« Finally, Something in My Size! | Main | Hokkienese Hideaway »




I love curry noodles. Gomak sound a lot like Chinese knife-cut noodles.


Wow - never heard of gomak. Looks tasty and intriguing, and what is prickly ash?


Wow, I feel like I'm there. I think I've mentioned this before, but it's so nice (not to mention cheap) to take a trip via this site. Right now, it's just too distracting to travel with a screaming child under each arm.


Robyn is positioning herself to become the world's foremost authority on the culinary uses of Zanthoxylum, i.e. Szechuan peppercorn, makhwem, the Batak andaliman and so on :0)

In the meantime, however, there is Gernot Katzer's page on these "peppercorns". Strangely, the normally quite exhaustive Mr. Katzer says nothing about the Northern Thai makhwem, whose precise orthography has been the object of controversy on this board ;0) (all meant in jest guys!)


Is there a lot of Batak presence in Medan markets in general? Would you say that these markets are meeting places for Batak + Acehnese + ? + ?

[email protected]


RST - 'positioning' myself? I thought I already *was* the world authority on prickly ash! (also meant in jest)
There is a huge Batak presence in Medan markets and in Medan in general. N Sumatra seems almost a different province from West Sumatra (Padang and Bukittingi etc). There are plenty of Acehnese in Medan as well, as attested to by the numerous mie Aceh stalls ('true' mie Aceh is purported to be made with cannabis seeds). But Acehnese are not as easily identified physically as Batak, so as a group they don't stand out.


Am just someone who visits your site regularly to revel in the amazing food (and local) photos and your excellent writing style - intelligent, informed, sympathetic. I am really taken by that combination of enthusiasm and attention to detail, which your posts unfailingly contain. Thank you for all the time and effort involved in the regular entries on this site; deeply appreciately and of course, hugely enjoyed!



Zanthoxylum is going to be a HOT topic in the chow world!!! There is already an article on sansho peppercorn (another prickly ash!) in the new issue of Saveur.

Robyn, maybe you should write up all your research on the Batak andaliman for one of the food magazines!!!

But what the hell is gomak? Just a wild guess: could the word possibly mean "rubber" in Bahasa or in one of the Northern Sumatran languages?

[email protected]


Re: gomak/goma

Of course, that was a total stab in the dark. Spanish/Portuguese goma comes from Latin gumma, but maybe it got to N. Sumatra somehow...

So maybe mie gomak = "rubber band noodles"...?

Again, this is a big stab in the dark...


Richard - gomak turns up nothing in my b. Malaysia dictionary.

Lisa - thank you. Dave's photos usually get all the ooo's and aaaah's so it's nice to get some feedback about the writing too. :-) The blog takes a lot of time and effort, but we enjoy it. Glad you do too!

May aka Blogie-talkie

First time to your site, and love it.
I am Malaysian living in Canada. I miss the food I grow up with and your site give me many memories returns. Thank you


You just made my mouth water with the very crisp descriptions! I swear, I can smell the spicy aroma!

Will you be in the Philippine for Holy Week, Robyn? :)

Doddie from Korea


We just hear about the quake that hit North Sumatra. I hope that you and Dave are fine and safe. My parents are worried about you. They're sending prayers to both of you now.



Re: Gomak

Hi Robyn. I am a long time lurker here. The urge to comment is so strong in this entry. ;-) I have tried to once before when everyone was puzzled over "buah beka" - that long blade like vegetable you found in the Kelantan market, but wasn't able to. Must be one of my duh moments.
Anyway, my familiarity with the word gomak comes from my Mom's usage of the word (she's from Seberang Prai, btw). The way she uses it, gomak is a kind of flour. For those of you who know/remember Seniman Bujang Lapok: Remember Aziz Satar's white make up when they were auditioning for the movie studio? My mom calls it "gomak flour face".


Any clue what this flour this? From a root perhaps?


I spent the whole morning looking up books on Indonesian theater traditions (wayang orang etc) to see if any kind of face powder is mentioned. No luck :0(

Thanks for the lead, Cempakasari!!!

Now to spend the whole afternoon looking up buah beka ;0)



May and Karen - thank you! Karen, we will be in Pampanga the tail end of Holy Week. Very much looking forward to it!

Cempakasari - thanks for jumping in!

RST - I think the long blade-like veg is the one we covered in our 'weird vegetable' post from N Thailand. Not a veg at all but a pod from broken bones tree.

Back to gomak - I rifled again through my notes and found I'd copied from a package of dry gomak I spied at a village market near Aceh border: another name for gomak is mie lidi, and the ingredients include (in addition to lots of coloring) 'tepung terigu' --- wheat flour. 'kidi' is the rib or vein of the coconut palm.


I have a picture of Andaliman. Those andaliman were sent by my friend who lives in Jakarta.

Take a look this

Penggemar Mie Gomak

i like mie gomak. mie gomak special food bataknesia.

Generic Viagra

I want o taste this type of food!!

buy viagra

hey delicious pictures thanks for sharing A New Noodle

The comments to this entry are closed.

Look Inside and Pre-Order! Also available at Barnes&Noble and Indiebound.