Indonesian Food

10 Regional Cuisines

There are basically ten main regions of Indonesian cuisine, however some that originated in Indonesia have now become internationally known, such as nasi goreng, gado-gado, satay, beef rendang, and sambal as well as being considered as Indonesian national dishes.

Central Java

Central Java food is known for its sweetness, gudeg, a curry made from jackfruit, is a particularly sweet as well as  ayam goreng (fried chicken) and kelepon (green rice-flour balls with palm sugar filling).


Madura is an island on the northeastern coast of Java. Madura foods add petis ikan which is made from fish instead of shrimp. The Madura style satay is probably the most popular satay variants in Indonesia.


Balinese dishes include lawar (chopped coconut, garlic, chili, with pork or chicken). Bebek betutu, duck stuffed with spices & wrapped in banana leaves. Basa rajang a spice paste is a basic ingredient . 

West Sumatra  (Minangkabau cuisine)

Buffaloes are a symbol of West Sumatra and used in rendang, a rich and spicy buffalo or beef dish. Padang food comes from West Sumatra and is probably the most popular regional dish in Indonesia.


Other areas include Sunda (West Java), East Java, North & South Sumatra and North & South Sulawesi.



Indonesian cuisine is diverse, partly because Indonesia comprises approximately 6,000 islands and many regional cuisines exist based upon these geographic, as well as cultural and external influences.


Throughout its history, Indonesia has been involved in trade due to its location and natural resources,  Indonesia’s indigenous techniques and ingredients were influenced by India, the Middle East, China, and finally Spanish and Portuguese traders brought New World produce even before the Dutch came to colonize Indonesia. The Moluccas (Maluku) islands became famous as "the Spice Islands".


Staples, Spices & Sauces

Rice is a staple and it holds the central place in Indonesian culture and shapes the landscape; is sold at markets; and is served in most meals both as a savoury and a sweet food. Other staple foods include starchy tubers such as; yam, sweet potato, potato, taro and cassava.


One of the main characteristics of Indonesian cuisine is the wide application of peanuts in many Indonesian signature dishes, such as satay, gado-gado, karedok, ketoprak, and pecel. Introduced from Mexico by Portuguese and Spanish merchants in 16th century, peanuts assumed a place within Indonesian cuisine as a key ingredient.