Indonesia’s best dishes

Posted on Jun 14 2013 - 11:33am by TravelFore
RATING
  • “I like Traditional food”

Sambal, martabak, rendang: If you can read this list without drooling you’re doing better than us

1. Sambal

While technically more of a condiment, the chili-based sauce known as sambal is a staple at all Indonesian tables.

Dishes are not complete unless they have a hearty dollop of the stuff, a combination of chilies, sharp fermented shrimp paste, tangy lime juice, sugar and salt all pounded up with mortar and pestle.

So beloved is sambal, some restaurants have made it their main attraction, with options that include young mango, mushroom and durian.

Try the sambal at Pedas Abis (Waroeng Spesial Sambal; Jl.RM.Said No.39 Solo) or fresh sambal mata at Le Seminyak , Jakarta (Pacific Place, level 5; +62 (0)21 5140 0610)

2. Satay

These tasty meat skewers cook up over coals so hot they need fans to waft the smoke away.

Whether it’s chicken, goat, mutton or rabbit, the scrappy morsels get marinated in turmeric, barbecued and then bathed in a hearty dose of peanut sauce.

Other nations now lay claim to satay, but Indonesians consider it a national dish conceived by street vendors and popularized by Arab traders.

Each vendor seeks distinction, but “sate madura” –- served with rice cakes (ketupat) and diced cucumber and onion -– is distinguished by its boat-shaped street carts.

For legendary satay that dates to the 1950s, try Sate Ragusa (Jl. Veteran 1 No. 10 , Jakarta) and cleanse the palate after with Ragusa’s signature spaghetti ice cream.

3. Bakso

A favorite among students, this savory meatball noodle soup gained international fame when U.S. President Barack Obama remembered it as one of his favorites during a visit to Jakarta last November.

It takes on many forms; meatballs –- springy or rubbery, the size of golf balls or bigger -– are made from chicken, beef, pork or some amorphous combination of them all. Sold mostly from pushcarts called kaki limabakso comes garnished with fried shallots, boiled egg and wontons.

For an authentic experience, grab a plastic stool near any sidewalk bakso stand or slurp away indoors at Bakso Lapangan Tembak Senayan, near Senayan City Mall, Jakarta.

4. Soto

This traditional meat soup comprises a broth and ingredients that vary across the archipelago.

Common street versions are made of a simple, clear soup flavored with chicken, goat or beef. In Jakarta, home of the indigenous Betawi, soto Betawi garners fame with its sweet, creamy, coconut-milk base.

Top it with crispy shallots and fried garlic, and as much or little sambal as your taste buds can take.

For stylish street food in air-conditioned bliss hit up Kafe Betawi (Jl. MH. Thamrin No. 1, Grand Indonesia, Jakarta; +62 (0)21 2358 0501). Or for an East Javanese version, try Soto Madura (Jl. Juanda No.16, Jakarta).

5. Gado-gado

Literally “mix-mix,” the term gado-gado is often used to describe situations that are all mixed up -– Jakarta, for instance, is a gado-gado city.

As a food, however, it is one of Indonesia’s best-known dishes, essentially a vegetable salad bathed in the country’s classic peanut sauce.

At its base are boiled long beans, spinach, potato, corn, egg and bean sprouts coupled with cucumber, tofu and tempe.

Gado-gado gets sweeter as you travel eastward through Indonesia — but Jakartans swear by the cashew sauce at Gado-Gado Boplo (Jalan Panglima Polim 4; +62 (0)21 724 8334) or Depot Lotek Juanda Solo (Jl. Ir. Juanda No.33) 

6. Nasi Liwet

Nasi liwet will be a form of meals by Single, Central Capuccino. Hemp is often prepared with normal water, yet nasi liwet will be almond prepared with coconut dairy and also rooster broth, as a result supply the almond wealthy and also delicious taste. This is the traditional Javanese strategy for preparing food, from your prior up to now.

“The Best Chicken and Rice with Coconut Milk Sauce” you can find Nasi Liwet at Solo, Jawa Tengah

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  • Noam Gielh

    Indonesian cuisine is very tasty and varied