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!

 

9 Things: What I Love About Indonesia

17th August is Indonesia’s Independence Day, my home country’s 65th anniversary.

That’s why it’s a very appropriate topic to write. A disclaimer: I’m not going to say I’m the most patriotic Indonesian out there, not even close to that. I live in Berlin now and I love it. But I still feel that there is something very lovable about Indonesia. I hope I’m not romanticizing it… so here is my list:

1. My family and some of my friends are there

It’s where I grew up and experienced a lot of my firsts. And I can’t help feeling that I’m home whenever I’m surrounded by the people I love.

2. Friendly Smiles

It’s hard to get lonely in Indonesia. There will always be someone who is willing to chat with you. True, sometimes it would feel like people is being noisy… But it’s a heartwarming feeling to know that there’s always someone who cares about you.

3. Yummy Food

I’m a good food lover. You just can’t beat the variety of Indonesian cuisine. We had so many different type of food as a result of a mix of cultures. We have spicy, sweet, savory, light, and heavy. You name it. Main course, snacks, sweets… mmmm… One day, I’m going to bring fame for Indonesian cuisine!

4. Climate

Don’t get me wrong, I love having four seasons. But sometimes, when it gets really cold outside or when I need to check the weather forecast just to decide how thick my coat should be… I wished the trees are always green and I could always run outside without a coat.

5. Relaxed and laid back attitude

I missed the slow tempo of things sometimes. Everyone takes things easy. Yes, you won’t be the first person getting anywhere, but you won’t be stressed either.

6. Laughter

We love to hang out, eat, and share a good laugh whenever we see each other.

7. Flexibility

Flexibility means almost everything is negotiable. This is a double blade sword, and it’s probably why Indonesia is very prone to corruption. The plus side is if you are very well connected, you can get anywhere.

8. Cheap living cost

Which also means you can buy other things with the money saved ;).

9. My roots

That’s just something that you can’t beat. A part of me will always belong to Indonesia. For better or worse :).

Nasi Goreng

Nasi goreng is fried rice in English. It is kind of a comfort and fast food in Indonesia, like (perhaps) sausage and fries over here in Germany. There are many variations on how to make this dish. My dad usually made it with leftover food and I love how his fried rice never tasted the same (but always yummy). We rarely have food leftover here, but when we did, it is worthwhile to make it to a nasi goreng :).