Monday, January 16, 2012

Mollusk Heaven at Papa Kerang (Medan, Indonesia)

When one thinks of food in Medan, images of kwetiauw (flat rice noodles), spicy Padang rice, and noodles will invariably pop up. But what about a dinner filled with bivalves?
The first thing I noticed when I got to Papa Kerang in Medan was the row of trays, filled with various clams, snails, and scallops adorning the front of the "kitchen", none of them frozen.


Papa Kerang ("Papa Clams") is what we call a "kaki lima" in Indonesia, literally meaning "five feet" (not the distance measurement). It refers to cheap eateries without brick and mortar, looking more like tents on the roadside or parking lots of other businesses.
Here, the concept of your meal is simple. The clams you ordered are boiled and served on a plate, to be eaten with a special sauce.

As common in Indonesia, clams are eaten with a mixture of chili sauce, sweet soy sauce, lime, and crushed peanuts. Papa Kerang gives you a decent sized bowl of the sauce, with a generous helping of the crushed peanuts (and you can always get more).
Other than the normal clams above, they had kerang bulu ("furry clams"). I'm not really sure what the Latin or English name for these are, since top google results for the Indonesian name lead to an adult video site ...
Regardless, these were a favorite among many with their big and plump meat.
Kerang Bulu

Another favorite is these big snails (not sure what they are called, either). When they're big, you get more reward for your efforts ..

These ones are a bit more hassle. Not only do you have to take it out of the shell but you also have to remove its protective film.

The razor clams (kerang bambu) are served de-shelled with a different soy-based sauce. My mom and I liked these best for their chewiness and clean flavors.
Razor Clams

The scallops are served the same way, but scallops in Indonesia tend to run small unlike the U-10s I'm used to in LA.

Kaki lima joints tend to offer the best eats in Indonesia. And the best thing about it? It's cheap! It cost about $50 to fill up a family of 12 with all kinds of mollusks.

Papa Kerang Pak Ramli
Jl Bambu II
Medan, Indonesia


Joshua Lurie

Looks like a great place. $50 for 12 people? Amazing. Cool to learn about the meaning of Kaki Lima, since I've been to Pondok Kaki Lima in Duarte, and funny google reference.


Interesting notes. I always like my mollusk simple and this one looks like a good place to eat. I'll make sure to visit Papa Kerang should I visit Medan.

Wandering Chopsticks

Oooh. You know how much I love my bivalves. The "furry clams" :P look like blood cockles, although the Vietnamese version are really quite dark red, hence the name.

And sea snails are also called periwinkles, although the particular names of the ones you have I'm not sure.

There's a takeway in Little Saigon that I like that has various bivalves in difference sauces, lemongrass, coconut milk, etc. But one little dish is $7. I can eat way more than taht.


Love me some clams! Also love all your travel posts!

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