Countries in ASEAN are blessed with diverse yet unique delicious foods. Indonesia is not an exception. Filled with countless tasty dishes with affordable prices, the country is definitely a heaven for food lovers. It is impossible to list all unique delicacies that Indonesia could offer, but this list will compile information of 5 must-try dishes that you must try when you visit Indonesia.
Bakso is an Indonesian streetfood, traditionally made with beef and usually served with soup noodle. It is a popular dish consumed throughout Indonesia. Like many other dishes, bakso has endless variations. Bakso gained international fame when President Barack Obama remembered it as one of his favourite dishes during his childhood in Indonesia. Like many other street foods in in the country, Bakso could be purchased at many pushcarts called kaki lima, or small warung along the street, or even in a high-end food courts and restaurants.
Pempek or sometimes known as Empek-Empek, is a fish-cake dish made from fish and Tapioca. Originating from Palembang in South Sumatra, it is now widely available throughout Indonesia. It has various variations, including the once called Pempek Kapal Selam (Submarine Pempek), in which whole hard-boiled egg is nested inside a fish cake and then fried and drenched in spicy sweet sauce
Siomay is Indonesian steamed fish dumpling with vegetables served in peanut sauce. The dish has some Chinese roots. The name Siomay itself is influenced from the Chinese term of dumpling: Shaomai (or shu mai). What differentiates the Indonesian dish from the Chinese one is the peanut sauce which has kick from chilli and drizzle with citrus juice. Traditionally, Indonesians use mackerel fish (ikan tenggiri) as its fillings, but other fillings variants can be used as well. The delicacy is often served with boiled eggs, cabbage, potatoes, and tofu.
Satay or Sate is meat skewers cooked up over coals, seasoned and served with sauce. While other parts of the world may have similar kind of dishes, there are satay variants that you can only find in Indonesia. Amongst the popular variants is Sate Madura named after an island of its origin in East Java. Sate Madura is made with chicken meat and served with peanut sauce. Another popular variant is Sate Padang, named after the city of Padang in West Sumatra, traditionally made with beef and served with a special spicy sauce.
Rendang is a spicy meat dish slowly cooked in coconut milk and spices. The dish originated from the Minangkabau ethnic group, now commonly served across the archipelago. Different from curry, rendang is richer and contains less liquid than Indonesian curries. In 2011, a CNN International through an online poll of 35,000 people chose rendang as the number one dish of their “World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods (Readers’ Pick)”.
The list does not end here. In fact, Indonesia could offer endless mouth-watering delicacies that will never bore your taste buds. Each region in the nation’s archipelago could always offer something unique and tasty, representing the diversity of Indonesia.
By Muhammad Fathi Rayyan, ASEAN Correspondent from Indonesia