Indonesian food typically gets its rich flavour from using a lot of fresh home grown produce, spices and herbs, which also gives it plenty of health benefits.
The preparations are drawn from the traditional food of the ethnic groups inhabiting the main islands of Java, Sumatra and Bali. As a foodie traveller to Indonesia, your trip would definitely be lacking in a lot if you do not try at least a few if not all of these finger-licking top 10 Indonesian dishes.
Siomay is to Indonesian food what dim sums are to Chinese cuisine. These pretty looking steamed parcels or dumplings are a popular street food in Indonesia. Siomay are fish or prawn stuffed dumplings served in Indonesia with an assortment of sliced tofu, potatoes, cabbage and boiled egg, and best enjoyed with peanut sauce and soy sauce.
Nasi goreng along with chicken satay is probably the most well known and best loved contribution of traditional Indonesian cuisine to the world. This Indonesian style fried rice is made super tasty and flavourful by tossing it in various sauces and pastes, onions, tomatoes, garlic, chillies and mixing in veggies, egg, seafood and chicken bits. You get to eat this dish wherever you go in Indonesia but no two preparations will ever taste the same. That’s how versatile nasi goreng is.
A healthy vegetarian dish of steamed or boiled spinach, bean sprouts, long beans, tofu, potatoes and tempeh or fermented soya bean cake, with a liberal addition of tangy peanut sauce to add a bit of punch, gado gado is like a salad that can easily pass off as a complete meal in itself.
Bakso is an Indonesian meatball and noodle soup. Chicken, pork or beef minced meat is seasoned lightly, mixed with tapioca starch and rolled into balls. Along with the meatballs a bowl of bakso will also have rice or egg noodles, assorted veggies, maybe some wontons, in a light, flavour-packed broth. You can add soy sauce, vinegar and chilli for extra seasoning.
A native dish of Jakarta, kerak telor is a simple yet delicious and quite a filling omelette-like preparation of sticky rice and egg that is traditionally cooked over charcoal. It is topped with fried onion and grated coconut. It is bit of a limited edition dish as you won’t get this much outside of a few areas in Jakarta.
Satay essentially refers to a dish of marinated meat cooked on skewers over charcoals. It is served with a generous amount of spicy peanut dipping sauce and steamed rice cakes. Like nasi goring, satay too can be found almost everywhere in Indonesia.
Hailing from Central Java, gudeg is a unique vegetarian dish of steamed young jackfruit slow-cooked with coconut milk, palm sugar, bay leaves, galangal and lemongrass, all of which combined give this dish a distinct personality and a slightly sweetish taste. Gudeg is typically eaten with rice and other side dishes.
Nasi uduk is a fragrant rice preparation of white rice cooked in coconut milk and spiced lightly with coriander, bay leaves, salt and lemongrass. Fried onions are also sprinkled on top as a garnish. Nasi uduk is commonly eaten for breakfast along with sides of potato and egg.
Martabak is a favourite Indonesian dessert that is perfect if you have a late evening or midnight sweet craving as that is the only time this sweet is made and sold in the markets. Martabak looks like a pancake and comes with a yummy filling of chocolate, sesame seeds, nuts and cheese.
Last but not the least, traditional Indonesian coffee or kopi is delicious and a must try. Black in colour it has a smooth chocolatey taste. Bakpao or a bun-shaped steamed bread is the perfect accompaniment to your steaming hot cup of Indonesian kopi.
An important and essential part of preparing and planning for your trip is to ensure that you get Travel Insurance for Indonesia. Make sure you buy travel insurance beforehand because it is a necessary financial safeguard that actually saves you money when you travel. Insuring your overseas trip will allow you to enjoy the best of traditional Indonesian hospitality without worrying about your valuables or any emergency that could arise. You can be free to enjoy your trip relaxed in the knowledge that your travel insurance will have you covered just in case you land with an accident or end up with your luggage getting lost or misplaced. Even if your trip is cancelled, you won’t lose out if you have taken out travel insurance.