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Typical Dishes You Should Expect To Try Across Indonesia

When you visit Indonesia, there are a few things you can expect. One of these is that some of the food there you likely won’t have come across before. This is an excellent opportunity to try something new and see if anything appeals to your taste buds. With the range of dishes available throughout the country, you’re bound to find something good.


Most commonly found on Java, pecel is a sauce regularly used in salads. It features a combination of many ingredients, including shrimp paste, pepper, garlic, sugar, and peanut butter. It’s best enjoyed with the likes of bean sprouts, spinach, cabbage, cucumber, and other green vegetables.


A popular dish in Indonesia is tempeh, which is soybeans fermented in banana leaves. It’s an excellent choice for any vegetarians or vegans or those who like the taste of mushrooms and nuts. Many locals would probably recommend you eat tempeh fried, although you can enjoy it in different ways.


Satay is one dish that you might have heard of before. It’s relatively simple to make, consisting of skewered meat in a sauce. The type of meat varies throughout the region, as does the flavor of the sauce. So, even though it’s a pretty common dish, you can experience so many different varieties of it while in Indonesia.

Sambal mangga

Mangoes aren’t too hard to come by in Indonesia, so it might be no surprise that this fruit finds its way into the local cuisine. Sambal mangga is an example of this, containing strips of nearly-ripe mangoes in sambal sauce. This is a pepper-based sauce that is frequently used throughout Indonesia for different recipes, including sambal mangga. To fully enjoy this dish, it’s good to eat it with grilled fish.

Beef rendang

In the Minangkabau region, you won’t have to travel far to find a dish of beef rendang. It’s a popular meal of slow-cooked beef and a flavorful sauce. Cinnamon, coconut milk, lemongrass, ginger, cardamom, garlic, galangal, and star anise all go into the latter, ensuring it really speaks to your senses.

Gado gado

It’s amazing the combinations that work well together, despite seeming like a weird mixture on paper. Gado gado is a great example of this, as it’s a dish that brings together a wide variety of ingredients. Potatoes, tofu, boiled vegetables, and tempeh make up this delicious salad, which is topped off nicely with a peanut sauce. Said sauce is slightly different from pecel because it contains coconut milk.

Nasi goreng

What do you typically do with leftovers? If you live in Indonesia, you might turn it into a new dish. That’s what they did with their rice, resulting in the creation of nasi goreng. Combined with soy sauce, ginger, garlic, shallots, and pepper, it gives a whole new meaning to leftovers. Throw in a fried egg and some krupuk for good measure, and you’ve got quite the meal.

You never have to worry about going hungry in Indonesia. The country has more than enough specialties to keep you satisfied for as long as you’re there.