All You Need To Know About Indonesian Food

For quite sometime Indonesian food was relatively unknown, however, the vibrant and sumptuous dishes that comprise Indonesian cuisine are starting to gain an international foothold.

Nearly every meal in Indonesia is centered around rice, regardless of whether it is breakfast, lunch, or dinner. However, when it comes time to look at Indonesian cuisine in greater detail, you will find that this land of 6000 islands has a multitude of regional specialties for you to choose from.

That is why we below we are going to explore Indonesian food further, so that you can know all there is to know about this intense and colorful cuisine.

Indonesian Food Influences

As I mentioned earlier, Indonesian cuisine is primarily region based, which means that there are numerous influences to Indonesian food.

Sumatran cuisine is popular for its vegetables and curried meat such as kari and gulai, and these have Indian and Middle Eastern influences. Javanese cuisine on the other hand is composed of mainly indigenous food, but has subtle Chinese influences.

If you go to Eastern Indonesia, you will find that their cuisines are comparable to Melanesian and Polynesian cuisine. And if you look at Indonesian food in its entirety, you will find several foods that are indistinguishable from Chinese food- noodles (bakmi), spring rolls (lumpia), and meat/fish balls (bakso).

All in all, Arab, Chinese, English, Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch cultures have left an imprint on Indonesian cuisine.

Indonesia’s 10 Most Famous Dishes

There are at least 5,350 traditional Indonesian recipes, and from these recipes 30 are considered as the most important.

Below we will briefly look at some of Indonesia’s most famous dishes.

1. Rendang: Indonesia’s most popular beef curry is composed of chili gravy, and beef chunks stewed for hours in coconut milk

2. Nasi Goreng: Indonesia’s national dish is a meal consisting of stir fried rice, spiced with chilli, tarmarind, garlic, sweet soy sauce, and shallots

3. Satay: A world renowned food composed of barbecued chicken, mutton, goat, or rabbit meat, skewered on a stick and bathed in peanut sauce

4. Sambal: Sambal is a chilli based sauce comprised of chillies, lime juice, shrimp paste, salt and sugar, and is always present during meals

5. Tumpeng: A cone shaped rice dish, encircled with an assortment of meat and vegetables

6. Gado-Gado (Mix-Mix): This beloved dish is a salad composed of boiled spinach, long beans, potatoes, bean sprouts, corn, and egg, as well as cucumber, tempe and tofu. This vegetable salad is then dosed in peanut sauce

7. Bakso: A tasty meatball noodle soup, where the meatballs are made from beef, chicken, pork, or a combination of the three

8. Soto: A simple and clear traditional meat soup, composed of chicken, beef or goat

9. Ayam Goreng: Deep fried chicken, coated with spices and coconut milk

10. Bakmie Goreng: Pencil-thin noodles, fried with egg, vegetables, and meat, and topped with a variety of spices

How They Are Made

As you can see from the list above, Indonesian cuisine is a melting pot of complex and rich favors, which can be described as hot and spicy (pedas), savory (gurih), sweet (manis), bitter (pahit), sour (asim), and salty (asin).
You will also find that there are 6 vital food preparation methods used in Indonesian cuisine, mainly roasting (bakar), frying (goreng), stir frying (tumis), grilling (panggang), steaming (kukus), and boiling (rebus).


The mouth-watering dishes discussed above are just the tip of Indonesia’s diverse cuisine, and I would definitely advise you to branch out and explore this unique and tasty world. Luckily, you don’t have to travel the whole of Indonesia to experience the top 10 Indonesian dishes, drop by to our restaurant at Pondok Jawa Timur for the best Indonesian food tasting experience.

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