Indonesian cuisine is some of the finest in the World, the influences that have led to modern day Indonesian food comes from more than 300 tribes that have occupied the World’s’ biggest archipelago throughout the centuries. The food is full of flavours, spice blends, colour and vibrancy and is incredibly varied. Last year I took a trip to Bandung and made it my goal to try as many different types of Indonesian food as I could, well that is exactly what I did and here are my 6 favourite dishes that I tried, and that you need to try too.
Literally translated as burned fish, Ikan Bakar is a meal made using fish or seafood that is chargrilled over an open flame. Usually the dish uses carp or another freshwater fish and they marinade the fish beforehand in a blend of spices and herbs such as garlic, chile, coriander, salt and many more to create a unique flavour for the dish.
This dish can be found commonly around Indonesia, it is rice that is steamed inside banana leaves. The leaves give the rice a unique flavour and smell and leaves you with a fresh and clean taste in your mouth. Usually the rice is served with anything form a mixture of fresh vegetables to chicken, pork or beef but in the meal it is the meat or veg that accompanies the rice, and not the other way around.
Ayem Goreng, directly translates as fried chicken and let me tell you that KFC does not have a patch on it. Unlike the southern American style of fried chicken, this dish doesn’t use batter and flour as it is deep fried in coconut oil which not only beautifully browns the outside of the chicken but leaves it crispy and pack with flavour.
When I was staying in Bandung my hotel was the Bukit Dago hotel, just 5 minutes from my hotel was a little lady who served this beautiful dish on the street. Bakwam Galang is an Indonesian stew that has meatballs made from meat paste or beef, vermicelli, and fried wontons and it is simply delicious. The flavour isn’t too strong and the soup really lends itself to the flavour of the meatballs. A beautiful dish and one that you can find everywhere.
For this of you looking to try something a little different then consider this spicy stew dish that is made using the skin of a cow. The dish is packed with flavour and heat and is usually filled with soy beans, potatoes, coconut milk and sometimes tofu. Full flavoured and very interesting.
Gudeg is beautiful dish that is made using an unripe jackfruit with palm sugar and coconut milk with spices such as bay leaves and coriander thrown in for a sumptuous flavour. The texture of the dish is like caramelised onions and it has a meaty taste to it whilst not actually containing any meat. A beautiful side dish and one that I could not get enough of during my stay.