Indonesian cuisine is often popular with visitors since the dishes rarely reserve bad surprises. Often made from rice or noodles, Indonesian dishes are not too spicy. In fact, the Sambal, a paste of chili and different spices, is often placed on the side of your plate, so you always have the choice to make your dish more or less spicy.
When eating street food or in local restaurants, it is important to know some Indonesian words because in some less touristy areas, you might not understand anything on the menu. With these few basic words, you can already manage:
Nasi = rice which is of course the basis of the diet,
Mie = noodles
Goreng = fried
Ayam = chicken
Here is a very useful link to the Wikipedia list of all Indonesian dishes with their picture and description!
TYPICAL DISHES INDONESIAN
Here are some typical dishes that can be found everywhere in Indonesia:
This is THE Indonesian dish that you will soon be familiar with. Nasi Goreng means Fried Rice and may be eaten only with vegetables or with chicken, beef or shrimp, and in general with sambal (chili paste) on the side. It is often accompanied with shrimp Chinese chips, a slice of tomato and two slices of cucumbers. A variation: Nasi Goreng Special is a Nasi Goreng with an egg on top. Traditionally it is served in a banana leaf.
This is a steamed rice dish, served with a choice of beef, fish, vegetable curry, sometimes with peanuts. In general, you will have the sambal on the side, a slice of tomato and a few slices of cucumber.
The Mie Goreng means fried noodles, a dish that is originally Chinese wheat-based noodles, accompanied with chicken, shrimp etc. according to your preferences.
The satay are grilled meat kebabs often barbecued and served with a sauce of peanut butter. Delicious!
The Perkedels are potato-based fried balls of minced meat, corn, tofu, or minced fish.
Not really Indonesian, it’s more Chinese, but you will find it easily. This is chicken with sweet and sour sauce that is eaten with rice.
Each region has its own specialties.
The Mie Aceh is a dish in the region of Banda Aceh in northern Sumatra. These spicy noodles with crab and shrimp and curry paste, can be served either fried or in soup.
The Martabak Aceh is a pancake / omelette with vegetables or meat that is influenced by the Muslim and Indian cuisine found in northern Sumatra, in the region of Banda Aceh.
Gulai is the name that refers to curry dishes (kind of soups), and usually come from North Sumatra (we ate it at the Lake Toba) .
This is rice accompanied by a variety of dishes of the region Padang (Sumatra), often cooked with coconut milk and chili.