Curious about Indonesian cuisine? Here are the 5 must try foods!

If you aren't from Asia, the first thing that will probably pop into your head when you hear Indonesia will either be exotic or Bali. But if you're a foodie and you have an adventurous palate, you will probably say out loud NASI GORENG. And why won't you? Nasi goreng is probably the best Indonesian cuisine out there (or I might just be biased because I love nasi goreng, especially the ones you just buy from warungs* and not posh restaurants). And because I lived in Indonesia for quite some time, I was able to come up with this list of my favorite Indonesian food. And if you're in the capital city of Jakarta, please do try at least one of these. I promise they're worth it.

*Warung: its like a street cafeteria/stall/cart that sells food.

1. Gado gado

Gado-Gado Boplo, Foursquare.com

If you're into peanut dressings, then this one is definitely for you. If you don't like mashed peanut turned into a dressing, then you might want to slow down a bit before you gobble up gado gado.

This dish has a lot of vegetable components, such as cabbage, potatoes, spinach, carrots, cucumbers, etc. But the one that attracts me the most is the presence of the krupuk on top. Its this deep fried crackers to neutralize the taste if its becoming a wee bit strong.

Name:
Gado-Gado Boplo
Address:
Jl. Panglima Polim IX No. 124 (Kebayoran Baru), Jakarta Selatan, DKI Jakarta 12160, Indonesia
TEL:
+62 21 7248334
HP:
Foursquare.com

2. Tempeh

Tofu lovers must try the tempeh. It doesn't taste like anything, but somehow, I don't mind eating a hundred pieces of this a day if it wasn't fried. This is more of a snack, and its just made of soy, in a different presentation. Dip it in sambal* to taste.

*Sambal is their super spicy sauce.

Name:
Sate Tomang
Address:
Jalan Cipete Raya No. 3 (Jalan Cipete Dalam), Jakarta, DKI Jakarta 12410, Indonesia
TEL:
+62 21 7656538
HP:
Foursquare.com

3. Bakso

Bakso Akiaw 99, Foursquare.com

Perfect for a rainy weather, which is quite often in the latter months of the year in Indonesia. This is like a noodle soup with meat balls usually made of beef. There are a couple of vegetables thrown in as well. But it's really sipping the hot soup that makes the difference.

Name:
Bakso Akiaw 99
Address:
Jl. Mangga Besar Raya No. 2B, Jakarta Barat, DKI Jakarta 11130, Indonesia
TEL:
+62 21 6291419
HP:
Foursquare.com

4. Rendang

Pagi Sore, Foursquare.com

It's a bit spicy, if you buy it spicy, so be careful. Its made of beef that has been simmered in coconut milk. Now, not everyone is a fan of coconut milk so be careful if you have sensitive digestion. Other than that, this dish goes so well with rice.

Name:
Pagi Sore
Address:
Jalan Cipete Raya (Gandaria Selatan), Jakarta Selatan, DKI Jakarta 12420, Indonesia
TEL:
+62 21 7667000
HP:
Foursquare.com

5. Nasi Goreng

Nasi Goreng Kambing Kebon Sirih, Foursquare.com

This fried rice is probably why I stayed in Indonesia for almost a year. There's something about their rice that's like a complete meal already. Especially when served or bought with satay* but can also be enjoyed without it.

You have your fried egg, a couple of meat and vegetable pieces, but I think its the Indonesian's sweet soy sauce that does the trick. Not to mention the chili bits.

Do not pass the opportunity to eat nasi goreng from the warungs. They're the best.

*Satay: can be chicken skewers dipped in peanut sauce.

Name:
Nasi Goreng Kambing Kebon Sirih
Address:
Jalan Kebon Sirih Barat 1 (Menteng), Jakarta Pusat, DKI Jakarta 10340, Indonesia
HP:
Official Foursquare.com

Conclusion

This article is a bit biased because I'm partial to the Indonesia cuisine. I think I must have been an Indonesian in my past life because I cannot stop eating their food. It's a wonder to me that I easily settled in Jakarta when I moved there a couple of years ago and that I miss the city every day of my waking life.

Author

Geninna
5 things I can't live without: coffee, books, my iPod, wifi, and my husband :D Born and raised in Manila, Philippines but I've lived in Qatar, Indonesia, and the UAE. I am currently living in Romania, and I have been on vacations to Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia and Vietnam :) And does a stop over in Bahrain and Germany count?