Indonesian Cuisine

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Bali cuisineThe staple food of most Indonesians is rice. On some of the islands in eastern Indonesia, staple food traditionally ranged from corn, sago, cassava to sweet potatoes, though this is changing as rice becomes more popular.

Fish features prominently in the diet: fresh, salted, dried, smoked or paste. Seafood is abundant and have great variety such as lobster, oyster, prawns, shrimp, squid, crab, etc. Coconut is found everywhere and besides being processed for cooking oil, its milk and meat is an ingredient for many dishes.

Aside of traditional food, you can also find Chinese and European dishes easily in Indonesia. Fast food joints also occupy commercial spots in major cities.


  1. A visit to Indonesia isn’t complete without tasting some of its unique dishes. Check each region’s Unique Dishes to find out more.
  2. Hotels and restaurants include some traditional dishes in their menu that are palatable to the general taste.


Unique Dishes

Each province or area has its own cuisine. This variation comes from the diversity of styles and ingredients used in the cooking. Spices and hot chili peppers are the essence of many cooking styles, and in some areas they are used generously such as in West Sumatra and North Sulawesi.

Some cuisine goes nationwide like West Sumatra’s Padang restaurants, Sundanese restaurants, and some Javanese dishes. You can find different types of satay, which are basically, pieces of grilled meat-on-a-cobs served by peanut sauce. Gado-gado (gah-doe gah-doe), which is a mix of fresh vegetable served also with delicious peanut sauce. Fried rice, chicken porridge, and variations of chicken and fish dishes. Some dishes come with kerupuk (kheu-roo-pook), a kind of fried chip.


  1. Check each region’s Unique Dishes to find out more.
  2. If you’re not into spicy food and want to try some local dishes, ask before ordering or give clear instructions to leave it out of yours.
  3. Some dishes like bubur ayam (chicken porridge) and satay come with condiments such as sweet soy sauce. You may need to add some according to your taste.

Bali Restaurants

Places to eat in Indonesia vary from the exclusive restaurants to food stalls popularly known as warteg (pronounced wahr-theuck). The name’s derived from “warung Tegal”, “warung” meaning kiosk while “Tegal” is the place of its origin, a city in East Java. These wartegs are popular eating-places for locals since they serve tasty food for a cheap price, although some of their sanitary methods are questionable.

Indonesians love eating. This is why restaurants and food stalls flourish almost anywhere.

European restaurants and fast-food joints are also abundant in big cities.


  • Jhon

    Hi, we are a family from the UK with a 8,13,16 year old cmiong to Bali next summer 2012. My 13 year old daughter is very keen to work in an orphanage and we would love to donate a week of our holiday to helping you. My husband and son would be good handymen and could help build, repair, paint etc (although they are not builders or plumbers!), my 13 year old daughter would love to teach sport to the kids and she is keen on football, netball and any ball sports. I am a dietitian and would be delighted to look at their nutritional needs and I’m sure they could teach me about the wonders of Balinese cooking! Our 8 year old daughter would love to play with the kids and make friends for life. Please can you let us know if this would be of interest to you and then we can plan our journey. With many thanks, Marianne Williams.

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