This affordably priced restaurant offers a first on the local dining scene—authentic Medanese cuisine.
By Yong Yung Shin
We don’t mean to jump the gun by going straight to the desserts, but Medanese people sure know how to make chendol. At the new Medan Town situated at Tanjong Katong, we had perhaps the best rendition of the quintessential Asian dessert we’ve ever tried. No gimmicks here, just back to good ol’ basics—the Es Chendol Medan (S$3) comprises a mound of shaved ice topped generously with homemade chendol strands, at just the right sweetness level that allows for the malty flavors of the gula melaka and the fragrance of the pandan leaves to come through; sheer perfection in a cup.
Now back to the mains.
While Medan Town is not the first Medanese-themed restaurant to open in Singapore, owners Harianto Teh and his wife, Madam Choo, both natives from the cosmopolitan city of Medan (Indonesia’s fourth largest city), promise only authentic Medanese food.
“We were frequent visitors to Singapore for both business and leisure. During long stays, we often craved for food from home but could not find true Medanese food anywhere,” Teh explains. “Knowing and understanding Singapore’s diverse food culture and love for eating, we decided to bring a tasty piece of our home to this island and to introduce the true flavor of Medan’s cuisine to the locals.”
A signature dish is the Bihun Bebek (duck noodles, S$5.80)—we dare say it will give your favorite bak chor mee a run for its money, with its springier-than-usual Medan rice noodles tossed in pork lard oil, soya sauce, shredded duck and chives. The piping hot herbal broth (served either on the side or with the noodles), akin to bak kut teh, washes it down nicely. Comfort food indeed, Medan style!
Another star dish is the Soto Udang (prawn-spiced broth) (S$6.60), a heady mix of prawn stock, coconut milk, blue ginger, turmeric, ginger and chilli. Despite being one who doesn’t appreciate the taste of coconut milk, it was wonderfully savory and appetizing, with the rich flavor balanced by a more watery consistency. It is served with a choice of yellow noodles or white rice (we prefer the latter). Other main dishes include Chicken Curry Bihun (S$5.50) and Emie (S$5.80), comprising yellow noodles topped with prawn gravy and spices.
On the side dish menu are familiar dishes like Hepiah (prawn fritters) (S$3.80)—doubly good with the homemade chilli paste, Potato Sambal Balado sweet and spicy fried potato cubes (S$3), and the fried Chicken Wings (S$3.80)—made aromatic with a marinade of coriander seeds, garlic, lemongrass, blue ginger and ginger.
Warning: If you’re a Medanese, eating here may cause bouts of homesickness. If not, this makes a fine introduction to some authentic Medan fare.
253 Tanjong Katong Road,
+65 6348 9227
Closed on Mondays. Cash only.