MEDAN BITES: Nelayan Seafood Restaurant

Medan Airport

Our fligh was 545 am and we arrived in Medan after 2 hours. There is no time difference between Jakarta and Medan (the archipelago of Indonesia is so vast that it’s 17,000 islands are scattered across 4 different time zones). The airport is small and quite chaotic. I advise being at the beginning of the baggage carousel because if someone mistakenly picks up your bag, no one will check. The toilet is dirty so it’s better to use the toilet in the plane (we used Garuda which usually has relatively clean toilets). If you are waiting to be picked up it is better to wait inside than in the driveway because there is so much smoke outside.

Arriving at JW Marriott Medan

I was thoroughly impressed with our hotel when we arrived. I didn’t expect it to be so big and so grand. I will do a separate post on this with pictures. We arrived at our room which was quite spacious. Despite our lack of sleep (I had zero while TD had 1 hour of sleep – I couldn’t sleep because I was scared that TD was going to snooze all our alarms as he is known to do and we would miss our expensive flight) we wanted to maximize our first day which was a free day for TD. So we took a quick one hour nap after arriving at the hotel then we were raring to go and explore the city!



You saw that I did some research and prepared a list of what I found interesting about Medan when TD asked me if I wanna go with him. This is again an idea I got from The Happiness Project…that part of our happiness is not only from the enjoyment of the present moment (i.e. during vacations) but it also lies in the anticipation of the enjoyment (i.e. pre-vacation preparation) and the savoring of the memories (i.e. post-vacation reminiscing via scrapbooking, album or blog).

Click here to see my Pre-departure research on Medan. In the next few days you’ll be seeing what we actually ended up doing! But here is DAY 1!

When we woke up at 1pm we were so hungry that we asked the concierge what was the nearest restaurant we could go to (walking distance) and we were told to go to Nelayan. It’s near but still quite a walk so I was glad I was wearing my Nike sneakers.

Nelayan Seafood Restaurant

We ordered dimsum and some seafood dishes. It was strange becuase they served 1 out of 3 dimsum dishes in the beginning of the meal then the 2 remaining after we had finished our lunch! =O Strange since dimsum (in my experience anyway) is usually the appetizer. Also they did not have ANY softdrinks available. They said they didn’t have any stock. We all ordered the recommendation of the waitress, soursop juice (guyabano in Filipino). We also made sure to order the juice “dingin” (cold) but without ice.

GOOD TO KNOW: Water cleanliness is an issue in Indonesia and after (1) seeing delivery trucks in Jakarta just dump their delivery on the sidewalk, (2) seeing some yellowish/unclean water at a Mulia catered party (Mulia is an upscale hotel in Jakarta) and (3) TD getting diarrhea at least once a month from catered/restaurant food, we are now more wary than ever.

The dishes were okay but nothing great considering we were ravenous. I will say though that the dish which was the least photogenic dish, the garlic shrimp, was super yummy. The actual dish doesn’t look anywhere as good as it’s picture on the menu, but the taste exceeded all our expectations and we are all raving about it. The soursop (guyabano) drink was also quite good.

The late dimsum dishes which were pwede na (so-so/not bad, not great either)

They gave us complimentary dessert. (L) Orange sago which is edible starch that is obtained from a palm and is a staple food in parts of the tropics and (R) some sort of fried chocolate peanut pastry. I preferred the refreshing orange sago

I had a really hard time getting good pictures because of the mixture of low lighting and then some splashes blue, yellow, purple and some fluorescent lights!  Think about a cheesy 80′s bar. It actually felt like we were transported back to the 80′s and I wouldn’t be surprised if the place hasn’t been renovated since then. LOL.


  • There is a parking fee, however if your bill reaches a certain amount, you’ll get a voucher from the resto for free parking.
  • They seem to put a lot of MSG in their food.

Tomorrow check back in to see what happened with the rest our day. We got to explore 2 more Medan landmarks and discovered a really yummy resto and dish that’s very popular in Medan!

Lovely comments

  1. says

    Hello, I’m blogger also from Medan. I wrote many articles about food and travel in my blog.

    And I found out that you’re have a great journey in Medan. Hmm, just want to let you know, there’s many local food in Medan. If you have more time, maybe you can try more.

    Welcome to Medan.

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