Indonesian Foods and Drinks You Must Try

Find out all you need to know about the best Indonesian food and drinks before your trip.

Indonesia, an archipelago of over 17,000 islands, boasts a rich tapestry of flavors shaped by its unique geography and cultural diversity. From the fiery rendang of Sumatra to the fragrant nasi goreng of Java, Indonesian cuisine is a harmonious blend of spices, herbs, and fresh ingredients that captivate the senses. In this article, we explore the vibrant markets, street food stalls, and traditional eateries that showcase the authentic essence of Indonesian culinary traditions.

  • From the coconut-infused richness of Balinese dishes to the bold and fiery flavors of Padang cuisine, understanding the diverse regional influences is key to appreciating the complexity and variety of Indonesian food.
  • Rice is the staple food in Indonesia and serves as the foundation of most meals. Nasi (rice) is often accompanied by a variety of flavorful side dishes, including meats, vegetables, and savory sauces.
  • Indonesian cuisine is renowned for its use of spices, creating dishes that are rich, aromatic, and often spicy.

Must-Try Indonesia Foods

Here are the top dishes of the Indonesia food scene that will help you eat like a local:

nasi goreng indonesian food

Nasi Goreng

A quintessential Indonesian dish, Nasi Goreng is a fragrant and savory fried rice, often served with a combination of meats, vegetables, and a fried egg on top. Flavored with a blend of sweet soy sauce, shallots, garlic, tamarind, and chili, Nasi Goreng is a versatile dish that can be found throughout the archipelago, with variations in ingredients reflecting regional preferences.

rendang indonesian food


Hailing from the Minangkabau ethnic group in West Sumatra, Rendang is a slow-cooked dry curry renowned for its rich and complex flavors. Typically made with beef, the dish involves simmering meat in coconut milk and a medley of aromatic spices until it becomes tender and infused with a thick, flavorful sauce. Rendang is often served during special occasions and celebrations.

satay indonesian food


Satay is a beloved Indonesian street food consisting of skewered and grilled meat, usually served with a side of peanut sauce. Chicken, beef, and lamb are common choices for the skewers, and the meat is marinated in a blend of turmeric and other spices before being grilled to perfection. Satay is a popular snack or appetizer enjoyed throughout Indonesia.


Gado-Gado is a refreshing Indonesian salad that combines a variety of blanched or steamed vegetables, such as potatoes, green beans, and bean sprouts, with tofu, tempeh, and hard-boiled eggs. The dish is generously dressed with a savory peanut sauce, creating a harmonious blend of textures and flavors. Gado-Gado is a favorite choice for those seeking a light and nutritious meal.

Soto Ayam

Soto Ayam is a traditional Indonesian chicken soup that varies across regions but typically includes shredded chicken, vermicelli noodles, and a flavorful broth made with turmeric, lemongrass, and galangal. Toppings may include hard-boiled eggs, lime, and fried shallots. Soto Ayam is often enjoyed as a comforting and hearty meal, and its recipe can vary from one island to another.


A delightful Indonesian dessert, Klepon is a sweet treat originating from Java. These bite-sized, green-colored rice cake balls are filled with liquid palm sugar and coated in grated coconut. The combination of the chewy texture of the rice cake, the burst of sweet liquid from the palm sugar, and the nuttiness of the grated coconut creates a unique and satisfying dessert experience. Klepon is often enjoyed during special occasions and celebrations, offering a sweet conclusion to a traditional Indonesian meal

Must-Try Indonesian Drinks

Es Cendol

A popular and refreshing drink, Es Cendol is a traditional Indonesian concoction that combines pandan-flavored jelly noodles, sweetened coconut milk, palm sugar, and shaved ice. The result is a sweet and aromatic beverage with a unique texture, offering a delightful combination of flavors that are especially cherished on hot and humid days. Es Cendol is a beloved street food drink enjoyed throughout Indonesia.

Bali Coffee

For coffee enthusiasts, Bali Coffee provides a rich and distinct Indonesian coffee experience. Grown in the highlands of Bali, the coffee is known for its bold flavor and aromatic profile. Whether enjoyed black, with sugar, or condensed milk, Bali Coffee offers a satisfying and robust caffeine kick. Sipping Bali Coffee in a local warung (small eatery) or at a traditional market provides a genuine taste of the island’s coffee culture.

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