The culmination of every travel is tasting the local food of the place. From fine dining to street foods, you should challenge yourself to find the goodness in every flavor you’ll put on your taste buds. It doesn’t mean that you’ll succumb to cheap and diarrheic meals. With the right places to eat, you can enjoy the local foods to eat in Indonesia.
Rendang was recognized as the most delicious food by a CNN poll a few years ago. If you’re going in Indonesia, you definitely have to try this one. It’s a meat dish with spices and coconut milk to balance the chili. Just note that the meat used here is usually beef or chicken as Indonesia is a known Muslim country. This has some resemblance to a curry but there’s a unique flavor to it that you can only taste locally.
Satay is Indonesia’s version of barbecue that’s cooked using charcoals and a lot of manual fanning just to drive the smoke away. These are made from different types of meat, except pork, that’s marinated in turmeric and douched with hefty amounts of peanut sauce once cooked. Satay is a widely known street food that you can also try on your visit. Just beware of the preparation since street foods tend to be the major source of diarrhea for tourists and locals alike.
3. Local Foods To Eat In Indonesia: Sambal
Sambal isn’t actually a meal itself, but more of a condiment that’s a staple in many local foods. This is a chili-based sauce that Indonesians can’t live without. If you’re a true lover of spicy food, Sambal might be the quintessential spice you’re looking for. This is made from the combination of chili, sugar, salt, shrimp paste, and lime sauce. Many restaurants here include green mangos along with it as an appetizer or a complimentary meal.
Soto is a widely known soup meal across the country and the ingredients vary on each island in the country. Basically, this is made of broth topped with fried garlic, crispy shallots, and Sambal. For some, the clear broth is already a Soto, but like what I said, this food is very versatile. It may sound weird but other variations of this meal have coconut milk-based soups that are creamy. Jakarta is the best place to taste this.
Bakso is a street food that has become the sustenance of students here in Indonesia. It’s very delicious that even former President Obama can’t forget it after his visit. Bakso are large, rubbery meatballs that’s can be a combo of pork, beef, and chicken. It’s served with a garnish of wonton, hard-boiled egg, and fried shallots. Just look for kaki lima (that’s what they call the pushcarts selling it) to enjoy these yummy local foods to eat in Indonesia.
6. Ayam goreng
Ayam goreng is the quintessential chicken dish of the country. This food has main ingredients of small and native chickens that are free roaming. Locals consider these breeds to have a more delicious taste than chickens bred for mass cooking. Ayam goreng is a deep-fried chicken with no batter and cooked in coconut oil. Some locals marinate it on turmeric before frying. It can be poured with a special sauce with Sambal on it for an added kick on your taste buds.
7. Nasi padang
Nasi padang is a true blue Indonesian dish on which Singaporeans has a shared devotion. This dish has steamed rice and almost a dozen more dishes like curries, beef cuts, and fish all stacked in one serving. Locals would tell you that the best way to eat this is to ditch the spoon and fork and start digging with your hands. As it might have Sambal on it, make sure that you have a free-flowing supply of iced tea.
8. Gado gado
Gado means ‘mix’ so you know what to expect on this meal. It’s a version of vegetable salad dressed with the local peanut sauce and probably a little Sambal. This can be a mix of tofu, bean sprouts, potato, egg, corn, spinach, long beans, and more that we don’t know but is surely delicious. Locals say that the taste of Gado gado becomes sweeter as you go east.
9. Local Foods To Eat In Indonesia: Gudeg
Gudeg is food fit for royalty as it originated from the city of Yogyakarta. Locals make this dish from unripe jackfruit boiled with sugar and coconut milk for hours. Once the fruit is no longer rubbery, the locals will mix it with spices like Tempeh, Sambal, and Teak leaves for a brownish color. you can eat this with rice, chicken, egg, and crispy beef skin. It’s a heavy meal so you should be ready with an empty stomach.
Gulai are curry-like meals. Some variations have meat or fish with added cinnamon, and of course, Sambal. Locals also consider Rendang as Gulai but there are a lot of variations to say so. Interesting enough, Gulai is a must try on your tour here.
These local foods to eat in Indonesia are one-of-a-kind. If you want to add color to your trip, make sure to visit a resto and order a few of these foods. Find out which one matches your taste. If you want to splurge, you can always order more until you satisfy your stomach. What do you think? Share your foodie experience with us!