Local Specialties indonesianfood cuisines localfood nasigoreng rendang Indonesia

10 Best Indonesian Foods To Try

10 Best Indonesian Foods To Try
Rofiq
Rofiq
Published

Indonesian food is the most flavorful on Earth, having historical influences from Dutch, Chinese, and Arabic interactions. It is no wonder that several dishes have gained international recognition. Although Indonesian cuisine basically includes rice and noodle, it varies in unique yet attractive ways. Each region has its own characteristic; Sumatra with curry, Java with sweet delicacies, and Maluku with sago congee and seafood. To address your curiosity, you should try the following 10 best Indonesian foods.

1. Beef rendang

The tasty beef rendang

Beef rendang was once recognized as the best delicious food in the word by CNN in 2011. It’s a beef-based dish from West Sumatra, requiring a long cooking process. The diced beef is mixed with a large amount of coconut milk and aromatic spices such as turmeric, ginger, lime leaves, galangal, chilies, and lemongrass. They are simmered for several hours until the beef is super tender. In Indonesia, rendang is usually devoured at certain occasions and religious celebrations.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Indonesia and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Indonesia

2. Nasi Goreng

Nasi Goreng

Nasi goreng or Indonesian fried rice is a national dish that can be found across the country. The rice is stirred with some basic seasonings such as sliced shallots, chopped garlic, chili paste, and sweet soy sauce. It’s usually served with prawn crackers, chicken, fried shallots, egg, and sliced sausage. Instead of enjoying nasi goreng in a fine restaurant, you should try the street food version. The authentic taste and the aroma are so incredible and whets your appetite.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Indonesia and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Indonesia

3. Satay

The chicken satay
Source: Wikimedia

Satay or Sate is a popular Indonesian dish made of skewered, grilled meat. The meat can be chicken, pork, beef, mutton, and even rabbit. Satay is usually served with a thick peanut sauce and sliced fresh shallots. There are numerous variations of satay depending on which region they are from. Sate Padang is made of grilled diced beef with yellowish sauce. Meanwhile, the Balinese sate lilit is made of minced fish and grated coconut with a lemongrass as the skewer.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Indonesia and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Indonesia

4. Gado-Gado

Gado-Gado

If you are a vegetarian, we highly recommend Gado-Gado, the Indonesian salad. Gado-Gado literally means “mixing.” The blanched vegetables (spinach, string beans, cabbage, and carrot) are mixed with fried tofu and tempeh, sliced cucumber, and boiled egg. It’s always served with tasty peanut sauce, “mlinjo” crackers, and “sambal” (chili paste). You can eat the Gado-Gado with a steamed rice cake wrapped in banana leaf called “lontong.” This healthy food has been a favorite among Indonesian people over the years.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Indonesia and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Indonesia

5. Soto

Soto Bangkong
Source: Wikimedia

Soto is another national dish comprising of broth, shredded chicken or diced beef, and complementary ingredients such as bean sprouts and chopped celery. The soup is always eaten with rice. You can add soya sauce, chili paste, and lime to add amazing flavours. There are several types of Soto ranging from Soto Jawa, Soto Betawi, Soto Kudus to Soto Banjar, They have different appearances and flavors yet are all mouth-watering. If you are an avid foodie, you had better try buffalo and cow’s inner organ Soto.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Indonesia and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Indonesia

6. Bakso

Bakso Daging Sapi
Source: Wikimedia

If you are craving more soup, try the Bakso. It’s the Indonesian meat ball soup, similar to the Chinese beef ball. Bakso is basically made of ground meat (beef, fish, and pork) and tapioca flour. It’s shaped like a ball and boiled in hot water. Barack Obama’s favorite dish is usually served with bihun (rice vermicelli), tofu, crispy wontons, and veggies. Besides, you can add in sweet soy sauce and chili paste. Malang, the city most famous for its Bakso, has a lot of variations of this dish.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Indonesia and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Indonesia

7. Martabak

Martabak Telur
Source: Wikimedia

Martabak gets its influence from the Middle East. This savory street food is a crispy dough filled with chicken’s or duck’s eggs, leek, onion, and some spices. It’s served with cucumber and chili pickles, and spicy dark sauce. The combination of crispy skin and the soft meat filling is so addictive. You can get a Martabak from evening street vendors. They also have Martabak Manis, which is a dessert version with sweet fillings.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Indonesia and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Indonesia

8. Pecel

Pecel
Source: Wikimedia

Pecel is a traditional dish from Java, which is similar to Gado-Gado with a spicy peanut sauce dressing. The veggies, such as spinach, cassava leaves, and bean sprouts, are blanched before serving. The spicy yet sweet salad is served with steamed rice or “lontong” (rice cakes), chopped cucumber, fresh Thai basil, and “rempeyek” (crispy peanut crackers). You can have side dishes like fried tempeh and tofu while enjoying pecel salad. The unique flavor of the sauce is from an herb with the pungent aroma named “kencur.”

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Indonesia and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Indonesia

9. Gudeg

The Gudeg
Source: Wikimedia

Gudeg, native to Yogyakarta, is a traditional dish made of young jack fruit deeply boiled along with coconut milk and palm sugar for several hours. It has reddish dark brown look due to the long cooking process and the teak leaves. Some spices like shallot, garlic, galangal, and bay leaves are added to make the dish tastier. The sweet Gudeg is served with additional dishes such as “telur pindang” (the dark boiled egg), fried chicken, and “sambal goreng krecek” made of buffalo skin.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Indonesia and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Indonesia

10. Siomay

Siomay Bandung
Source: Wikipedia

Siomay is a traditional steamed dumpling, taking its influence from China. The dumpling is usually filled with fish and prawn paste. This delicious dish is topped with a sweet peanut sauce, soya sauce, and lime juice. Its complementary dishes are steamed potato, cabbage, tofu, bitter melon, and boiled egg. You can find this type of food at either street-side food stalls or street vendors across the country. To have the most flavorful Siomay, we recommend eating it while it’s still hot.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Indonesia and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Indonesia

One word to describe Indonesian food: Delightful!

If you travel the archipelago, never miss any chance to delight in its foods. There is a wide variety of good Indonesian dishes you should try. If you are a meat lover, you can have both Beef Rendang and Bakso. They are indeed the most popular dishes offering incredible flavor and texture. Don’t get worried if you don’t like meat; Gado-Gado and Pecel will satisfy your hungry stomach. Indonesia is truly a heaven for foodies - your taste buds will thank you.

Get Trip101 in your inbox

Unsubscribe in one click. See our privacy policy for more information on how we use your data

1280px chicken satay 86
Still Need Travel Insurance?

You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.

*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101

*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.

I am Rofiq from East Java, Indonesia. I am passionate about exploring new places, meeting new people, learning new languages and cultures. I always do solo traveling and backpacking since they are...Read more

Top 3 activities to book in Indonesia

Have a question? Ask fellow travellers and travel experts here.
Explore Indonesia
Good things are meant to be shared!