The Republic of Indonesia boasts one of the most diverse and vibrant cuisine in the world. Home to 261 million people, the 4th most populous country in the world is not short when it comes to irresistible flavors.
Caution: Reading may make you salivate.
Bakso is Indonesians favorite comfort food. Chicken or beef meatballs are served in chicken broth, your choice of Bihun (rice vermicelli) or Mie (yellow noodles), garnished with crispy fried shallots, celery, and of course, the infamous sambal (chili paste).
Great things come in pair. Same goes to Indonesian Martabak which comes in two variations. The folded pan-fried stuffed crispy pancake in the picture above is Martabak Telor (Egg). The filling is made of minced beef, scallions, and onions.
Unlike the Crispy and Eggy counterpart, Martabak Manis is a sweet dessert. With various toppings from chocolate, cheese, peanut, banana, Nutella to even durian, this thick buttery pancake is quickly become another Indonesian’s favorite snack.
Gado – gado
Gado-gado is another Indonesian all-time favorite comfort food. Smother peanut sauce dressing on veggies such as cabbage, spinach, bean sprouts, kangkung, green bean, and lontong or ketupat – you’ll have yourself a peanu-ty party! Just remember to invite your friendly Asia’s Food Experts for some Gado- gado if you’re making them!
Like its leafy counterpart, Ketoprak is another one of Indonesian’s traditional dishes and also a very popular street food. The main ingredients are lontong or ketupat (compressed rice cake), tahu, rice vermicelli, bean sprouts, and then mixed it all with thick and sweet peanut sauce. Plus a must have addition, a mountain of kerupuk (crackers). – All the flavors conjoin in tasty harmony. Food science at its simplest, the Food Experts of Asia loves Ketoprak!
An Indonesian traditional soup dish, Soto is mainly served in savory chicken broth that is seasoned with turmeric, which explains the color yellow. A bowl of Soto would contain shredded chicken, eggs, rice vermicelli, and crispy fried shallots swimming around the broth. Soto is certainly a ‘pick me up’ on a rainy day.
Siomay (also Somay), is Indonesia’s answer to Chinese Dim Sum. Siomay is basically steamed fish dumpling with vegetables served in peanut sauce. It is derived from Chinese Shumai. It is traditionally made from tenggiri (wahoo) fish meat but sometimes other types of seafood are also used such as tuna, mackerel, and praw. Other complements to Siomay are steamed cabbage, potatoes, bitter gourd, boiled egg, and tofu. Siomay is cut into bite size pieces and topped with peanut sauce, sweet soy sauce, chili sauce and a dash of lime juice.
Sayur asem is a popular Indonesian vegetable in tamarind soup. Simply means Sour Veges in Indonesian language, Sayur Asem’s common ingredients are peanuts, young jackfruit, young leaves and unpeeled seeds of melinjo, bilimbi, chayote, long beans, all cooked in tamarind-based soups and sometimes enriched with beef stock. Quite often, the recipe also includes corn. The sweet and sour flavour of this dish is considered refreshing and very compatible with fried or grilled dishes. Have it with white rice and you’ll be amazed.
Celebrations in Indonesia are incomplete without Nasi Tumpeng. This massive tower platter is specially made for important ceremonies. It’s kinda like a birthday cake, but with rice and heaps of side dishes.
The indispensable ingredient is rice. It can be a steamed white rice, uduk rice (cooked with coconut milk), or yellow rice (spiced with turmeric). The side dishes varied from ayam goreng (fried chicken), bergedel kentang (mashed potato fritters), kering tempe (dried tempe seasoned with sweet spices), shredded omelettes, and anything Indonesian you can think of.
Legend has it that the cone-shaped rice is a symbol of mountains and volcanoes. The tradition originated from ancient Javanese people as an offering to the Gods (who usually live in the mountains) for the abundance of harvest and Their many blessings. Nasi Uduk certainly has Asia’s Food Experts’ blessings!
Thanksgiving has Turkey, Aidil-Fitr has Opor Ayam. If you are celebrating the joyous Aidil-Fitr in Indonesia, you will most definitely see Opor Ayam on the local household’s tables. Soft and tender chicken cooked in creamy coconut milk are normally paired with ketupat and sambal goreng ati (fried beef liver) during Aidil-Fitr holiday.
There you have it foodies! The list certainly doesn’t end at 10. Indonesia has a lot more delicious foods for you to explore the next time you touch down there!
Confused about Asia’s Food Science and Food Regulatory, ask the food experts at www.ricebowlasia.com.