What Is The Food Like In Indonesia?

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If you’ve got a trip planned and now you’re wondering what the food is like in Indonesia, you’re in for a treat. It’s a sumptuous symphony of sizzles and sputters on every street corner, thanks to Indonesia’s fascinating culinary heritage.

A quick history of what the food is like in Indonesia

Indonesia’s food scene is a vibrant tapestry woven with huge diversity of cultural influences that have shaped its food throughout history. From the indigenous traditions of the archipelago’s different regions to the notable contributions of Chinese, Indian, Arab, and Dutch traders and settlers, Indonesian cuisine is a testament to its past. 

The rich spices of the Spice Islands attracted traders from afar, leading to the infusion of exotic flavours like cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom. The Chinese brought their culinary techniques, introducing wok-frying and the use of soy sauce, while Indian traders introduced curries and the concept of using coconut milk. 

Arab merchants influenced the use of herbs and introduced the concept of grilled skewers, which evolved into the beloved satay. Later, Dutch colonial rule left an indelible mark with dishes like Nasi Goreng and Rijsttafel. The result? A delightful and diverse foodie landscape that captivates palates worldwide.

Ready to drool over the best food to eat in Indonesia? Rather than reading this blog, why don’t you go there and try it for yourself?! Click here to find out more about our amazing Best of Indonesia adventure and get ready for a flavour explosion!

What Is The Food Like In Indonesia?

The best food to eat in Indonesia

Now you know how these amazing flavours and combinations have come to be,  here’s our quick guide to the best food to eat in Indonesia, let’s take your taste buds on a thrilling adventure!

Remember, on any trip to any country you should ask local people for recommendations of the best places to eat – but definitely don’t miss these legendary dishes:

Nasi Goreng

This is Indonesia’s version of fried rice and it’s a must-try. Often served with a fried egg on top, nasi goreng can be customized with your choice of meat or seafood. It’s scrummy. 

Rendang (best food in Padang)

If you’re thinking about food in Indonesia, rendang is probably one of the first dishes that comes to mind, and with good reason. The delicious, slow-cooked tender beef stew combines coconut milk with the most wonderful balance of spices you can get – it’s no wonder so many restaurants globally offer a rendang dish these days, but it doesn’t get better than in Padang!

Mie Ayam

A popular noodle dish consisting of chicken, noodles, and vegetables, often served with a tasty broth (and the best ones are topped with crispy shallots!).

Satay (best food in Bali)

Indonesia’s satays are iconic. Skewered and grilled meat or seafood, typically served with a peanut sauce and rice cakes. You gotta try it (err, unless you’ve got a nut allergy, then most definitely don’t). The pork satay lilit version sold by street hawkers in Bali is particularly delicious!

(You’ll visit Ubud in Bali on our Best of Indonesia adventure – click here to check out the itinerary.)


More nuts here too, turning a traditional hearty salad of vegetables, tofu, tempeh, and hard-boiled eggs into a culinary delight, thanks to the rich peanut dressing. (Not a fan of tofu? Try gado-gado and you’ll probably change your mind!)

Gudeg (best food in Yogyakarta)

There’s a REALLY “gud egg” in this dish (well, it’s hard-boiled), made from jackfruit combined with coconut milk and sugar and cooked in an earthen pot over a fire. You’ll often be given all sorts of little dishes and condiments with your gudeg, so it’s a great one to try if you want lots of variety in your meal. 

Kerak Telor

An iconic Jakarta dish made of sticky rice and duck eggs, cooked with a mixture of coconut, fried shallots, and dried shrimp. NOT veggie friendly (but very tummy friendly). 

Ketoprak (best food in Jakarta)

This one’s a good’un for the veggies, so long as you avoid the optional shrimp cracker topping. A dish featuring rice cake, bean sprouts, tofu, and a peanut sauce, often garnished with fried shallots and crackers.

(Our Best of Indonesia adventure includes a guided tour of Jakarta, including some of the best street food stalls to eat at! Click here to learn more.)


This one’s a super popular Indonesian dessert; a thick, sweet pancake filled with ingredients like chocolate, peanuts, or, err, cheese sometimes. Best to make sure what’s going into it before taking your first bite, but you won’t be disappointed!

Pisang Goreng (best dessert in Indonesia)

For us, the best dessert in Indonesia has got to be the classic deep-fried battered banana or plantain fritters, often sprinkled with powdered sugar or drizzled with chocolate. There’s something so insanely delicious about the contrast between the warm, crispy exterior and the soft, sweet inside of the banana, and thankfully you can get it virtually anywhere in Indonesia!

Ready for some rendang, authentic-style?! Find out more about our Best of Indonesia adventure.

Prepare for the adventure of a lifetime where adrenaline, culture and natural wonders collide in an explosive fusion of experiences. Bask in the tropical beauty of Bali’s pristine beaches – but not before you’ve worked for it! On our awe-fuelled expedition of epic proportions, you’ll get to grips with Jakarta, float through Indonesia’s majestic Green Canyon and immerse yourself in the cultural paradise of Ubud.

Stop in local markets and find out how rice crackers are made, and don’t forget to try your hand at puppeteering with a Javanese wayang golek either! From batik workshops to Hindu and Buddhist temples, it’s a real baptism of culture in Indonesia, and you’ll see and do it all on this wonderful journey with The Bucket List Company. 

Friendly group tours, paid for in manageable monthly instalments – and with everything – organised for you, so all you need to do is show up at the airport – travelling to Indonesia is best when you do it with The Bucket List Company.

Click here to check out the itinerary and available dates, then get ready to tick an incredible country (and lots of food!) off your Bucket List. If you don’t do it now…will you ever? 

Click Here To Find Out More About Our Best Of Indonesia Trip!

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