The geographic and cultural diversity with multi ethnics and province in Indonesia offers variety of cuisines. Although meals are generally simple, the plentiful use of various roots, spices, grasses, and leaves adds zest to most dishes. Just like the other ASEAN cuisine, most of Indonesia foods contain rice, ginger, garlic, sesame seeds, chilies, dried onions, soy, and tofu. Besides its numerous variety menus, Indonesian food is also unique. Here are several extraordinary menus you can find in Indonesia.

Sate Lalat (Fly Satay)

Lalat in Indonesian language means fly which is an insect often found in wastes such as carcasses, trash and excrement. Don’t worry, Sate Lalat is not made of small pieces of fly meat. It is made of beef or lamb and served with peanut sauce. The word ‘lalat’ comes from the size of the meet which is copped in tiny size resembling the size of a fly. Sate Lalat is peculiar in Pamekasan, Madura East Java.


Nasi Kucing (Cat rice)

Nasi Kucing Photo credit:

Nasi Kucing
Photo credit:

When you are in minimum budget and needing a delicious meal, Nasi kucing can be an option. With just Rp 1000 (US$ 0.12) you can get a portion of Nasi kucing. You can easily find Nasi Kucing in Central Java, especially Yogyakarta and Semarang. The size of it, is about a cup of rice just like the portion of cat’s meal. Nasi kucing is usually wrapped in bananas leaf and added with little amount of Tempe or fried soy bean and dried fish. Currently the topping varies from little amount of eggs, meat, vegetables etc.


Kuku macan (Tiger nail)

Don’t mention to eat tiger’s nail since approaching or touching a tiger will boost your adrenalin. Take a deep breath; Kuku Macan is a name of a snack which is named after that fierce animal due to its similar shape.

This food is made from flour and mackerel fish meat mixed with spices such as onion, pepper, garlic and eggs and processed into crispy snack crackers after being fried. Kuku macan is usually eaten as a snack or a companion when eating main course. Kuku macan is well known in Borneo Island.


Roti ketawa / laughing bread

I don’t guarantee that you will laugh after eating this cake, but I think you might love it! I am telling you no joke. Roti Ketawa is an innovation of Onde-onde. Onde-onde is name of a fried food which is made from glutinous rice flour/wheat and shaped like a ball which is usually filled with smashed sweet pea or peanut and sesame seeds sprinkled on the outside.

In Malaysia, Onde-onde is called Kuih Bom, in Philippines it is called Butsi and it Vietnam it is called Banh cam/Banh ran. What differs Roti Ketawa from Onde-onde is that when fried, Roti Ketawa will crack in the middle and forming the shape of a smiley.


Rawon setan / Devil rawon

Rawon is an Indonesian traditional black beef soup originating from Surabaya (East Java). The black colour comes from Keluak. Its dark colour creates a mystical and scary impression. A restaurant commonly known as Rawon Setan located in Embong Malang street offers a fresh and delicious Rawon.

The name of this restaurant is not because of its color, but because in the past years, this restaurant opened from 10pm to 5am. The perfect dose of onion, garlic, galangal (laos), coriander, lemongrass, turmeric, chili, beef stew, salt, and vegetable oil makes Rawon Setan delicious and well known. In the wall of the restaurant, you can see famous people in Indonesia when visiting restaurant. In fact, there is also a picture of the former president of Indonesia, Mr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.


Kerupuk Melarat / Destitute Kerupuk

Kerupuk is a kind of a cracker made from a mixture of tapioca (flour made of cassava) and other flavoring agents like fish, prawn, onion, etc. Kerupuk Melarat is usally found in Cirebon, West Java. This food is unique, because unlike the other kerupuk which is usually fried with oil, Keupuk Melarat uses sand. It is believed that due to the expensive prize of oil, the first Kerupuk Melarat maker substituted sand for oil hence this is the reason why it is called Kerupuk Melarat. Not every kind of sand can be used to cook this food. The sand is taken from a specific mountain area. After that it is sieved before being used to fry Kerupuk Melarat. Kerupuk Melarat is usually served in three colors; red, white and yellow.




By Anggi Nurqonita, ASEAN Correspondent from Indonesia