Mie Kepiting Aceh
One of the main reason why Aceh is famous with this particular reputation, perhaps was due to its culinary culture. Rumors has it that back in the old times, Acehnese doesn't treat ganja as drugs, but as common ingredients in the traditional Acehnese food as an appetite arouser! Hence why then, it's been a sacred journey for some, to discover the genuine Acehnese food in hope to encounter the said special ingredients in their meal.
But beside of the rumors, Aceh do have some interesting culinary culture to begin with. Though perhaps less famous than the neighboring Padang cuisine, but it does has its on merit.
In general, Aceh cuisine very much resembles all the same cuisine from the Malay region; Aceh, Medan, Padang, Riau, and so on. One of its main characteristic is the dominant role of coconut milk in the dishes, and the fondness of having curry-like dishes or curry flavored cookings. Other strong influence on Aceh food is the Arabic influence; this was due to the alternative name of the province itself which is "Serambi Mekkah"; or "front yard of Mecca", the holiest city of Islam. A legacy from the early days of trade route opening between ancient Indonesia and Persian merchants.
One of the notable Acehnese cuisine that spreads wide in this modern age, is the Mie Goreng Aceh; fried noodles a la Aceh, and it's unique in many ways; first, Malay cooking rarely involves noodle, since their main staple food is rice. Second, they're using this special mixture of herbs to create the pungent and spicy taste which resembles more towards Indian food than Malay food, and third, it's most preferred protein ingredients is crab; a whole crab!
One of the best place in Aceh to enjoy this dish is the Mie Aceh Razali, at the Jl Panglima Polim, Peunayong region in Banda Aceh. Beside of the Mie Kepiting, you could also tried their other choices like Mie Udang (with shrimps), Mie Cumi (with squids), or the Mie Sapi (with beef). There are three ways of cooking this noodles, and you could order one to your liking; Mie Rebus (in soup), Mie Goreng (stir fried), and Mie Goreng Basah (stir fried with some liquids left). Price range is about 20K ish into 40K ish for a complete all-in protein choices.
There are various other sellers around Aceh, but this one is many considers as the best. The business itself said to have been established way long time ago back in 1967. You can find their location on the GPS here: 5°33'31"N 95°19'15"E.
If you happen to visit their store, try to also visit Daus Shop next door to try their unique Acehnese style Nasi Goreng, with various side dishes to choose from. (bay)
About author: Bayu Amus
Bayu Amus is a gastronomic storyteller and Food Experience designer. He pens food articles for travel magazines, speaks on food events, and was part of the team who compiled Makansutra Indonesia 2013, the pocket book which showcases Bali’s best street food. Contact him through firstname.lastname@example.org