Indonesia’s Cuisine

The local cuisine is dominated with preparations with nasi (rice) or mie (noodles) as the main ingredient. Each region and community has various kinds of rice and noodle preparations that use different kinds of spices, meats, vegetables and sauces so that the same dish tastes different in different regions.

Traditionally, people use their hands to eat more than cutlery, so feel free to scoop up rice with your fingers and pop it in your mouth. However, certain fine dine restaurants may not be comfortable with people using their fingers to eat, so make sure you know the etiquettes of the place you are eating at.

Nasi goreng, mie goreng are typical dishes, accompanied by satay/peanut sauce, sambal/chili sauce and keropok/shrimp chips. Beef is common in most of Indonesia except on Bali, where you can get pork but no beef. You will not get pork in most parts of the country.

There are beef, chicken and fish soups and broths that you can try, along with dishes inspired by Dutch and Chinese cuisines. There are also a number of desserts, and most are made of a combination of rice or rice flour, coconut and sugar, along with different fruits, dry fruits and condiments. You can also try local fruits like durian, snakefruit and starfruit for dessert.

Tea and coffee are common, but are usually made with a lot of sugar and condensed milk. There are a number of medicinal juices that locals drink for better health and vitality. Rice wines are common, although you should be careful to only buy local alcohol from a proper source, since certain kinds of moonshine might be harmful or even fatal if not well distilled.

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