Eating is a huge part of travelling (well, for me anyway) and I personally believe tasting the traditional dishes of any country will give anyone an authentic peak into their culture.
Indonesian cuisine is one of the most vibrant and flavoursome cuisines in the world. Many dishes have been influenced by India, China and the Middle East. This can be seen in their diverse use of spices (India and the Middle East)and foods such as noodles (China).
With hundreds of dishes to choose from, varying by region, it’s hard to try them all but there are a selection of dishes you must try if you’re venturing to Indonesia:
• Nasi Goreng/ Mie Goreng
Often called the national dish of Indonesia, this should be at the top of your hit list. Nasi Goreng is rice based whilst Mie Goreng is noodle based but the same concept/ spices are used in both.
The dish is spiced with kneecap manis (sweet soy sauce) which gives it it’s renowned smokey flavour, tamarind and chilli along with other incidence such as egg (occasionally fried and placed on top) chicken and /or prawns.
You’ll find this dish is served everywhere in Indonesia. Enjoy it at a simple roadside stall or in a fancy restaurant; your choice.
Spelt Satay as we know it, or sate in Indonesia. If you’re a peanut butter lover these little sticks of peanuts goodness will blow your mind.
Satay consists of seasoned, skewered then grilled meat (chicken, pork or beef) and served with the most delicious peanut based sauce. Do not fear if you’re a vegetarian, Indonesia is known for it’s use of soy based products such as soy and occasionally satay tempeh can be found – tempeh is amazing. I loved the consistency and will 100% be using it when cooking at home. Tempeh is regarded as a Javanese invention, a local adaptation of soy-based food.
• Babi Guling
An unlikely find in a country that has one of the largest Muslim populations in the world, but it is incredible! Babi guling, which directly translates to “turning pig” is roasted over an open fire smothered in garlic, ginger and turmeric.
Due to the Hindu influence and local spiritual traditions, eating Babi Guling is one of Bali’s most treasured eating experiences. In the past it was saved for events such as weddings and seen as a great feast.
Served with rice (of course), roasted veggies and pork puffs that can only be described as pork scratchings – this dish does not disappoint!
An Indonesian salad like no other! Again, one for the peanut lovers as steamed vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, potatoes and fried tempeh are dressed with an exquisite peanut sauce that’ll blow your mind.
This salad is served in a banana leaf for that extra slice of authenticity. It is nearly always served with crackers and can be a main meal or a side dish.
• Smoothie bowl
Okay, this is not so traditional but if you’re in Bali you HAVE to have a smoothie bowl. With many Aussies making the move to Bali, the increase of clean-eating establishments has gone through the roof.
With the fruit being so fresh and superfood seeds being so readily available; it’ll be the best smoothie bowl of your life and at a fraction of the price. Wash it down with the ever so popular turmeric latte and feel the hangover leave your body. Result.