Acehnese food – especially its chili sauce and coffee – is always mixed with special herbs; the marijuana leaves. In the old day, long before the world started to abuse the use of marijuana, the plants were simply considered as herbs by the people of Aceh. Traditionally, the leaves were finely crushed with other herbs and spices, and then mixed in all kinds of dishes.
Of course, marijuana is illegal in Aceh as in the entire country. The Acehnese had to abandon their centuries – old unique culinary tradition and are no longer allowed to use marijuana in any form, including in their cooking. So, do not expect to see vast marijuana plantations or anything like that. If you dare ask the locals whether or not the dishes served have marijuana in it, they will firmly deny it and even get angry for such accusation. Does Acehnese food have marijuana in it? Supposedly not. I hope it only a rumor.
Cullinary icon of Aceh called Ayam Tangkap. The dish consists of deep fried chicken pieces with whole green chilies, panda leaves and leaves from an endemic plant of Aceh, the temurui. The skin of the chicken is delightfully crispy,and the meat is tender and savory sweet. The leaves are so fragnant they evoke the appetite even more. Served with rice and sambal (chili sauce), it is incredibly delicious. The best place to have it is at Aceh Rayeuk Restaurant on Jalan Bandara SIM Blang Bintang, Banda Aceh.
Mie Aceh is also one of my preferred dishes. Although this noodle specialty of Aceh is very popular and can easily be found in many big cities in Indonesia, nothing compares to tasting it in its own birthplace. It is very spicy yet vary addictive. Due to its popularity, there are many places in the province that sell this noodle dish- from street side vendors to fancy restaurant. If you want clean and comfortable establishment of Nasi Goreng Daus Restaurant on Jalan Panglima Polim, Banda Aceh.
Another favorite for seafood connoisseurs is Banda Seafood on Jalan Raya Kampung Blang 21, as well as Ulee Lhue, Banda Aceh. Udang goreng kunyit (fried tur,eric-covered shrimps) and Ikan Panggang Bumbu (seasoned grilled fish) are recommended.