I must say, though, that food was such a pleasant surprise. Every single meal had a vegetarian option--a lot of times even vegan--so I didn't have to violate vegetarianism to survive. On top of it, they have amazing food! Very, very spicy and too much for those with sensitive palates--as in they spend close to an hour making chilli sauce with about 50 chillies in a mortar and pestle right before they start cooking a meal--but amazing nonetheless!
Here are some food items from North Sumatra and Aceh Province:
|Es Teh Manis (Sweet Iced Tea)|
This is the only food item photo I have from North Sumatra. It's black tea, which they simply refer to in their language as teh, meaning "tea." This photo was taken in a village called Barak Induk in the mountains of Langkat, North Sumatra. It took me over five minutes to order this at a road-side shanty cafe because I went there alone, with no Indonesian-speaking friends, and the woman running the shop spoke absolutely no English. I had fun communicating with hand gestures and my less-than-a-shotglass of Indonesian words. I'm glad she was very kind and patient with me.
This tea is made by soaking dried black tea leaves in very hot water before transferring it onto a mug, with the leaves strained. Then ice and two to three tablespoons of sugar are added. I'm not even joking about the sugar.
They grind the roasted coffee beans to powdery bits, put a tablespoon or so in a tall glass and pour hot water in it before spooning in heaps and heaps of sugar. The Indonesians seriously love their sugar! It's interesting to note that, in Sumatra, they always use a handle-less glass to contain coffee even with ceramic mugs lying around.
|Roti Cane / Roti Canai|
This bread is more commonly prepared to go with a meal. Usually, there is a bowl of some sort of curry or stew where you dip pieces of bread in after tearing them off from the rest of the plate. In this case, however, the bread was sprinkled with sugar to be eaten as a snack on the roadside of the City of Langsa in Aceh, just opposite the city centre square where a festival was going on.
|Teh Tarik (Pulled Milk Tea) with ice|
|Roti Bakar (Grilled Bread)|
|Acehnese Vegetarian Meal|