We are a participant in the Amazon LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertizing program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Furthermore, this page may contain other sponsors, affiliate, and/or affiliate links. This means if you click on a link (ad) on our site, we may receive and commision. As always, opinions are my own and are sincere. You can read our disclaimer and private policy. We also have our disclosure policy.
Indonesia is a very rich country naturally. It has a lot of cultures, including some traditional food with spices. It also made the European interested with this country. In this post I would like to show my favourite traditional Indonesian food. Most traditional Indonesian menu using plenty of spices, but not all of them are spicy. Generally, most food has special sauce blended from various spices. For dry food, the sauce is stirred and mixed with other ingredients. For soup or wet food, the sauce is also usually stirred and poured with more water.
Some traditional Indonesian food sounds not hygienist and fresh at all. Most traditional Indonesian food could be stored in reasonable period of time. Sometimes the taste is getting better when the menu has been served and heated several times. The ways they are marketed are also different with different price. The expensive one sold in a great or luxurious restaurant or hotel is not as delicious as it is in the traditional restaurant on the pavement, for me. However, if you are not used to eat in the warong (traditional restaurant on the pavement), it is better not to try yet.
Indonesian main course is rice or nasi. Some people won't feel full when they don't eat rice. Rice is eaten with some menu. In a normal healthy food set, there should be rice, vegetable or meat. Fruit can be for dessert. There isn't any different menu between breakfast, lunch, or dinner for most Indonesian basically. It would be different for the rich as they can afford this one
Bellows are some traditional Indonesian food that I like a lot. They come from various parts of Indonesia:
It is like a yellow soup. Soto has a lot of variety. Almost every part in Indonesia has special kind of soto. The picture here is a bowl of soto I bought in Malang, my hometown, in a restaurant which is famously called Soto Lombok as the origin of the food in Lombok Road. It has some potato, sprout, cabbage, and chicken inside. The ingredients of spices are very unique. We eat soto when it is warm. When it is cold, it won't be nice anymore.
It comes from the word satay. There are some different kinds of satay in Indonesia: chicken satay, beef satay, pork satay, and goat meat satay. The sauce is made out of peanut and soy sauce. It is grilled traditionally normally.
- Nasi Padang
Some people would feel that this menu is spicy. It derives from West Sumatra. Padang is a name of West Sumatra capital city. The basic menu of this food is rice with cassava leaves and some sambal. Sambal is for chilli sauce. Some meat are usually displayed in the Padang restaurant. People just need to choose which one they would like to accompany the rice and the cassava leaves.
- Nasi Pecel
It is rice and some vegetables with certain peanut and other spice sauce. It is usually served with peyek or crackers made out of corn starch, soy bean, and rice flour. My husband and I like eating pecel on Sunday morning. It tasted spicy normally.
I don't know how to explain rawon. It is like a black soup for simple with some meat inside. It is usually served warm with some sambal or chilly sauce, sprout, and salted/preserved duck egg. It is usually eaten with some rice.
Gado-gado looks like pecel, but the taste is sweeter and it is not normally eaten with rice. English tourist usually calls it Vegetable salad. It has tomatoes, tofu, cabbage, salad, boiled egg, and peanut sauce
- Tahu Telor
Tofu covered with scrambled eggs maybe the simplest way to explain this food. The appearance of the peanut sauce looks similar with both gado-gado and pecel, but it looks darker and taste more salty. There is one restaurant specialized selling this menu. We have this normally just for supper.
“Penyet” means squeezed. There are so many food that can be squeezed like boiled eggs, tempe (soy beans block), tahu (japanese said tofu, but Indonesian is made out of soy beans), fried chicken, meat balls, fried fish, etc. Those food is squeezed and covered with sambal or chilli sauce. This is the simplest traditional Indonesian food I think. University students who live in boarding houses love this food as it is quite cheap.
- Nasi kuning
You might call this as yellow rice. It is not only rice steamed with certain yellow spice, but it is also served with some other food. We usually have this food well decorated. The rice is formed cone over flat arranged from the rest. The cone is surrounded with some traditional menu like Javanese fried noodle, fried chicken, meat, cucumber, etc. This rice is usually for celebration like independence day, birthday, some celebration like “thanksgiving” (maybe), and some other important occasion which show gratefullness.
It is simple called meatball, but it is not just served merely meatball. There are usually siomay (Chinese derived dumpling), tahu with meat inside, rice noodle, fried meatball, etc. This is a really common folk menu sold by moving booth. You might find this is not hygienist, but I find it very yummy, especially when we eat it in rainy season, served warm with tomato sauce.