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25 Top Indonesian Foods Americans Need To Try At Least Once

The top Indonesian food is hard to choose from because there are just so many options. Whether you are looking for meat or vegetarian options, just about any dish can be considered top Indonesian food.

1. Sambal

Top Indonesian food
Sambal Matah

This chili-based sauce is a staple in Indonesian cuisine and one of the top foods. It is most used as a condiment and goes well with mango, durian fruit and mushrooms. Sambal is made from chili peppers, lime juice, shrimp paste, sugar and salt.

2. Satay

Top Indonesian Food Dish
Chicken Satay

Skewered meat is always a fan favorite and satay is some of the best out there. This Indonesian delicacy can be chicken, goat, rabbit or mutton. The meat is marinated in turmeric, then barbecued before being dipped in peanut sauce.

While you can find satay at most restaurants, eating satay from a street vendor is the best way to enjoy this tasty treat.

3. Gulai

Top Indonesian Foods
Gulai ayam

One of the top Indonesian foods has to be gulai, which is another name for curry. Curries are regional so travelling among the many islands of Indonesia means you will come across a host of different flavors and versions.

4. Bakso

Best Indonesian Foods
Bakso – Indonesian version of a meatball

A savoury meatball noodle soup, Bakso is a quick, convenient meal. The meatballs can come in many different sizes and can be made from chicken, beef, pork or even a combination.

You can most often find bakso from street vendors and the dish is usually served with fried shallots, a boiled egg and wonton noodles.

5. Soto

Best Indonesian Food Dish

Soto is a traditional meat soup and while the heart of the dish is a delicious broth, other ingredients different depending on what location you’re in.

Soto can often be found from street vendors and is often made with chicken, goad or beef. The soup is normally topped with crispy shallots and fried garlic and to spice it up, sambal is often added.

6. Ayamgoreng

A more rustic version of fried chicken, ayamgoreng uses local, free range chickens for a truly tasty meal. The spices used are flavorful and delicious.

7. Sayur Asem

If you are looking for a nice, refreshing soup, this clear soup is made from tamarind legume and full of vegetable. Local ingredients such as bilimbi, chayote and melinjo round out the flavors.

8. Nasi Goreng (Fried Rice)

This might be Indoneia’s unofficial national dish. Similar to fried rice, nasigoreng is made with a thick soy sauce called kecap and pickled carrots and cucumber.

9. Nasiuduk

This dish is rice cooked in coconut milk often with meat and vegetables. The meal also comes with fried chicken, anchovies and boiled eggs.

10. Nasikuning

Eaten for breakfast, this rice gets its yellow color from the turmeric spice it is cooked with. The rice is usually served with an egg or anchovies.

11. Gado-gado

While the term us often used to describe things that are mixed up, gado-gado is a vegetable salad topped with peanut sauce. The vegetables are usually a mix of beans, spinach, corn, bean sprouts and potato and topped with tofu and cucumber. It is a great meal, especially for vegetarians.

12. Bakmiegoreng

Noodles are in abundance in Indonesian cuisine and some of the best are bakmie, which are pencil thin. To create this meal, the bakmie noodles are fried with an egg, meat and vegetables. Local spices are added for heightened flavor.

13. Gudeg

Famous in the area of Yogyakarta, this fuit stew is extremely flavordul. Sweet jackfruit is boiled in coconut milk and palm sugar so that when you bite into it the fruit comes apart easily. Local spices and teak leaves are added to give the stew its brown hue. The stew is served with rice, chicken and a boiled egg.

14. Rawon

Found primarily in East Java, Rawon is a beef stew with keluak nuts. Garlic, ginger, turmeric, shallots and rec chili are added to perfect the flavor.

15. Pecellele

Catfish is not the prettiest of fish, but it sure is tasty. Pecellele serves the entire catfish, eyeballs and all on a bed of rice. Sambal is usually added to spice it up.

16. Oporayam

A dish of chicken that has been braied in coconut milk, oporayam is a staple at local diners. It is flavored with ginger, cumin, ginger and coriander and served with rice.

17. Mie ayam

Bakmie noodles are boiled in chicken stock and then mixed with gravy-braised chicken. To give it an extra kick of flavor, sambal is used.

18. Buburayam

A think rice stew, buburayam is often enjoyed in the morning for breakfast. It is eaten with soy sauce, bans, shredded chicken or crackers.

19. Babiguling

While the majority of people in Indonesia are Muslim, and therefore do not eat pork, babiguling is an exception. Normally found on the island of Bali, where many people are Hindu, the meal is literally a roasted pig. The whole pig is bathed in coconut water and rubbed with spices before it is roasted on a spit.

20. Bakpao

Meat buns are one of the top Indonesian foods because they are literally delicious meat wrapped in a fluffy bun. They are perfect for anyone wanting to enjoy a snack on the run. There are also sweet versions that can include chocolate and green beans.

21. Rendang

One of the best curries to be found in the city of Padang, this dish is special because of the amount of time it takes to prepare it. The meat is slow cooked for hours, leaving the sauce full of flavor and the meat extremely tender.

22. Ketoprak

Made from vermicelli noodles, tofu, rice and bean sprouts, this dish is simple yet delicious. It is often found from street vendors.

23. Asinansayur

If you need a break from sweet meals, try asinansayur which is a pickled vegetable salad. The dressing makes the dish and is made from a think peanut sauce with palm sugar. The salad itself is a crunch mix of carrot, cabbage, cucumber and mustard leaf.

24. Cahkangkung

A common ingredient throughout Asia is water spinach, which makes up this dish. It is fried with a sweet soybean sauce, garlic, chili and shrimp paste to elevate its flavor.

25. Pepesikan

The word pepes means that food has been steamed in banana leaves, as is the case of this dish which is paired with tuna. The dish is spicy and delicious.

Indonesia is a country with a lot of heart, and this heart is often reflected in its cuisine. Whether it is stews, soups or salads, at a restaurant or on the street, the top Indonesian food can be found anywhere.

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About Chris

Chris had a passion to contribute to society especially to fellow travelers like himself. He also had a passion for Southeast Asia and frequently visited. While brainstorming ideas, he decided that a travel blog dedicated to his favorite countries, Thailand and Singapore, could be more beneficial than any guidebook. Only one year later did the blog’s success bring in more writers, more countries, and more readers.

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