We literally had no idea what to expect when it came to Indonesian food. The only other country we had visited in Asia was Thailand. We love Thai food and so we were only hoping it would live up to the expectations we had. Boy did it ever. If you like spice, Indonesia is the place for you. They like things hot, even if it’s nearly 100°F out and it means sweating while you eat—all the better. 

Our favorites

  1. Soto - chicken soup for breakfast? Yes please! Except it’s so much more than that. Soto can be served with beef or chicken. It’s a broth that comes with rice, your choice of protein and however much soy/sambal you wish to add. Eaten with amazing rice crackers, it is probably one of our favorite breakfasts. No doubt you will be sweating by the time you are done eating it. 
  2. Nasi goreng - one of the cheapest and the most delicious fried rices out there. It is literally everywhere and everyone has their own style. We found a place in Jogja that cooked the rice over hot coals instead of gas, finding the flavor to be that much more intense. Usually served street side, the rice is plopped onto a waxed brown paper sheet, folded and stapled shut. Oh and—more of those rice crackers.
  3. Magelangan - picture nasi goreng but with noodles mixed in. Vic’s favorite dish. Stems from the Magelang region of Java so t's not found outside of Jogja very much. You might get crazy looks if you ask for it. 
  4. Tempeh - something I never thought I would see Vic crave. Like most Indonesian food, it’s fried so not exactly healthy, but it is unbelievable. A naturally fermented fried soybean cake. A great snack for any time of day. 
  5. Ayam goreng - aka fried chicken. They do love their fried food and they do it well. Pair with some sambal and you are all set. 
  6. Satay - another Indonesian classic, this barbecued chicken, sometimes served with rice cakes, is one of the best quick meals you can have. Find someone who barbecues theirs over charcoal.
  7. Rendang - a stewed meat, with coconut milk and too many spices to count. A delicious rich beef curry. A must try when in Indonesia.
  8. Jack fruit curry - we only seemed to find this on Java, but it’s a curry made from jack fruit which is a protein rich fruit that grows in abundance in Indonesia. Its a pretty cool looking fruit too! 
  9. Sambal everything - they love their fresh sambal and boy is it hot, but it’s a delicious little add on to whatever you are eating whether it be barbecued fish or fried chicken. Eat like the locals do with your hands. Just be sure to wash them well before touching your eyes - made that mistake more than once, yikes! 
  10. Babi guling (suckling pig) - you won’t find this on Java where it’s primarily Muslim, but you will see this around everywhere in Bali. Prepared in a number of different ways, it’s worth trying if you are a meat eater. 
  11. All the fruit - dragon fruit, mangosteen, rambutan, snake fruit, fresh coconut, pineapple - everything you can’t get at home - and even the stuff you can - it’s better here - eat it all. 
  12. Western food - ok so this isn’t local, but if you are craving something from home, there are an abundance of western styled restaurants in Indonesia that have you covered. We found some places we traveled to, Thailand for example, to generally not have very good western food unless you paid top dollar. This is not the case in Indonesia. It’s priced rather reasonably.