Top 10 Indonesian Food You Must Eat

There is actually more to Indonesian food than Nasi Goreng. Yes, you heard me right. There is so much to Indonesian cuisine that giving you a Top 10 Must Eat is almost impossible, but we shall try.

Here is a list of best Indonesian food that you must eat when you are here, though by no means complete, we will try our best to keep it open and up for debate.

May the best food reign supreme!

Nasi Goreng – Literally means fried rice, it is actually the usual famous Southeast Asian style of stir-frying cooked rice, but with it’s very own Indonesian spices and mix

Indonesia Must Eat: Nasi Goreng (Fried Rice)

Nasi Goreng (Fried Rice). Photo by Monica Arellano-Ongpin


Rendang – Literally means dry curry, rendang is a really popular dish in Indonesia that is actually a dry beef stew. It is originated from Minangkabau (or also known as Padang) in West Sumatra. That is why it is either called Rendang Padang or Rendang Minangkabau. Rendang is basically meat, normally beef but sometimes liver, chicken, goat or other meats, would be cooked in coconut milk and spices until dry resulting in an intense concoction of taste and texture. It is one of the best food in the world, try it to believe it!

Soto Betawi – There are a few Soto here in Indonesia that you must try, first is the Soto Betawi, which the soup is made of beef or beef offal with cow milk, it is a unique variation in itself with a distinct taste.

Indonesia Must Eat: Soto Betawi

Soto Betawi. Photo by zoyachubby

Ketoprak – Ketoprak is one of Indonesian traditional food. It is a mix of bean-sprout, deep-fried tofu, onion, eggs with special peanut sauce.

Soto Mie / Soto Mee – Sotomie (or Mee Soto) which is one of the most popular soto for its own right, it is either made of chicken or beef for soup and served with noodles and sliced risoles spring rolls. Of of the best Sotomie in Jakarta can be found at a stall inside Mangga Dua.

->Read Top 10 Things to Do and Must See in Jakarta

Indonesia Must Eat: Soto Mie / Soto Mee

Soto Mie / Soto Mee

Rawon – Rawon is a black beef soup, made with beef and keluak (black nuts) as the main spice giving it a strong nutty taste and dark in colour, along with other spices and normally served with rice.

Sate / Satay ayam – Sate or Satay Ayam (chicken), are skewered and grilled (BBQ) chicken served with flavourful peanut sauce. It is also known as national dish of Java, Indonesia, making it a strong contender to our Nasi Goreng.

Indonesia Must Eat: Sate / Satay Ayam

Sate / Satay Ayam. Photo by Christopher Johnson

Soto Ayam – This is a chicken soup which is yellow and slightly spicy, normally served with lontong or nasi empit or ketupat (rice cakes) and vermicelli (rice noodles).

Gudeg – A traditional food hail from Yogyakarta in Central Java, gudeg is a stew made from young jack fruit (nangka) with palm sugar, coconut milk, meat, garlic, and lots of spices. It is one of the most flavourful food in the world, melding everything from taste to textures.

->Read Top 10 Things to Do in Yogyakarta

Indonesia Must Eat: Gudeg

Gudeg. Photo by ^riza^

Sayur Asem – Sayur Asem or sayur asam (literally sour vegetables) is a tamarind soup made from peanuts, young jackfruit, melinjo, long beans, chayote, corn and meat stock (normally beef) and of course tamarind.

Bakso – Bakso or Baso in Indonesia, is a meatball made from beef surimi (meat paste, normally beef, with some tapioca flour). It is usually served in a bowl of beef broth with noodles, bihun (rice vermicelli), vegetables, tofu and eggs.

Indonesia Must Eat: Bakso

Bakso Stall. Photo by Jos Dielis

Nasi Kuning – Nasi Kuning (yellow rice) or sometimes known as Nasi Kunyit (turmeric rice) is a famous Indonesian breakfast rice cooked in coconut milk and turmeric. It is usually serve with some omelette, grated coconut and spices and fried anchovy and kacang (peanuts).

Ayam goreng – Ayam Goreng seem to be as simple as it sounds – fried chicken, but the Indonesian flash their frying skill here at the best with one of most amazing fried chicken you will find in the world, crisp on the outside juicy on the inside.

Indonesia Must Eat: Nasi Kuning with Ayam Goreng

Nasi Kuning with Ayam Goreng. Photo by gromanuk

Gado-gado – Gado-gado (or also known as Lotek) is an Indonesian salad, a combination of boiled vegetables doused generously with peanut sauce dressing. There are other similar dishes like pecel and atah or karedok.

Gado-gado, a vegetarian's favourite in Bali and rest of Indonesia. Fried Tempe on the bottom right

Gado-gado, a vegetarian’s favourite in Bali and rest of Indonesia. Fried Tempe on the bottom right. Photo by Vernon Chan

Yes, the list is more than 10 because we are still voting to see which of these make it to the top 10 and who knows if there would be a new entry. You will find yourself spoilt with choices from fine dining to restaurants to roadside stalls here in Indonesia. Don’t miss out on the Indonesian street food there too!

Please do comment below for your choice or if you have a recommendation of your own. Let’s spread the goodness of best Indonesian food!

Related articles:
Top 10 Best Restaurants in Bali
Top 6 Warungs to Eat in Sanur, Bali
Top 8 Vegetarian Food to Eat in Bali and Indonesia
Top 10 Coffee Places in Jakarta

Author: Rachel

Fascinated by Indonesia, Rachel hopes to bring the best Indonesia Travel Guide to independent travelers so that they can enjoy what Indonesia has best to offer. Being an independent wanderer herself, Rachel knows what it takes to make a good, fun-filled yet responsible independent traveling. So let’s join her to discover wonderful Indonesia together. Google+

10 thoughts on “Top 10 Indonesian Food You Must Eat”

  1. A special mention should be made regarding the Lombok specialty Ayam Goreng Taliwang. Looks and tastes mightily different to the Ayam Goreng pictured. If you like your fried chicken, or any food for that matter, with a hot fiery and somewhat sweet taste then the Taliwang variant is worth searching out at the many Warungs near to Mataram Mall. Easily one of my favourite dishes of the five islands I visited and up there with the best street food I’ve tried around the world.

  2. How much would a portion of Gudeg cost? where is the best stall selling this? Can I say that most of the Indonesian staying in Yogja loves this food?

    I would be visiting Yojga sometime end of this month and I would like to try this meal.

    1. I loved Gudeg too when I tried it in Yogyakarta. The cost is just a little bit higher than the usual local dish but well worth it!

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