With the diversity of the people, you will find diversity of their traditional foods. There might be some traditional food that you’ve ever heard, like Rendang, Satay/Sate, or Gado-gado. You might have tried it in capital cities like Jakarta, or in Bali. However, those foods come from different places of Indonesia.
For example, Rendang is originated from Padang, West Sumatra. However, there are also other version of Rendang which is originated from Java. Therefore, it’s called Rendang Jawa, which is sweeter than Rendang Padang, which is hot.
You might also have heard about Gado-gado, which means mixed. It is kind of Indonesian salad with mixed vegetables, beans, and peanut sauce (sambal pecel). Sometimes it’s mixed with rice or blocked rice (lontong). This is originated from Java.
Nasi goreng, or fried rice, is one of the best menu from Indonesia. Many people around the world find this food as the best Indonesian food. It’s basically cooked rice which is mixed with some Indonesian spices including the sambal (chilli sauce) and sweet soya sauce, which differs it from Chinese fried rice. It is originated from Java.
Telling you about Indonesian food, Sambal, is a famous sauce which is mostly used in Indonesian food. This is basically a blended chilli’s mixed with traditional spices, which offers you different type of sambals. Javanese sambals are mostly sweet and not so spicy like the rest of the places, meanwhile from other part of Indonesia, sambals are mostly hot, very very hot.
Java offers nice foods in Indonesia, however, the other parts of Indonesian also offers nice and unique foods, besides Rendang, like Rica-rica from North Sulawesi, Mpek mpek from Palembang, South Sumatra, or Soto Makassar from Makassar, South Sulawesi, and a lot more. However, you don’t need to travel around Indonesia to find those foods. You can just visit big cities, like Jakarta and find the restaurants which are specialized on those traditional food. Go to tour guide to find information about restaurants and where to eat in Indonesia.
Where to find food
In Indonesia you will find different type of places where you can find Indonesian food.
Of course you can always go to restaurants to find Indonesian food. However, if you want to have a unique culinaire experience, than you will have to try Indonesian street food. Without anyone telling you where to get street food, you will notice them on the most of Indonesian street. Immediately after you get your bagage and get a taxi to your hotel, you will see them on your way to hotel.
However, you have to be careful to choose which stall or cart where you can eat. Not all of them are good and recommended. You can always ask the staf in your hotel where to get nice Indonesian street food. At least, try from the one with a lot of people. If many people buy, that means the food is good for you too.
Some food sellers are mobile. Indonesian use to call them to stop in front of their house. Big cities, like Jakarta is one of the best place to find different types of street food. And the most advantage of the street food is the price. For low budget travelers this could be the best place to eat.
Warung (small restaurant)
Besides restaurant, Indonesia has a so called "Warung/waroeng" which offers you the same quality food as restaurant with a very low price. The different is that warungs are mostly smaller, simpler, and less service.
You could probably compare it with cafetaria. It is considered more as a low class restaurant. However, there are some warung which are transfered into restaurant, which are as big as restaurant but with warung concept. It’s kind of Indonesian fast food. Nowadays, people from all classes (including Mr. President) also eat at Warung.
The most warung you will find in Indonesia are called Warteg, from the word Warung Tegal. Tegal is a place name in Central Java. You will find a lot of this warung in Indonesia. This warung offers all kind of javanese food and snacks. This warung could be a place for rendezvous, just like coffeeshop where Indonesian talk each other about everthing, from girls to politics.
Food court Food court is also a choice for you to get nice food in Indonesia. Instead of one menu from a one restaurant, in food court you will have more choices from different stalls.
Eating in a restaurant in Indonesia is not always expensive. It depends on where the restaurant is located, or how the building and the interior is. If the restaurant located in the mall, it will be definitely more expensive than the one in the residence area. However, a big restaurant could offer cheap price too. One tip to choose a restaurant in Indonesia, is that cheap and quality restaurant always has many customer. Never be hesitate to ask the locals where is the best or cheapest restaurant around you.