Indonesian Cuisine

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Indonesian cuisine has many different influences and varies greatly by region. For example, Javanese cuisine is mostly indigenous, with hints of Chinese influence. By contrast, often Middle Eastern and Indian influences will be found in Sumatran cuisine. Eastern Indonesia cuisine is quite similar to Melanesian and Polynesian cuisine. And yet elements of Chinese cuisine can be found in all Indonesian cuisine. Recipes including bakso (meat or fish balls), bakmi (noodles), and lumpia (spring rolls) are thoroughly incorporated in all regions.

Due to its many natural resources and geographical location, Indonesia has been involved in trade throughout recorded history. This trade route and enterprise history has led to Indonesia cuisine’s many influences, including the indigenous techniques and ingredients by Europe, India, China, and the Middle East. Additionally, even before the Dutch came to colonize most of the archipelago, Portuguese and Spanish traders brought with them “New World” produce of the times. The Moluccas (Maluku), Indonesian islands famously known as “the Spice Islands”, contributed to the introduction of unique native spices, before such time unknown to global cuisine, such as nutmeg and cloves.

Indonesian Cuisine

(Photo Attributed to Author: Zul Rosle from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

Indonesian cuisine. rich with intense flavor, is also certainly among the most colorful and vibrant cuisines on the planet. It often demonstrates complex flavor, acquired from special unique ingredients and the very Indonesian bumbu spices mixture. Indonesian dishes are very often described as savory, hot and spicy. They combine the basic tastes of sweet, salty, and bitter unlike any other cuisine, and to delightful perfection.

There are seven main Indonesian cooking methods. These are:

  1. Goreng (frying)
  2. Bakar (roasting) or Panggang (grilling)
  3. Tumis (stir frying)
  4. Sangrai (sautéing)
  5. Rebus (boiling), and
  6. Kukus (steaming).
Nasi Tumpeng (Photo Attributed to Author: brother-harahap)

Nasi Tumpeng (Photo Attributed to Author: brother-harahap)

The official national dish of Indonesia, chosen in 2014 by Indonesian Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, is Nasi Tumpeng.

Nasi Tumpeng is an entire meal, which is comprised of several courses, placed in a big, decorative round serving bowl. In the center is always placed a large, cone-shaped mound of  yellow rice (Nasi Kuning). Nasi Tumpeng best brings together the diversity of Indonesia’s various culinary traditions. The festive meal will typically have, besides the ever-present yellow rice, such courses as: Sambal Goreng Ati (spicy chicken liver), Perkedel (potato croquettes), Crispy Fried Chicken, and Acar Kuning (pickled vegetables), among others.

Some other popular dishes in Indonesian cuisine are Nasi Goreng, Satay, Soto, and Gado-Gadoall of which are prevalent all over the country and considered to be national dishes.

Many of the Indonesian national favorite dishes are now well known and liked in the neighboring countries of Malaysia and Singapore. And Indonesian cuisine in general has gained international favor and popularity recently.

It was in 2011, when Indonesian cuisine came into worldwide recognition. That was the year in which three of its most popular national dishes made it onto the (Reader’s Pick) list of ‘World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods’ – a planet-wide online poll by 35,000 people, conducted by CNN International. Satay came in listed as #14, at #2 was Nasi Goren, and topping the list as the global #1 favorite was Rendang!


But enough of historical and cultural background. Let’s now get right into the main reason you came to this page, that being the recipes. Enjoy your excursion into the widely diverse, colorful, rich and complex flavors of:

Indonesian Cuisine!


For your convenience, just click on the recipe name(s) listed below. You will be taken to a print-friendly page with just that one recipe on it.


Lamb Rendang (Spicy Meat Curry)

Nasi Goreng (Indonesian style Fried Rice)

Nasi Kuning (Yellow rice cooked in turmeric water and coconut milk)

Paniki Manado (Bat Soup)

Perkedel (Spiced and Deep Fried Potato Croquettes)

Satay (Marinated Chicken Chunks, Skewered and Grilled, Served with Peanut Sauce)


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