INDAHS’ TRAVEL STORY NEWS: ‘ Top Ten Indonesia Dishes to Try ‘

Indonesia is an archipelago country consists of more than 17,000 islands. Imagine that each island has its own dish, Indonesian cuisine is too many and varied! However, there are at least ten dishes on my list that I would love to eat when visiting Indonesia and I recommend you to try one of these dishes when visiting Indonesia or perhaps make it yourselves?.Here is my list as in alphabetical order:

Ayam Betutu (Balinese Betutu Chicken)

This is a popular dish from Bali Island. It is basically steamed and roasted chicken. Sometimes they use duck (called Betutu Bebek), but I don’t like eating duck meats. The cooking process could last for 24 to 40 hours! The bones are usually very soft and can be eaten as well. Not to mention the tasty flavor of the meat after being cook for so long! This meal is a must try when you were in Bali or Jakarta.

Bakso (Indonesian Meatball Soup) and Bakmi Ayam-Jamur (Chicken Mushroom Noodle)

Every time I landed in Jakarta, my brother who always kindly picked me up at the airport already knew where to bring me – to one of Bakmi Gajah Mada Restaurants to eat its Bakmi with Bakso! Bakso and Bakmi Ayam are favorite dishes for many Indonesians so you can find the menu offered in many restaurants all around Indonesia. Sometimes we add fried pangsit (sort of dumplings) to replace emping/kerupuk.

Would you like to make your own? Please visit this recipe: Bakso and Bakmi Ayam

Indonesian Beef Rendang

Rendang is spicy meat dish from Minangkabau ethnic group (Sumatera Island). It is a slow cooked beef with coconut milk. Dentist Chef explained the dish and recipe in very detail – Indonesian Beef Rendang Recipe. Dutchie loves this dish so much and cooked it twice a month. Lucky me, I am not a good cook.

Rendang dish is extremely popular in Indonesia, the menu is usually available in most restaurants across Indonesia. The easiest way to find rendang is in “Restaurant Padang”, it is sort of restaurant that has specialty to serve only Padang and Minangkabau cuisine. Indonesian Beef Rendang ranked number one inCNN’s World’s 50 Best Food.

Beef Rendang by Aaron Shumaker

Kue Tete/Kue Ape (Tete Cake/Ape Cake)

My favorite cake! This cake usually sold by street vendors and I often bought it after school. The cake is perfect snack with your tea or coffee. It is looked like pancake with very thick part on the middle and crispy in the surrounding.  It made from rice flour, coconut milk, and sugar. For the flavor, we can use cheese, suji leaves or Dutch Chocolate Sprinkles (like in the picture). Nyummy – for me, it is the best cake ever, always remind me of my childhood days 😉

Martabak Telor & Martabak Manis (Egg Martabak & Martabak Manis)

Martabak Telor is originally from Yemen. It is a stuffed pancake with minced meat and eggs. In Indonesia, this is a very popular food and usually sold by street vendors.

Meanwhile Martabak Manis is sweet pancake and I think it is created by Indonesians since the way its cook is totally different from Martabak Telor. It is baked on a pan and the martabak sprinkled with crushed peanuts or cheese or chocolate or mixed all of those. Latest update, martabak manis Toblerone gained popularity in Jakarta. It is a full filing dish and usually eaten at night as evening snacks with family.

Nasi Goreng (Stir-Fried Rice)

This menu is common in Chinese restaurants in the Netherlands but Nasi Goreng is Indonesian/Malay words not Chinese. Nasi Goreng in Indonesia usually served as breakfast and dinner. It is fried rice mix with eggs, chicken, beef – basically any meat or vegetables you wish for. It is easy and delicious if you know to cook it right.

How to cook Nasi Goreng in 15 minutes? Try its recipe as published in New York Times: Indonesian Fried Rice with Vegetables.

Nasi Goreng by Shankar S

Sate Ayam (Chicken Satay)

I notice that Dutchie always ordered Sate Ayam when we were in Indonesia. Yes there is Indonesian sate in the Netherlands but it was fried sate and the meat cuts were so huge, nothing like Indonesian sate at all! Indonesian sate is grilled marinated meat served in peanut sauce and soy sauce. The grill and marinated takes couple times and the meat cuts in small pieces and crunchy. Anyway, it is delicious. Sate with peanut sauce is believed originated from Java Island.

However, since it is a very popular dish, several places where majority is non-Muslims like Bali and North Sulawesi province also have sate with pork meat. It is called sate babi (Pork Satay), with similar marinade and peanut sauce.

Sate Padang (Padangnese Satay)

This is a different type of sate that comes from Padang (Sumatra Island). The meat is marinated tenderly and the sate sauce is made from rice flour, turmeric, ginger, garlic, coriander, curry powder, and galangal root. The sauce is yellow because of natural processing. Sate Padang usually served with ketupat, it is rice that cooked inside woven palm leaf pouch.

Soto Betawi

Soto means traditional soup and Indonesian culinary has plenty of soto from each island. Soto Betawi is originally from Jakarta. The soto broth made from lemongrass, beef broth, coconut milk with ginger and galangal. It is perfect for meal during rainy season. We usually eat it with steamed white rice. Recipe of Soto Betawi as you can find in this website: Soto Betawi – Jakarta Beef Soup.

Soto Rawon

It is originally from Surabaya (East Java). The soto uses black nuts/ Pangium Edule that makes the soto water has strong nutty flavor and dark color. The beef cooked a long in the tasty water that makes the meat so tasty. Indonesian usually eat the soto with white rice as their lunch or dinner.

Recipe for Soto Rawon can be found in this website: Soto Rawon – East Java traditional beef soup.

Additional Information

Served with white rice, sambal and emping (yellow crackers)

Majority Indonesians love spicy food. Usually we eat our meal with “sambal” (condiment), it is a chili-based sauce. We have so many different types of “sambal” to match to the dish. Additionally “emping” and “kerupuk” are always available to give crunch snack to your meal. “Emping” is melinjo nut crackers (the yellow crackers on the picture), “kerupuk” is savory crisp made from flour and prawn. Don’t be surprise if there is always sambal, emping or kerupuk next to your Indonesian meal when served – that’s typical Indonesians!

Have you tried Indonesian dishes? What type of dish do you like or dislike?