Food in Indonesia is simple, full of herbs and spices and more or less spicy depending on where you go. The staple food for a traditional meal is white rice but you can also find noodles, soups or meat in the large variety of Indonesian food.
Are you wondering where to taste Indonesian food with its distinct flavours during your trip to Indonesia? At a khaki lima, a typical small cart pushed through the streets, you can find snacks or noodle soup that will cost only a few rupees (less than a euro!). If you need more choice head to a warung makan. These small restaurants often offer a buffet of various traditional dishes that you can add to rice. Here again, one or two euros should be more than enough to enjoy a delicious meal.
Of course, there are also fancy restaurants serving upscale western or Indonesian food. In Jakarta and Bali for example, you can go for Italian, Japanese, Chinese or French cuisine in stylishly decorated venues. Naturally, the cost will be higher than traditional restaurants but still reasonable compared to European prices. The choices of food in Indonesia are plentiful and you will surely find something to suit every taste.
During your trip to Indonesia, don’t miss out on the most readily available Indonesian food: nasi campur (“mixed rice” in English). The dishes will vary by restaurant, but is composed of rice, usually white but it can be red or yellow rice, served with vegetables, meat, fish, fried food depending on what you like. At local venues you can go up to the counter and choose which dishes you want to accompany your rice.
This dish is a Hindu speciality from Bali, and one of the most famous dishes of Indonesia. This roasted pork dish is considered noble and is usually served during major ceremonies as an offering to the gods of the islands. Before being killed the animal is sprinkled with holy water. After several hours of slow cooking, it is served with vegetables, black pudding and organ meat.
Usually, rendang is a beef curry but you can also find the recipe with chicken, duck, mutton or even vegetables. There are different colours and the curry can be soupy or dry but the ingredients are always the same: coconut milk and spices. A delicious meal and one of the must-try dishes ofIndonesian food during your trip in Indonesia.
Soto is a traditional soup you will find on the streets and at the khaki lima everywhere in the archipelago. The ingredients might differ from one island to the other but soto is always a broth with herbs, turmeric, meat and vegetables. The perfect meal to enjoy after a surf session or on a rainy day!
One of the most popular Indonesian food, sate originated in Java. “Sate” means skewer in English. You’ll find this dish all over the country, especially in Java. It is served with a tasty peanut sauce more or less spicy depending on the restaurant you order from. The meat is usually chicken, although in Bali and other Hindu communities you might find “Sate babi” (pork satay).
You can’t leave Indonesia before tasting those two dishes. Cooked in a wok the mie(noodles) or the nasi (rice) goreng (fried) are served in almost every restaurant. You can ask for vegetarian, chicken or seafood basis and then add fried egg or vegetables. Order the special version and you will enjoy fried shrimp or fish, sate and peanut sauce. So addictive! This is definitely one of the must-try Indonesian dishes.
Very popular, these Chinese dumplings are composed of minced meat, flour and egg white. They come in a broth and you can choose the sauce of your choice. The most common recipe is with beef but you can find chicken, fish or buffalo bakso.
This cold salad can include: soybean sprouts, lettuce, cabbage, cucumber, tomatoes, carrots, beans, eggs, tofu and/or jackfruit… The vegetables are crunchy and the salad covered with a delicious peanut sauce.
This dish consists of a cone of yellow rice, rice cooked with turmeric and coconut milk, in the middle of a plate. This shape represents a sacred mountain. It is surrounded by meat and vegetable which symbolize the elements of the universe. Will you have the opportunity to taste this festive meal during your trip to Indonesia?
Widespread throughout Asia, these crispy chips can be made out of fish or shrimps. Indonesian Krupuk can easily be compared to French bread, it goes with all Indonesian food! They can be served on the side of your plate or in a little basket on the table, you can also buy krupuk in sachet at the warung makan (small shops).
Tempe can be found everywhere in Indonesia, either raw and white at the market or golden and fried at the warung. Rich in protein it is made of fermented soybeans and is a favourite of vegans and vegetarians. The taste is a bit like nuts and yeast.
This little green pancake is delicious! Stuffed with coconut and palm sugar, it gets its unique colour from the extract of pandanus leaves, a plant from the same family as the coconut palm.
Martabak is a fried savoury crepe usually stuffed with onion, garlic, leeks and meat. Cut into slices it can be served with a curry sauce. There is a sweet version of it called terang bulan topped with chocolate, crushed peanuts, condensed milk or sometimes cheese. Delicious Indonesian street food!
Sauces: Kecap manis, sambal, Kecap asin, peanut sauce…
As you might have understood by now, the most common sauce served with food in Indonesia is peanut sauce. If you’re looking for a challenge you can taste the sambal, a very spicy chilly condiment. There are over 300 different recipes only in Indonesia. At most restaurants, you will find kecap manis>/i> (sweet) or asin (savory) to add to your meal.
Dont forget to ask your Travel Expert for his/her personal recommendations on favourite places to try Indonesian food!