This Medanese dish is my post-run meal of choice after I finished my 5k yesterday.
I practically grew up eating this bowl of delight for breakfast. It’s light, hearty, and said to be the most delicious duck rice noodles according to Jakartans.
So what’s the secret (and significant) ingredient that makes it much more savory from other leading bihun bebek hasheries?
No, it’s not MSG. It’s … well, Chinese herbs. It’s probably the last thing in your mind, eh? In case you’ve made a lucky guess, then yes, you’re right – TCM is organically dissolved within the hearty broth, and these herbs surprisingly worked to add an extra tang to the hardy duck.
I’d go so far as to say this is the epitome of healthy food indulgence. Why? Because every slurp of the soft, thin, and squiggly vermicelli has all three of the five tastes in the average main course meal in perfect balance: Very strong umami-ness from the duck, salty as most Chinese-borne chows are, as well as the sheer bitterness from these herbs. You’d keep slurping and you’ll never realize you’re starting to love bitter foods.
For just IDR 27,000 a bowl, you get almost everything you need in a wholesome meal according to the food pyramid. It may sound biased hearing this from me (’cause I do love veggies), but crunching fresh lettuce leaves with the Bihun Bebek 75 broth tastes like the onset of spring. Texture-wise, it feels like both ends of the rope came together and harmonize. The light broth and limber vermicelli are a perfect blend to offset the super sturdy, super pungent, and much-refined duck from the herbs.
While the average durian-munching Medanese prefers adding just a little bit more spice to the mix, the everyday chili-intolerant would love this bowl just the way it is. I mean I do.
The good news we can extract is that the owner trusted the general public to keep coming back for more (yes they do keep coming back indeed; they’re still very much packed during the last hours before closing time). Some years ago he provided the press his claim to fame, so that everyone can enjoy his signature dish no matter where we are, even in the comfort of our home.
Below I provided two 6×8″ printables of the original recipe, one in English, and the other in Bahasa. If somehow this post has reached you, the reader overseas, you can easily find the herbs at specialty stores in your city’s Chinatown.
Without further ado, here are the simple steps to get your organic dose of indulgence:
Bihun Bebek 75
Jl. Pluit Sakti Raya No. 48
Jakarta Utara 14450
(021) 669 3980
M-Sa 10:00am – 10:00pm
via QTrade Teas & Herbs / chinese.herbs.webs-sg.com (1) (2) / TCM Wiki