Indonesian cuisine is as exciting and diverse as its culture. Spread out across 17,000 islands; the archipelagic country presents a multitude of traditional foods with their recipes and facts. This is why Indonesian cuisine varies from region to region, but they mostly carry similar roots to Middle Eastern, Indian, European, and Chinese cuisines.
Concerning varieties, we’re not just talking about their differences in recipes and influences. Their vibrant urban areas (for example in Jakarta) mean that they have different outlets for their cuisines – from the street vendors to the high-end restaurants, Indonesia has it all. All you need to do is check food near you on your smartphone, and you’ll get a considerable price range at your fingertips.
If you think that Indonesia is an archipelagic country and therefore only serve fish dishes, you should think again.
They’ve got it all.
From the sinful and famous Beef Rendang to the healthy vegetarian options such as Gado-Gado, to indulgent desserts.
We’ve prepared a comprehensive list for you to look through vegetarian dishes, main courses, snacks and street foods, desserts, and drinks. Scroll through and find out which one will be your next favorite.
1. Pepes Jamur
Pepes is an Indonesian cooking method where they use banana leaf as food wrappings. After filling it with food, the banana leaf is then secured with a tiny nail made of coconut leaf. It’s then grilled or steamed, depending on the recipe.
Pepes Jamur is one of the variants of Pepes where they use mushroom as their ingredients. The mushroom is seasoned and steamed, then served with rice and sambal. It’s not very filling, so you may want to order two or something else as a side dish.
2. Pepes Tahu
Another version of Pepes, Pepes Tahu uses tofu as their main ingredient. The tofu is mixed with seasoning, onions and whole green chilis to give it more kick. Be careful when you eat your Pepes, as you might find one whole chili in one bite.
3. Sayur Asem
Sayur Asem is sour soup when you directly translate it. It’s a favorite Javanese vegetable in tamarind soup. Common ingredients are peanuts, corn, jackfruit, melinjo, chayote, long beans, all cooked in tamarind based soups.
You usually eat Sayur Asem with other side dishes such as meat or fried chicken. It’s served with rice and sambal.
4. Jengkol Balado
Jengkol is called dogfruit in English; it’s a starchy chewy vegetable that needs to be heated before consuming, as its original texture is quite hard. The aroma is very pungent, so it takes a little bit of getting used to; but once you do, you’ll never look back.
Jengkol Balado is simply Jengkol cooked in sambal made from red chili paste, shallots and spices. The result is spicy Jengkol that’s stinky and delicious!
These stink beans pack quite a punch when you eat them. Although it smells quite bad, similar to Jengkol, it has an acquired taste that leaves you wanting more when you get used to eating. Petai can be eaten raw with sambal and rice; you can also deep fry them and incorporate petai into other dishes.
6. Plecing Kangkung
Kangkung is water spinach, and plecing kangkung is a spicy water spinach dish from the island of Lombok. The water spinach is blanched and served cold together with beansprouts, and the plecing sambal. Eat them sparingly as Lombok is famous for making some of the hottest dishes!
7. Sayur Lodeh
Sayur Lodeh is a straightforward vegetable soup that’s commonly served as a side dish for your main meal. You can also find it served in Indonesian homes everywhere, as it’s relatively easy to make.
The ingredients could include long bean, eggplant, and tempeh, and it’s cooked in a borth made out of spices and coconut milk. The result is a very savory soup that smooth and refreshing.
8. Gado Gado
Gado Gado or Mix Mix is popular vegetarian street food that’s well known throughout Indonesia. It’s even considered as one of the national dishes of Indonesia. The ingredients are slightly boiled, blanched vegetables, boiled potato, hard-boiled eggs, tofu and tempeh, and rice cakes, served with some peanut sauce.
This vegetarian dish consists of tofu, vegetables, rice cakes, vermicelli and crackers drenched in peanut sauce. Ketoprak is typical street food that you can find anywhere on the streets of Jakarta. The price is low, and it has a generous portion; perfect for those hungry mornings.
10. Sate Ayam
Sate Ayam is plain and straightforward chicken satay that’s grilled on charcoal and drenched in a peanut dressing. They usually drizzle a bit of sweet soy sauce on top and give you some sambal to up the spiciness. You can either eat them with rice or with lontong or rice cakes.
11. Sate Padang
Sate Padang is a specialty satay originated from West Sumatera region. It’s made from small beef cubes with spicy sauce on top. The sauce is a thick yellow sauce from rice flour mixed with beef and offal broth and spices. Sate Padang is served with lontong or rice cakes.
12. Ayam Bakar Taliwang
Ayam Bakar Taliwang comes from the island of Lombok, and it’s a favorite among locals. It’s a very spicy grilled chicken that’s cooked in a sauce that’s a mixture of onions, garlic, tomatoes, red chili, brown sugar and shrimp paste. After it’s cooked in oil, it’s then charcoal grilled until tender.
13. Ikan Bakar
Ikan Bakar is charcoal grilled fish that’s very popular because Indonesia is an archipelagic nation. You can find Ikan Bakar anywhere, but we recommend you check out the places near the oceans as they will have the freshest seafood.
Just like typical Indonesian meal, Ikan Bakar is served with rice and several condiments such as chopped chili in soy sauce and sambal.
14. Pepes Ikan
Pepes Ikan is the most common version of pepes, originated in the West Java region of Indonesia. Ikan mas, patin, and lais are the favorite type of fish they use to make Pepes Ikan. The fish is first seasoned and prepared, before being steamed or grilled inside a banana leaf. Similar to other Indonesian recipes, it’s served with rice and sambal.
15. Babi Panggang
Babi Panggang is a variety of Indonesian grilled pork. Several recipes include ones from Batak tribe, Chinese influenced, and Dutch influenced.
The Batak Babi Panggang used blood as a dipping sauce and served with plain rice and sambal. The Chinese version is similar to char shiu. The Dutch version used a tomato based sauce and eaten with pickles.
16. Ayam Goreng
Ayam Goreng is a dish of chicken that’s deep fried in coconut oil. This version of deep-fried chicken doesn’t use batter; rather it’s only marinated until the spices seep into the chicken meat. Most often before deep frying, the chicken is already half cooked with yellowish color tinted in turmeric.
The chicken is deep fried until golden yellow, sometimes they add some deep fried spiced flour called Kremes to accompany the chicken. It’s then served with sambal and slices of cucumbers to cool down your palate.
17. Bebek Goreng
This dish can be found anywhere in Indonesia, from street vendors to high-end restaurants. Bebek Goreng is fried duck, and it’s usually served hot straight off the wok with rice and fresh vegetables.
The duck is deeply fried to give the skin its crispy texture and to avoid overworking the duck meat so that it won’t get tough. The variants in Jakarta usually give you two choices of sambal, red or green. Use them sparingly as they tend to use spicier sambal with ducks to cut through the fatty meat.
18. Pecel Lele
Pecel Lele is deep fried catfish that’s ubiquitous in Indonesia. They’re most commonly found to be sold by street vendors, under a tent right by housing complexes. The catfish is seasoned and deep fried into perfection, then paired with sambal, fresh vegetables, and some tempeh. It’s the traditional Indonesian fast food.
19. Ikan Goreng
Ikan Goreng merely is fried fish in Indonesian, and by fish, we mean any fish that’s available in Indonesia. The most common fish used for this dish are carp, gourami, and milkfish as the three have fine fishbone, crumby, crisp and edible.
Ikan Goreng is then served with two types of condiments. The first one is the soy sauce with chopped chilies, and the second one is the usual sambal.
20. Soto Betawi
This is a popular version of Soto that’s originated from the nation’s capital, the city of Jakarta. This uses many parts of the cow’s organs such as tripe, eyes, and liver. The broth is very uniquely Betawi; a mixture of milk and coconut milk.
Soto Betawi is usually sold on the streets of Jakarta, accompanied by rice and bitter cracker. Fresh and creamy at the same time, no wonder this dish is still a favorite among locals.
21. Sop Kaki Kambing
Sop Kaki Kambing is made from goat’s feet, and although it’s hard not to freak out, it’s quite tasty when you try it! The meat is cooked inside the creamy coconut milk broth until it’s tender and falls off the bone. Most Indonesians won’t mind getting their cholesterol levels up to get a taste of this dish, and it’s easy to understand why.
22. Sop Buntut
Sop Buntut or oxtail soup is very popular (not to mention expensive) in Indonesia. This dish is usually the expensive one on the menu, and if you know the process of making it, you wouldn’t complain about paying.
The ingredients are beef oxtail, fresh carrot, potato, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, salt, and onions. They’re left to stew on the stove for hours, and this is important because oxtail is very tough when you don’t let it cook for a long time.
The result is entirely worth it though, with a flavorful fall off the bone oxtail that’s perfectly paired with rice.
23. Coto Makassar
Coto Makassar is a variant of the traditional Soto we mentioned earlier. It’s made beef and innards such as intestine, liver, lungs, heart, tripe or brain. The broth is heavily seasoned and has a rich brown color. Coto Makassar is usually served with Burasa or rice cakes.
24. Sop Konro
Sop Konro is a dish originated from the region of South Sulawesi. It’s made with ribs or beef as main ingredients. The soup is brown and black, giving a hint on its rich flavor. It’s either eaten with ketupat or plain rice and crackers on the side.
Sop Konro also has another variation, where they skip the soup and serve it grilled – similar to barbecue ribs. It doesn’t matter which dish you’re ordering, as both are fall off the bone delicious!
25. Nasi Liwet
Nasi liwet is a succulent rice dish cooked in coconut milk, chicken broth, and spices. It’s originated from Solo, Central Java. The rice is cooked with salam leave and lemongrass, giving it a fresh hint.
It’s topped with a slice of omelet, shredded chicken and a spoonful of coconut cream. You can also get a side of chicken, boiled eggs, tempeh, and chayote as vegetables. It’s often served on a banana leaf, adding more aromatic to the dish.
26. Nasi Campur
Nasi Campur, also called nasi rames, is a dish of a scoop of nasi Putih accompanied by small portions of a number of other dishes. Those other dishes could include meat, vegetables, peanuts, eggs, and fried shrimp crackers.
The vendor could also provide you with bigger dishes such as fried chicken, beef or fish. The Balinese version of this dish switches the protein with some pork instead of the usual trifecta. Served with sambal, nasi campur is a tasty, satisfying meal where you can try a little bit of everything.
27. Bubur Ayam
Bubur Ayam means chicken congee in Indonesian, and it’s a common breakfast item that you can find anywhere within the country. The rice is cooked until it’s broken down and soft then mixed with a salty and sweet soy sauce.
Bubur Ayam is usually accompanied with shredded chicken, cakwe, and fried shallots. It’s the perfect dish to fill your stomach in the cold mornings.
28. Nasi Bali Babi Guling
Babi Guling is a pork dish originated from the island of Bali. The pig is stuffed with spices and vegetables then it’s spun on an open flame until it’s golden brown and beautifully crisp on the outside.
It was used for ceremonial, but now you can buy Nasi Babi Guling anywhere. You serve the Babi Guling with rice and sambal, and if required a wedge of lime to cut all the richness. This dish is very famous for having crispy pork skin, and it’s a must-have when you come to Bali.
29. Nasi Padang
Nasi Padang is steamed rice served with various choices of pre-cooked dishes from the Padang region. They usually display them nicely on the window of the restaurant or stack all the dishes in front of you to choose.
From the pyramid of dishes, you can choose which ones you want, and when you finish the waiter will come to your table and count up everything you eat to calculate your bill, like magic. An insider tip – if you’re into a more significant portion, always order to go, they usually give more rice and bigger pieces when you order takeaway.
Woku is a type of spice mixture found in Manado cuisine of North Sulawesi. The blend consists of ground spices paste, red ginger, turmeric, candlenut, and red chili pepper. Then it’s mixed with chopped shallot, scallion, tomato, lemon or citrus leaf, and lemongrass.
Different from the rich and decadent curry-like Sumatran dishes, this one is quite refreshing and packs a punch. The main proteins used for Woku is usually chicken or fish. The protein is rubbed in the spice mixture first for 30 minutes then cooked in oil to finish up.
31. Rica Rica
Rica Rica is a hot and spicy mixture that’s also found in Manado cuisine. But the difference is Rica Rica uses a lot of chopped or ground red and green chili peppers, aside from shallots, garlic, ginger, salt, and sugar. This gives Rica Rica a rich red color and richer flavor. Rica Rica is used to preparing barbecued meat, seafood or chicken.
32. Gulai Kepala Ikan
Gulai itself is a type of rich, spicy curry-like Indonesian sauce. Gulai sauce is then incorporated into the dish with your chosen protein or vegetables. In this case, Gulai Kepala Ikan is fish head drenched in the Gulai Sauce.
If you’re hesitating because you don’t feel like looking at the fish in its face, you should give it another try. The fish head proves to be one of the softest and most tender parts of the fish – try the cheek, and you’ll never go back.
33. Gulai Otak
Another version of Gulai is Gulai Otak or cattle brain curry. If you’re cringing again, the brain is quite tasty. It has a creamy texture that soaks up the sauce quite well and paired with rice; it could be one of the best Gulai you can try. Order them from a local Padang restaurant.
34. Beef Rendang
Dubbed as one of the best dishes in the world, Rendang is a must have when you go and visit Indonesia. This traditional dish comes from the region of West Sumatera, the tribe of Minangkabau. It’s served as a ceremonial dish to honor guests, usually during Ramadan or Eid holidays.
Rendang is traditionally prepared within several days, as the curry is cooked until it’s dry and develop a rich dark brown color and the meat is very tender. You can tell you’re almost done with your Rendang when the oil from the coconut milk is starting to separate from the sauce.
You can get Rendang almost anywhere, but we recommend getting them in West Sumatera, or at an authentic Padang restaurant such as Surya or Sederhana in Jakarta.
35. Nasi Gulai Solo
Nasi Gulai Solo comes from the Java region of Solo. It’s rice with goat curry on the side. The curry is thick and savory, and it’s accompanied with some sambal and prawn crackers.
Rawon is a strong, rich tasting Indonesian bee, black soup that was made initially in Surabaya, East Java. It uses black nuts or keluak that gives the Rawon soup its signature black color. The seasonings give the soup a nutty flavor as well.
The ingredients include cubed beef, lemongrass, galangal, bay leaves, kaffir lime leaves. Then the soup is topped with baby bean sprouts and fried shallots. On the side, you usually find a cup of rice and a handful of crackers.
Gudeg is the national dish of special region Yogyakarta.
38. Kuetiauw Goreng
Kuetiauw is a Chinese inspired Indonesian dish that you can also found in other regions of Southeast Asia. Kwetiauw is a stir-fried flat noodle dish, and in Indonesia, it’s made spicy and flavorful to please the local palate.
The noodles are mixed with local spices and vegetables and your choice of meat protein – seafood, beef, chicken, or pork. It’s very ubiquitous in Indonesia; you can find it sold in street vendors, carts, or even malls.
39. Kuetiauw Bun
Kwetiauw Bun is similar to Kwetiauw Goreng as they both use flat noodles, but Bun is wetter. This Kwetiauw is cooked with eggs and then served as the eggs are starting to heat up. The result is a creamy, delicious and velvety sauce that accompanies your chewy Kuetiauw.
Snacks and Street Foods
A popular street food, Bakso can be found anywhere in Indonesia, the best ones are always from the streets. Bakso is an Indonesian version of meatballs, made from beef mixed with starch and flour.
They usually use beef broth as the soup and let you pick your choice of noodles – white vermicelli or yellow egg noodles. You can also choose both and have a “mixed” noodle. Depending on your preference, they also offer the soup with beef organs like tripe.
41. Nasi Goreng
Nasi Goreng means fried rice in English; it’s a rice dish with pieces of meat and vegetables added. It’s usually made with yesterday’s old rice that already cooled down and broken down in starch, so it doesn’t stick together too much when cooked.
The rice is cooked in a big wok, then mixed with some sweet soy sauce, topped with any meat toppings you want – sausages, beef, chicken, vegetables, you name it. Then it’s topped with fried shallots and served hot with crackers.
42. Nasi Uduk
Nasi Uduk is fragrant rice that’s infused in coconut milk. It’s a Betawi style steamed rice originated from Jakarta. The rice is the main star of the dish, accompanies with any protein of your choice. They usually let you pick from fried chicken, fried tofu and tempeh, anchovy, shredded omelet, bihun, or fried beef.
43. Mie Goreng
Mie Goreng means fried noodles, a very famous fast food in Indonesia that you can find anywhere in the country. The noodles are cooked with soy sauce and topped with a protein or vegetables of your choice. You can have it with beef, chicken, seafood or vegetarian.
This is a very popular snack for people who are in a hurry and don’t care about their health, as it’s all deep-fried guilty pleasures.
There are many varieties to Gorengan; vegetable ones called bakwan, fried tofu, fried tempeh, tofu filled with vegetables and even banana fritters. Grab a small bag of Gorengan and mix and match the varieties, thank us later.
Rujak is similar to Malaysia’s Rojak. It’s a traditional fruit, and vegetable salad dish commonly found anywhere in Indonesia The most popular Rujak is Rujak Buah, a mixture of tropical fruits that are topped with spicy palm sugar dressing.
The dressing gives this dish a unique taste, sweet and spicy. And then it’s topped with crunchy peanuts as added texture. This is a way for you to consume your fruit but in a fun, adventurous way.
Pempek is a savory Indonesian fishcake from the region of Palembang in the island of Sumatera. The fish is mixed with flour to make a chewy textured fishcake, then deep fried and cut up into bite-sized pieces.
The pieces are drenched in a sour sauce called kuah cuka or vinegar sauce. Pempek can also be accompanied by yellow wheat noodles and some fresh cucumbers to cut through the sourness and richness.
Siomay is an Indonesian steamed fish dumpling, with vegetables served in peanut sauce. The vegetables they usually include are potatoes, cabbage, and bitter gourd. Another essential element to this dish is steamed tofu.
The ingredients are cut into small sized and drenched with peanut sauce, soy sauce, and sambal sauce. You can either have it in the streets or small food stalls.
Asinan is a pickled vegetable or fruit dish, commonly found in Java. The vegetables are soaked in salty water for a number of days before serving. It’s quite similar to Rujak, but it uses preserved fruits and vegetables instead.
The most popular ones are located on the island of Java – Asinan Betawi or Asinan Bogor. You can buy it in the market or at restaurants. The dish is best served cold and fresh.
49. Kerak Telor
They have Kerak Telor whenever they have celebrations in Jakarta. Kerak Telor is a dish that’s from the capital region, and the street vendors will sell it during Jakarta’s anniversary which is in June.
Kerak Telor is a spicy omelet dish made from glutinous rice cooked with egg and served with fried shredded coconut. It’s the perfect dish to chew on as you stroll around the festivities during Jakarta’s celebration.
50. Martabak Telor
This fried think egg pancake is rich and very satisfying, we hesitate to call it a snack. The real authentic Martabak Telur uses duck eggs instead of regular chicken eggs, as they use a large number of eggs.
The middle part of the Martabak is usually filled with a mixture of beef and, onions, and green onions. Then the thin outer layer is folded on top. It’s a mix of crunchy, soft and savory. Definitely worth the calories.
Cimol is a fried snack from Bandung region, made from starch. The ingredient is very simple, but the chewy texture and the seasoning of the sauce are very addictive. You can either have it with peanut base sauce or spicy vinegar sauce.
Cilok is a variant of Cimol, but instead of deep frying the dough ball, they either steam or boil it. The ball is drenched in the same sauces as they have for Cimol.
Seblak is an Indonesian savory and very spicy dish made of wet crackers cooked with a protein source (eggs, beef, chicken, sausages, or meatballs). It’s a specialty that comes from the West Java region.
This soup dish has become a phenomenon as of late, as they now have Seblak selling restaurants encouraging their customers in a challenge, with different levels of spiciness. We recommend sticking with mid-level spiciness, as it kicks you without losing the flavor of the dish.
54. Mie Ayam
Browse around the streets of Jakarta, and you’ll find carts everywhere selling this ubiquitous quick meal. Mie Ayam is Chicken Noodles, and it consists of chewy yellow wheat noodle, and minced chicken served in chicken broth. It’s a tasty, quick meal, as they have it ready in only 1 minute for you. You can also top your Mie Ayam with chicken feet if you’re up to it.
Cakwe is influenced by Chinese cuisine, usually had with porridge. It’s a deep-fried bread, with a long shape and crispy exterior. Aside from eating it with porridge or congee, Indonesians also eat it with some vinegar based sauce as a dipping condiment.
56. Martabak Terang Bulan
Martabak Manis, also known as Cake Martabak or Terang Bulan Martabak, is a sweet version of the Egg Martabak. It’s made of flour, milk, eggs, sugar, and butter. It’s very rich and decadent, but it’s a must-have when you visit Jakarta.
They tend to be a little more creative with the toppings and top the Martabak with many different sweets, such as Toblerone, Nutella or Ovomaltine.
57. Kue Apem
Kue Apem looks a lot like a cupcake, but when you bite into eating, you’ll notice that the taste and texture are very different. That’s because it’s made from rice flour and thick coconut cream instead of flour and milk. This makes Kue Apem more chewy and fragrant compared to cupcakes anywhere.
58. Kue Cubit
Any Indonesian child would know that Kue Cubit will be available for you to buy from the street vendor after you finish school. Kue Cubit is a very simple cake, made from flour and sugar. The texture is a mix between a cupcake and a pancake. Then it’s topped with chocolate sprinkles.
59. Lapis Legit
Lapis Legit is also known as Spekkoek; it was first developed during colonial times in Dutch East Indies, taking its inspiration from Dutch cuisine.
The firm-textured cake is a version of multi-layered spit cake. It contains a mix of Indonesian spices, like cardamom, cinnamon, clove, mace, and anise. It’s made of flour and yolk, very rich in butter or margarine.
The cake is usually served during celebrations and parties as welcoming food. A little goes a long way when it comes to Lapis Legit because it’s very rich in texture and sweet.
Serabi is an Indonesian version of a pancake. It’s made out of rice flour, coconut milk, and shredded coconut. The traditional taste is sweet, drenched in palm sugar. But now, just like a pancake, you can enjoy Serabi with savory tastes. Like oncom, chili corn, and others.
Lupis is a traditional sweet cake made from glutinous rice, filled with thick palm sugar syrup and drizzled with shredded coconuts. This dish is usually eaten during breakfast or as a side dish during afternoon tea time.
62. Bika Ambon
This delectable and decadent dessert is from the region of North Sumatra. It’s made from tapioca, flour, eggs, sugar, yeast and coconut milk. It usually has pandan flavor, but it also has other variants like durian, cheese, and chocolate.
The dessert cake is usually bought by Indonesians as a souvenir, and they bring it for other people when they visit. It’s very tasty and chewy, but you need to be careful as it’s high in calories thanks to the massive amount of eggs they incorporate to the dish.
63. Es Potong
Es Potong is Indonesia’s version of a popsicle stick. They usually use the tropical fruits grown in Indonesia available at their disposal to make these popsicles. The fruit is juiced or blended with coconut milk. They also have a red bean, red rice or green bean version of Es Potong.
64. Es Durian
They call Durian as the King of Fruits, and Indonesians love their durians. One of the ways they enjoy them is by eating Es Durian. The Durian flesh is mixed with jellies, condensed milk, chocolate, and water. It’s a very pungent and rich dessert, but if you like durian, this one is for you.
65. Kue Lumpur
Kue Lumpur or Mud Cake is a favorite among Indonesians. It’s commonly served during gatherings and celebrations as finger food. It’s made from potatoes, flour, eggs, and sugar, and it’s made into a very delicious, melt in your mouth cake. It’s topped with a single raisin in the middle of its circle.
66. Onde Onde
This chewy cake is from the region of Mojokerto in Java; legend has it that it was created during the ancient kingdom of Majapahit.
The exterior shell is made from flour, and they fill the inside with green bean paste then sprinkled with sesame seeds. You can get it from street vendors, while it’s still hot. That makes the cake extra delicious as you bite into the chewy dough and finds the sweet bean paste inside.
Klepon is a traditional green colored ball of rice cake, filled with liquid palm sugar and coated in grated coconut. It can also be found in Malaysia, Brunei, and Singapore.
The rice cake is boiled, then stuffed with the palm sugar, the green color is from pandan leaf which gives the rice cake a beautiful vanilla aroma. It very chewy and sweet, and you can buy a whole bag of them for a very low price anywhere in the streets of Jakarta.
68. Kopi Luwak
This drink is a unique and expensive drink, and if you don’t already know, you won’t believe the reason why it’s very expensive. Kopi Luwak is obtained from partially digested coffee cherries eaten and defecated by Asian palm civet (Luwak as they call it in Indonesia).
Fermentation occurs as the cherries past through the civet’s intestines, and that gives this coffee a very distinct aroma and flavor; which is why they’re so expensive.
Cendol is an iced sweet dessert, contains droplets of worm-like green rice flour jelly. It’s not just found in Indonesia, but also Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, and other Southeast Asian nations.
Other toppings include jackfruit, sweetened red azuki beans or durians. It very sweet as it uses palm sugar and coconut milk, one sip and you’ll find yourself hooked.
Cendol is usually served as an iftar drink during Ramadhan when the Muslims in Indonesia break their fast. It’s also used in Javanese tradition as a part of a wedding ceremony, where the bride is supposed to sell cendol to guests and relatives – the more you sell, more people will come to your wedding the next day.
70. Arak Bali
This is a traditional alcoholic drink that was created on the island of Bali. The island of Gods is not just famous for its beaches, ask around, and you know that everyone will be familiar with Arak.
You need to be careful when you drink it, as it has about 50% of alcohol content, that’s why people usually mix it with something. It’s made out of distilling glutinous rice and palm sugar. Then it’s combined with flower essences to create a fragrant drink.
71. Bir Pletok
Bir Pletok gets the wrong reputation because it has the word bir (beer) in it even though it has no alcohol content. It’s a drink to freshen you up, and it consists of mainly herbal remedies such as ginger, pandan, and lemongrass.
It’s usually drunk by the Betawi tribe, who live in Jakarta. Legend has it that the Betawi people watched the Dutch drank beer, and they wanted to make a healthier alternative, then Bir Pletok was born. It has the warming sensation that beers have, but no alcohol.
STMJ is short for Susu, Telur, Madu, and Jahe or a mixture of milk, eggs, honey, and ginger. It’s usually sold on street stalls at night for those who are feeling cold. You can spot them easily when you’re strolling through the streets of Jakarta.
Aside from the namesake mixture, they also mix some white and palm sugar, giving the drink a caramel taste. They say it gives you warmth and boost your immune system.
73. Anggur Merah
You may have wines everywhere else in the world, but Indonesia has Anggur Merah or Amer as the locals call it. Anggur Merah translates to Red Wine, and it’s a red wine that has about 14% alcohol.
The brand that sells this wine is called Orang Tua, and it’s sold in supermarkets. Indonesians believe that it has health benefits (and it does) and drink it as is or with ice, but the young ones usually mix them up with fruit juices and drink them as cocktails. Your pick!
74. Soda Gembira
Soda Gembira translates to Happy Soda, and it’s obvious why it’s called that. Soda Gembira is a mixture of condensed milk and sodas, usually Fanta. It’s very high in sugar thus it’s super sweet. That’s why it’s called the Happy Soda because once you drank it, you’ll get sugar high.
75. Alpukat Juice
If people in the United States usually eat their avocado, mash it for condiments or incorporate it in their meals, Indonesians mash them up and drink them as juice. First, they blend the avocado, then pour in some condensed milk and sugar syrup. Be very careful, although it’s a drink and it’s very delicious, it’s also very high in calories!
76. Es Teler
Es Teler is a fruit cocktail that consists of coconut meat, cincau, jackfruit and other fruits served in coconut milk and sweetened condensed milk. This drink was created by Murniati Widjaja, who won a competition to come up for the Indonesian national drink in 1982.
77. Es Campur
Another fruit cocktail, but with different ingredients and syrup. Aside from the ingredients from Es Teler, they also add in seaweed and assortment of jellies. They also use pink rose syrup, so then it’s very fragrant. You can easily spot street vendors selling this during the Ramadhan month for Iftar (breaking their Ramadhan fast).
This drink comes from West Java, which is another highlands in Indonesia. Due to the region’s cooler temperature, this drink also allows you to warm up your body in the cold nights.
The most basic ingredients are ginger and sugar, but other spices are also added at times, such as pandan, pepper, lemongrass and if appropriate milk. It’s said that drinking it will cure sore throats, coughs, and other respiratory issues.
79. Teh Talua
This drink comes from the region of West Sumatra, the tribe of Minangkabau. It uses raw eggs, so it’s not for the faint-hearted. You’ve read about STMJ, this is a bit like that drink, except it uses only eggs and tea.
This drink originates from the mountainside as it’s said that drinking it will keep you warm. And just like STMJ, it also increases your stamina and immune system.
Jamu is a traditional herbal medicine drink that’s pretty ubiquitous in Indonesia. It’s made from natural materials, such as roots, barks, flowers, seeds, leaves, and fruits. It has many varieties, and you can choose one that matches your ailing.
Jamu is most prevalent in Java, as locals usually call the sellers “Mbok Jamu,” who are traditional kain kebaya wearing young to middle-aged Javanese women carrying a bamboo basket filled with different kinds of Jamu.
I recommend trying Beras Kencur for those who are tasting Jamu for the first time. It’s the taste is quite herbal but sweet and clean. It is said to flush out toxins, giving you smoother skin and makes you lose weight.
Another one to try is Kunyit Asam; the taste is stronger and sourer, but also tasty and refreshing. This Jamu is famous for relieving stomach cramps during PMS and similar to Beras Kencur it also flushes out toxins.