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Mouthwatering Food Experiences on Bintan Island

 

Just a short ferry ride away from Singapore and Johor Bahru in Malaysia, the beautiful island of Bintan in the Riau Islands Province offers the perfect getaway offering swathes of white sandy beaches, high-end resorts, world-class golf courses, and a refreshing coastal atmosphere. The island also offers a truly special culinary experience through a plethora of scrumptious snacks and mouthwatering menus featuring the distinct taste of Bintan and the Riau Islands. Here are an array of culinary attractions of Bintan for which tourists will return over and over again to the island:

 

1 | Otak-otak

Otak-otak is the signature food of Bintan. It is grilled fresh fish cake wrapped in banana leaf, and is made of ground freshly caught fish meat mixed with tapioca and spices. In Bahasa Indonesia, 'Otak' means brain, and the name of the dish comes from the idea that the dish somewhat resembles brains. In the Riau Islands, there are two main types of Otak-otak: one made from fish and the other from squid which is also spicier. The flavor combines the fragrance of burnt banana leaves, the softness of fish meat or chewy squid and chili spices. Otak-otak is usually served amd tastes best with a spicy peanut sauce or seafood broth and can be enjoyed either as a snack or as part of the main course. The Tanjung Pinang otak-otak tastes extra special since the cake consists mostly of ground fresh fish with just enough tapioca to keep it together. Most of the restaurants in Bintan will serve Otak-otak as a mandatory side dish or snack.

 

2 | Gonggong

Mouthwatering Food Experiences on Bintan Island
Image by: riauberbagi.blogspot.com

The Asian version of French Escargot, Gonggong is definitely a must to try when you visit Bintan or other parts of the Riau Islands Province. With the scientific name of Laevistrombuscanarium or known in the western hemisphere as Conch or Dog Conch, Gonggong is a type of sea snail that is not only edible but moreover, delicious. Gonggong is usually boiled and served with a pineapple, garlic, or chili sauce. It's a bit of work consuming this type of unique seafood since you need to pull the flesh out from the shell with a toothpick. However, once you get the flesh out, dip it in the sauce, and let it smoothly glide through your mouth, a sense of scrumptiousness will definitely overwhelm you. You can find this tasty dish in various seafood restaurants across the island.

 

3 | Prata Bread

Mouthwatering Food Experiences on Bintan Island
Image source: Shutterstock

Also known as Canai/Cane Bread, Roti Prata or Prata Bread is an Indian-origin flatbread dish which is also very popular in Singapore and Malaysia. It is usually served with a vegetable - or meat-based curry and is also commonly cooked with cheese, onions, bananas, red beans, chocolate, mushrooms or eggs. For the distinct taste of Bintan's Prata Bread, you can visit the Prata Roy Batu 9 at D.I, Panjaitan Street, Batu 9, Tanjung Pinang.

 

4 | Kernas

Mouthwatering Food Experiences on Bintan Island
Image source: www.wartakepri.co.id

Kernas is a delicious treat from the Natuna Islands which is made from a combination of sago and fish (tuna or Mackerel). Uniquely, Kernas is similar to a nugget which is crispy outside and soft and smooth inside. Dominated by the yummy flavors of fresh fish wrapped in crispy savory sago added with touch of chili pepper, this is truly a mouthwatering dish.

 

5 | Mie Tarempa Batu 7

Mouthwatering Food Experiences on Bintan Island
Image by: fi2tan.blogspot.com  

Another special Malay cuisine that came from the coastal town of Tarempa in the Anambas Islands, Mie Tarempa or Tarempa Noodles also offers a great culinary experience. Tarempa noodles is similar to Aceh noodles with its rich herbs and spices as well as red-ish colors. However, Tarempa noodle is thicker and chewier and unlike its Aceh counterpart, slices of fish are given as topping. One of the best places to enjoy this in Bintan is at Mie Tarempa Batu 7 at D.I Panjaitan Street, Batu 7.

 

 

6 | Ikan Asam Pedas (Sour and Spicy Fish)

Mouthwatering Food Experiences on Bintan Island
Image source: Shutterstock

Sharing similar culinary tradition with the Malay ethnic group in Malaysia and Singapore, Riau also has numerous dishes that feature the distinct taste and characteristic of the Peranakan Cuisine. Among the many is Ikan Asam Pedas or the Sour and Spicy Fish. Made from many kinds of fish, both fresh water or from the sea, the dish is dominated by the strong refreshing flavors of herbs and spices as well as the scrumptiousness of the fish itself.

 

7 | Lakse

Mouthwatering Food Experiences on Bintan Island
Image source: Shutterstock

Another noodle dish, Lakse (also known as Laksa) is also a popular Peranakan food that can be found on Bintan. With its basic ingredients of sago flour, Lakse is thicker when compared to regular noodles. Lakse is usually served with seafood curry. There is also a variant of lakse without broth or curry and is quite similar to fried noodles.

 

8 | Pondok Ciung Ikan Bakar Batu 5

Mouthwatering Food Experiences on Bintan Island
Image source: Shutterstock

If you are looking for a place to enjoy a wide variety of barbecued fresh fish as well as other mouthwatering dishes while in Bintan, do head to Pondok Ciung Ikan Bakar Batu 5 at Jalan Gatot Subroto , Batu 5, Tanjung Pinang. Among the selection of barbecued fish you can enjoy here are Carp, Rabbitfish, Catfish, Mackerel, and more. You can also order special barbecued chicken if you opt for something else besides fish or seafood.

 

9 | 'Akau' Open Air Street Food Night Bazaar at Jalan Potong Lembu

Mouthwatering Food Experiences on Bintan Island
Image by: tanjungpinangfood.blogspot.com

Tanjung Pinang has a number of Food Street Centers where both locals and tourists flock to every night. Although during the day the wide jalan Potong Lembu Street in Tanjung Pinang serves as a parking lot, but come sunset the area is closed to traffic. Then the place comes busily alive to turn into what is locally known as 'Akau' or food street with rows of food stalls offering an array of distinct Bintan dishes as well as other popular food and snacks from other areas. Even from afar you will be drawn to the place by the inviting aromas of delicious dishes such as chili crab, fish head curry, barbecued fish, fried rice or fried noodles and plenty more.

 

10 | Melayu Square

Mouthwatering Food Experiences on Bintan Island
Image source: foursquare.com

Away from the capital city center's business activities, Tanjung Pinang is gradually growing into a luring destination with diverse attractions. Among the many, the Melayu Square is perfect for those who are on a quest to explore the rich flavors of the ethnic Malay cuisine on Bintan. Here, you will definitely be treated with a range of inviting dishes and snacks having distinct characteristics of the Malay and the Chinese Peranakan, who have inhabited these islands for centuries. Moreover, Melayu Square is located right at the beach providing a combination of great scenery, fresh ocean air, relaxing ambience, and incredibly delicious food.

 

Photo source of header banner: Shutterstock

 

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