Indonesia    16.05.2024    Transindus

No cultural exploration of Indonesia is complete without savouring the vast and varied cuisine of its 17,000+ islands. The treasure trove of flavourful dishes and tantalising aromas will undoubtedly tempt you! 

Indonesia's rich bounty of fish, grains, spices, herbs, and vegetables gives rise to a captivating cuisine and plays a significant role in its cultural and religious ceremonies, symbolising gratitude and blessings and bringing communities together. Most religious ceremonies, births, deaths and weddings involve offerings of food. 

Nasi, or rice, is a constant presence at almost every meal. It is served throughout the day—breakfast, lunch, and dinner—and is paired with a variety of dishes, from fried rice and soups to fish dishes. It is the unifying element in its diverse culinary landscape.

As an archipelago, Indonesia boasts an abundance of fish dishes, with spices and chillies adding characteristic Southeast Asian zest. Key ingredients include tofu, chicken, coconut, banana, and mango. You will find people eating hot, nourishing meals at street vendor stalls throughout the day at all times. Street vendors serve hot, inexpensive meals throughout the day every meal of the day, and sit-down meals often involve using a spoon and fork or your right hand. Remember, leaving some food on your plate to show satisfaction is polite.

Enjoy discovering Indonesia's best dishes and immerse yourself in its culinary traditions! 

Here are some of our Favourite Indonesian dishes:



This exquisite recipe for fish or shrimp dumplings originates in China, where it has been lovingly reimagined to align with the preferences and traditions of the local community. Siomay is typically a diverse assortment featuring tofu, potato, delicately rolled cabbage slices, and a perfectly hard-boiled egg. The dish is usually served with an accompaniment of velvety peanut sauce, complemented by the savoury notes of soy sauce, and finished with a touch of piquant chilli ketchup, creating a harmonious blend of flavours that tantalizes the taste buds.



This renowned dish from Indonesia holds a special place in Sumatran Minangkabau traditional culture and is a cherished culinary treasure served at important ceremonies. This delightful dish features tender beef slow-cooked to perfection and infused with a rich, aromatic gravy made from a delicate blend of coconut and an array of herbs and spices. If you visit a Padang Restaurant, you can treat yourself to the authentic version of this delectable dish alongside fragrant rice, flavourful sauces, and various vegetables such as jackfruit or cassava leaves. The famous green chilli condiment accompanies the meal to add a spicy kick, enhancing the overall culinary experience.


Indonesian Satay

Renowned throughout Asia, you may well have come across it in many Asian destinations, but nowhere is it more prevalent than in Indonesia. The varieties of satay in Indonesia are as diverse and abundant as the cultures and ethnicities within the country. Essentially, satay consists of skewered meat—chicken, mutton, beef, fish, pork, and more—deliciously marinated in a unique mixture of soy sauce and spices and then grilled over red-hot charcoal. The succulent skewers are then topped with delicious spicy condiments with a kick and smothered in peanut sauce, making them incredibly irresistible. Enjoy experimenting with different versions of satay and savour its rich, flavourful experience!


Ayam Taliwang

A delectable Indonesian dish from Lombok that promises a flavourful adventure for spice enthusiasts. This grilled chicken dish features young, tender kampong spring chicken marinated in a rich blend of traditional spices, including garlic, shallots, chilli, shrimp paste, and tamarind. The chicken is then grilled to perfection, resulting in a smoky, aromatic experience that's both spicy and delicious. Often served with steamed rice and fresh vegetables, Ayam Taliwang is known for its firm texture and appetizing appearance. Be prepared for a fiery kick, as it's one of the spiciest dishes you'll ever taste. Dive into this authentic Indonesian flavour and enjoy the bold, vibrant taste of Ayam Taliwang!


Soto and Soto Betawi

Soto, a traditional Indonesian soup, is often considered the country's National dish, although different cultures within Indonesia have their own variations. Always served hot, the hearty, meaty broth is usually served with tender crisp vegetables. The locals' favourite, however, is the creamy Soto Betawi, cooked with beef broth and a mixture of coconut, cow's, and local spices.



In Yogyakarta, a city steeped in cultural heritage and history, the beloved dish of Gudeg is a part of the city's fabric you can't miss! This unique recipe features tender young jackfruit steamed with coconut milk, palm sugar, lemongrass, and a blend of aromatic herbs that create a delightfully sweet and fragrant flavour. Gudeg is traditionally enjoyed with rice but can be eaten with side dishes like meat and eggs for a complete and satisfying meal.


Bubur Ayam 

Indonesian chicken porridge, or Bubur Ayam, is a flavourful rice-based dish seasoned with a savoury sauce. It is commonly found at street food carts and features toppings such as shredded chicken, soybeans, celery, and fried onions. This affordable and popular breakfast option is sometimes served with skewers of chicken innards. Bubur Ayam often includes soy sauce, shallots, beans, and a hint of chilli, although sweeter variations exist for those who prefer a milder start to the day. Enjoy this comforting and ubiquitous breakfast that embodies the essence of Indonesian cuisine!



The King of Indonesian street food, Martabak, is a delightful combination of flavours and textures. This popular dish comes in savoury and sweet varieties, offering a unique and indulgent experience with entire shops dedicated to it on virtually every street corner. The savoury version of Martabak features a crispy pastry filled with a delectable combination of egg and minced meat. The contrast between the crispy exterior and the delicious filling creates a delightful balance of textures and flavours. It is often served with sweet and sour vinegar for a burst of tanginess and pickled cucumbers to complement the savoury notes. 

The sweet Martabak is a true indulgence, a dessert that's more than just a treat. Layers of pastry, generously filled with rich, velvety chocolate and peanuts, create a delightful mix of sweet nuttiness. But it doesn't stop there. This sweet delight can be filled with other equally irresistible combinations, catering to the most discerning sweet tooth and leaving you craving for more.



Tempeh, a favourite throughout Indonesia, is a sensational and versatile soy-based side dish that is becoming increasingly popular as a source of protein for vegetarians everywhere. It offers a rich, nutty flavour and a firm, satisfying texture, making it incredibly versatile. You can try it deep-fried for a satisfying crunch, pan-fried for a golden finish, grilled for a smoky essence, or steamed for a tender bite. Tempeh delivers on taste and texture and is often used to enrich vegetable stir-fries, deepen the flavours of soups, infuse salads with a protein punch, or carry as a snack food when you are on the go. Remember to take some with you on a long, challenging exploration!


Nasi Goreng 

Last but not least, the most famous Indonesian food, Nasi Goreng, is a natural flavour sensation and a national favourite for a reason. This versatile fried rice is typically mixed with Kecap, a thick, sweet soy sauce, and can include a variety of ingredients depending on where you are. You might find versions with eggs, meatballs, chicken, or shrimp. It's an ever-popular recipe you can encounter everywhere, from humble street food carts to high-end restaurants. The curious combination of savoury taste, sweetness, spiciness, and appetizing greasiness makes for a distinctive meal that is surprisingly simple to make. Nasi goreng uses Indonesian palm sweet soy, white rice, and whatever ingredients are conveniently available—vegetables, egg, chicken, sausage, mutton, stink bean, and more. Enjoy trying different varieties and savouring this beloved dish across Indonesia.