Indonesia’s 6,000 “Spice Islands”, have over the centuries attracted traders, pirates and adventurers from all over the world – Indian, Chinese, Arab, Portuguese, Spanish, English and Dutch – each having left their stamp on the island’s cuisine. Sumatran cuisines, for example, often have Middle Eastern and Indian influences, featuring curried meat and vegetables, while Javanese cuisines are mostly indigenous, with some hint of Chinese influence. The cuisines of Eastern Indonesia are similar to Polynesian and Melanesian cuisines.
From bustling street vendors to high-end restaurants, Indonesian dishes have rich and complex flavours; often described as savoury, hot and spicy, and also a combination of basic tastes such as sweet, salty, sour and bitter. While rice is a staple, with nasi goreng (literally meaning “fried rice”) as a national dish, most of Indonesian cuisine is considered fattening. Here are the top, favourite dishes that are not only unique to the region but are healthy too!