Indonesia Traditional Food | Top 10 Must-try Dishes in Indonesia (2023)

Being the home to more than 350 ethnic groups, Indonesia is well-known for cultural diversity, and food is not an exception. Indonesian cuisine is a collection of different regional culinary traditions of the islanders. Lying stretched along the Equator with over 6000 islands are populated, Indonesia food including a wide variety of recipes and cuisines, estimated about 5,350 traditional recipes, with 30 of them are considered the most important. The most popular food in Indonesia is rice, noodle, and soup dishes. If you are looking for the most famous Indonesia food to eat on your Indonesia tour, you’ve come to the right place. Let check it out on the list below!

Top 4 Most Popular Indonesia National Food

Nasi Goreng

You might ever read some Indonesian food guide that the most famous food in Indonesia is fried rice, well-known as Nasi Goreng. The recipe is quite simple, just wok-fried rice with a host of salty seasonings. The rice is stir-fried in a little margarine and oil, seasoned with crushed chili sambal and garlic, then mixed with kecap manis which gives the fried rice its unique Indonesian touch. Nevertheless, this simple hot and fresh cooked single plate meal is one of the most popular street food throughout Indonesia making it become Indonesia’s national dish.
Depends on your own favorite hobbies, Nasi-goreng tastes well with curries, vegetables, chicken, egg and stink bean and many more.


Another famous Indonesia national dish, Gado Gado, which is vegetables and compressed rice salad with peanut sauce (or cashew nut sauce). Although it is a salad, the dish also contains compressed rice cakes so it can be eaten as a main dish or a snack. Gado Gado is served widely at every Indonesian restaurant, but typically, it’s traditionally served as street food, specifically from mobile kaki lima street food carts.


Soto is the traditional meat soup comprises a broth and ingredients that vary across the archipelago of Indonesia.
Common Soto street versions are made very simple with clear soup flavored with chicken, goat or beef. If you visit Jakarta, you will see it is home of the indigenous Betawi, Soto Betawi garners fame with its sweet, creamy, coconut-milk base. Soto is usually topped with crispy shallots, fried garlic, and as much or little sambal as taste buds can take.

(Video) 10 Indonesian Foods You Must Try!

Indonesian Satay

One of the most famous Indonesia food – Indonesian Satay said to date to the 1950s. It is sliced meat skewers that are cooked over coals. The Satay can be meat, chicken, or goat marinated in turmeric. Normally, these juicy skewers are poured with peanut sauce and served with rice cakes (called ketupat), diced cucumber and onion. It is Indonesia national dish which has been one of most celebrated food in Indonesia. Stroll around the street, you can see it is practically everywhere and highly addictive.

Best Indonesian Traditional Dishes You Must Eat When Traveling to the Country


One of the prized Indonesian foods originating from Palembang (in the south of Sumatra) – pempek, is a unique type of fishcake which is very popular as a snack countrywide and Jakarta, the capital city as well.
The recipe for pempek not only includes pureed fish but also tapioca starch to give it a chewy bouncy texture. The pempek often deep-fried and sometimes is grilled as well. In every dish, it is served with noodles and sweet, salty, and sour sauces.

Nasi Uduk

Nasi uduk is a fragrant type of cooked rice in coconut milk and includes a pinwheel of various meat and vegetable.
It is similar to nasi lemak, rice that’s cooked with a variety of aromatics like lemongrass, pandan leaves and dry spices like coriander seed, bay leaves, sometimes cardamom, and finally coconut milk. The result is a rich and savory, plus hearty and flavorful, rice. Nasi uduk comprised of a variety of different recipes, depending on the region of Indonesia you’re in. You can eat this delicious Indonesia food with a variety of different curries and Indonesian foods, but it’s also very common in Jakarta to eat along with simple fried chicken and sambal chili sauce.

(Video) The Top 10 Indonesia Cuisine, You Must Try!!!


One of the most widely available street foods in Indonesia and in restaurants as well which are loved by nearly everyone, including President Barack Obama who grew up for some time in Jakarta, is bakso – Indonesian meatballs.
There are two main versions of bakso available, one is the Chinese style and the other is the more local Indonesian style – both are delicious. It is made typically by minced meat mixed with some tapioca starch – and it is the tapioca starch which gives the meatballs their serious bouncy and addictive texture.

You can typically choose your choice of noodles, from thin white rice noodles, and yellow egg noodles (I’m a fan of egg noodles), and the bakso are then either served with the noodles and soup or dry with soup on the side. Bakso is a non-spicy Indonesian dish, but if you like, there are always chilies and seasonings for you to add to your own bowl.

Babi Guling

Babi Guling is a popular Balinese dish which is basically roasted pork seasoned with various herbs. The dish was originally a communal dish served during traditional performances and ceremonies. A special mixture of traditional herbs and spices are stuffed and greased all over the meat before it’s roasted whole, resulting in a thorough flavorful taste that makes the dish unforgettable.

(Video) Indonesia's Best Ever Eats


Another Indonesia traditional dish, originally from eastern Java, is rawon, a black colored beef stew. When I had my first taste of rawon, I immediately fell in love, and I knew I wanted to learn more about this exquisite and interesting dish.

Along with pieces of beef, one of the most important ingredients in cooking rawon is keluak (or kluwak). Beef rawon is served with the soup, rice and complemented with baby bean sprouts, a squeeze of lime, and sambal.


Well known as a Sundanese and Betawi dish in Western Java, sayur asem is a sour tamarind soup. It is made with meat stock or fish stock that can include a mixture of different vegetables like corn, chayote, and water morning glory. The soup pairs well with fried food since it’s stocked with vegetables and some of Indonesia’s most interesting ingredients: melinjo, bilimbi.

Betutu – Famous Bali Traditional Dish

According to the legend, betutu was once the kings’ favorite meal. It’s not surprising, then, that the food is prepared in such a sophisticated way. A whole chicken or duck is chosen as the main ingredient of the meal, which will then be stuffed with an intricate mixture of spices that includes shallots, garlic, ginger, chili, peanuts, and more. It takes at least eight hours to prepare the meal, making it worth to try.

(Video) Top 10 Indonesian Food that you must try

Recommended Delicious Indonesia Street Food


Martabak manis is a type of dessert, a popular Indonesia street food you might see across the country. It’s a soft pancake stuffed with some variations like condensed milk, peanuts, chocolate, nutella, cheese and much more. The buttery sweet flavor is the highlight. The martabak vendors usually sell another savory version, made of egg and meat.

Soto Betawi

Soto Betawi, a savory soup, is another much-loved Indonesian street food classic among locals. While most Indonesian Soto dishes have a clear broth, Soto Betawi has a thick creamy broth made primarily with coconut milk. Among the other ingredients are meat, shallots, lemongrass, and Indonesian spices. This traditional classic tastes best with condiments.


Indonesia Traditional Food | Top 10 Must-try Dishes in Indonesia? ›

Considered Indonesia's national dish, nasi goreng is a fried rice with sweet, thick soy sauce and acar, pickled cucumber and carrots. One of Indonesia's favorite comfort foods, soto is a traditional meat soup comprises of ingredients that vary across the country.

What is Indonesia's traditional food? ›

Considered Indonesia's national dish, nasi goreng is a fried rice with sweet, thick soy sauce and acar, pickled cucumber and carrots. One of Indonesia's favorite comfort foods, soto is a traditional meat soup comprises of ingredients that vary across the country.

What are the most famous foods in Indonesia? ›

Typical Food from Indonesia
  • Asinan Betawi. The first is Betawi pickles. ...
  • Ketoprak. The next typical food is Ketoprak. ...
  • Gado-Gado. Gado-gado is a traditional Indonesian food originating from Betawi and is quite worldwide. ...
  • Soto Kudus. ...
  • Kerak Telor. ...
  • Nasi Campur Bali. ...
  • Lumpia Semarang. ...
  • Pempek Palembang.
Apr 20, 2022

What is Indonesia number 1 food? ›

Nasi Goreng (Fried Rice) is considered Indonesia's national dish.

Are there 5 national dishes in Indonesia? ›

Some popular Indonesian dishes such as nasi goreng, gado-gado, satay, and soto are ubiquitous in the country and are considered national dishes.

What is street food in Indonesia? ›

Indonesian street food often tastes rather strong and spicy. Much street food in Indonesia is fried, such as assorted gorengan (fritters), also nasi goreng (fried rice), mie goreng (fried noodles) and ayam goreng (fried chicken), while bakso meatball soup, traditional soto soups and fruit rujak are also popular.

Why is Indonesian food so good? ›

Indonesian cuisine owes its tantalizing flavors to a rich history of spice trade and cultural exchanges. Spices such as turmeric, coriander, cumin, ginger, lemongrass, galangal, and tamarind are the building blocks of Indonesian dishes, infusing them with depth and complexity.

Why is Indonesian food so sweet? ›

Sweet flavors in Indonesian cuisine

For adding sweet flavors to foods, Indonesians prefer to use coconut milk, palm sugar (gula jawa) and of course sweet soy sauce kecap manis. Coconut trees are abundant in Indonesia, and since ancient times Indonesians developed many uses for this tree.

Why are Indonesian food spicy? ›

At the beginning of the colonial era, they brought chili from South America to Indonesia and it worked, it grows well. Hence, chili plants spread throughout Indonesia. This led to Indonesians using chili in most of their foods. Chili becomes the most common ingredient in Indonesian cuisine.

What is food culture? ›

Food culture can be defined as a system for processing and cooking foods combined with food consumption activity (Kim, Kim, Ahn, Lee & Han, 1999).

What is the most eaten fruit in Indonesia? ›

Mango. Like in most tropical countries, Mango grows in Indonesia as well. The mango here often has green or yellow skin and depending on the age of the fruit it will be white inside or yellow-orange. The yellow-orange kind is sweet, juicy and very delicious to most.

What is the most produced food in Indonesia? ›

The main staple food crop in Indonesia is rice, which is produced mainly in irrigated or lowland systems. The other food crops are called palawija or secondary crops because they are usually grown after lowland rice, the first crop in the one-year crop rotation system.

What is the national breakfast of Indonesia? ›

Nasi goreng is often referred to as the Indonesian version of fried rice. Although it is considered to be the national dish of Indonesia, it is also commonly eaten in Malaysia and Singapore.

Is there a national dish? ›

India: Due to its diverse culture and cuisine, India does not have a specific national dish. Rather, individual regions of India have their typical regional dishes. There were rumours that the government of India was planning on designating khichdi as a national dish but it was later denied by the government.

Where is Persian food from? ›

Iranian cuisine (Including Persian cuisine) comprises the cooking traditions of Iran. Iran's culinary culture has historically interacted with the cuisines of the neighboring regions, including Caucasian cuisine, Turkish cuisine, Levantine cuisine, Greek cuisine, Central Asian cuisine, and Russian cuisine.

What are the 7 different types of food? ›

There are more than 40 different kinds of nutrients in food and they can generally be classified into the following 7 major groups:
  • Carbohydrates.
  • Proteins.
  • Fats.
  • Vitamins.
  • Minerals.
  • Dietary fibre.
  • Water.
Dec 4, 2017

What are 10 food items? ›

Basic foods
  • Baked goods.
  • Cereals.
  • Dairy products.
  • Edible plants.
  • Edible fungi.
  • Edible nuts and seeds.
  • Legumes.
  • Meat.

What are the 7 best foods to eat? ›

Top 10 Foods for Health
  1. Water. Drink 8 to 12 cups of water daily.
  2. Dark Green Vegetables. Eat dark green vegetables at least three to four times a week. ...
  3. Whole Grains. Eat whole grains sat least two or three times daily. ...
  4. Beans and Lentils. Try to eat a bean-based meal at least once a week. ...
  5. Fish. ...
  6. Berries. ...
  7. Winter Squash. ...
  8. Soy.

What are the 4 types of foods? ›

What are the five food groups?
  • Fruit and vegetables.
  • Starchy food.
  • Dairy.
  • Protein.
  • Fat.

What are traditional snacks? ›

Traditionally, snacks are prepared from ingredients commonly available at home without a great deal of preparation. Often cold cuts, fruits, leftovers, nuts, sandwiches, and sweets are used as snacks. With the spread of convenience stores, packaged snack foods became a significant business.

What is expensive food called? ›

A delicacy is usually a rare and expensive food item that is considered highly desirable, sophisticated, or peculiarly distinctive within a given culture.

What is the 10 most popular food in the world? ›

Here is the top 10:
  • Pizza.
  • Burger.
  • Ramen.
  • Paella.
  • Pierogi.
  • Moussaka.
  • Boeuf Bourgignon.
  • Eisbein.
Dec 5, 2022

What is the most popular dessert in Indonesia? ›

Top 10 Indonesian Desserts
  • Martabak manis. Martabak manis is a very thick folded pancake with the consistency of a crumpet. ...
  • Pisang goreng. Pisang goreng means fried banana, and this is one of the simplest yet most popular snacks in Indonesia. ...
  • Kue putu. ...
  • Klepon. ...
  • Kue lapis. ...
  • Dadar gulung. ...
  • Nagasari. ...
  • Es campur.

What is pig food in Indonesia? ›

Babi guling is the Indonesian version of a roast suckling pig. Although not common to other Indonesian regions, on Bali, where the predominant religion is Hinduism, it is one of the most popular dishes.

What is the street food chicken in Indonesia? ›

Sate Ayam

Another variant of Satay, Sate Ayam, has always been a crowd-pleaser with its zesty taste and is an ubiquitous street food in Indonesia, with vendors found on every street in every city. The chicken is marinated in sweet soy sauce with herbs and spices and wrapped around skewers and cooked on charcoal.

What is Indonesia best at? ›

Manufacturing is the largest single component of the country's economy. Indonesia's main exports include crude petroleum and natural gas as well as rubber, coffee, cocoa and palm oil. Indonesia's islands are dotted with architectural remnants of Hindu-Buddhist and other empires.

What foods do Indonesia produce? ›

The tropical climate with plenty of rain makes it possible for the same types of crops to be grown everywhere throughout the islands of Indonesia. Most farm land is used for rice or another food crop. Other crops include corn (maize), cassava, sweet potatoes, peanuts (groundnuts), and soybeans.

Is Indonesia rich in culture? ›

Indonesia's rich culture begets so many inspired works of art — paintings, sculpture, music, dance, theatre, and more. From the ancient times to contemporary era, Indonesian artists keep drawing inspiration from the archipelago's culture, values, and nature, ensuring the art scene stays alive and progressing.

What is Indonesia main food exports? ›

Major exports include soybeans, wheat, cotton, milk powder, feeds and fodders, dairy, fresh fruit, and beef and beef products.

What is the most popular snack in Indonesia? ›

One of the most famous snacks in Indonesia is batagor, a fried fish dumpling served in a traditional spicy sauce.

Is Indonesian food salty? ›

Indonesian food is very rooted in its environment and not shy with its flavors. It's wildly spicy, salty, sweet and medicinal in the best way, and changes quite a bit depending on the region. A common breakfast dish many may know is nasi goreng, fried rice.

What nut is used in Indonesian food? ›

Peanuts—sometimes roasted, sometimes salted, and occasionally plain—are part of the fabric of Indonesian cooking. Known as kacang, they're the primary ingredient in the peanut sauces that accompany rice dishes or are added to salads like gado gado, a spread of cooked and raw vegetables.

Which country eats the most spicy food in the world? ›

1. Thailand. Thailand is undoubtedly synonymous with spicy food and is considered one of the most popular tourist destinations. You can find many fried foods and spicy soups in its street food.

Is Indonesian food similar to Thai? ›

Compared to Thai, Indonesian cuisine is more complex, has stronger flavors, earthy, more fried, braised, heavy, spicy and served often at room temperature.

What are food habits? ›

Eating habits are defined as “conscious, collective, and repetitive behaviors, which lead people to select, consume, and use certain foods or diets, in response to social and cultural influences” [1].

What is traditional cooking? ›

Traditional foods are foods and dishes that are passed on through generations or which have been consumed for many generations. Traditional foods and dishes are traditional in nature, and may have a historic precedent in a national dish, regional cuisine or local cuisine.

What is cultural food called? ›

Cultural foods — also called traditional dishes — represent the traditions, beliefs, and practices of a geographic region, ethnic group, religious body, or cross-cultural community. Cultural foods may involve beliefs about how certain foods are prepared or used.

Why is Indonesian food so spicy? ›

Spicy flavors in Indonesian cuisine obviously come from massive use of chilies. Whether its fresh chilies, dried chilies, sambal chili paste or peppercorns, Indonesians do know how to spice up their food!

What is Indonesia known for culture? ›

Indonesian culture is focused around the community, with a hierarchical structure. Indonesians believe in the concept of gotong royong (mutual assistance) and mufakat (consensus), and the national motto is Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in diversity).

What are common street foods? ›

Street foods
NameAssociated regions
French friesEurope and the United States
Fried chickenThailand
FrybreadUnited States (Southwestern)
Funnel cakeUnited States
142 more rows

What country has the hottest spicy food? ›

Countries with the Spiciest Food Ever!
  • Thailand. Thailand is undoubtedly synonymous with spicy food and is considered one of the most popular tourist destinations. ...
  • México. Mexicans do know how to cook with spice. ...
  • Malaysia. ...
  • Korea. ...
  • Jamaica. ...
  • India. ...
  • China. ...
  • Ethiopia.

What is the food capital of Indonesia? ›

Bandung, the capital of West Java province, is the culinary capital of Indonesia and a trend setter as well. This city is filled with people who are very creative in processing and creating varieties of culinary delights which then go viral.


1. Traditional Jakarta Street Food You Must Try! Nasi Padang and Jakarta's BEST Fried Rice!
(Best Ever Food Review Show)
2. Top 10 Indonesian Foods that you must try (Traditional foods in the world)
(Explore The Whole World)
3. Street Food Tour of Bali - INSANELY DELICIOUS Indonesian Food in Bali, Indonesia!
(Mark Wiens)
4. Top 8 Vegetarian Food to Eat in Bali and Indonesia
(Top 5 Food)
5. Discovering Bali’s Authentic Flavors: A Taste of Indonesia
6. Top 10 Indonesian Food That You Must Try || 10 Makanan Nusantara Terenak
(Ruang Breakdown)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Fr. Dewey Fisher

Last Updated: 12/08/2023

Views: 5920

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (42 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Fr. Dewey Fisher

Birthday: 1993-03-26

Address: 917 Hyun Views, Rogahnmouth, KY 91013-8827

Phone: +5938540192553

Job: Administration Developer

Hobby: Embroidery, Horseback riding, Juggling, Urban exploration, Skiing, Cycling, Handball

Introduction: My name is Fr. Dewey Fisher, I am a powerful, open, faithful, combative, spotless, faithful, fair person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.