Amazing Top Foods That Defines What It Means to Be Indonesian

When it comes to this country, which has 1,000 islands, the separation of culture and food is simply about the issue. Just like how abundant Indonesia is in natural wonders, you can also find hundreds of different cultures from Sabang to Gypsies. With these different cultures, along with different faiths and religions, food is always the common basis that all Indonesians can enjoy from different backgrounds.

While we also have our own versions of Rendang, Satay, Rojak, and Cendol, this menu covers dishes that you can't find anywhere else. So here are the top 7 dishes that everyone can agree on that the Indonesians are basically.


Due to the size of the country and the diversity of its population, there are many different Indonesian dishes which are considered the national dish in the country. However, Topeng was officially chosen as a national dish from Indonesia in 2014 by the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism and Creative economy.

Tobing is a conical rice dish usually eaten during special occasions, celebrations, and other traditional events in many regions of the country. A tobing can be performed either with nasi odok (rice cooked with coconut milk, such as Nasi lemak in Malaysia) or nasi rice (rice cooked with turmeric or knafeh). Surrounding Tumpeng, one can find different side dishes such as fried chicken, vegetables, shredded omelets, anchovies, peanuts, and tempeh.


Just like neighboring countries, Indonesia usually faces two types of weather: rain, wet days or scorching hot seasons. To keep warm during rainy seasons, Indonesians eat a bowl of this dish either in Warung on the side of the road or in a restaurant.

Bakso, or meatballs, is believed to have Chinese origin, along with Bakso, Lumpia, and Kwetiau. Bakso Indonesian, however, is mainly halal, using beef balls instead of pork balls. However, like the Chinese dish, bakso is usually served with vermicelli or yellow noodles. What makes Bakso very special Indonesian is that you can find a lot of variations such as Bakso Malang, Corn bakso, bakso-filled cheese, and bakso aouar (meatballs tendon).


Unlike Bakso, Indonesians will also eat bober (porridge) during the rainy seasons. Some do not wait until it rains, though, and will only eat Bubur for breakfast every morning. The popular diversity of this Indonesian dish is the classical days that include porridge covered with grated chicken, fried leek, green onions, peanuts, sweet soy sauce, cakes or youtiao.

Different areas will have their own version of the dish such as tin or Boubor Manado from North Sulawesi. Tinutuan uses pumpkin or sweet potato, as well as anchovies as the layer with water spinach, sambel, and Melinjo. Aside from the delicious porridge, pobor can also be eaten as a dessert. The dessert porridge in Indonesia includes Bubur Sumsum, Bubur Pacar, and Bobor Kasang Ijo.


The original to the southern city of Sumatra of Palim, Pibek, Empek-empek, or Mpek-mpek is a dish consisting of steam and fried fish cakes and served with sweet and sour (and sometimes spicy) soy sauce. It is also served with yellow noodles and cucumber cubes to help you neutralize the skimming and spices of soy sauce.

There are about 15 variations of bibic but the most popular are Bebek Capkal Selam, Bebek Lenjer, Bebek Adaan, and Kulit Picbek.

Lapis Legit

If you are looking for a really Indonesian dessert to try, then this cake-a-layer is a dessert to indulge in. Also known as Spekkoek because of its Dutch roots, lapis is usually eaten legit during Eid, Christmas, Chinese New Year, or even can be found on the living room table to be served to guests staying on the daily.

Lazuli is a thick yet damp-dense, has a thousand layers filled with good butter that goes well with fruity jams. It is made from a blend of Indonesian spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, anise, lots of butter or margarine, and fruits such as peach or raisins as topping.

No saliva for this Indonesian cake yet? Well, Lazuli is listed as one of the most delicious cakes in the world by CNN, along with American cheese, Italian dessert, Malaysian Bandan cake, and British Victoria sponge.

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