Indonesian food is rich with flavors and spices. Indonesian
food benefited from its influences resulting from its historical trade
routes. There are many others less spicy food for sensitive stomaches.
Each island has its own regional variations. In Sumatra,
many spices like chilies, and coconut milk are used, and these ingredients
cause rich flavor in their dishes. In contrast, Javanese food tastes sweet,
but the taste is no less incredible.
Some of the famous Indonesian dishes are Sate, Soto,
Bakso, and Nasi Padang. To make things more interesting, each of these
famous dishes have its own local variants. All of these dishes are found
in streets food stalls called Kaki Lima (five feet) warungs. Locals call
them AMIGOS which stands for Agak MInggir GOt Sedikit (a bit on the edge,
near the gutter). Most food warungs are clean. Check to make sure they
have running water and boiled tea. You will be just fine. They are the
cheapest places to eat and simply watch where the locals gather. That
warung will have the best food on that street.
most Indonesian, they will say their favorite dish is Sate. What is Sate?
Sate is skewered pieces of meat usually chicken, beef, or mutton. The
skewered meats are grilled on an open charcoal and served with soy and
peanut sauce. In West Sumatra, Sate is made from beef, and the sauce is
spicier. Most eat Sate with Lontong instead of rice. Prices vary from
IDR 6000 – 7000 a portion at a warung. A little more up market is
the Senayan Sate restaurant.
is one of my favorites. Soto is a soup made from chicken or beef, mixed
with rice noodles, potatoes, boiled eggs, fried onions, and spices. Prices
vary from IDR 6000 – IDR 15000, depending on where you eat. Soto
in Indonesia is rich with variation, the name is different in different
provinces. This includes Soto Sulung, Soto Betawi, Soto Banten, and other
Sotos too numerous to mention. The difference is in the broth. Soto Betawi
uses coconut milk in the broth, while Soto Sulung does not. They all taste
great, and safe for the sensitive stomachs. If you like it spicier, simply
add home-made chili that is served with the dish.
It is a vegetarian dish and no meat is used. It is an Indonesian traditional
salad. The vegetables are boiled, cut and mixed with peanut sauce. The
sauce in Gado-gado and Sate is different, because of different spices,
although they may look the same. Vegetarian friends of ours say that they
are happy to eat Gado-gado throughout their trip in Indonesia. Vegetables
include Morning Glory, Collies, Cabbage, Long Beans, Corn, fried tofu,
fried tempeh, and boiled egg. Normal prices are IDR 5000 – 10000.
(meatballs) are always found in push carts. Made from beef mixed with
flour and then boiled, Bakso is served hot with vegetables and tofu or
pangsit (Chinese dumplings). Prices are IDR 5000 – IDR 7000 in push
carts. Bakso can also be made from chicken and seafood. In Bali, Bakso
is sometime made from Pork. Baso Malang Karapitan is a good Baso restaurant
Most Indonesian does not eat pork.
But in some parts of Indonesia, pork is the speciality. In North Sumatra for
example, in Tanah Batak, you will find Saksang. It is pork
served with pork blood sauce. It may sounds strange, but
it does taste yummy. And Pork with Rica-rica sauce in the
northern part of Sulawesi is spicy and compliments plain
rice. Bali is famous for its Babi Guling, which is not unlike
a Hawaiian version of a Spit Roast suckling pigs.
important tip when you go to a Padang restaurant. After you
are seated, boys will put at least 20 different dishes of foods
in front of you. You won’t pay for them all, you just
need to pay what you eat.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Indonesian
food is a riot of colors and tastes. Bottled water is cheap and
available everywhere. Tropical fruit juices are always fresh and
you will find beer in some restaurants. Special non alcoholic
drinks include Wedang Jahe (Ginger drink), Soda Gembira (condensed
milk with soda), Bandrek (Hot ginger tea with condiments). Alcoholic
drinks include Tuak, Inti sari, Arak, Berem Bali. The locals will
tell you where and how. Forget the diet, come eat and drink in