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Pekanbaru is a paradise for food lovers. Be it in the evening time or early morning, once you hit the road, you will see food sellers everywhere – a lot of them. From the simple coffee houses to the restaurants. And the best thing (or I should say worst?) is all of them seems to be calling out as we pass by them. If you have the superpower to eat much, it will be fine. However, if you are like me, who can’t eat much but love to savour the local foods, hey, not to worry! Share the foods with your friends will definitely an awesome way to taste more variety of foods with less-guilt.
Plus, if you choose to stay in FOX HARRIS Pekanbaru and join the Pekanbaru Heritage Walk organized by them like us, you can always drop by to the gym or the swimming pool after that to burn those calories. That’s what I did. Haha..This might be the only time I would suggest to just forget about counting the calories and just enjoy the foods. If you are there in Pekanbaru and don’t know where to start from, here are some of the local foods that I and friends have tasted and thought you may want to try it out, too!
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8 Recommendation Local Foods in Pekanbaru. The first five are in Chinatown
From the simple kedai kopi (coffee house) that didn’t change much since the first day, settled in the shophouses that mostly located in Chinatown, here are few of the local foods you should consider to try when you are in Pekanbaru. However, do note that all the kedai kopi only open until 11 am. So, plan well ahead! Btw, all foods are halal.
1. Bubur Ayam King
Jl. Ir. H. Juanda No.75, Kp. Dalam, Senapelan, Kota Pekanbaru, Riau 28155
Bubur Ayam King, as the name says it all, the most popular food here is their minced chicken porridge. It is not too watery or too solid. Just cooked at the right consistency. If you prefer to have it without egg, you may also request so. Paired it with the Chinese long dough, cakwe, and this will be the perfect go for breakfast.
Or, you may go for their Lontong Pecal which is comparable delicious and as fulfilling as the porridge. Lontong Pecal made from ingredients that are usually used to make pecel for the gravy. They also add yellow noodle into it to complete it as a whole meal. The gravy is light (like a soup) but the taste is uncompromised. Bet you will not want to miss trying any of these!
2. Kedai Kopi Indah Ria
Jl. Ir. H. Juanda No.108, Kp. Dalam, Kec. Senapelan, Kota Pekanbaru, Riau 28155, Indonesia
The hero in this place is their Fried Kwetiau or they call it Mietiau in Pekan Baru. Kwetiau or rice noodle in this Kopitiam is made from rice flour, hence, it won’t stick together as a lump when it is already cold. I didn’t eat kwetiau for long because of the greasiness. But I don’t mind to eat the fried kwetiau here because it isn’t not as greasy as usually fried kwetiau is.
As a bun lover, I was pretty excited when the owner asked if we want to try their freshly made Chinese Bun (Bapao). Unfortunately, it was sold so well that we were only left with the ones with brown sugar and coconut grated filling. But I wasn’t disappointed! The bun skin is so fluffy and the filling is just the right amount of sweetness.
3. Kedai Kopi Laris
Jl. Dr. Leimena No.26, Sago, Kec. Senapelan, Kota Pekanbaru, Riau 28151, Indonesia
In Kedai Kopi Laris, we tried something lighter which is the classic white bread loaf with butter spread and a sprinkle of sugar! It immediately reminded me of my childhood day when my Mom likes to prepare this for breakfast – a simple sweet treat that any kids would love to eat and I believe that those who had a happy childhood day would agree with me.
The bread they use is from the popular Senapelan Bakery, the first bakery in Pekanbaru, which is nothing fancy but purely plain white bread that is soft and simply so good to eat. Improvise the way we enjoy the bread by dipping it into the coffee. Our local friends taught us that and I would recommend you to try it, too!
4. Kedai Kopi Millennium
Jl. Ir. H. Juanda No.108, Kp. Dalam, Senapelan, Kota Pekanbaru, Riau 28155
Talk about Kedai Kopi Millennium, my saliva starts to drool already. Their champion here is their Mie Goreng Basah (fried noodle with a little bit of soup). The noodle is fried with a lot of vegetables and some meats but with some soup left so that we can still get a bit of gravy below the noodle. The appearance and the taste is a little bit similar to Singapore Hokkien Prawn noodle but they are definitely not the same thing!
Their chicken noodle and dumpling soup are other champions! The noodle is specially made to order only for Kedai Kopi Millennium. The meat topping may look like roasted barbeque pork, but fret not, all the foods here is halal. So, for friends who don’t eat pork, need not worry!
5. Kampung Tionghoa Melayu Tea House
Jl. Karet / Dr Laimena No.11, Kota Pekanbaru, Riau 28155
After tasting so many good foods in Pekanbaru, it is wise to slow down by having a cup of good tea. In here, in Kampung Tionghoa Melayu Tea House, we can have a sip of tea from tea leaf planted locally in Indonesia as well as from those imported directly from China.
They serve tea in a set of a teapot with a few teacups for sharing. There is one long table on the first floor where everyone can just sit down and gather together, to enjoy the tea and snacks – banana fritters.
Besides selling teas to be enjoyed on the spot, they also selling packs of tea and items that related to Chinese and Melayu heritage as souvenirs, too.
One interesting thing that this tea house still keeps until today is the “traditional CCTV” – the peephole they made on the floor on the second level, right at the top of the main entrance. I was told that whenever someone calls at the main door, they can just peep from the hole to see who is calling. The peephole here is a real hole drilled on the wooden floor manually and not a peephole as in a door viewer. Let say if someone at the door needs keys to open the door, they can just drop the keys through the hole without a need to bolt down and open the door. it is interesting and very practical indeed.Do you know that different type of tea gives different benefits to our body? Click To Tweet
6. Pondok Ikan Bakar Firdaus
Jl. Merbau, Kp. Bandar, Senapelan, Kota Pekanbaru, Riau 28155
From the outside, the place didn’t look really appealing with only a simple banner hanging on the main door. The place may look simple but don’t be deceived by all the simplicity of this restaurant because the foods they serve are insanely delicious.
Their signature dish is the fish dishes. I can’t remember the name of the dishes but the one shown on the photo with red gravy as well as the curry one is good. Their home-made sambal is thumbs up! The urap, the vegetable salad with grated coconut is also very appetizing. Have I mentioned the eggplant dish? That is also yummy. Well, our tastes may be different but seriously, this is probably the best Minang cuisine I ever had so far.
7. Sultan Resto
Jl. Ronggo Warsito No,12 Kec.Sail-Pekanbaru 28132
If you would like to savour Melayu heritage culinary, you can never go wrong by going to Sultan Resto. Their food choices and tastes are beyond words.
The Sultan Resto was first opened in March 2018. It is owned by a couple – husband and wife who are doctors. They are passionate about Melayu heritage including Melayu cuisines and they hope that they can contribute in some ways in preserving the Melayu heritage in Pekanbaru.
The essences of Melayu can be seen from the decorations in the restaurant. On one of the walls, we can also see photos and pictures about the history of Siak Kingdom.
There are many choices of food on the menu that we can choose from. Their signature dish is the Grilled Bamboo Patin Fish. A must try! We tried their Asam Fish which is also recommended. For dessert, you should try their Bolu Berendam which is unique to Pekanbaru and also Coconut Jelly served in the coconut shell itself. Trust me, you will be pampered by the choices and the delicious foods prepared by them in Sultan Resto. Shall not miss this!Looking for Melayu cuisines in Pekanbaru? You won't ever go wrong by going to Sultan Resto! Click To Tweet
8. WTF (Where’s The Food)
FOX HARRIS Pekanbaru Hotel
Jl. Riau – Senaplan No. 147, Pekanbaru 28154
I and my friend stay two nights in FOX HARRIS Pekanbaru while we explore the heritage and the local foods. Before we checked out and leave to the airport, we had a chance to try one of their signature dishes, Fox in the Roll. It is actually dory fish, vegetable and few more ingredients that were wrapped into one served with mayonnaise as the dipping sauce. The colour of the ingredients does make this Fox in the Roll beautiful. It is a nice portion to keep one to two person’s tummy full. Try it if you stay here!
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After trying various of the local foods, I noticed that some dishes that my Mom used to cook for us was actually influenced by Melayu cuisine as well. Such as the Asam Fish that really bring up memories of my Mom’s cooking. Also, the simplicity of the bread serving with butter and sugar from Kedai Kopi Laris that definitely will always be the classic comfort food.
We only stayed for two nights in Pekanbaru and did the food hunting in about one day for all. It’d be better to stay longer to really savour the local foods. This food hunting walking tour is organized by FOX HARRIS Pekanbaru Hotel. If you are also keen in this Pekanbaru Culinary Heritage Walk Tour, do contact them here.
Learn the heritage through culinary, it doesn’t sound bad at all. What do you think?