Cool your self from the sunny Medan with old school home made ice cream


Yes, I agree with you that Medan sometimes can be super sunny even for equator-born gal like me. I often seek for small restos or tents that offers not only cool remedy for my sweaty body but also some history for my mind.

One of my aunt’s favorite is Ria ice cream at Surabaya street, Medan.


Watch carefully for this non-challant sign. Psst, I always missed it and make our driver took another turn. it happened every time.

You must look carefully for not so obvious sign board at noon. The sate padang and martabak carts displaying their food in front weren’t helping the store to be easier to find either. That’s how old school they are. My mother in law and my aunt said that the store had been around since their teenagers. Wow, that’s like 25-30 years ago!


My aunt’s fave combo; choc-orange with lychee.

The selection of ice cream flavours really describe their glorious history at the 70’s and 80’s. Sweet corn, oranges, very light chocolate flavor (back then, chocolate and milk were expensive), light strawberry and durian. They also mix the ice cream with fresh or canned fruits, like lychee, palm fruits, papayas. My mom’s favourite is the ice cream soda, with plain soda water and sliced fruits. Oh so vintage but yet so appropriate with the Medan vibe and repelled the heat effectively. We don’t want heavy milky ice cream on a very hot and humid day, we just want cold freshness that light and easy breezy like the long waited wind on summer days.


My 1st try was the sweet corn and kopyor (or young coconut) with palm fruits condiment


Hmm mommy with her ice cream soda, but her eyes wandering to the martabak vendors at front. They also great, but I recommend to eat separately from the ice cream to be able to appreciate each dish better. PS: I eventually bought her one portion of martabak (savoury pancake made from plenty of eggs, mince meats and green onions) to go for her late snack at the hotel.


Less successful attempt, remaking old school beverages: Kolak Pisang


Does your family has an old school beverages? One dish that we would make it exactly in the same way every time?

Well during Ramadhan, one typical beverages that every house hold will make at least ones on this month is Kolak.

Kolak is a coconut milk based beverages, sweetened with palm sugar as the “broth”. You can add steamed banana, boiled sweet potatoes, boiled cassavas even steamed corn.

I prefer eat it as a cold beverages, but it taste addictive served warm. The sweet and deep taste from palm sugar, married with creamy coconut milk will blow your taste buds away.

Well, I don’t quite like it. I mean, one cup is enough for a month.

Since I stumble into funny taste of ice cream, I’m thinking about making a deconstructed Kolak Pisang. My take on it was, turning the coconut milk into jelly, then caramelized the banana with palm sugar and add Coconut (or purple sticky rice) flavored ice cream.

It didn’t look too bad, isn’t it? But I miss the luscious and deep flavor from the regular Kolak. The banana became too dry after a while. Well, at least it still eatable.

Another day in cooking with no recipes, sometimes wing it takes a toll.


a deconstructed Kolak Pisang (jelly coconut milk, caramelized banana and purple sticky rice ice cream)


the ice cream saves the day. its creaminess, sourness cuts the flat flavor of the rest.

Es Tape Ketan dan Kelapa Muda

the heroes, a purple sticky rice flavored ice cream and young coconut ice cream.

It’s gettin’ HOT in here ….

Straw-kiwi slushy, by product while cleaning my freezer

Indonesia only has two season, dry and wet/ rainy. But these days the dry season, which usually overlapped with summer time in four season countries, getting hotter every year. Specially when Ramadhan or fasting month for moslem come along. The hot and humid climate makes me crave for something cold and sweet. I’m taking the advantage before my fasting begins, indulge eating cold beverages under the sun.

Yesterday I made strawberry and kiwi slushy with a touch of organic honey from Nusa Tenggara Timur. Yes, I’m emptying the fridge and gave my self a treat.

Straw-kiwi slushy, by product while cleaning my freezer

Straw-kiwi slushy, by product while cleaning my freezer

Good quality and bargain strawberries some times difficult to find. So, when I found a discount price for good plumpy bright red strawberries I bought in bulk. My mom alway said, we can freeze them up to 2-3 months and still in good condition. This batch have been in the freeze since May 2012. When I open the package they were shrinked a little, but not ruined. I found two frozen kiwi as well and blitz them all together into slushy. Sluurrrp…….. brain freeze!!!!

Last night, I was sweating in the air conditioned room. All alone in the house, waiting for hubby to come home, I craved for another round of cold and sweet treat. Almost midnight, I went out and go the nearest 24 hour mini market and bought Diamond Ice cream.

I had imagine eating cold and sweet ice cream with Gambang bread ( a traditional yeast free bread, infused with cinnamon-brown sugar-sesame seeds). I can’t find any tricycled bread vendor, although they usually available until midnight cycling around my neighborhood. I bought almond chocolate and Kue Lapis instead.

I bought two flavor of Diamond ice cream: Coconut and Purple sticky rice. It reminded me of my childhood flavor. The sweet coconutty pink ice cream with chunks of young coconut flesh paired with the almond chocolate bread. The hint of sourness from purple sticky rice concoction with rice bits compliment the firm Kue Lapis Legit (also known as Spekoek or Thousand layer cake, which was basically a dense cake made by dozens of layer butter and spekoek dough).

The Chinese or Indo-chine decedent create this cake to celebrate Chinese New Year. 15-17 layers describe hope for more fortune and sweet life in the future. From other source, this cake were handed over by the Dutch during colonial era.

A Dutch/Indonesian butter cake, best-known for being served with coffee after the ever-popular Dutch/Indonesian rijsttaffel. A good Spekkoek will have at least 12 layers or more. The heat of the grill browns the top of each layer, giving the cut cake its neat horizontal striped look. Spekkoek will keep moist and fresh in a cake tin or in the fridge for a week, well wrapped in a greaseproof paper. It can also be frozen if wrapped in a layer of aluminium foil. Because of the richness of the cake, it tends to be served in very small pieces, usually thin slices.

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I can’t wait too long to make the prettiest picture or sliced my cake and bread thinly.  My ice cream were melting and I’m sweet deprived….

Ice cream sandwiches

Ice cream sandwiches

After all that manic moments, when the sugar high over, what’s left were a big mess on my dining table.

Coconut and Purple Sticky Rice flavored ice cream by Diamond

Coconut and Purple Sticky Rice flavored ice cream by Diamond

Look what I found! Summer snacks Japanese style

mini crab crunchies

Okay, maybe not all of the items below considered  to be summer snacks. We can find it all year around but, since it seem so cheerful I find it appropriate for summer too. Although, some of them maybe not quite pleasing for the eye for most people, I can guarantee they all taste good.

So, I’m strolling the alleys at Ameyoko market, Ueno, Tokyo. The day was still early, around 11 am. I was thirsty after circling the whole Ueno park since morning. I want to find cool beverages, other than the vending machine. Suddenly, my eyes caught these small charming tea store. They specialized in high quality green tea, that will cost you thousands Yen for a can of tea. No, I don’t want to spend so much money for tea. I’m interested in the sign that said “Matcha ice cream, 300 Yen”.

“Wooohooooo!” I said to my self. I’m thirsty, and a bit hungry too. Sampling traditional ice cream will be suitable. The traditional part was tagged by the merchant. He said that he used traditional Matcha to make his own ice cream. 300 Yen for a cone of ice cream was not cheap, but when I tasted it I forgot about the money. The matcha flavor were so bold, almost bitter. Not too sweet like regular green tea ice cream you can find at Konbini.

I’m sorry I don’t have the picture, since I was so busy indulge in the cold smooth and creamy green velvet. The sun began to shine in full power, so it’s quite hot outside. The ice cream soften fast, I had to finish it before melting. Oh, if you don’t trust me, I get the stare of several teenagers in school uniforms. I think they were sent by their school to have some kind of field study to the market? I don’t know. They giggled behind me, I don’t even aware of them before my ice cream gone. When I look up at them, with green milk mustache, they give me a thumbs up then giggled more.

I’m chilled and sugary happy, then continue strolling the market. I saw two large merchants selling all kind of snacks and sweets and more. I remembered that one of my friend asking for Kit Kat green tea, that quite difficult to find in Indonesia. Before I can go to the chocolaty shelf, my eyes widen seeing the pile after pile of snacks. They had the crunchy crackery ones, the soft and cakey, the gooey-doughey like mochi and others, they also had plastics of squid or octopus tentacles, all kind of nuts and grains, et cetera. Unfortunately, the employee caught me when I want to take pictures, and he said no. When a Japanese said no to me, I must obey them. Finally, I found the green tea Kit Kat and also the dark chocolate ones. My curiosity make me bought some other bits too. You can find it below.

Coming out from that store I smell the freshly grilled octopus ball or takoyaki. Oooh I’m hungry again.  Only 200 Yen, I got 4 octopus balls and self served toppings like mayonnaise, sliced green onions, katsuoboshi or bonito flakes. I sat there, in open table, in the middle of the market. To my left cherry stalls were crowded with customer bargaining the fresh cherries, to my right the cook busy preparing something steamy for other customer. Just in front of me, there were dried fish vendor, shouting their goods to attract buyers. A little further to the left, after the cherries, I can see a man standing on top of what looks like a garbage bins. He stood high and taller from everybody, shouting about his goods in Japanese.

Finishing the last bit of hot gooey ball, I’m checking the spiced merchant. Unfortunately, he couldn’t speak English at all. So I only bought some sprinkles that obvious enough what it was for me.

mini crab crunchies

mini crab crunchies

I found these crunchy seafood snack, made from original soft-shell crab and assorted of anchovies. They taste funky, in the good way though, it sweet and salty.  But it didn’t quite suitable for teve snacks, because they are a bit sticky and too savory. I guess, and tried, that these umami loaded crackers are good to add flavor to my oatmeal or plain rice porridge. They even suitable as filling for rice cakes or onigiri.

Jazzin up my oatmeal

Jazzin up my oatmeal

The next one is pickled octopus. The Japanese, Korean and Chinese are great in preserving their molluscan to be ready to serve delicacy. There were a whole range of  variety of dried and pickled octopus and squids. The dried strips; with or without spice. The fully form squid or octopus legs, the shredded jerky and even powdered.

I like eating them just as it is. The thin coin ones are great for teve snacks, only if you eat it with fork or chop sticks. We don’t want our fingers to smell fishy all night, right? It has natural umami flavor of seafood, with a touch of sweetness and a punch of sourness. I also combine them with my fresh salads; with cucumber, tomatoes and parsley or coriander leaves. Add a drop of sambal or hot sauce, it’s a refreshing nibble.

pickled octopus coins

pickled octopus coins

The other ones looked a lot scary. My husband didn’t even want to look at it. I know it may look un appealing, but I see them beautiful like butterflies.

pickled headless baby octopus

pickled headless baby octopus

The red marinade gave more pungent flavor than the coin ones. It has strong fishy and sour smell. The texture also more chewy and a little hard to swallow. Maybe I should grilled or boiled them, I don’t really know. I use them in my salads or fried rice, with a lot of chillies.

Salty and spicy sprinkles

Salty and spicy sprinkles

The next one are sprinklers!

Not the ordinary donut or cupcake sprinklers, it is the salty and spicy ones. They have a bunch at the store, I’m picking out the ones I’m certain what’s in it. I’m getting the mixed chilli and katsuoboshi sprinklers; katsuoboshi and nori; dried fish and vegetable; dried beef and vegetable; also the black sesame seeds. Again, I’m using them to pimped my plain oatmeal. Now, we have colorful and tasteful breakfast on oatmeal day. By the way, I finally conclude, the sprinklers must be some kind of flavor enhancement. Hmm, I don’t know.

No worries my friend, I’m consulting about this with a veteran Japanese food blogger, Ms. Makiko Itoh at When I get her replied, I’m updating this post.

Done with the savory, jump into the sweet findings next.