Food in Indonesia
Daily Life :: Food

Typical meal: A typical Indonesian meal consists of steamed rice and one or two main dishes made of fish, meat, chicken or vegetables, sometimes including soup, all of which are served together. A common side dish is sambal.

Manner of eating: Food is eaten with the fingers or with a spoon and fork. When eating with the fingers, Indonesians use their right hand only. The left hand is used for less hygienic matters. They always leave some food on the plate or drink in the glass to indicate that they have had enough.

Hawker food: For a quick bite, there are street vendors peddling their food on their 3-wheeled carts. These stalls are known as kaki lima. Many of these vendors have their own distinctive calls (a beat on a piece of wood, a yell or a bell) to announce their wares ranging from drinks, sweets, rice and noodle meals. Each kaki lima vendor sells only one dish and many sell mee bakso.

Favorite foods: A popular Indonesian dish is satay (pronounced sah-tay) served with peanut sauce, ketupat (pronounced ke-too-paht), cucumber and onions.

Other popular foods are soto ayam, tahu telor, otak otak, nasi goreng, gado gado and kerupuk.

Pork is hardly eaten because most Indonesians are Muslims; their religion prohibits eating pork.

Regional favorites: Food varies from island to island ... chicken and fish in Java; beef in Sumatra; duck and pork in Bali (where most of the Hindus live); and seafood in South Sulawesi.
Padang food from West Sumatra is hot and spicy. A favorite is beef rendang. The typical nasi padang meal consists of many small dishes that are brought in by waiters who can carry up to eight plates on each arm. When the table is set, a plate of hot white rice is served. You choose from this selection of dishes and would not be charged for the dishes that were not touched. You only pay for the dishes that you have eaten.

Famous Balinese dishes include bebek betutu and babi guling.
Desserts often consist of tropical fruits such as starfruit, mangga (mango), manggis (mangosteen), rambutan, durian and nangka (jackfruit). Indonesian desserts are often made from glutinous rice flour, palm sugar and coconut milk. Some favourites are kueh lapis, bubur hitam and es campur.