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!
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 chicken porridge. It is not too watery or too solid. Just cooked at the right texture. The chicken meat is minced and they cooked it together with the porridge. 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.
If you don’t like eating porridge, you may go for their Lontong Pecal which is comparable delicious and as fulfilling as the porridge. Lontong Pecal is kind of food similar to Lontong that we usually eat but the winning part here is they use ingredients that usually use to make pecel for the gravy and they also add yellow noodle into it. The gravy is light (like a soup) but the taste is uncompromised. Bet you will not want to miss trying any of these!Do you know that Lontong Pecal in Pekanbaru is different with Lontong Pecel in Jakarta? Click To Tweet
2. Kedai Kopi Indah Ria
This Kedai Kopi or Kopitiam is constantly busy with customers. 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. The rice flour also helps the spices to blend better with the rice noodle. What I like most is the fried kwetiau is not greasy. I didn’t eat kwetiau for long because of the greasiness. But I don’t mind to eat the fried kwetiau here more than two spoonfuls or (chopstickful, if there is such a word).
I love buns, pastries, any kind of bakery and I was pretty excited when the owner asked if we want to try their freshly made Chinese Bun (Bapao). Unfortunately for us, it was sold so well that we have 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. Best of all, it is still piping hot!Do you know that Kwetiau is called Mietiau in Pekanbaru? Click To Tweet
3. Kedai Kopi Laris
In Kedai Kopi Laris, we tried something lighter which is the classic white bread loaf with butter spread and sprinkle of sugar! It immediately reminded me of my childhood day when my Mom likes to prepare this for breakfast. It is 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. Haha…
To add the exciting value to this simple treat, 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!Do you know that when you hear people order 'Es Kosong' in Pekanbaru is actually referring to plain water with ice? Click To Tweet
4. Kedai Kopi Milenium
Jl. Ir. H. Juanda No.108, Kp. Dalam, Senapelan, Kota Pekanbaru, Riau 28155
Talk about Kedai Kopi Milenium, my saliva starts to drool already. This coffee shop was also crowded when we were there. Their champion here is their Mie Goreng Basah (fried noodle with a little bit soup). The noodle is stirred with a lot of vegetables and some meats without cooking it until it is really dried. So, we can still get a bit of the soup on the base of 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 another champions! The noodle used for the chicken noodle is specially made to order only for Kedai Kopi Milenium. Hence, you will not find the same noodle elsewhere. The meat topping placed on the top of noodle may look like roasted barbeque pork, but for my friends who don’t eat pork, fret not, that is not pork. All the foods here is halal. In fact, I was told that all the foods sold in Pekanbaru must be halal. So, enjoy the food with peace in mind.Do you know that all food served in Pekanbaru is halal? Click To Tweet
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 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 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, they also selling souvenir that related to Chinese and Melayu heritage, 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
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6. Pondok Ikan Bakar Firdaus
Jl. Merbau, Kp. Bandar, Senapelan, Kota Pekanbaru, Riau 28155
The previous day when we had our Pekanbaru Heritage Walk Tour, we had our lunch in a local restaurant that serves Minang cuisines or more commonly known as Padang. From the outside, it didn’t look really appealing with only a simple banner hanging on the main door. The place is simple but clean. But don’t be deceived by all the simplicity of this restaurant because the foods they serve is totally insanely delicious.
Their signature dishes are the fish. I can’t remember the name of the dishes but the one shown on the photo with red gravy as well with the curry one are good. I recommend trying that. Their home-made sambal is thumbs up! The urap, the vegetable salad with grated coconut is very also very appetizing. Have I mentioned the eggplant dish? That also yummy. Well, our tastes may be different but seriously, this is probably the best Minang cuisine I ever had so far.Do you know that the food served in Padang restaurant is actually Minang cuisine? Click To Tweet
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 foods are beyond words. The Sultan Resto that was just opened in March, is owned by a couple – husband and wife who are doctors, who passionate about Melayu heritage including Melayu cuisines. They hope they can contribute in some ways in preserving the Melayu heritage in Pekanbaru. We can see the essences of Melayu shown in the decoration and the design of the restaurant itself. On the wall of the restaurant, we can see photos and pictures telling 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
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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!FOX HARRIS Pekanbaru will make your day rock and roll with its Fox in the Roll! Click To Tweet
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After trying various of the local foods, I just 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.
Anyway, we only stayed for two nights in Pekanbaru and did the food hunting in about one day for all. If you want to really savour the local foods, I would suggest you stay longer in Pekanbaru. This food hunting walking tour is organized by FOX HARRIS Pekanbaru Hotel. If you are keen to find more information on how to join 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?