Indonesian food can be summed up in two words: delicious and inexpensive. Whether street food or actual restaurant, whether on Sumatra, Java, or somewhere further east, it is pretty hard to go wrong in this culinary country.

I’ve eaten some amazing meals that cost only 15,000 rupiah ($1.50 USD) yet have left me so stuffed I had to get a take-away box for the unfinished portions. The cheapest meal so far cost a mere 7,000 rupiah ($0.70 USD) — a vegetable dish covered in peanut sauce and chili peppers called gado-gago (also known as lotek).

In Jakarta nine of us had an amazing dinner for a grand total of less than $20 USD

Indonesian food at Bubur Ayam Sukabumi

Eating some amazing Indonesian food with some fantastic friends at Bubur Ayam Sukabumi in Jakarta. (Notice my crutches in the background?) ;)

Yes, here in Indonesia street food is very popular and the street restaurants are known as warung. Some of the larger warung will actually have a little dining area setup. Those ones are the best because you know they always have great food if there are tables out for people to eat at, rather than the vendors with nothing more than a cart on wheels who serve their dishes in a plastic to-go bag. Of course those guys are also amazing, so don’t rule them out too quickly.

Indonesian Street Food Restaurant

Indonesian street food vendor in Yogyakarta

Indonesian Street Chef

Indonesian street chef dicing up the ayam (chicken)…

Indonesian Street Chef

…and then comes the mie goreng (fried noodles).

Here is a basic cheat-sheet for ordering Indonesian food

The HoliDaze Indonesian Food Cheat-Sheet

The HoliDaze Indonesian Food Cheat-Sheet.
Feel free to print it out and use it on your trip, that’s why I made it.

 

And Now What You’ve All Been Waiting For…Food Porn!

Nasi Taliwang

Taliwang   Whole baby chicken with rice and sambal, a delicious spicy chili sauce


Soto Ayam Nasi

Soto Ayam Nasi   Fantastic chicken/noodle/vegetable soup with rice (which you add into the soup)


Ayam Bakar Bumbu Rujak

Ayam Bakar Bumbu Rujak   Barbequed chicken with spicy chili sauce and rice


Batagor in Bandung

Batagor   Fried fish and tofu topped with peanut sauce, soy sauce, AND chili sauce, plus a dash of lime juice (a famous Bandung dish)


Nasi Goreng Ayam Spesial

Nasi Goreng Ayam Spesial — fried rice with chicken/vegetables + egg (that’s the special part)


Bakso Daging

Bakso Daging   Meatball and noodle soup


Mie Goreng Ayam

Mie Goreng Ayam   Fried noodles with chicken and vegetables (similar to ramen but much tastier)


Mie Goreng Ayam

A slightly different Mie Goreng Ayam from a different street vendor just 20 meters away from the one above


Indonesian Food Take-Away

Take away food is often served on a banana leaf and then wrapped in paper and tossed in a paper bag. This is Nasi Ayam Sambal Ijo (chicken and rice with green chili sauce instead of red — hence the ijo)

Of course there is more to Indonesian food then just the street vendors and small shanty restaurants. I’ve also tried the Indonesian food at fancy restaurants with much less success. Don’t get me wrong, the food was still good. But considering how expensive it was ($30 USD for two people) and the fact that the food tasted exactly the same as that which cost $2 USD, it just was not worth it. Especially for backpackers and other budget travelers.

Notice the prices on the menu below (roughly 11,000 rupiah = $1 USD)

Indonesian Food Menu & Prices

The menu from Cafe Anna, a restaurant on Lombok and one of my favorites in the entire country.

In closing, the food mentioned and photographed here in no way represents the entire Indonesian cuisine. There is much more to be found, especially as you travel the many different regions of this incredibly diverse country. However these are definitely the basics and a great place to start tickling your tastebuds.

Hungry yet?

  Be sure to check out my new posts on Indonesia for more great sights and activities! Saya tinggal disini sekarang!

Been to Indonesia? What was your favorite dish?

Share your comments below!

About The Author

Derek Freal is a cultural enthusiast and perpetual wanderer, as well as the founder of the HoliDaze travel community. He loves going locations where he does not speak a word of the local language and must communicate with hand gestures, as well as places where he is forced to squat awkwardly to poo (supposedly its healthier and more efficient). If you tell him he cannot go somewhere, well I guarantee that will be the next spot he visits. For more view Derek's bio or stalk him on the social sites below....