Indonesian food: What do they eat in Indonesia?

Indonesian Food: What Do They Eat in Indonesia?

Are you curious about the cuisine of Indonesia? Wondering what the locals enjoy on their plates? Look no further! In this article, we will delve into the vibrant and diverse culinary world of Indonesia. From aromatic spices to exotic fruits, Indonesian food offers a unique blend of flavors and textures. Get ready to explore popular dishes like nasi goreng, satay, and soto, as well as traditional cooking techniques and regional specialties. Join us on a gastronomic journey as we uncover the rich culinary traditions that make Indonesian cuisine truly one-of-a-kind.

Traditional Indonesian dishes

Nasi Goreng

Nasi Goreng is a popular traditional Indonesian dish that is often considered the country’s national dish. It is a fried rice dish that is typically made with leftover rice and cooked with a variety of ingredients such as vegetables, meat, and spices. Nasi Goreng is known for its rich flavors and is often garnished with a fried egg, crispy shallots, and served with a side of pickles. It is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.


Satay is another beloved traditional Indonesian dish that is widely enjoyed both in Indonesia and around the world. It consists of skewered and grilled meat, usually chicken, beef, or goat, that is marinated in a flavorful blend of spices and served with a peanut sauce. Satay is often accompanied by a side of rice cakes, cucumber, and onions. The combination of tender and succulent grilled meat with the sweet and savory peanut sauce creates a delightful burst of flavors.


Rendang is a slow-cooked meat dish that originated from the Minangkabau ethnic group in West Sumatra, Indonesia. It is typically made with beef that is simmered for hours in a rich and aromatic blend of coconut milk and spices such as lemongrass, galangal, ginger, and turmeric. The slow cooking process allows the flavors to develop and the meat to become tender and infused with the fragrant spices. Rendang is known for its complex flavors and is often served during special occasions and celebrations.

Indonesia offers a diverse range of traditional dishes, each with its own unique flavors and cooking techniques. Nasi Goreng, Satay, and Rendang are just a few examples of the delicious and iconic dishes that showcase the rich culinary heritage of Indonesia.

Regional specialties

Padang cuisine

Padang cuisine is a popular regional specialty in Indonesia, originating from the city of Padang in West Sumatra. Known for its rich and flavorful dishes, Padang cuisine offers a wide variety of dishes that are sure to satisfy any food lover’s palate.

One of the highlights of Padang cuisine is the famous dish called "Rendang." Made with tender beef slow-cooked in a mixture of spices and coconut milk, Rendang is known for its intense flavors and tender meat. It is often served with steamed rice and is a must-try for anyone visiting Indonesia.

Another popular dish from Padang cuisine is "Gulai." This dish consists of meat, such as chicken or beef, cooked in a rich and spicy curry-like sauce. The blend of spices used in Gulai gives it a unique flavor profile that is both aromatic and delicious.

Javanese cuisine

Javanese cuisine is another well-known regional specialty in Indonesia, originating from the island of Java. With a blend of sweet, savory, and spicy flavors, Javanese cuisine offers a diverse range of dishes that cater to different taste preferences.

One of the signature dishes of Javanese cuisine is "Gado-Gado." This vegetable salad is made with a variety of steamed or blanched vegetables, such as bean sprouts, cabbage, and spinach, topped with a peanut sauce dressing. Gado-Gado is not only healthy but also bursting with flavors that will leave you wanting more.

Another famous Javanese dish is "Nasi Goreng." This fried rice dish is made with cooked rice stir-fried with various ingredients like vegetables, shrimp, chicken, and spices. The combination of flavors in Nasi Goreng makes it a popular choice for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Balinese cuisine

Balinese cuisine is a unique regional specialty known for its vibrant flavors and traditional cooking techniques. The cuisine of Bali is heavily influenced by Hindu customs and incorporates a wide range of spices and herbs.

One of the most iconic dishes in Balinese cuisine is "Babi Guling." This dish features a whole roasted pig stuffed with a mixture of spices, such as turmeric, garlic, and ginger. Babi Guling is often served with steamed rice, vegetables, and spicy sambal sauce, creating a mouthwatering combination of flavors.

Another popular dish from Balinese cuisine is "Sate Lilit." This traditional Balinese satay is made from minced meat, usually chicken or pork, mixed with grated coconut, spices, and herbs, then skewered and grilled. Sate Lilit is typically served with a side of steamed rice and is a delicious and satisfying dish.

In conclusion, Indonesia offers a diverse range of regional specialties that showcase the country’s rich culinary heritage. From the flavorful Padang cuisine to the sweet and savory Javanese dishes, and the vibrant flavors of Balinese cuisine, exploring the regional specialties of Indonesia is a delightful culinary adventure.

Street food in Indonesia


Gado-gado is a popular street food in Indonesia. It is a vegetable salad dish that is often served with a flavorful peanut sauce. The salad typically consists of various boiled or blanched vegetables such as cabbage, bean sprouts, spinach, and carrots. It is then topped with tofu, tempeh, and sometimes sliced boiled eggs. Gado-gado is a healthy and delicious option for those looking to experience the diverse flavors of Indonesian street food.


Martabak is another must-try street food in Indonesia. It is a savory or sweet pancake-like dish that is filled with various ingredients. The savory version, known as martabak telur, is usually filled with minced meat, onions, and spices. On the other hand, the sweet version, called martabak manis, is filled with a mixture of chocolate, cheese, nuts, and condensed milk. Martabak is typically cooked on a griddle and served hot. It is a favorite among locals and tourists alike, and its unique flavors make it an essential part of Indonesian street food culture.


Soto is a popular Indonesian soup dish that can be found in many street food stalls across the country. This aromatic soup is made with a flavorful broth, usually prepared by simmering meat (such as chicken, beef, or mutton) with various herbs and spices. The dish is typically served with rice or noodles, and it is garnished with toppings like fried shallots, sliced tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, and fresh herbs. Each region in Indonesia has its own variation of soto, offering a diverse range of flavors and ingredients. Whether you prefer a spicy or mild soup, soto is a must-try street food that will surely satisfy your taste buds.

Indonesia is a treasure trove of delicious street food, and these three dishes – gado-gado, martabak, and soto – are just a small sample of the incredible flavors that await you. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the vibrant street food scene in Indonesia and indulge in these mouthwatering culinary delights.

In conclusion, Indonesian cuisine offers a tantalizing array of flavors and dishes that reflect the diverse culture and rich culinary heritage of the country. From the iconic nasi goreng and satay to the mouthwatering rendang and gado-gado, Indonesian food is a vibrant tapestry of spices, ingredients, and cooking techniques. Whether you are a fan of spicy food or prefer milder flavors, Indonesia has something to offer for every palate. Exploring the vibrant street food stalls, traditional warungs, and high-end restaurants in Indonesia is an adventure that will undoubtedly leave you with a newfound appreciation for the country’s culinary wonders. So, be sure to indulge in the delectable delights of Indonesian cuisine on your next visit to this gastronomic paradise.

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