Indonesian Cuisine

Indonesian cuisine is built on nasi (rice), corn, cassava and sweet potatoes; all flavoured with coconut milk, peanuts, spices and fiery chillies. Seafood is always on the menu, from salt and freshwater fish to oysters, prawns, shrimp, squid, crab, lobster and even shark. Meats like chicken and beef are also used as main ingredients, but pork is usually left off the menu as Indonesians are Muslim with the exception of the predominantly Hindu island of Bali. Chinese-influenced dishes such as noodles and steamed buns are also popular, creating a fusion cuisine. The local's love of rice even makes it to the drinks with brem  and arak wines both made from the grain.


Probably Indonesia's most famous dish, make sure you try these skewered chunks of marinated beef, chicken, lamb or fish that is grilled or barbecued on hot coals and served with a fragrant peanut dipping sauce.


As comforting as the chicken soup we get at home, recipes from this meat and vegetable broth vary from region to region. Usually made with extras like bean sprouts, glass noodles, celery leaves, shallots or fried potato sticks, the soto is flavoured with spices like tumeric, ginger, garlic and lemongrass.


Translated as 'mix-mix', this vegetable dish is a feast of healthy ingredients and flavours. It includes cooked, blanched and raw vegetables such as cabbage, bean sprouts, potatoes, sweetcorn, cucumber and lettuce as well as proteins like fried tofu and boiled eggs. Everything is coated with the gado-gado sauce, a combination of peanuts, sugar and spices, and served with rice or lontong, an Indonesian rice cake.

Although prices are higher in the country's luxury resorts, Indonesia is still one of the cheapest destinations in Asia. On average, a three-course meal in a mid-range restaurant will set you back around 120,000 Indonesian Rupiah, with a bottled beer about 30,000 Indonesian Rupiah.

Street Food

The street food in Indonesia rivals the restaurant cuisine for taste and beats it for authenticity. Vendors sell meals and snacks from bicycle carts known as pedagang kaki lima and modest shacks called warungs. Many have their own distinctive calls to promote their goods: the bakso (meat soup) seller will hit the side of the soup bowl for example, while mie ayam (chicken and noodles) is announced by hitting a wooden block. Other mouth-watering street foods include traditional crackers called krupuk​, sate, fish cakes, soups, omelettes and noodle dishes, many of which you'll find also in local restaurants. Be careful to only order street food from vendors whose food is clean, fresh and cooked right in front of you. 

Nasi Goreng

Simply translated as 'fried rice', nasi goreng can be made in a number of different ways although garlic, soy sauce and chillies are usually essential ingredients. Pre-cooked rice and leftovers are stir-fried with flavours like tamarind, shallots, eggs, chicken and prawns to create a dish eaten everywhere from beaches to buffets


These savoury fishcakes are made with a dough of ground fish and tapioca, which is boiled or steamed and then deep-fried. Pempek is usually served with yellow noodles and kuah cuko, a dark spicy sauce which blends palm sugar, chilli, garlic and vinegar then topped with chopped cucumber and ebi (dried shrimp) powder.

Babi Guling

Much-loved in Bali, follow the locals to their favourite warung to try a portion of this spit-roasted suckling pig, stuffed and seasoned with spicy flavours like chilli, tumeric, garlic, ginger, coriander seeds and lemongrass.