13 Typical Dishes in Indonesia

No one can deny the delight of Indonesian cuisine because Indonesian dishes have amazing flavor and rich in taste. Indonesian typical dish has authentic flavor because it is made with the local ingredients and spices. Indonesia is rich with spices, one of the most important reasons why the colonialism era happened in Indonesia.

The colonialist were trying to conquer the trade of Spices in Indonesia, and it became the most important commodity in Indonesia back then. Today, spices are used by the public to add flavor and to make dish more delicious. Moreover, some Indonesian cuisine even getting popular internationally.

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1. Satay

Actually you can find satay in almost all of Southeast Asia region but nothing can compared to Indonesian satay. You can find different variety of satay in Indonesia however the common variant of satay is chicken satay and goat satay. Indonesian satay is delicious due to several reasons.

The meat is marinated in sweet ketchup sauce before being skewered so the seasoning is absorbed perfectly by the meat. Another thing that make it tastes different is the charcoal, satay being skewered on hot charcoal fire and it makes the meat smoky and juicy.

2. Pepes

Herbal pocket, Indonesian people must be questioning what is this dish look like. In Indonesian local language, this dish is named as pepes. The variant of this local food is also varied; fish,  meat, tofu, or else. Those main ingredients are mixed with lots of healthy herbs and spices and then wrapped by banana leaf.

The main ingredients, the spices, herbs and even the banana leaf make this dish special. The banana leaf itself gives an essence for pepes that is why it is wrapped in banana leaf. You can eat the grilled or steamed pepes in Indonesia.

3. Pecel Lele

Lele is a kind of fish that widely used as an ingredient to make Indonesian typical dish. Fried catfish or pecel lele is something that you can find every where in Indonesia, especially in the road side during night time. This street food is served simply and it is located in a small warung or stand.

The fish is smeared with salt, coriander, and turmeric, after that the fish is fried until it gets crispy. The highlight of pecel lele lies on its sambal. You can get a meaningful & delicious bite when you combine a bite of catfish, sambal, and mix them with rice.

4. Sop Buntut 

Oxtail soup or sop buntut is another popular dish in Indonesia. Oxtail soup has a tender texture and savory flavor.

Different with other local soups, this dish has a clear soup. The oxtail simmered in broth with carrots and potatoes.

The broth is completed with pepper, nutmeg, and cinnamon. This soup is served warm and accompanied with a plate of rice, seasoning, and chopped chilies for those who like spicy flavor.

5. Bakso 

Bakso or Indonesian meatball is available everywere, you can even find it in the local neighborhood. The common bakso is made of minced meat but now it is available in more stuffs such as cheese, egg, wagyu beef, date palm (kurma), mushroom, and even chocolate. The original bakso use minced meet and some tapioca starch.

Bakso is accompanied with noodles that can be adjusted according to your preferences. Basically there are two types of bakso’s noodles which is the white one and the yellow one. Bakso and noodle is served with delicious bakso broth.

6. Sayur Asem

Sayur asem is a sour tamarind soup which resembles Filipino sinigang or a number of southern Thai sour soup, because it was very sour from tamarind. Sayur asem is basically Sundanese and Betawi dish in Western Java.

The ingredients for sayur asem such as corn, chayote, and water morning glory. This dish is unique and will make your eyes squint for a moment due to it sour taste.

The Sundanese people eat sayur asem with warm rice, salted fish, kerupuk, and chili sambal. 

7. Nasi Goreng

Fried rice is a popular Indonesian Street Food. If you ever read any Indonesian food recommendation, you will  read about fried rice often. Just like its name fried rice is a simple dish of rice mixed with salty seasoning. Indonesian fried rice is popular as street foods at night because it is flavorous and affordable.

Fried rice is completed by adding vegetables, chicken, and egg. The rice is fried with oil or butter, seasoned with crushed chili sambal and garlic and the ingredients, then mixed with kecap manis which gives the fried rice its unique Indonesian touch.

8. Nasi Uduk 

This processed rice dish has a distinctive smell, it is rich with coconut milk and cardamom flavor. The ingredients to make uduk rice is a variety of aromatics like lemongrass, pandan leaves and dry spices like coriander seed, bay leaves, sometimes cardamom, and don’t forget, coconut milk.

Those ingredients are mixed with rice to make the rice savory, flavourous, and smells nice. Nasi uduk is served differently depends on the region where it comes from. However the original uduk rice is served with fried chicken and sambal. 

9. Nasi Liwet

Nasi liwet is known as Javanese rice, nasi liwet is pretty similar with uduk rice because it requires coconut milk and chicken broth. It also smells nice with the addition of bay leaves and lemongrass.

Generally liwet rice is eaten together with friends of family when having gathering.

Liwet rice is served on banana leaf, vegetables, and various side dishes. The best part of eating liwet rice is chili shrimp paste, kelp, and salted fish.

10. Nasi Padang

This Famous Food of Indonesia is amazingly popular not only in Indonesia but internationally. Nasi padang is a mix  of rice and side dishes from West Sumatera. Nasi padang is rich with spices that will hit every corner of your tongue, the spices itself such as  galangal, turmeric, kaffir lime leaves, garlic, shallots, and lots of herbs, comliweebined with rich curries and coconut milk.

Nasi padang is served in many ways; if you go to a small street stall, you can choose side dish that you want. Meanwhile if you go to fancy nasi padang restaurant, they will serve you about 20 different dishes on your table, and you pick and choose the dishes you want.


  • Rica rica: This dish is a popular blend of chilies and herbs that originates from Northern Sulawesi. Rica rica usually use chicken and it has sweet, spicy, and sour flavor .
  • Rawon: Rawon comes from East Java, it is a black colored beef stew dish. One of the most important ingredients in cooking rawon is keluak, a nut that almost has a similar taste with chocolate.
  • Gudeg: Gudeg is a dish made of young jackfruit  that’s braised with palm sugar, coconut milk, bay leaves, lemongrass, and galangal.