with fish soup), pok pia (fried or steamed rolled crab with vegetables), and char siu pui (rice with pork). Still think that it isn’t worth visiting?

  • Cemara Asri

This is actually the name of an elite housing complex in Medan. However, in the main boulevard of the complex, a range of restaurants offering seafoods and steamboats (Chinese version of sukiyaki) is lining up waiting for customers to come. Here, you could satisfy yourself with various seafoods (from small fishes varieties to lobster, you name it!) as well as the nice outdoor ambience.

  • Jalan Pagaruyung (Medan’s Little India)

As the area is mostly populated by Indian, you could expect to see various Indian (modified to suit the locals’s taste) and Malay foods. Some of the well known dishes include martabak (fried egg and flour skin with curry) and emie (boiled noodle with thick shrimp flavored soup).

Operational hours: 06.00 pm – 11.00 pm or midnight (weekends)

Direction: All of the street culinary spots are famous among the locals, thus you could simply go there by cab or catch one of the becak (the local famous public transportation).

Street Culinary Experience Part 2

Street Culinary Experience (Part 2)

Street Culinary Experience (Part 2)
Street Culinary Experience Part 1

Previously, we’ve discussed some of the major culinary spots in Medan. However, there are still lots of other hidden gems in Medan when it comes to culinary experience. Here are some of the other spots that you might also consider to visit:

  • Jalan Kalimantan

This street is strategically located among some of the most prestigious private schools as well as business areas in Medan. As a result, you could find varieties of light meals that have been the favorites among students and adults for decades. It started from a handful of hawker foods and warung (small restaurant) that transformed into a popular destination for Sate Padangculinary seekers. Some of the highlighted dishes would include misop (meatball soup with chicken), sate Padang (rice cake with meat skewers topped with spicy thick soup), and Tok Tok Lap Choi (vegetables with pig intestines topped with thick sweet sauce). One word of caution is to ask for the price of the foods before you order as some of them tend to put unreasonable prices.

Operational hours: Brunch time (10.00 or 11.00 am) – afternoon (05.00 or 06.00 pm)

  • Gagak Hitam Ring Road (Jalan Gagak Hitam – Setia Budi)

This culinary spot is the new contender among the others. Rapidly growing since the ring road project was completed back in around 2013, it now offers a diversed selection of Indonesian foods. Most of them are set outdoors but you could also find some cafes and restaurants in this area. Some of the popular foods include ayam penyet (spicy fried/ grilled chicken with vegetables and rice), bakso (meatballs), iga sapi (beef ribs) and many more.

Operational hours:

Lunch time (restaurants and cafes) or 06.00 pm (street foods) – 10.00 or 11.00 pm

  • Asia Mega Mas (Jalan Asia)

Like Cemara Asri, Asia Mega Mas is actually the name of a ruko (shophouse) complex. It has been the rising star of culinary spot and has become the new Chinatown in the last few years. The foods offered here are dominated by Chinese foods (just like the ones in Jalan Semarang, Selat Panjang, and Cemara Asri). However, what makes Asia Mega Mas unique is the night market area. Here, you could find a range of goods offered by street hawkers ranging from apparels, toys, household utensils, etc. What makes it even more worth visiting is also the unique street foods created by Medanese youths that are sold in affordable prices.

Operational hours: 06.00 pm – 11.00 pm or midnight (weekends)

Street Culinary Experience Part 3

Street Culinary Experience (Part 3)

Street Culinary Experience (Part 3)
Street Culinary Experience Part 2
In the previous two articles about Street Culinary Experience, we have discussed some of the most established street culinary districts. In this article, we are going to see another three emerging street food areas.

-Jalan S. Parman Another hidden gem of street foods in Medan would be the one located in Jalan S. Parman. What was started by only a number of popular street eateries such as Ateng Kwetiau, Street Culinary ExperienceAteng Kwetiaw and Kwetiaw Kerang has now bloomed into one of the most prominent street food areas in Medan. The development is growing even more since the establishment of MBC complex in this particular street. In the last couple of years, you could find a more diversed street foods like Mie Hokkian, Bakmi Khek, Nasi Ayam Asen along with some cafes and even restaurants along the street. Operational hours: 06.00 am – 11.00 pm or midnight (weekends) *Note: some of the street food hawkers might open later or close earlier on some major holidays

-Jalan Pandu For most Indonesians, one of the popular representative Indonesian foods would be nasi goreng (fried rice). Here at Medan, you could find a street especially dedicated for selling this representative street food, Jalan Pandu. Once you enter the street, you would discover a long tent with various stalls selling nasi goreng on both sides of the street. The most notable one would be Nasi Goreng Julia Sari that serves its spicy fried rice with braised beef or chicken along with sate kerang (mussels satay in rendang sauce). Operational hours: 05.00 pm – around 03.30 am

-Kompleks Multatuli Indah This last culinary destination is recommended for those who are looking for a more upscale dining places. This complex consists of rows of shophouses that were firstly established to function as the new business district in Medan. However as time progresses, its function has slightly turned into the new modern food district in Medan. Multatuli complex offers a wide range selection of both cafes and restaurants that offer mostly Indonesian, Western, Chinese and Japanese cuisines. There are also some cafes that offer mainly unique beverages and pastries as their specialties. Some of the notable cafes and restaurants include Lekker Urban Food Restaurant and M Avenue Cafe. Operational hours: most dining places open from around 10.00 am – 11.00 pm

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