Its not hard to understand why people love food. Food is more than a form of sustenance for many, it is a way of life, and an indulgence for some. A bite into the same dish can taste vastly different when prepared and paired in another method. Read on to find out more about the Indonesian culture and food and what you cannot missed out about this cuisine.

The following article post originally appeared on https://edition.cnn.com/ and was written by Sara Schonhardt.

At a poll CNN did a few years ago, our readers voted rendang the most delicious food in the world. Now it’s high time to give culinary credentials to that islands-sprawling nation of Indonesia. Its food deserves some time in the limelight.
Here we run through a mouth-watering array of broth-soaked noodles, fiery curries, banana-wrapped fish and vegetable salads with sweet peanut dressing.
Here are 40 dishes we just can’t live without.

1. Sambal

While technically more of a condiment, the chili-based sauce known as sambal is a staple at all Indonesian tables.
Dishes aren’t complete unless they’ve a hearty dollop of the stuff, a combination of chilies, sharp fermented shrimp paste, tangy lime juice, sugar and salt all pounded up with mortar and pestle. So beloved is sambal, some restaurants have made it their main attraction, with options that include young mango, mushroom and durian.
Pedas Abis, Waroeng Spesial Sambal, Jl. RM. Said No.39, Solo, Surakarta

2. Satay

These tasty meat skewers cook up over coals so hot they need fans to waft the smoke away. Whether it’s chicken, goat, mutton or rabbit, the scrappy morsels get marinated in turmeric, barbecued and then bathed in a hearty dose of peanut sauce.
Other nations now lay claim to sate, but Indonesians consider it a national dish conceived by street vendors and popularized by Arab traders. Each vendor seeks distinction, but “sate madura” — served with rice cakes (ketupat) and diced cucumber and onion — is distinguished by its boat-shaped street carts.
Sate Ragusa serves legendary satay that dates to the 1950s. Its signature spaghetti ice cream is a perfect dish to cleanse the palate after a meal.
Sate Ragusa, Jl. Veteran 1 No. 10, Gambir, Jakarta

3. Bakso

A favorite among students, this savory meatball noodle soup gained international fame when U.S. President Barack Obama remembered it as one of his favorites during a visit to Jakarta.
The meatballs — springy or rubbery, the size of golf balls or bigger — are made from chicken, beef, pork or some amorphous combination of them all. Sold mostly from pushcarts called kaki lima, bakso comes garnished with fried shallots, boiled egg and wontons.
Bakso Lapangan Tembak Senayan, Jl. Gerbang Pemuda 1, Senayan, Jakarta

4. Soto

This traditional meat soup comprises a broth and ingredients that vary across the archipelago.
Common street versions are made of a simple, clear soup flavored with chicken, goat or beef. In Jakarta, home of the indigenous Betawi, soto Betawi garners fame with its sweet, creamy, coconut-milk base. It’s usually topped with crispy shallots and fried garlic, and as much or little sambal as taste buds can take.
Kafe Betawi, No. 1, Grand Indonesia Mall, West Mall Lt. LG No. 08, Jalan MH. Thamrin No.1, Jakarta; +62 21 2358 0501
Soto Madura, Jl. Ir. H. Juanda No. 16, Gambir, Jakarta

5. Nasi goreng

Considered Indonesia’s national dish, this take on Asian fried rice is often made with sweet, thick soy sauce called kecap (pronounced ketchup) and garnished with acar, pickled cucumber and carrots. To add an element of fun to the experience, diners can try nasi gila (or “crazy rice”) and see how many different kinds of meat they can find buried among the grains — yes, those are hot dog slices.

Menteng Plaza, Lantai Ground, Jl. HOS. Cokroaminoto No. 79, Menteng, Jakarta
Read the full version of the article here.