Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Eating in Medan: Barbecued Pork Karonese Style

So, next in my eating adventure isn't actually in Medan, but not too far from there. Situated in the cool and pleasant highlands, is a beautiful little town called Berastagi, home to the expressive Batak Karo people. Berastagi is the about 2 hours drive from Medan and is a popular weekend getaway destination.

Beyond the town and green fields, Berastagi is also dominated by two volcanoes worth trekking: Gunung Sibayak and Gunung Sinabung. I believe they're both active volcanoes. But if that doesn't tickle your fancy, you can also visit the uber relaxing natural hot springs or the beautiful waterfalls.

One place my family and I love visiting is the farmers market which offers varieties of fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers all grown locally. Berastagi is famous for its passion fruits and oranges.


Outside the market, you can find many street stalls selling fresh sugar cane juice and steamed or grilled corn on the cob; also souvenirs shops and even pets... just look at these two adorable little bunnies.


Now, let's talk about the local food here. Batak people are mainly Christians, so they are not restricted to halal food. For pork lovers, you've got to try the BPK, an acronym for Babi Panggang Karo, meaning barbecued pork Karonese style which is adored by locals and has become nationally famous.

BPK consists of grilled pork slices with a couple of must-have accompaniments: a bowl of broth made from the essence of boiled pig's bones and a saucer of tongue-numbingly hot chilli sauce. Grab a plate, scoop in the rice and eat with your hands the way the locals do - you may find yourself asking for second. Did I have second? Don't be silly, of course I did.


We also had some tender grilled ribs. They're beautifully seasoned, sweet and sticky from the lovely coating of sweetened soy sauce marinade.


And because it's always good to have something green on the plate, cassava leaves. They are popular throughout Indonesia. I'm not sure what's exactly in this cassava leaves dish, but all I know is it's delicious.


The eating continues...

14 comments:

  1. You just know what's heavenly about Indonesia, don't you!
    I would love some of that grilled pork and daun singkong?! My favorite side greens!
    Berastagi is rather a familiar name, I guess may have been there but not remember a thing since it was 20 years ago or so...

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  2. What a gorgeous post! Thankyou for sharing these delights!

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  3. OMG, like Pierre, I've been to Berastagi about 20 years ago too! Although he must've been 7 and I was, ahem... a lot older than 7. We had Batak friends take us around and it was a gorgeous area, I remembered we stayed at Lake Toba area, was it near? Anyway, I wasn't a full-blown foodie yet to appreciate the farmer's market then, but if I went there again, you bet I'll be lugging bags of fruit (and pets!) back to the hotel! LOL.

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  4. Love all the veggies on the first photos..what were those at top right? Sweet potatoes?

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  5. wonderful pictures- everything looks so delicious.

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  6. Yes, I want all of those things and not just seconds.. I want thirds too!! :)

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  7. Did you eat those bunnies? I'm no bleeding liberal, but I've never had rabbit. I'm fascinated by the idea of cassava leaves. Wonder if I can find them here (Washington, DC)

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  8. That market looks wonderful! Thanks for taking us along on this trip!

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  9. Man, you're really selling Indonesian food to me. I'm diving into my copy of Sri Owen's Indonesian food when I get home. And cassava leaf is so easy to grow in Brisbane- have to get onto that too. x

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  10. i love visiting markets when i travel too! reveals so much of the place's character! the food looks so good. i really should travel to indonesia one day,it's not that far from singapore!

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  11. The pork and all the veggies look so good. Those are the most sweetest, softest, and most beautiful bunnies I have ever seen...just like right out of a picture post card!

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  12. Wow that market looks amazing! And I want those bunnies :) I bet the food was amazing, such a beautiful culture!

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  13. i would love to know the names of the flowers grown there.....would love to see if I can grow them in my garden in Australia

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