Indonesian food is prepared in a manner unlike other cuisine. They make use of the fresh spices and herbs in order to intensify and complement the other ingredients in the dish. If you are a fan of Indonesian food, you have to try the list of dishes below.

The following article post originally appeared on and was written by Mark Wiens.

Why is Indonesian food so delicious?

As I was about to dig into a plate of Nasi Padang, a nice man sitting at the table next to me said:

“It’s because Indonesian food is based on fresh spices and herbs.”

And when you and I look at the list of food below, and notice the fresh herbs and multitude of spices used in Indonesian cooking, it truly is a huge contributing factor as to why Indonesian cuisine is so flavorful and exciting to eat.

In this blog post I’m going to share with you 50 incredibly delicious Indonesian foods. Get ready for a serious Indonesian culinary journey!

Indonesian Food: 50 Dishes

Before we get started, I just want to make it clear that this is not an exhaustive or complete list of food in Indonesia (there are thousands of Indonesian dishes), but it’s a definite start to discovering the incredible cuisine of Indonesia. Some of the foods I included, such as durian and petai, are simply because I love them so much.

For each of the dishes listed in this Indonesian food guide I’ve included the dish, and if possible, the restaurant where I ate it in Jakarta (you may also be interested in my Jakarta travel guide).

This list is not in any particular order.

1. Sate Ayam / Sate Kambing (satay)

I’ve had a lot of different types of sate (or satay) in Southeast Asia, but there’s nothing that compares to real Indonesian sate; In my opinion you’ll find some of the absolute best sate in Asia within Indonesia. in Indonesia you’ll find many different types and varieties of sate, but two of the common versions in Jakarta at sate ayam (chicken sate) and sate kambing (goat sate).

One of the common recipes includes the meat marinated in sweet kecap manis soy sauce, before being skewered. I think is the main reason why Indonesian sate is so good, is because the skewers of meat are typically grilled on an extremely hot charcoal fire, so the meat cooks quickly, while leaving it smoky and juicy.

Where: Sate H. Romli in south Jakarta serves delicious sate ayam and sate kambing. Address: Jalan Kyai Maja No.21, Melawai, Kby. Baru, Kota Jakarta Selatan, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta; Open hours: 10 am – 12 midnight daily; Prices: I paid 67,000 IDR ($4.99) for 2 plates of sate.

2. Sate Padang (Padang satay)

Sate Padang is such a unique (and delicious) type of Indonesian sate that I had to include it in this food guide as its own. Originally from Padang, a food lovers province on the west coast of Sumatra, Sate Padang seems to have a cult following among food lovers – and after I had my first plate, I completely understand why.

The skewers of meat, which often include beef pieces, beef tongue, and offal, are first marinated in a mixture of spices, then grilled over hot flaming charcoal, and finally they are often served over sliced up compressed rice cake, called ketupat, and then covered in a thick brown colored sauce, and sprinkled with crispy shallots. The result of Sate Padang is not the prettiest dish you’ll ever see, but the taste is incredible.

Where: Ajo Ramon Sate Padang is one of the most well known names in Jakarta when it comes to Sate Padang lovers, and I couldn’t believe how good it was. Address: Pasar Santa Jalan Cipaku 1 Jakarta; Open hours: 5 pm – 10 pm daily; Price: 25,000 IDR for a plate of sate and rice cakes.

3. Ayam Bakar Taliwang (grilled chicken)

Have you ever eaten three chickens by yourself in one meal? When you eat ayam bakar Taliwang, not only are the grilled chickens so good you might be able to eat three of them by yourself, but they are also very small because they either free range chickens or sometimes spring chickens.

This type of grilled chicken originates from the island of Lombok, and it’s popular with spicy grilled chicken lovers throughout Indonesia. When I saw the amount of chilies caked onto my ayam bakar Taliwang, I knew I was in for a life-changing grilled chicken experience, and it was true.

The chicken itself was so flavorful, and not too tender, but with just enough texture so that with every bite it kept releasing more chicken juices, kind of like that crazily juicy chicken I ate in Osaka. But along with just being a flavorful chicken from the start, it was beautifully spicy. Ayam Bakar Taliwang is one of the dishes you don’t want to miss if you love spicy food.

Where: In Jakarta, you can try Ayam Taliwang Rinjani, I thought it was amazing, especially the super extra pedas chicken. Address: Jalan Pesanggrahan Raya No. 50, Puri Indah, Jakarta; Open hours: 10 am – 10 pm daily; Prices: We had 3 chickens and a few side dishes for 165,000 IDR ($12.39).

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