9 things: My Absolute Favorite Indonesian Food

Today is the 67th anniversary of Indonesia’s independence! And since food happens to be the second biggest tie I have with my home country (after my family and friends, of course), I thought I would share it here.

A little disclaimer: The food I chose to list might not necessarily be the best food in Indonesia, it’s purely my based on personal preference. It might also be based on lovely childhood memories, as the moments you had share the food with someone is the most unforgettable and irreplaceable part :).

Nasi Kuning
1. Nasi Kuning

1. Nasi Kuning

Roughly translated: Yellow (=kuning) rice (=nasi). It’s traditionally the dish when you’re celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, graduations. So instead of a birthday cake, for example, you would have this. Traditionally it would be served in a very large platter for 20 people, along with the side dishes (fried chicken, beef, tempeh, omelette, chili sauce & vegetables). We don’t eat from the same plate, instead we take our own portion to our normal plate. The person who’s celebrating would cut the top of the rice and give it to someone they love the most :).

Nasi Uduk
2. Nasi Uduk

2. Nasi Uduk

I don’t know how to translate this. This is basically another type of rice dish. It’s similar to Nasi Lemak in Malay/Singaporean dish, but the version I like used only a dash of coconut milk. It’s also served with fried chicken and emping (a kind of crackers made from melinjo). It’s very easily found in Jakarta.

Es Kelapa Muda
3. Es Kelapa Muda

3. Es Kelapa Muda

It’s just a simple young coconut, sliced open, put some ice in it. The coconut flesh should still be very tender so you could easily scrape them using a spoon. It’s also already naturally sweet so it’s a perfect drink for a hot tropical day!

4. Rujak Uleg
4. Rujak Uleg

4. Rujak Uleg

Assorted sliced fresh fruit with sauce made from gula jawa (some form of palm sugar), peanuts, and chili. I love this one so much because I love the assortment of fruits there. I typically use mangoes, starfruits, jambu/champoocucumber, kedondong, bengkuang. I just realized now it’s really made purely on tropical fruits that doesn’t exist (even imported) in Germany. Except mango and cucumber, that is.

5. Mie Baso
5. Mie Baso

5. Mie Baso

There are plenty of mini variation on this dish. Either you put the broth together with the noodles, like Japanese ramen, or it’s separated like the one in the picture. You could have meatballs (= baso) in it, or chicken, in some places you could even get tofu or chicken feet (yeah, I know, chicken feet. It could taste yummy when properly cooked 😉 )

6. Siomay & Baso Tahu
6. Siomay & Baso Tahu

6. Siomay & Baso Tahu

This is more of a snack in between meals, I guess. It’s similar to the Chinese dumplings but the fillings are made from fish meat. You could also have one with tofu, cabbage, potato. I would eat this with peanut sauce and sweet soy sauce. Yumm!

7. Ketan Bakar
7. Ketan Bakar

7. Ketan Bakar

Ketan means this sticky rice type. Bakar means grilled. So it’s pretty much just that simple. Grilled rice. It’s only slightly crispy on the outside, but it’s soft and moist when you bite into it. Also the condiments made it special. We usually eat it with coconut raspels (it’s kind of a sweet savory) and spicy oncom sauce.

8. Pisang Raja Cere
8. Pisang Raja Cere

8. Pisang Raja Cere

It’s my favorite banana. There’s more than one type, you asked? Yes there’s plenty types of bananas in Indonesia. This one is smaller than a ‘normal’ banana, and it has a rather sweet sour taste, like pear. But the consistency is more dense and soft, like you’d feel there’s more carbs in it than a normal banana.

9. Gurilem & Simping
9. Gurilem & Simping

9. Gurilem & Simping

Both of these are snacks. Gurilem (the red one on the left) is the sinful one. It’s nowhere near healthy as it’s fried and it’s very extremely spicy. I would warn my German friends of choking from this… But it reminds me of my school years because it’s the snack you would have in the canteen. It’s a good one to sneak in classes ;). The other one, simping, is definitely healthier. It’s made from rice and it’s baked. It’s also made with love (because it’s not factory produced). I love this one because it reminds me of the time I spent with my grandparents :).

Well, there’s my nine favorite Indonesian food. The one I run to when I fly home and the one I miss here because I can’t make them properly. I hope you enjoy reading it as now I’m getting hungry from all the pictures!

 

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11 Comments

    1. astrid August 17, 2012 at 8:38 pm

      Thanks, Abi!
      Bali has wonderful food too! No wonder you fall in love with them :-). Most of the food in my list came from my hometown, Bandung, a city in West Java.

      Reply
  1. Wulfette August 17, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    Yay, I just had siomay Bandung today! My favorite is the one with kol 🙂 do much so that I made it during pregnancy in France… If I had to add my own list: brem, batagor and toge goreng!

    Reply
    1. astrid August 17, 2012 at 8:43 pm

      Ahhhhhh…. Jealous!!! I have yet to resort to making those on my own. Love your additions too btw. Batagor… yumm! Ah also I forgot to add pisang goreng in there :-D.

      Reply
  2. monika August 17, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    after i read about this marvelous indonesian dishes in your blog i´m starving so much! and i´m in need of the adress of the best indonesian restaurant in berlin.-) any recommendation? have a nice independent day party!

    Reply
    1. astrid August 17, 2012 at 8:50 pm

      I haven’t found a restaurant yet, but for an restaurant-imbiss I would recommend Restaurant Nusantara in Wedding/Moabit (http://restaurant-nusantara.de/). They are the most authentic tasting one I’ve had so far, and they have the noodle dish (mie baso). Everything else I’ve tried there are also very good :-).

      Reply
  3. JoV August 18, 2012 at 8:59 am

    Your food display reminds me of my own, the Malaysian. We have something close to what you have but slightly different variation. Our Rojak is sprinkled with grind peanuts but it’s the same. Nasi Kuning is the same. Such glorious spread!

    Reply
    1. astrid August 30, 2012 at 8:36 pm

      Hi JoV, sorry about the late reply to your comment…

      Yes it’s quite similar, the only difference is I think the Malaysian taste tends to be sweeter and the Indonesian’s. Otherwise it’s equally yummy :).

      Reply
  4. SwanDee August 31, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Nice Post, it’s so informative. Thanks!

    Reply
  5. jackass February 8, 2013 at 9:32 am

    Mbak Astrid kalau mau nyobain nasi kuning ada nasi tumpeng di http://www.tuk-tuk.de
    salam

    Reply

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