Food & Beverages
As in all parts of the Indonesian archipelago, Acehnese food is rich , varied and spicy. In the towns you will easily find, Chinese, Western, and many different Indonesian cuisines, especially Minangkabau (Padang) food. aceh is also know for its variety in seafood delights, cheap in price but delicious.
Try the many varieties of smoked, marinated, curried, and spiced fish, curried goat hearts, giant grilled shrimp, and spicy miniature snails in oil, which are a local favourite. Other specialty dishes in Aceh include mie kepiting, an Acehnese specialty of noodles with crab.
The outlets vary from big hotel restaurants to small street stalls. Everywhere you go, you will find the popular dish “martabak”(a kind of oriental omelet).
Wherever you travel in Aceh, you will have plenty of time to enjoy the social life of the very popular Acehnese institution: The coffeeshop with its tasty and very strong coffee, its beans cultivated in the Gayo highlands. Do not forget to say “sedikit gula” (= little sugar) if your taste for sweetness is less extravagant than the local one.
Spicy Acehnese food has had a strong influence from India and can be distinguished from the famous Padang dishes as the latter use much more coconut milk in their preparation. ‘Ayam tangkap’ chicken dish is a must when you dine at Acehnese restaurants such as Aceh Rayeuk in Lueng Bata, Banda Aceh. Acehnese spicy noodles (crab noodle deliciously cooked at Mie Razali, Peunayong) is also worth trying.
Padang Food in Aceh
Across Indonesia, you can find the ready-to-eat curried dishes in restaurants dubbed ‘Restoran / rumah makan Padang,’ and Aceh is no exception. There is always a vast array of curried or spiced food to choose from: chicken, beef, squid, prawn, fish, eggs, veggies – even the organs such as cow brain or ‘gulai otak’ (often the signature dish of certain Padang restaurants). While in Banda Aceh try Rumah Makan Bundo or the much smaller Ragil just off the grand Mosque.
Chinese / Oriental Food in Aceh
There are a few restaurants in Banda Aceh, which typically have the word ‘kitchen’ in their names, and they invariably offer chinese food. Some examples are the Imperial Kitchen and Marina Kitchen. The food here is freshly cooked and selection usually includes stir-fry veggies, black-pepper beef, steam fish, sweet and sour prawn, etc.
Alcoholic beverages are restricted to 4-5 star rated hotels & restaurants frequented by the expat community in Banda Aceh and in tourist frequented areas as well as on the so called “black market” but at a higher price than in other parts of the indonesian archipelago.
If you really need it, bring your own and keep it to yourself discreetly.