If time only allows you one meal in Medan, make it this one—ethereal doesn’t even begin to cover it.
Not that the initial premise inspires much confidence: curry and vermicelli? It’s like saying—cue Jay McInerney—California Cabernet paired with grilled eel or New World Chardonnay paired with Kraft Mac and Cheese (both of which, by the way, are fab, even if they aren’t exactly your grandfather’s usual combinations).
Even the physics of it promises very little: vermicelli is a slender-threaded type of pasta, notoriously hard to absorb sauce, while curry is, well, curry, with the attendant earthiness, weight and punch we have come to associate it with. It begs the question of how the two could possibly be expected to socialize with, let alone marry each other.
So how come Kari Bihun Tabona is one of the best dishes in the world (with the entirely unexpected mie pangsit (noodle soup with deep-fried prawn dumplings), served with pickled onion and chilies so scintillating you forget it’s just a condiment), coming in a close second?
Ask the morning crowd, and the lunch hordes, that jam into this less-than-50-seater modest corner shop as if there is no tomorrow.
Opening hours: 07.00 – 15.00