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A Sample Menu: Exploring Indonesia By Its Food Regions

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Some people want their vacations to be something more than just the basic tourist attractions. Some people might want an active vacation, where are they climb over mountains, hills, and navigate valleys, but others want a slower pace, but they want to feel the culture inherently.

For foodies, sampling the various cuisines of a particular country can give you a unique insight into so many things, from the produce to the people. A country like Indonesia is famous for its unique Asian Dishes, and for anybody that’s interested in foods of an Asian flavor, it’s always better to sample these foods from the source, rather than from a takeaway menu! This means getting down to the nitty gritty and finding the best places, street vendors, and restaurants that provide these dishes.

On the other hand, you can go to each area and get an idea of the region based on the foods that are native to them. So, let’s explore Indonesia by each region, and the foods they serve…


It would be particularly unfair to describe this region as curry-centric, but there are some amazing flavors in this region that are derived from curry dishes. The dishes of gulai or kare are traditionally coconut based but are made with various meats.

There has been an increasing demand for the vegetarian options also. And they have been made with tofu and jackfruit, another popular Indonesian fruit. In addition to this, the region is very popular for its mie Aceh, a spicy noodle dish.

These curried noodles are usually served with beef or seafood, but also, goat is a very popular meat in Indonesia. The noodles themselves are very thick and compare very well to Japanese udon noodles. For a warming feeling of comfort, this really is something to write home about and additionally, you can make your fresh and healthy noodles and pasta shape food in minutes.


In Bali, you are going to be overrun with rice. Steamed rice is a staple in every single meal, and you can get some fantastic rice dishes, such as nasi Bali, which consists of tofu, spinach, corn, as well as other vegetable ingredients, in chili sauce, and wrapped in a banana leaf.

Tofu is a big food staple there, so for vegetarians and vegans, you can find yourself catered for, but be careful to check that it’s not cooked in the meat juices. As far as meats are concerned, beef is a very rarely consumed meat, because of the religion of the natives (Hindu).

If you find yourself taken by the flavor of Bali, is a site that gives you the option to purchase a property there, and you can learn the recipes yourself!



For all of its bustling nightlife and thriving day life, there are a never-ending amount of choices for eateries. As far as food is concerned, you can get almost anything, but the popular dishes there includes nasi uduk, kerak telor, and sayur asem.

But it’s recommended that you try the otak-otak from the vendor here, but don’t worry, although it is literally translated as “brain-brain”, it’s just a fish cake!

To live in a place like Jakarta, not only do you feel spoilt for choice with the types of eateries available, but it’s a real way to get involved with the Asian city life!



For all its tranquility, Java has some really dazzling meals that sing on your tongue. To break down the various cuisines of Java, you have to go from west to east. In the west, and you’ve got lalab vegetables that are served with a sambal dipping sauce, which is a spicy sauce made from various chilies.

This is a staple in any eatery you head to. In addition to these, you’ve got kupat tahu, which is bean sprouts, tofu, and rice with a peanut and soy sauce. Head to the center, and you’ve got more sweet dishes, such as gudeg, a curry made from coconut and jackfruit. Nasi liwet is another dish that is renowned for its sweetness but is also served with chicken or egg on the side. If you got a sweet tooth, this is the place for you.

Heading to the east, you’ve got similar foods to central Java, but with more fish and seafood. Lontong Kupang is a soup, but you’ve also got the typical rice dishes, such as pecel lele, which is made from catfish.

Java is one of those places you can go and explore the most beautiful monuments in the world, such as the Borobudur Temple, but you can also eat some of the sweetest food. Seeing all this beauty can make you feel sweet inside, and the food certainly matches it!


Sumatra covers many different types of foods. Saksang is a dish made from pork or sometimes dog meat. The squeamish should stay away though, it’s made in its own blood, but flavored with spices and coconut milk to give it a very aromatic sensation.

If you went to a wedding ceremony here, it’s very likely you’d be served this dish! But if you went to the west of Sumatra, it’s unlikely you would see the dog, more buffalo! Even the ampiang dadiah dish is made of buffalo yogurt! In addition to this, you would come across dishes like asam padeh and katupek sayua, which are very brothy dishes.

Maluku & Papua

Unsurprisingly, due to its proximity to the sea, the Maluku islands’ dish is rich in seafood. You will come across sago a lot, which is a starch taken from the stems of palm trees and is usually consumed in the form of a pancake or in a spicy soup called papeda. To live a life through to the natives of these islands, you would also have to get stuck into a roasted boar. Some people find this flavor to rich but think of it as a meatier burger. These are usually consumed with sweet potato.



Here, seafood is very popular. But there are also many dishes that use pork. Brenebon is one such dish that is made from the pork shanks and turned into a stew. If you head to the south, a lot of the meals, especially those consumed in Makassar, come with a dish called burasa, which is a replacement of steamed rice. It’s a type of rice dumpling that has been cooked in coconut milk and is sealed inside a banana leaf.

Nusa Tenggara

Pork is the most consumed dish in the east. A smoked meat dish called se’i is widely consumed, and while you may compare it to bacon, this dish is far too different to be compared to that tasty pig product. If you looking for something less dense, there are lots of fishes consumed. One of the most popular dishes is sepat, consisting of shredded fish served in a coconut and mango sauce.

There is also a lot of shrimp paste used called lengkare, especially on the island of Lombok, that is used to flavor many different dishes.

For the foodie in you, this is scratching the surface of what diverse meals can be consumed while taking a break in Indonesia. By consuming the foods, you can get a better idea of what it’s like to live there on a daily basis. The foods are flavorsome, but they also come from local produce and are made from all natural ingredients.

All the spices combined with the freshly caught seafood or meat (or dog) conjures up exotic feelings. If you’re looking for a place to go and explore, while also sampling its many delicacies, Indonesia is one of those places you need to sample.

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A Sample Menu: Exploring Indonesia By Its Food Regions


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