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The Best of Indonesian Cuisine

Updated on July 22, 2012

Indonesian cuisine is diverse

Indonesian cuisine is diverse because there are many ethnic groups in the country. Indonesia is a large country with thousands of islands and belong to the top five most populated country in the world. It is a Muslim dominated country with the largest Muslim population in the world.

Although there are variations of cuisine in different parts of the country there are dishes which are considered national dishes like nasi goreng, sate, soto and gado-gado.

Influences of Indonesian cuisine are : Europe, neighboring Southeast Asian and Middle eastern cuisine.

Spices are chili and vegetables are produced in a tropical environment.

Indonesia's location and some facts

Indonesia is a large country located in Southeastern Asia and is very near to Malaysia, East Timor and Papua New Guinea and the Philippines. They shared borders with the first four countries mentioned. The type of government is republic. The country gained independence form Netherlands in 1945. It is interesting to look at Indonesian cuisine because it is a country with majority of Muslim population and known to use spices as the rest of Southeast Asian countries. In fact, one province Maluku is known as the spice island.

Nasi goreng -- fried rice -- is still considered the national dish in Indonesia

Rice is still the staple food and they mixed it with other meat and vegetables.

Rice in Indonesian cuisine just like in other Southeastern cuisine is eaten as plain rice mixed with side dishes like vegetables and it is steamed like in ketupat (with coconut covered), lontong -- steamed in leaves of banana and rice crackers (intip) -- sotanghon -- vermicelli and rice noodles.

Nasi Goreng as I have said is considered a national dish and is popular in Indonesia (see image above)

Sundanese meal as an example of Indonesian cuisine

The Sundanese ethnic group number about 3o million plus and are mostly Muslim, their meal as in the image below composed of the rice covered in banana, roasted fish and the tap water with lime plus the fish paste-- sambal plus the tempeh and tofu. Tempeh and tofu are fermented soy beans mainly used for vegetarian recipes as substitute for proteins.

Another tofu like fermented food which is similar to tempeh is oncom can be black or red.

Tempeh is unique to Indonesian cuisine.

example of Sundanese meal

image courtesy of wikipedia
image courtesy of wikipedia

Nasi goreng Indonesian cuisine

Nasi goreng -- fried rice in Indionesia -- national dish

Nasi goreng is literally fried rice with ingredients sometimes, they put chili and some shrimp on the fried rice with tamarind and eggs. You will need precooked rice, onions, garlic and other ingredients like shallots and the main ingredients seafoods or meat of chicken.

In the video here, it is not prawn that they use but chicken

gado gado dish -- Indonesian cuisine

Gado gado dish

Another dish which is of national dish category is the gado - gado -- a combination of peanut sauce and vegetable salad. It is also sold even in street and many restaurants. You will need blanched vegetables like sprouts, kang kong and string beans, plus tempeh and tofu and the peanut sauce

Satay or Sate -- Indonesian dish

Satay is skewered marinated meat and then grilled meat with sauce. It is served with sauce chili and spicy sauce. the meat can be mutton, beef, seafoods, pork, tofu and at times chicken. it is sold in street and carts plus restaurants.

Soto ayam --

Soto soup-- Indonesian cusiine

Soto or soup is a soup made of broth, meat and other vegetables. Some variations are metawi, bandung, medan, pandang, banjar and lots more variations. This is available throughout the country but with variations and sold at streets anywhere.

Other Indonesian Cuisine

Noodles like bakmi -- and bakso - meatballs grounded meat are also part of indonesian cuisine.

I can see that there are similarities to Chinese cuisine like the congee rice -- lugao in Filipino dish. Rice with ingredients, watery rice.

Cooking Beef rendang

Meat Rendang

Rendang is popular in Indonesia and Malaysia. it is a meal usually served in festivities. Rendang is a curried meat and you can use other meat like chicken as well aside from the beef mentioned here. It is cooked with coconut milk and ingredients until it is cooked and drained of liquid. The meat is boiled then fried. Ingredients are sometimes ginger, tumeric (leaves) and lemon grass.

How to make Sambal

Sambal -- Indonesian cuisine

Sambal is a condiment made of peppers -- very chili and is popular in Malaysia and Indonesia. There are ready made sambals sold in supermarkets. To a new to this kind of condiment it is very chili and it made of varieties of peppers.

Indonesian Cuisine

Indonesian Cuisine

Indonesian Cuisine


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    • alexandriaruthk profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from US

      Thanks for commenting. Indonesian foods are very tasty!

    • flounderingsahm profile image


      7 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Incredible Hub! I come from a Dutch\Indonesian mother so Nasi Goreng has been a staple in my diet most of my life. Gado-Gado is something we've had, but I had to build a taste for (now LOVE it!) I currently make Nasi Goreng, Lumpia, and Satay for my family.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Rice is definitely a component of Indonesian plate just like it's Asian neighbors.

    • agusfanani profile image


      8 years ago from Indonesia

      It's amazing that you know a lot about Indonesian food.

    • alexandriaruthk profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from US

      Hi febriedethan, thanks for that thumbs up additional comment,

    • Cheeky Girl profile image

      Cassandra Mantis 

      9 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

      This is just fantastic, Maita! I love Indonesian cooking. Similar to Malay and Thai food, I find. You really did a great job on this hub, as I am now getting hungry looking at this! Heh! Cool, as always!

    • BkCreative profile image


      9 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      There is an Indonesian restaurant here in NYC that is just outstanding! The food is just so very good. What a great table set in that first photo. It is certainly time for me to go back again. Mmmmm.

      Rated up. Whew! Soooo good. Thanks!

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      9 years ago

      I wish you lived in my neighborhood!

    • febriedethan profile image


      9 years ago from Indonesia

      Hi, thank you for highlighting Indonesian food :) and you're right, nasi goreng is a very common dish in my country, you may find nasi goreng sellers everywhere, in food stall, big and small restaurants, just everywhere, even if you get hungry in the middle of the night, just try to walk around the corner and you will find the nasi goreng seller hahaha..


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