Most Popular Indonesian Street Foods
Bubur ayam, a thick rice porridge topped with shredded chicken and various savory condiments, is the Indonesian variant of chicken congee. This breakfast staple possibly comes from Chinese rice porridge, but to make an authentic Indonesian dish, it uses regionally available ingredients and toppings.
The method begins with boiling chicken (usually darker on the pieces of bone), and the rice is usually cooked with the same broth until it becomes thick in consistency. Bubur ayam can use a myriad of other ingredients, in addition to rice porridge and shredded chicken.
Sliced scallions, crunchy fried shallots, chopped cilantro, crushed peanuts, fried crullers, and sliced boiled eggs are normally topped. Bubur ayam is typically generously doused with soy sauce, sesame oil, or fish sauce before it is served. This chicken porridge is not too spicy, unlike other typical Indonesian dishes, but the fiery sambal sauce can, if desired, be served on the side.
Bubur ayam is one of Indonesia’s most popular street food varieties – numerous street vendors can be seen selling this soothing porridge as a nutritious breakfast dish each morning.
In Indonesian Yogyakarta, the most common dish is called gudeg, a unique dish made with unripe jackfruit cooked in coconut milk. The dry and wet Gudeg are the two most common varieties. The same ingredients are used in both varieties, but dry gudeg uses less coconut milk, cooks longer and has a much thicker sauce.
The dry variety is more frequent today because it is simpler to consume and transport it. It is a genuine Indonesian dish that is typically sold by street vendors or at specialized restaurants in Gudeg. White rice, chicken, hard-boiled eggs, tempeh, or tofu are the most popular condiments served with Gudeg.
It is usually wrapped in besek – a rectangular box made of bamboo leaves – when purchased at street stalls. The dish is eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and Gudeg food stalls are usually open from early morning to late at night.
One of the many Indonesian rice-based dishes is Nasi uduk. Along with lemongrass, garlic, pandan leaves, and cinnamon, rice in nasi uduk is cooked in coconut milk. The process results in beautifully soft, fragrant rice, and each part is usually topped with fried shallots right before it is served.
It is a dish that is rarely eaten on its own, but served with a selection of side dishes and condiments instead. A selection of stewed and fried meat, rice noodles, eggs, tempeh, tofu, fried anchovies, and rice crackers are most often eaten in addition to rice.
Regular sambal, the spicy Indonesian hot sauce, or peanut sambal are the most common condiments served with nasi uduk. However, it is usually the customer who can choose the additional ingredients and create their version of the meal.
The dish is usually served at warungs, traditional Indonesian restaurants, or in food stalls in Indonesia. Already cooked and wrapped in fresh banana leaves, it can also be purchased. It is assumed that Nasi uduk originated in Jakarta, but it can also be found in other parts of Indonesia.
Bakso is a popular meatball soup made in Indonesia. As several other dishes in Indonesia, it originated from the country’s Asian and European influences. There are several variants of bakso in Indonesia, but all of them have three primary ingredients: broth, noodles, and meatballs.
The consistency of the meatballs, which should have a springy feel, is what separates bakso from other Asian varieties. While bakso is basically street food, from outdoor eateries to elegant restaurants, it can be found anywhere. Wontons, hard-boiled eggs, or tofu are typically the garnishes, which are additionally added.
With a splash of chili or soy sauce, the dish is usually served hot.
Pempek is a traditional Indonesian fish cake made with ground fish meat and tapioca. The actual origin of this dish is the city of Palembang, situated in the South Sumatra province. An old Palembang citizen was tired of traditional fried or grilled fish, the original story of Pempek says, so he thought of a creative way to ground the seafood, combine it with tapioca flour, and fry it deep to get a crunchy and delicious snack.
Then he used to ride through the town and sell the fish cakes to the people of Palembang. Pempek has been recognized over time as a snack worthy of praise, and today it is considered to be a traditional Indonesian delicacy. These round or rectangular cakes are typically steamed, and they are fried in vegetable oil right before serving and cut into bite-sized bits.
Typical accompaniments are sliced cucumbers, noodles, or rice, and the standard sweet and sour sauce is typically served on the side to encourage customers to adapt the flavors to their taste.
Siomay is an Indonesian dish consisting of fish dumplings, eggs, potatoes, cabbage, tofu, and bitter melon, steamed cone-shaped. All ingredients are assembled on a plate after they have been steamed, cut into bite-size pieces, and generously drizzled with a spicy peanut sauce.
A splash of sweet soy and chili sauce is the final touch to the dish, along with a drizzle of lime juice. Siomay is an everyday dish in Indonesia that is especially beloved by students. At hawker centers, it is a popular staple (traditional Indonesian outdoor food courts).
Chinese culinary tradition has strongly influenced the dish, and it is believed to have originated among Chinese immigrants who came to Indonesia during the Dutch colonial era.
The Indonesian equivalent of a mixed salad is Gado-gado. Typically, it consists of a selection of vegetables, eggs, tofu, and tempeh. Usually, the vegetables are just slightly boiled, tossed with a nutty sauce, then finished with crispy prawn crackers added.
Traditionally, the sauce was made with cashews, but peanuts are more popular today due to lower prices and availability. The meal, which has been present in Indonesian culture since the 16th century, is a true representation of Indonesian street food.
It originated among Jakarta’s indigenous people, but it can be found today in all parts of Indonesia. On its own, Gado-gado can be a whole dish, but the addition of rice, rice crackers, or chicken can also improve it. Usually sold by street vendors or hawker centers, this classic Indonesian street food can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
The traditional Indonesian variant of a vegetable salad is called Karedok. Fresh and raw ingredients that are sliced and served with a traditional peanut sauce are needed in this simple and safe dish. Karedok’s most popular vegetables include cucumbers, cabbage, green beans, Thai basil, bean sprouts, and eggplant, but it is also possible to use other vegetables.
The sauce is made with salt, palm sugar, and chili by grinding fried peanuts together. With other ingredients, such as shrimp paste or garlic, the taste of the sauce may be changed. Karedok is frequently contrasted with another Indonesian specialty, gado-gado, due to the use of peanut sauce, but it is still differentiated by the use of only raw ingredients.
Karedok originated in West Java and is identified historically with the ethnic group of the Sundanese. Karedok can be found in food stalls, traditional hawker-style food courts, and restaurants in Indonesia. For the Sundanese community, however, it represents a regular meal, eaten at any time of the day, and it is typically served along with traditional Asian crackers of rice, tofu, tempeh and krupuk.
Rendang is a meat dish from Indonesia that originated in West Sumatra among the Minangkabau people. The dish is renowned for its spiciness and for its long cooking period. Due to its quality and special flavors, it is often compared to Indian curry.
The theory of how rendang was invented argues that the liberal use of spices and long cooking hours were used to preserve meat in hot and tropical climates, such as Indonesia, so unsurprisingly among the people of Minangkabau, the need to preserve meat for a longer duration emerged.
They were mostly merchants who endured long journeys and needed food that could remain fresh for weeks. The dish, however, has a more symbolic significance for them, since the Minangkabau culture is represented by the key four ingredients used in rendang: meat symbolizes leaders, coconut is a symbol of scholars, chili represents religious leadership, and other spices mean the rest of society.
Today, rendang has surpassed Indonesian borders and has a reputation as one of the most delicious dishes in the world.
Satay is an Indonesian dish that is popular and versatile. It consists of meat eaten with a gravy, skewered. All types of meat, including some of the rare varieties such as crocodile or snake meat, may be used to make satay, but the important thing is to marinate the meat before grilling.
Satay is believed to have originated in the Java region of Indonesia and to have been founded under the influence of Muslim traders migrating from India. Another theory argues that, as a variant of Indian kebabs, satay was developed by Indonesian street vendors in the 19th century.
The theory is supported by the fact that satay became popular when Muslim and Arab immigrants populated those areas. From the moment it originated in Java, satay has quickly spread throughout Southeast Asia, and eventually all over the world. The popularity of satay resulted in a number of varieties of the dish.
It has become a national dish in Indonesia and it can be found everywhere nowadays, from street vendors to high-class restaurants. Peanut, soya, or pineapple sauce are the most popular sauces served with satay.