Must Try Foods in Indonesia

May 07, 2021
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In Southeast Asia in between the Indian and Pacific oceans, an eager and adventurous traveler will find the thousands of islands that make up Indonesia. Bali, one of the most famous islands, gets millions of tourists every year. The island is best known for its beautiful beaches, breathtaking volcanoes and mountains, monkey forests and historic temples. In addition to all of these must see places, the culinary world of Bali, and of Indonesia in general, is one not to be missed. The Maluku Islands are famously known as the Spice Islands, pointing to the vibrant flavors and large array of spices that Indonesian cuisine features. As Indonesian cuisine becomes more popular, restaurants in Bali have started to become internationally applauded. Next time you’re exploring the beautiful island of Bali in Indonesia, here are some of the foods you must try.

Nasi goreng

Deemed as one of Indonesia’s national dishes, nasi goreng is a version of Asian fried rice that is made with kecap, a type of sweet, syrupy soy sauce. It is then topped with acar, pickled carrots, cucumber and cabbage.


An Indonesian staple, sambal is a sauce or paste that is chili based. It is made with chili peppers and mixed with a variety of ingredients including garlic, shrimp paste, shallot, ginger, sugar, salt, scallion and lime juice and then ground up with a mortar and pestle, one of the commonly used restaurant supply items for making this cherished element of many Indonesian dishes.  


You will likely find Bakso being sold on the street from carts, as it is a very popular dish. It is a meatball soup that features noodles and of course, meatballs, made from chicken, beef or pork. The soup is typically garnished with boiled egg, shallots and wontons.

Babi guling

Babi guling is one of the most famous dishes you can get in Bali. It means suckling pig, and the pig is often filled and saturated with spices including coriander, turmeric, black pepper, lemongrass and garlic. As is the tradition, it is spit-roasted.


Another national dish, satay is a dish of skewered, barbecued meat. It can consist of goat, chicken, rabbit or mutton, and is usually covered in a spicy peanut sauce.

Bebek goreng

Bebek goreng, or fried duck, is a delicacy in Indonesia. The meat is tender while the outer skin is crispy. Before being fried, the duck is covered in spices like turmeric, ginger, garlic, galangal and coriander. Eaten all over the country, it is usually paired with rice, vegetables like cucumber and cabbage, and the aforementioned staple, sambal.


Another well known dish of Indonesia is gado-gado, which literally means “mix-mix”. This dish is a salad consisting of steamed vegetables such as potato, long beans, spinach, corn and bean sprouts along with tempe, tofu, lontong, cucumber and hard boiled eggs. Everything in the mix is served with the traditional peanut sauce.


This popular drink is a must try because of how it will make you feel. Jamu is made from tamarind, turmeric, kaffir lime and ginger. Traditionally a drink for women, it is commonly consumed to help reduce inflammation as well as help with other ailments of the body. If a professional chef says you should try it and that it made her feel better to drink it every day, then it definitely belongs on the list.


Gorengan essentially means fried. These deep fried snacks can be found at street carts all over Indonesia. While there are many different options to try, the most popular and common varieties of the snacks are tempe, tofu, cassava, sweet potatoes and bananas.

There are a plethora of traditional Indonesian dishes to try while you’re exploring the country’s beautiful islands. On the island of Bali, you will find many of these must try dishes along with others that you can’t miss while visiting the island’s beaches, temples, mountains and monkeys.