12:26 AM | Posted in


You’re never far away from good food in Indonesia, especially in cities where there are eateries on almost every street. Even the streets devoid of food during the day can be enveloped in cooking aromas by nightfall, as makeshift kitchens are set up in car parks and on footpaths. And then there are the roving vendors beckoning from the street and bringing delicious food to your doorstep.



To eat and drink in Indonesia is a never-ending adventure. Hungry or not you’ll be tempted by strange foods, waylaid by exotic aromas and entranced by new flavours. And then there are the people, all 200 million of them, delighted to see you venturing beyond the world of bread and milk. “You can eat spicy food”, they’ll say surprised. “You like durian”, they’ll say amazed. “You’re ordering another avocado juice”, they’ll say perplexed. As it is everywhere, food here is a conversation starter. Dining out on Indonesian streets is a social affair and you’ll share bench space with families, soldiers, students and solicitors all bound in the hunt for good food.
Bakul (Streetside Traders)

Let’s start with the basics. There may be no place to sit, no kitchen in sight, yet a full meal appears in front of you like an epiphany. This scenario is played out every day across Indonesia as the nation’s cooks take to the streets looking for stomachs to fill. In early morning Central Java you’ll see old women in sarongs selling regional dishes like pecel (peanut sauce with spinach and beansprouts) to office workers and becak drivers. Once beckoned she’ll spread out her bundled goods on a bamboo tray and put together a meal from her collection of small bags and baskets. Her food is cheap – she doesn’t pay rent or wages – and is most often a taste of the region.
Pikulan (Stick Sellers)

Now here’s where the stereotypes really come to life. You know the classic image of someone carrying goods in two bundles connected by a stick over their shoulders? Well, that’s a pikulan and in Indonesia they’re used to carry food to sell. The pikulan can be an impressive contraption with a gas stove and wok on one side and ready-to-fry ingredients on the other. Some sell bakso (meatball soup), with stock on the boil at one end, ingredients and bowls at the other.
Kaki-Lima (Roving Vendors)

Kaki-lima are an essential part of the Indonesian culinary landscape; roving vendors; their carts usually consist of a work bench, a portable stove and a glass display cabinet for ingredients and for advertising their speciality dish or drink. Kaki-lima means ‘five legs’, for the three wheels on the cart and the two legs on the vendor. You’ll find any and every type of dish, drink and snack sold from a kaki-lima, but two favourites are sate and bakso. Some kaki-lima have a permanent location that they set up at every day until their stocks are depleted. Others roam the streets, tempting the hungry from their homes or places of work.
Warung (Food Stalls)

Although restaurants call themselves warung (similar to restaurants in the west calling themselves ‘the home-bake pantry cottage’), we define a warung as any eatery that offers a place to eat and shelter, but is disassembled after closure. As a result some of the best food will not be there when you want it, nevertheless a warung usually has a set time when it’s open for business. The classic warung consists of a long table sheltered by a tarpaulin roof and a screen hung to separate the diners from the streetside cacophony. Written on the screen is what is sold within – often no more than one or two dishes, so a warung will become famous for a specific dish. Although there’ll be a warung around at anytime of the day, they really come to life at night when more are set up along streets and in vacant lots to cater to the post-work hungry. Indonesia’s warung sell everything from regional dishes like Yogyakarta’s gudeg (jackfruit curry) to national favourites such as pecel lele (fried catfish).
Warteg

One exception to the warung impermanency rule is the warteg (short for warung Tegal), which is a simple yet permanent restaurant that sells a wide range of dishes at cheap prices. Tegal is a town in Java and, although the owner will probably be from there, the food available isn’t necessarily specific to the region. The warteg eateries are a good bet for vegetarians because meatless dishes, especially ones that are tofu or tempe based, are in abundance.
Lesehan

Lesehan refers more to seating arrangements than food. If you’re eating while sitting on a grass mat then you’re eating at a lesehan. The most famous place for lesehan are in Yogyakarta, where they are set up along Jalan Malioboro to cater to evening crowds (some open all day). Some restaurants have lesehan-style areas set up with low tables and mats for you to sloth on after stuffing your face.
Rumah Makan (Restaurants)

Sometimes the only difference between street stall and restaurant is that one closes for business by locking the door and the other folds up the roof. The most common restaurant meal, often called nasi campur or nasi rames (both meaning ‘mixed rice’), is the one you make with plain rice and a selection of other dishes. Where there’s food set out for all to see, you can be certain you’ll be choosing a selection yourself. This also gives you the chance to peruse the selection before committing yourself. The fact that the food is sitting out may send your hygiene warning system haywire, but this is how much restaurant and home-cooked Indonesian food is prepared, to be eaten that day at room temperature.

For truly authentic flavours, try to find restaurants that serve dishes from the region you are in. This will be easy in Padang, as Padang restaurants are everywhere, but you may only get a chance to try Banjar food in Banjarmasin. Nevertheless in bigger towns there’ll be a smattering of eateries serving food from other areas, so you won’t have to go to Manado to try North Sulawesi cuisine.
Rumah Makan Padang (Padang Restaurants)

There’s at least one Padang restaurant, serving West Sumatran cuisine in every town in Indonesia. For a first-timer, a meal at a Padang restaurant can be a confusing affair. Firstly, all that food left in the window can’t be good for hygiene, and some of the dishes look like they were cooked with a blowtorch. Indeed Padang cuisine isn’t very photogenic, but it’s cooked to withstand a refrigerator-less environment. In fact some dishes, such as rendang (beef or buffalo coconut curry) are said to improve with age. The next stumbling block for the Padang virgin will be the fact that there isn’t a menu in sight. In a Padang restaurant they cut out the task of going through the ordering process – take a seat at any table and before you can say ‘I’ll have a side order of hokey-pokey ice cream’ one of the fellas will have scurried over and piled up your table with a selection of umpteen small dishes and rice. No need to shout ‘Waiter! I can’t eat this much!’ as here at a Padang restaurant you pay for what you eat. If you don’t touch the ikan bakar (grilled fish) you won’t pay for it, it’ll go back into the window display. Even if you taste the sauce that the gulai ayam (chicken in coconut curry) is served in and decide that it’s too spicy, it won’t be on the bill.
Chinese Restaurants

Although you’ll find many Chinese-influenced dishes in other restaurants, there are plenty of restaurants that serve specifically Chinese cuisine. Here you’ll no doubt get a decent nasi goreng, but you’ll also get a multitude of stirfries, steamed dishes, seafood, pork, cap cai (mixed vegetables), dishes in saus tiram (oyster sauce), asam manis (sweet & sour dishes) and noodles by the wok-load. Some Chinese restaurants are simple affairs offering clean, fresh noodle soups such as mie pangsit (wonton noodle soup). As with Chinese restaurants anywhere, the menu can be as long as the Palembang telephone directory.

Related Articles



Category:
��

Comments

31 responses to "the eateries of Indonesia"

  1. Львыв On March 9, 2011 at 3:13 PM

    Kelapa Susu (Coconut Milk)

    Ingredients:

    1 cup dried coconut
    2 cups warm water

    Coconut milk is an essential cooking ingredient in Indonesian cuisine. EPD Photos
    Coconut milk is an essential cooking ingredient in Indonesian cuisine.

    Procedure

    1. Place the coconut in a pan and cover with the water.
    2. Allow to soak for 20 minutes and then squeeze the coconut very hard to produce a milky liquid.
    3. When the coconut milk has been added to a dish, it will need to be constantly stirred at first to avoid separation.

     
  2. Corfu Hotels On March 11, 2011 at 5:50 AM

    Great article. Very helpful, useful but the most important very tasty... Thank you admin. Keep up your blog

     
  3. Income Tax Return On March 13, 2011 at 6:41 AM

    Indonesian cuisine is indeed a real adventure and exploration of flavors.

     
  4. estilosweb On March 19, 2011 at 9:45 AM

    I so want to try it. suppose that there is food in front of me .

     
  5. Ferienhäuser Dänemark On March 23, 2011 at 9:36 PM

    This photo makes me really hungry.... yumm!

     
  6. Crimea On April 10, 2011 at 5:42 AM

    It's look like a national Crimean Tatar food. Very close!

     
  7. dog cage On July 16, 2011 at 6:22 PM

    The eateries of Indonesia is very nice and testy dies sharing on the site there are most of the people are very like in this types food and dies also can be also know about with the help in this post and site because both are very helpful.

     
  8. Mags On August 29, 2011 at 10:21 AM

    Wow, this food really sounds amazing. I am obsessed with food and travel - I'll be sure to try the avocado juice - thanks for recommending it!

     
  9. Budget Travel Guide On August 29, 2011 at 10:23 AM

    Thanks for the tips on ordering at a Padang restaurant. Ordering food abroad can be really confusing when you don't understand the customs.

     
  10. About Animals | Plants Rainforest On November 27, 2011 at 8:49 PM

    wow very nice information

    Gadget | Telephone Mobile
    About Animals | Plants Rainforest

     
  11. komodo dragons On December 7, 2011 at 6:28 AM

    great post

    komodo dragons
    Varanus komodoensis
    Komodo Dragon Pictures
    Komodo Dragons Facts
    Komodo Dragons Habitat

     
  12. hotels london cheap On December 20, 2011 at 7:23 PM

    If one goes to Indonasia he will definitely enjoy the food over there and yes its never ending adventure.

     
  13. singapore air transfer On December 23, 2011 at 3:32 PM

    I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here ! keep up the good work

     
  14. Commission Bot Review On December 27, 2011 at 2:19 PM

    Thanks for sharing it.......

     
  15. Singapore to Malacca On January 6, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    You’re never far away from good food in Indonesia, especially in cities where there are eateries on almost every street

     
  16. cheap hotels booking in Valencia On January 7, 2012 at 5:43 PM

    Indonesia has the culture which attracts lot of people and now this country has becoming globally hit as the number of tourist in this country shows.When its about the food then theres nothing compared to them.

     
  17. car rental Singapore On January 17, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    Your post has caused water in my mouth as I love Indonesian food.What a yummy pic you have posted.I am now eager to visit the Indonesian restro for tasting their nice recipies.

     
  18. Picnic Locations in Delhi NCR On December 23, 2014 at 4:08 PM

    Hey keep posting such good and meaningful articles.

     
  19. Place for birthday parties On January 14, 2015 at 4:27 PM

    Hey keep posting such good and meaningful articles.

     
  20. Cool Places in Gurgaon On January 14, 2015 at 5:32 PM

    very informative post for me as I am always looking for new content that can help me and my knowledge grow better.

     
  21. Places to visit in Delhi-NCR On January 14, 2015 at 6:05 PM

    Great article, Thanks for your great information, the content is quiet interesting. I will be waiting for your next post.

     
  22. Theme Parties in Gurgaon On January 14, 2015 at 6:56 PM

    That is an extremely smart written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and return to learn extra of your useful information. Thank you for the post. I will certainly return.

     
  23. Pool Party in Gurgaon On January 27, 2015 at 2:38 PM

    I really appreciate your professional approach. These are pieces of very useful information that will be of great use for me in future.

     
  24. Water Park in Delhi NCR On January 27, 2015 at 2:49 PM

    Very informative, keep posting such good articles, it really helps to know about things.

     
  25. Web Developers Delhi On January 27, 2015 at 3:27 PM

    That is an extremely smart written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and return to learn extra of your useful information. Thank you for the post. I will certainly return.

     
  26. Launch Business in Delhi On February 21, 2015 at 3:41 PM

    Nice post, things explained in details. Thank You.

     
  27. Launch Business in Delhi On February 21, 2015 at 4:20 PM

    I don’t know how should I give you thanks! I am totally stunned by your article. You saved my time. Thanks a million for sharing this article.

     
  28. Mobile App Developers On May 15, 2015 at 6:44 PM

    I am extremely impressed along with your writing abilities, Thanks for this great share.

     
  29. App Development Bangalore On February 8, 2017 at 4:38 PM

    Amazing blog and very interesting stuff you got here! I definitely learned a lot from reading through some of your earlier posts as well and decided to drop a comment on this one!

     
  30. Buy Contact Lenses On May 26, 2017 at 5:15 PM

    That is an extremely smart written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and return to learn extra of your useful information. Thank you for the post. I will certainly return.

     
  31. Cooper Vision Proclear On June 30, 2017 at 4:25 PM

    Awesome work.Just wanted to drop a comment and say I am new to your blog and really like what I am reading.Thanks for the share