Food & Drinks in Indonesia

The diversity of Indonesian dishes is delight to the palettes of tourists from around the glove. As a seafaring region, it offers a lot of sea fare. Sea food dishes are included in the traditional cuisine of this region. Dishes that include prawns, crabs, lobster and oysters are popular in this part of the world, and when served with sweet potatoes, cassava, corn, sago or rice, a traditional Indonesian meal is a prepared.

Indonesia is a taste bud delight for traveling foodies.

The blended ethnicities of the region have also created a blending of ethnic foods. It's a blend of West and Indian foods with Chinese foods primarily. And this fusion of culinary delights has crossed borders into Singapore's Padang and Minangkabau. In Indonesia, Java, Sumatra and Madura have become famous for their Satay, which is diced beef, lamb or chicken dipped in sauce.

Whilst Indonesian food is primarily a blend of Chinese and Indian foods, it is also strongly influenced by food from the Middle East, Europe and North American foods. And there are hints of foods that have stayed with the region since the time of the Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish colonists, foods that evolved over time and have become Indonesian. Visitors can also find international cuisine in cities like Jakarta, like French, Italian Japanese and Korean food.

In the typical Indonesian household, the meal is set to cook by late morning and simply left on the stove. Indonesians traditionally eat when they please, off and on throughout the day, rather than having a traditional sit-down meal with the family. The food is reheated when needed, especially rice dishes that can keep a little longer than most meat dishes. Most main meals are eaten at midday rather than in the evening. Some European countries have this same tradition. The English, for instance, traditionally have their main meal at midday and a light tea or supper in the evening.

Rice is a staple in Indonesia and a food dating back at least 2000 years, with the occasional substitution of sweet potato or cassava or even sago. The Indonesians use rice for everything, including their deserts. There are two kinds of rice used most often in Indonesian food. They include nasi ketan which is more glutinous rice used primarily for deserts and sweets, and nasi putih, which is a long-grain rice used most often in main meals.

When dining in an Indonesian restaurant expect to see a lot of seafood from squid to shark, all cooked and served in ways that are traditionally Indonesian. Be adventurous and try something you've never tried before.

Indonesian cooks also use a lot of coconut in the food. They have easy access to fresh fruits like papaya, oranges, bananas and pineapple, all grown locally as well as a variety of fresh vegetables. The soil for growing crops in Indonesia is rich and fertile, so between that and an ocean full of sea life, food is always fresh.

Spices in Indonesia

The use of spices is important the Indonesian meal. Indonesian taste buds require lots of it. They enjoy hot red and green peppers on everything from vegetable dishes to salads.

Indonesia is rich with exotic spices, especially pepper, nutmeg and cloves. Spices have brought people to Indonesia for centuries - traders from China, India, the Middle East and even Africa came to trade for spices.

Ethnic Influences

Indonesian food is heavily influenced by foods from countries with Hinduism as it's primary religion, unlike most other regions in Southeast Asia. Provinces that still have examples by way of ruin of ancient Buddhist or Hindu sites influenced those provinces that are still enjoy foods from those cultures. These foods are generally rich in curry, coriander, cumin caraway and ginger, spices most often added to sauce and watered down a little with coconut milk.

Islamic Food Influences

When the Arab seafaring traders began to settle in Java many centuries ago, they brought Islam with them and spread those religious teachings long before the Christian missionaries arrived from Europe. While the food they brought with them was Arabic, Islam, the religion they brought with them restricts certain foods from the Indonesian menu. Indonesia is a largely Muslim country and pork is forbidden in most of the country, other than on the island of Bali. Bali is primarily Hindu with some Chinese ethnicity. Arab tastes have a strong influence in Indonesia, however. They brought kebabs and even more spices or herbs like fennel and dill.

Chinese Food Influences

Indonesians use a wok to cook and stir fry their ingredients much like the Chinese. The traditional wok was brought to Indonesia by traders and has become traditional to Indonesia. The Chinese also brought soybeans, noodles, Chinese cabbage, mung beans, mustard greens and daikon radish. These foods have now become part of Indonesia cookery, joining the fusion of multiple ethnic foods.

Dutch Food in Indonesia

Centuries ago, the Dutch arrived at the spice island of Maluku in Indonesia and warred over the spices. The island was rich in cloves and nutmeg and the Dutch wanted it. The colonized the region in time and brought foods with them from other parts of the world like Mexican chili, carrots, peanuts, and string beans. The were also responsible for bringing sweet potatoes, cassava, corn and potatoes into Indonesia, as well as a huge variety of fruits. All these foods have blended into Indonesian cuisine, creating the regions vast variety of everyday meals.