Indonesian Cuisine History We Should Know

Known for its spice-based cuisine, Indonesia attracts many countries to visit. Since then, Indonesian cuisine under the influence of immigrant groups, who came and stayed, developed a cultural assimilation.

The influence also occurred during the arrival of Islam in Indonesia through Arabian and Indian traders. They gradually introduced their cuisine such as curries while spreading the religion.

This curry was then adapted and identically associated as typical Sumatra dishes. Indonesia’s cuisine also assimilated to European culture, generating soup, perkedel (derived from Frikadeller or frikade) and bistik (from beef steak).

With that being said, Indonesian cuisine is shaped by many different influences that is still apparent through today’s dishes.


Most Popular Indonesian Cuisine 

Indonesia is a home to extremely rich cultural diversities, from traditional customs to local languages, foods and drinks. With its rich spices, Indonesian cuisine is recognized globally for their rich taste.

Here is the guide to the country’s well known cuisine you must try:


Named as the most tasty food in the world, Rendang is an Indonesian dish made from beef, cooked with traditional spices and coconut milk. This dish is cooked for about 4 hours and repeated heating until it is dry and the color turns to dark brown.       

Nasi Goreng

It is essentially fried rice, seasoned by shallot, garlic, pepper, chili and soy sauce. It is usually served with egg, chicken, shrimp, vegetables, pickled cucumber and crackers, of course!     


Sate is another meat-based dish. The meat is cut into small pieces before threading them onto the coconut or bamboo skewers, then placing the skewers on the charcoal grill. The dish is finished with different sauces for the different satay-style you are making.  


Soto is a classic soup dish with meat based broth, vegetables and spices. It usually has beef and chicken meat, sometimes lamb too.   


Originally invented in Indonesia, tempe is made of fermented soybeans. This is a very popular and must-present side-dish for Indonesians that comes in varieties such as Tempe Mendoan, Tempe Orek and Kering Tempe.      


Also known for baso, is eventually a meatball dish. Mostly ground beef mixed with flour, it also uses different meat types such as chicken, fish, shrimp or even buffalo meat. Bakso is complemented with noodles, tofu and more, added with savory soup.           

Nasi Padang

Well-packed menu that serves rice and various side dishes (rendang, pop chicken, dendeng batokok, green chili sauce and more), originating from West Sumatra, Indonesia. It is named after Padang city, the capital city of West Sumatra.     


The dish is a mixture of various boiled vegetables served with peanut sauce. It also comes with lontong, tofu, fried tempe and boiled egg.


How Indonesian Culinary Today

Indonesian cuisine has managed to significantly grow over the past years. Many restaurants and cafes are now common to serve Indonesian dishes with a modern touch, while more foods and drinks are being sold globally.

Indonesian cuisine is very rich in spices and natural herbs, such as traditional spices, rice, noodles, side-dishes, complementing the taste and appetizing.

Creating new variants, chefs and businessmen also present new ideas of Indonesian dishes. They creatively develop new innovation in food presentation and processing, like vegan diet, vegetarian or dishes for those on a special diet. 

Further, a massive promotion is also being locally and internationally advertised, such as food festivals, food exhibitions, and more. The foodpreneur should not waste this great chance to distribute their products, as well as introduce Indonesian large varieties of dishes to foreigners.

Because of this promising potential, Indonesian cuisine continues to expand and get more recognition worldwide. 

Hence, both foodpreneur and government should cooperatively promote and maintain the authenticity and distinctive taste of Indonesian dishes at last.

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