From age-old traditional recipes to modern innovative methods, the streets of Indonesia have a delectable array of cuisines to offer. While there is no shortage of fancy eateries, the captivating aromas from the local street hawker stalls are like a magnet for all the ardent foodies. From fried foods to a variety of salads, from satays to flavored rice, Indonesia is bound to be a gastronomical adventure for all food lovers. Visitors are often left spoilt for choice so; we are here to help you plan out your food journey in Indonesia with ease. Here is a list of the street foods in Indonesia.
The Street Foods In Indonesia
Kerak Telor – Jakarta’s “Official” Street Snack
Kerak telor (Bahasa for “egg crust”) is the signature Betawi street food: a glutinous rice frittata cooked over charcoal by itinerant vendors. The vendor places a small portion of sticky rice in a pan, then adds fried shallots, shrimp, grated coconut, pepper and salt. The whole ensemble is then mixed with either duck or chicken egg, then served hot on top of paper. The exterior is cooked to crispness, which explains the name.
Chicken or duck egg? It depends on your taste; the duck egg contributes a richer, fattier taste and mouth-feel, although kerak telor made with duck egg costs a little bit more. The dish bears a passing resemblance to an omelette, but the addition of the sticky rice, shallots, shrimp, and coconut (not to mention the Indonesian spices) sets it apart completely from its bland, un-crispy Western cousin.
Nasi Uduk – An Indonesian Take on Coconut Rice
This coconut-infused rice bears a passing resemblance to the nasi lemak you’ll find in Malaysia, but the Betawi have made nasi uduk uniquely their own. When cooking nasi uduk, Betawi substitute coconut milk for water and incorporate lemongrass, clove and other spices. This results in a creamier, more savory rice that pairs especially well with tempeh, nasi ayam or anchovies.
Soto Tangkar – A Humble Soup with a Royal Origin
“Soto” is the catch-all phrase used for Indonesian-style soup, and comes in a multiplicity of regional variations. Soto tangkar is a Betawi take on soto: beef ribs and brisket stewed in coconut milk, garlic, chili, candlenut, and other spices. The Betawi like to serve soto tangkar alongside saté daging sapi (beef satay): diners use the soto tangkar as a spicy dipping sauce for the roast beef skewers.
As Fried Chillies tells it, a King fell ill and asked for a restorative soup. The soup was made spicier than usual for the benefit of the king’s illness-numbed taste buds. The resulting dish was called suap ratu (“fed to the king”); the name was eventually corrupted over time into soto.
Pempek is a traditional Indonesian fish cake made with ground fish meat and tapioca. The actual origin of this dish is the city of Palembang, situated in the South Sumatra province. The origin story of pempek says that an old Palembang citizen was tired of the traditional fried or grilled fish, so he thought of an innovative way to ground the meat, mix it with tapioca flour, and deep-fry it to get a crunchy and delicious snack.
He then used to cycle through the city and sell the fish cakes to Palembang citizens. Over time, pempek was recognized as a praise-worthy snack, and today it is considered to be a traditional Indonesian delicacy. These round or rectangular cakes are usually steamed, and right before serving they are fried in vegetable oil and cut into bite-sized pieces.
Siomay is one of the street foods in Indonesia consisting of steamed cone-shaped fish dumplings, eggs, potatoes, cabbage, tofu, and bitter melon. After they have been steamed, all ingredients are assembled on a plate, cut into bite-sized pieces, and generously drizzled with a spicy peanut sauce.The final touch to the dish is a splash of sweet soy and chili sauce, along with a drizzle of lime juice. In Indonesia, siomay is an everyday dish that is especially beloved by students. It is a common staple at hawker centers (traditional Indonesian outdoor food courts).
Nasi Gila – Go Nuts Over Jakarta’s “Crazy Rice”
“Gila” means “crazy” in Indonesian, so “nasi gila” translates to “crazy rice”; the name refers to the hodge-podge of sausage, chicken, meatballs, and lamb ladled liberally over white rice and garnished with a handful of kripik.
Nasi gila is just one of Jakarta’s many street-food rice preparations; the capital city’s workers love to tuck into fried rice (nasi goreng) dishes with descriptive names. The Jakarta Globe reports on a few local variants, including “nasi goreng ganja – so named because of its alleged addictive quality” and the “mawud nasi goreng sold by vendors on Jalan Haji Lebar in Meruya, West Jakarta… Mawud is a play on the word maut, meaning lethal or the hour of death.”